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I normally try to run at around an 8 minute mile. Today I kayaked for about 2.2 miles and it took 40 minutes, so I thought of this question.

How difficult would it be to look at training records and say "I am better at X than I am at Y"? If you considered running, swimming, biking, and boating, what would the ratios of the speed or pace be for each activity for a "normal" athlete and what are the problems with looking at it this way? What would being better at one (after training equally or less) activity over another say about someone's physical shape or body type?

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I don't think that something like that can be normalized, and here's why:

  • Exercise is specific--the type of training you do dictates the response your body has
  • Absolute genetic potential of any person is not currently able to be quantified, and if it could, it would be very difficult with our current knowledge to apply those quantities to any activity
  • Most athletes operate at far below their genetic potential (the top 2% in any field would be the exception).

In short, you are good at what you put effort into. There are people who seem to be natural athletes, who excel without effort. These athletes tend to be lazy because they are so much better than the average people in the beginning. A few have good work ethic, but after the average person puts in more work, they will be able to outperform the gifted athlete.

Now, a gifted athlete seems to be gifted in one type of activity. If your question is about finding what the gifted activity is for you, I still don't have any good answers for you. It very well may be you are one of the many normal people who have to work for what they want to do.

Some sports and organizations have established standards. A standard is different from a "norm". In essence, depending on the experience an individual has, they will be able to at least be able to perform the standard. There most likely isn't enough data to establish what a norm would be for someone of the same experience. Many things can come to play such as gender, physiology, stature, coordination, etc.

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