How much of this sport is natural talent?
How many years of running does it take to know if you could be in the top 5% of your age group?
What is it that makes the top 5% different?
Better coaching?, more miles per week?
You can do the hard training, high mileage, have the perfect build , the best shoes, ect. But without the natural talent...
How much of this sport is natural talent?
To be really really good (say elite or DI scholarship level), you need both a fair amount of talent and a lot of hard work. There are a few extremely talented individuals who can run very fast on limited training (say sub 14:30/30:00 for 5 and 10 km on 30-40 miles/week), but those are the extreme exceptions. Running fast takes speed therefore talent plays a big role at the upper levels (obviously).
Top 5% in age group? Who knows what that is anymore. There was a time when a 32 or 33 minute 10k would be needed to crack the top 5% in the 20s age categories. Not so anymore. Check most any results and a 36 minute 10k will net a top 5% finish in most races. It all depends on talent. If you are reasonably talented (say sub 5 minute mile within your first few months of training) you can be near the top at virtually any road race within a year or two of consistent training.
What makes the top 5% different? The combination of talent and dedication. Some have a little more of one than the other. Some have lots of both. Coaching helps, but it comes down to the runner.
Just wondering, if a sub-5 minute mile within the first few months of training is a good indicator of natural talent of a guy, what would be an equivalant number for a girl?
Sub 5 out the door is good natural talent. I don't know how many guys I ran with in high school worked all the time, ran all the time, and raced as hard as they could and couldn't take down 5 minutes or even 11 minutes in 3200.
To be top 5% you need exceptional talent and work ethic. One will not cut it.
If you run a world class time at any distance take off two years and see if you can run that time again. IF your playing X-Box, watching WWE and drinking beer like Homer Simpson, I hope your not planing to pull out the flats and run a 13:20 at the local 5K. All the natural talent in the world means nothing without proper training.
x trackstar AKA couch slug wrote:
All the natural talent in the world means nothing without proper training.
I think it's safe to say the converse of this is true as well. In many cases, it is the amazing talent that allows one to train at such a high level. You can't work, work, work and run 12:39. The talent must exist first.
Like others have said, in order to make it to the very top (or even close), you need lots of talent and lots of work. Nobody is going to run sub-28 without gobs of talent and tons of miles.
That said, making the top 5% at your average road race isn't that hard. Most local races I see have fewer than 5% of men under 17:30/36:30 (20/42 for women). I think most people, even ones with little talent, could do that if they ran enough. Similarly, a really talented person could run those times off of very little training.
If you run sub-6:00 minute mile out the door, I think a sub-5 minute mile is not that hard to produce even with limited training. Those guys who ran ran ran and couldn't run sub-5 were probably running too much too fast without being gradual with their training. Thats common in high school.
I look back and don't know what my high school coach was smoking. I was a 800m runner in high school and we were doing speed workouts 5-6 times per week and doing 4 milers maybe twice per week. I was wondering why I was tired all the time.
If I could turn back time and go back to high school, I would switch that around and run 4+ miles every day and add 2 speed workouts per week.
Don't forget about the psychological aspect. I think what makes the top 5% different is a combination of talent, training, and *confidence*.
Your right Freddy and good coach at a young age can take some mediocore runners and make them state champs. I was also a 800m runner in highschool the coach was awesome!
2:13 as a sophmore indoor track wooohooo! I got laughed at!
By the end of my sophmore year I was at 2:02!.....without
a base I hated xcountry, I then ran cross country and my first indoor 800m was 2:00! A good coach and hard work with a little talent gooes far also. My Junior year I was at 1:55 Flat!
Of course training helps tons, and if you didn't do ANY running at all, you'd be nothing, but talent does help a lot. I am one with moderate talent with the following PRs:
5k - 14:18
10k - 29:47
half marathon - 1:05:47
marathon - 2:21:00
I ran the above times with lots of focused training and eating and I am pretty confident that those times were pretty close to what I was ultimately capable of (perhaps the marathon could have been a tiny bit faster). But, I have some running buddies who take their running just as seriously, run 100+ miles per week and have for years and still run marathons in about 3:15-3:40. They simply don't have the talent to do much better. I, on the other hand, have run a marathon in 2:35 on just 40-50 miles per week and running only 4 or 5 days per week. No way my friends could ever run 2:35, and I did it on less than half the training they did. I've been fortunate to be blessed with good running genes. Hard work will always help you, but depending on your talent level, it might help you get from a 4:30 marathon to a 3:15 marathon as opposed to going from a 2:35 marathon to a 2:21 marathon.
You are blessed with some skills! Good PR's
I have a question for you WINNER. You say you have friends who have trained seriously with 100+ miles a week and run the marathon around 3:15-3:40, and that they simply just don't have the talent. Would someone who ran a 3:10 marathon, after 10 months of training and logging only about 50 miles a week, and then didn't taper for the marathon, have some talent then?
I ran that and am now looking to see if I can get into the 2:55 or better range over the next year. I've upped my mileage and seem to be making alot of progress. I'm just not sure what my talent is. I would like to think I've got potential to achieve that goal.
I've run high 15's for 5K and high 9's for 2 mile albeit in high school though. I'm not sure how much talent that equates to since we only put in roughly 20 miles a week in high school. My track and cross country coach was the offensive line coach for the footbal team so all be basically did was run quarters til we puke 4 times a week and one or two 3 mile runs thrown in here and there. Needless to say that bunred me out as far as wanting to continue to run. Now that I'm in my early 30's I'm running to stay healthy and plus I' enjoying it.
I don't want to be a world beater, but I would like to see how far I can take myself in the marathon.
Back in high school, my little brother smoked me in one of the first races he ever ran (after I had been training for a year). He would go on to run a 2:32 marathon on limited training, while I worked much harder and ran 2:56. He had more NATURAL TALENT than me.
If you have TALENT and DESIRE and WORK HARD you will become VERY GOOD or perhaps GREAT.... but there's only one way to find out...