What is the biggest difference between a trained, elite athlete and us mere mortals? I would have to say that it is devotion. Many might say it’s genetics or natural gift, but devotion takes precedence on so many levels. One can have a natural talent, but without the gift of devotion then the talent is wasted. It will never be fully developed.
The devotion to one’s self, to the goal, to those around you. Progress and talent development will slow to a halt without devotion. Your results are a direct reflection of your devotion. If your race results aren’t what you had hoped for, then ask yourself if you were devoted to your training plan.
Several weeks ago, I ran a 50k. I had actually got a training plan from a well known online coach. I was excited, I was devoted. Completely ready to devote myself to the full race, every inch, all the pain, no matter what. I wanted the full experience and to be able to say my all was given.
In the end, my results weren’t what I had hoped for. That week I had been questioning whether I was truly devoted to the plan. I did have a cast and/or a splint on my arm for good portion of the training plan, so that was against me. I could have, however, adjusted and done more towards my goal. While much of my running was out, I could have worked on the strength more. I used the cast as an excuse.
An excuse seems to be the mortal enemy of devotion. Working constantly to chip away at drive and progress. Slowly working with other excuses to build a wall around goals and contain them, then minimize them into non-existence.
While my excuses did not fully succeed in eliminating my goal at the 50k, they did minimize them. They almost succeeded; the week leading up to it I was questioning whether I should drop. I knew that I had not done enough long runs. My devotion to the finish over-powered the excuses that kept ringing in my ears. In the end my time was not what I had hoped for, but there was an official finish time and a medal waiting on me (my chip was actually pulled, but thanks to a sympathetic RD and a devoted wife going to bat for me I got to finish, but I’ll save that for another post). Somehow though, they seem tainted to me. I’ll use them as a reminder to keep my goals in front of me and the excuses behind, because in the end, that is what devotion boils down to.