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Basically I'm a 17 year old distance runner. Started running in March last year when I fancied having a go at a 10k race near me. Since then it's become my biggest obsession, and being out injured for 4 months has left me pretty depressed.
Being a perfectionist and very competitive can be stressful at times. I want to be at the top end, I've been inspired by the Olympics and I want to get right up the top end in my age group and be well known, win a medal in Rio or 2020. Sounds a bit unrealistic I know.
One year after starting running, I ran 37:30 for 10k. I can run a mile in 5 mins (but that was training, I can imagine I can do faster in a race). I'm 6ft 4 and quite slender built which I believe is an advantage. I've not been sporty until these last couple of years, I love mountaineering but do it rarely. I've cycled to school for over 2 years every day, 50 miles of cycling a week, and before I started running this is all I really did. I did karate and football for a bit in my younger years but gave up that.
I just wanted to ask whether there's any hope for me as I feel like I can't compete with my age group- because I started much later than them. The majority have been doing it since they were 12-13 and are already running 4:20 for a mile if not more, 35 min 10ks and 16 minute 5k's. I generally race against all ages rather than race track events in championships or age categories, but I know if I wanted to pursue my dream I'd probably have to go onto shorter distances. I love the longer distances, but most of my age group seem to race only track. By my 'age group', I'm referring to some of the whizz kids from other local clubs who I've heard of, researched, and sometimes spill into the races which I do.
I feel like I can't compete because they train the same structure, intensity and mileage as me- to beat them I would have to train more but risk getting injured. So even if I match it, they're going to keep improving and I will never catch them. The majority of these kids who are a lot faster than me and have competed for county are also younger than me. I'm at a disadvantage too because it seems these kids have been supported and encouraged by parents. My dad is an ex-marathon runner and has taught me a lot but I can't even get lifts to track or races.. these kids get full backing from their parents who have introduced them from a young age and take them all over the country to compete. If they're already really quick, I just don't think I'll ever catch them and get high ranked in my age categories in races. They never seem to get injuries- I've got bad problems with my biomechanics hence my injuries- I just don't feel like I'm a naturally talented runner whereas these guys are.
Can any of you enlighten me? Thanks for any advice and replies.