This article is a rant.
I am tired of reading articles about athletes from other sports trying to “better” athletes who train exclusively for Track in Field.
You know what I’m talking about…
i.e. Olympic lifters have a faster start or first 10m split than a trained Sprinter
i.e. Powerlifters have a better standing long jump than a trained Long Jumper
i.e. NFL players (or other wannabees) thinking they can beat Usain Bolt or Ben Johnson over a 40 yard dash.
i.e. Super endurance athletes like Lance Armstrong “struggling” with a 3 hour marathon, with or without drugs.
… and so on.
I rant I am referring to is sport specificity.
We have this super-fit Bill Demong, the only American to win an Olympic Nordic combined gold medal, testing his endurance at the New York City Marathon on November 2nd. (link here)
He hopes to average six minutes per mile at the New York City Marathon, with a finishing time around 2 hours, 36 minutes. He ran a 37km Colorado road race (a marathon is 42.195km) over a mountain in 2 hours, 17 minutes back in 2003.
A sub 2:40 marathon is impressive, but it just shows you the specificity required to run a 2:30 or 2:20. Or 2:10.
I have total respect for Bill Demong. He is super-fit and I commend him on trying to run a very respectable marathon time. The point I am trying to make is even the best conditioned athletes in the world will have a hard time competing with someone who exclusively trains for that event.
There are exceptions, however.
No Sprinter wants to be beaten by a mutli-event athlete (i.e. Decathletes and Heptathletes) in an individual event, and that does happen when they compete their respective individual events, like Dafne Schippers in the 100m/200m or Daley Thompson doing Pole Vault and lead-off for the 4x100m relay. And of course, we have Canada’s heptathlete Jessica Zelinka winning the Canadian Olympic Trials in the 100mH!
Genetics and Talent will get you so far, but at the upper 1% of the sport, then it’s your coaching program, your recovery methods, your nutrition & supplements and all those little factors like sleep that will separate a 10.20 sprinter from a 9.90 sprinter. Or a 2:10 marathoner to a 2:30 marathoner.
Also… Dress Up, Show Up, and Never Give Up. Because 80% of success is just showing up.
If you want to be the best, you better train to be the best. Or at least try :)