Do I have potential?

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30/07/2012 at 21:01

Hey guys, im 18 years old male, been reasonably fit all my life(played football/soccer since 6) recently ive been doing parkruns(5k) every saturday for a month;my time improved from 20:51 to 18:48, thats a 2 minute improvement in a months training.

My training: I do around 15mpw, and my diet is balanced;nothing special. My schedule is all over the place, but I run monday-thursday and race saturday, this doesnt include speed work yet, just running at constant pace.

so my question is do I have what many people call 'raw running talent'? I aspire to become an elite runner, and am willing to put in the work and dedication needed.

Also you guys can post your 5k times after a months training(if you can remember) so we can compare? 

30/07/2012 at 21:21

Mike, not to calm you down too much, but if you've been playing football for 12 years, then you can't claim 1 month training, that all helps!

But yes, at 18, the world is your oyster.

If you have the dedication to pack in all other sports, and focus solely on the running, being consistent, and lucky with injuries, no reason your times won't drop quickly.

Whether you can give up football though, after playing for 12 years is something only you can know.

Personally i took ages to decide to bin football off, too me until about 27/28 to finally bin it off. Was hard,but you can't risk the injuries.

30/07/2012 at 21:47

Thanks for the reply!

Yeh my football definitely helped, considering i played at a pretty high level.

I am determined to give up football for my new found love of running though, if it comes down to it(I will continue to play football though, behind running in priority).

I plan to break the course record at my parkrun which stands at 16:06 in 3-4 months time, then ill join an athletics club and see where I go from there.

Will keep you all updated on my 5k times every week! 

31/07/2012 at 00:13

Hi Mike,

I would suggest you go to a club sooner rather than later. A good endurance coach will be able to give you good advise, and more importantly SEE you run. Just bear in mind that as with all types of fitness the biggest improvements come initially.

EG - I played football until I was about 27 and then ran 30.43 for 5 miles off a few months training. I then took up running more 'serously', but it took me another 10 years to get down to 29.08. BUT we are all different and you have the advantage of being younger.

It sounds like you are really keen, so get to a club and meet like minded people - you will love it!

31/07/2012 at 09:30

Definitely get yourself down to a club as soon as possible. It's the best place for advice but will also give you some frames of reference regarding where your performance fits into the grand scheme of things.  At one end of the spectrum you're already running half-decent times that many people would be grateful for.  At the other end of the spectrum you're (currently) a world away from the elites, and chances are your local club will have many runners much, much quicker than you.  But that's beside the point - you'll have people to run with, and people to chase down as you get faster.

I started out as a "fit newbie" (background in cycling) a few years ago running around 40 mins 10k off the bat - that's pretty much equivalent to your 18:48 parkrun.  Having got that down to 33:25 over 3 years, I've still yet to get faster than 16:19 over 5k.  That's hardly elite, nowhere near, but the extra two and a half minutes you're talking about is a huge chunk, much bigger than the chunk you've already taken off your own PB.  I doubt whether you'd get down to that level in a matter of months, but if you can prove me wrong, all power to you!

31/07/2012 at 13:31

Mike - fully agree with the last two posters. If you already have serious intentions about running, why do things badly (or at least sub-optimally) from the outset? Be serious about it.

Also, the greatest injury risks come in periods when you significantly change your training mix. Better to have such things overseen and guided by an experienced coach. Stevie G's comments about giving up football are not to be dismissed. I was good at all sports as a kid. I only began to focus at the age of 40 on running in particular.

When I look back now, I realise that I squandered my opportunity by not being focused on any one priority. You don't get a second chance for those sorts of decisions. Two priorities is practically the same thing as no priority. Good luck.

01/08/2012 at 07:28

Nick - Thanks for the advice, but im only interested in running really, not swimming/cycling, and 2:20 pace for a marathon im quite far off yet, if I did a marathon right now I reckon I can get between 2:50-3:00. But thanks for the boost in confidence!


01/08/2012 at 07:37

And I will try get myself down to a running club as soon as possible! I know after a few weeks I will be racing in local meets and hopefully I can win them and move onto county meets and eventually national!

01/08/2012 at 08:10
Mike - Nick was being sarcastic.....
01/08/2012 at 08:56

LOL. Best way to deal with sarcasm. Pretend you don't notice it.

01/08/2012 at 09:08

Nick is hilarious.

01/08/2012 at 10:37

From your statement it is clear that your have'nt enrol in a speed work;just running at a constant speed!!! Meaning that you can still improve on your current running time.

seren nos    pirate
01/08/2012 at 10:47

just be careful..........it when you are so enthusiastic and improving that you start to think you are invincible and train too much and ignore the niggles............which is when the injuries start

 good luck and hopefully you will be injury free for the next few years and achieve your dreams.........

01/08/2012 at 15:56

Mike - believe me (and all of us) getting from 20.51 to 18.48 in 2 months unfortunatley doesn't mean you'll get down to 16.06 in another 3-4 months. You just might I suppose but far from guaranteed. It's all pretty straightforward getting faster for a bit but then the irritation of diminishing returns sets in and can be a bit of a reality check.

History tells us that super-confidence on these types of threads can be interpreted as hopeless arrogance so tread carefully !

Good luck and please keep posting

01/08/2012 at 18:02

Haha its hard to tell sarcasm through text. :P

 Yeh ive decided from now on to do 1 interval session a week(800m w/ 200m recovery)  at 18min 5k pace, and every week i will reduce the time by 1-2 seconds, this is slow progress but hopefully it will help me avoid injury! Thanks Seren! Also gonna introduce 1 hill reps a week(Ive never tried it before, could be interesting) as well as 1 long run(10 miles) a week at a steady pace.

Fraser - Thanks for your post! Yeh I understand that to keep improving gets harder and harder, but hopefully because im going to start introducing speedwork my improvement will stay steady.


01/08/2012 at 21:09

Mike, can I ask what the "High level" of football you played at was?

In terms of your 5ks and general development, it's a very tricky line to bridge between encouraging you and being realistic.

The realist in me knows that my slowest 5k ever was 18:18 from similar mileage to you. I also recognised in 6 years this has "Only" gone down to 17.10. If I actually found a proper flat road course, and targetted the distance, I'm sure a sub 17 would be doable.

Therefore, i'd have to be blunt and say that unless you were running those 5ks with a pipe on, and strolling it,  the chances of you beating 16.05 within 3-4months are absolutely zero, and the chances of you beating that time if you continue with football will be massively reduced as well. You don't run low 16s for 5k casually, unless you're blessed with very good ability.

Little stat for you, only 202 runners beat 16.06 at a park run in the whole of 2011, and a lot of those results are classified NAD, "Near as damm", ie might not even be full distance.

What you do have though, is youth on your side, and high keeness. Those will get you so far, and then it'll be on your natural ability, which noone can really be sure of.

Edited: 01/08/2012 at 21:15
seren nos    pirate
01/08/2012 at 21:20

a local lad in our park runs got his 5k quickly down from 18:06 to 16:57 .....2 years ago.........he was 15........i have noticed that he is still working on it and has this year got it down to 16:15...........as you see the initial drop was in weeks............but since then it has been a long slog to get it down by 42 seconds

01/08/2012 at 22:46

I played at academy level for a few months and I currently play for my college football team, however running football from now on.

Im blessed with natural athleticism, that was evident from a young age(comes from my dad who was one of the fastest in his county), its also evident in my brother who does boxing at amateur level but has ran a sub 50 second 400m w/o athletic training. But hey we'll see how I improve in the next month, if I can get around the 17:00 - 17:30 range from 18:48 in 4 weeks training i think that will be a realistic short term goal and i'll be pleased if I achieve it.

Unfortunately this weekends parkrun is using a plan B route which involves running up a steep hill 3 times instead of the usual 2 and the course will be slightly longer, if I can beat my pb off this route i'd be chuffed.

Will post the time this saturday.  

02/08/2012 at 01:38


02/08/2012 at 09:13
mike rushton wrote (see)

m blessed with natural athleticism, that was evident from a young age(comes from my dad who was one of the fastest in his county), its also evident in my brother who does boxing at amateur level but has ran a sub 50 second 400m w/o athletic training. But hey we'll see how I improve in the next month, if I can get around the 17:00 - 17:30 range from 18:48 in 4 weeks training i think that will be a realistic short term goal and i'll be pleased if I achieve it.

Which park run? And how come you changed your name?

After your last post, i must admit the "cynicism alarm bells" are gently ringing.

Sub 50 400m off no proper training? So, top 260 in UK in 2011?

"Natural athleticism"?

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