What defines a champion?
I think a champion is determined by a large number of factors. There are champions in all fields of life, those that seem to have that ‘one thing’ that allows them to soar above the rest. When it comes to sport, particularly an individual sport like running, genetics has to play a part. Some of us were clearly more born to run than others. This, however, should not restrict anyone in any shape or size from taking part in this highly cleansing, fulfilling sport and from getting the most out of his or her own body.
In my opinion; two words can be used when it comes to defining a champion; 1) discipline and 2) commitment. Over the years I have stumbled across definitions for these two words that seemed to have registered well with me.
Discipline can be defined as identifying and acting upon what you want most of all/in the long run as apposed to acting upon what is desired at the precise moment; e.g., another glass or three of wine.
Commitment is the act of sticking to an idea/person/thing after the mood or phase/stage passes which lead to the construction of the idea. We all have days when we are more motivated than others. Being able to remember the mood which lead to an idea and tapping into or reconnecting with the feelings that lead to the idea construction; e.g., entering an Ironman race, is what determines true commitment.
“Champions Day” is a phrase I use to help motivate myself. It combines the two words I have defined and helps me get out of the door on days I would prefer to put my feet up. When the wind is howling, rain is pelting or my head is pounding; I tell myself that the day is a day that champions train. This usually manages to motivate me to get out and do it (something very few runners regret, once done). Training on a ‘champions day’ always results in a double dosage of runners high too, if it’s any extra incentive to readers!
I have bolded the word ‘usually’ in the last paragraph as it really is the operative word. I think in order to be a champion you must be committed, disciplined but you must be able to recognise when commitment and discipline are in fact unhealthy compulsion or obsession. My experience of individual sports people has lead me to believe that our tendencies could be assumed to be obsessive by the non-athlete so we have to be careful here. There is a difference in encouraging yourself to get out for a run when you rather wouldn’t after a hard day and forcing yourself to after one hours sleep, not being able to remember the number of beverages consumed the night before and when you have a niggly knee anyway! I am still battling with the line which separates the two and it’s taken me a large number of injuries and even surgery to get close to being able to do so.
So, to conclude, a champions day is a very special day. It is a day which separates the champions from the rest. It is a day when an athlete combines commitment, discipline, common sense, gut instinct and lessons learnt in the past, into one. It’s a #championsday. See you out in the park with hat, gloves and rain coats on but NOT with limps or chesty coughs thanks!