Hard work is what separates the best from the greats. Talent alone is no assurance of success. The only way to reach the top in athletics is through long hours of hard work. If you can put in the hard work, you will blow open a huge gap in the field of competition, giving yourself a head start. Very few are willing to put forth an all-out effort to succeed, and they probably won’t either.
The most impressive point in a man’s life is when he has worked his heart out for a good cause and lies exhausted but victorious on the field of battle. This is the man you want to be, the one who puts in all of himself in his work. As a result of the strenuous practice, he gets everything out of it. Everyday you fail to practice, you practice to fail, and you miss an opportunity for improvement. Practice the things you cannot do three times longer than the things you can do. Convert your weaknesses into strong points. Go all the way through. Doing a thing entirely right and doing it exactly right is often the difference between winning and losing.
There might be areas where your opponent has an advantage over you, but he should never be in a better condition than you. Never let your defeat come at your own hands—over something you can control. The only real way for you to get in good condition is to never get out of it.
Anything you can do that will harm your body is going to reduce your physical condition and cut down your chances for success. Stay fit. Stay prepared. Stay practicing.