In a sport like distance running, to be successful, one must go the extra mile (pun somewhat intended) to be successful. Success at the professional level does not come from talent alone: discipline and commitment come with the territory. Success is something you must work for.
As a coach with the University of Minnesota Men's Cross Country and Track & Field team, I often find myself trying to preach the importance of certain things that it takes to be competing at the top level. Whether it comes to talking about nutrition, training, recovery, and overall lifestyle choices with these fine college athletes, am I also teaching myself?
It comes very easy to point out others' flaws. I remember a situation last year, coming back from our annual Spring Break Training trip at Arizona State, when two of our athletes bought Cinnabon for dinner. One of their teammates asked them, "How much did those cost?" After a response, I quickly shot back "and five seconds." It is easy to call someone out for making poor choices, but is it as easy to call out yourself?
"I'll run it off."
"I ran hard today; I deserve this."
"I haven't had any junk food in a while. It'll be ok."
As a professional distance runner, everyone I compete against is just as good, if not better, than me. To get an edge (rather, a LEGAL edge), it takes personal discipline in nutrition choices, how much time is spent in all aspects of running (stretching, icing, cross-training, total mileage, lifting, etc.), hours of sleep per night, etc. I often find myself making good choices, but is there more to be desired?
If I want to be a better runner, there are always better choices I can make. There are always better choices you can make.
Prepare yourself for success.