Right, I know a couple runners who – for whatever reason – seemingly like to operate with the 'I have no talent' (despite recording performances that put them well above their peers) mindset. I get it, it conveys the attitude of 'I want to do more with less than others do.' However, they also seemingly believe that if they can just outwork everyone else – or just enough of everyone else – then they will achieve a higher degree of their potential. While that may be correct, outworking others is key, it is only a starting point. When I can look at the training being done and spot low-hanging fruit being overlooked that would have significant impact on performance improvement, it seems that there is a smarter approach to developing the systems to be utilized in race performance.
Talent is an interesting thing. I used to equate the word “talent” with the ability to run fast with little or no training. By that definition, I'm the least talented person I know as those who know me from my early running years could attest. However, in the past few years as I've spent more time reflecting on my running past, I've begun changing my opinion on that. How many people could train the way I have for as long as I have with my injury free history? Is that a talent? Sure, some has to do with my being taught good injury prevention but some of it has to do with a natural ability to absorb and benefit from training loads that would wipe others out. Likewise with the mental/psychological ability to keep one's focus on the big goals and overcome obstacles.
There are many kinds of talent and many different levels of each of those kinds. All of us have some level of each kind. Some of us have more of one or another. Any way you cut it, though, what you become in running has to do with how you work with the talents you have and how you work to overcome the talents you don't have. You can't control your talents but you can control how you work to maximize your positives and minimize your negatives.