Sunday, January 21, 2018

Cerutty On Faith,Religion and Achieving

Percy Cerutty was a complex man. It was often hard to figure him out. Just when you thought you knew how he felt on a subject he would say something that would seem contradictory. No where was this truer then when he wrote about what I will call faith, belief in God.
I have read where he flat out dismissed 'believing', said he was an agnostic but later would quote from the Bible as well as reference certain men of faith.
There was a message in his seeming dismissal of all things religious and I will comment about this after the following quote by Cerutty.
I should add that there was something he was trying to get across in what appeared to be his rejection of religion. I believe it is of great value for us to understand.

"Heavens, hereafters--'rewards' and hoping to meet the Saints. All can be, I would say--certainly are illusions. Such hopes and beliefs can never be but an admission that today is dull and we cannot alter it. Unreal dreams, especially anticipations after death, are substitutions for living satisfactorily today. Only the poor dream of riches: the sick of being healthy: only the frustrated, those unable to dominate their environment, the incompetents, the unhappy, dream of 'rewards in heaven'. The realist realizes his reward today, and most days. He 'lives': the others? They dream!"

Something to keep in mind: Cerutty reclaimed his mental and physical health through study and a lot of physical effort. His recovery did not happen overnight.
I believe the message in his quote above is that you have to take charge of your life. You have the power in you to change and improve your condition. To leave your situation or condition solely in "God's hands" and doing nothing yourself is in Cerutty's mind, weak, and ultimately cowardly.

Most of us underestimate what we can actually accomplish.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Percy Cerutty: On Sacrifice

What you are about to read is most of one of Percy Cerutty's essential essays, On Sacrifice, the other is How To Become A Champion. It nails it, says it all. I would remind readers that the following was written sometime in the 1950's. It is applicable only for those who truly desire success.

"The thoughtful reader, having read this far, and noted the various factors that are considered the steps, or paving stones, to success, might well say--'But what about the sacrifices I must make!' or, 'What sacrifices are called for in achieving the goals you have set before me'!
The answer is simple: 'There are no sacrifices'. 'You do not have to sacrifice anything at all.'

No ambitious person: no person who has set his sights on some goal above the average or normal attainment: no dedicated person: no one willing to work, and anxious to achieve, ever considers the 'way' he has determined upon: the path he is resolved to travel: the work and suffering he sees ahead of him, and which he encounters, ever thinks of all, or any of this as a--Sacrifice.

When a man goes to night school every night in the week and studies all the weekend: when a man in sport trains, or practices, three times a day, and all the weekend, never does he feel he's making a sacrifice. It is only the mediocre, half-cocked, the spectator, or the playboy who 'assumes' that a sacrifice is being made: has been made: must be made.

The dedicated man: the ambitious person: the determined to succeed--BIG--will, in the judgement of these lesser types: those destined to mediocrity: to nonentity say, you the ambitious one: the resolved to succeed one: you--whose only 'god' is success in something: sometime: somewhere--you will be adjudged 'mad' and the lesser ones will affirm and agree--they couldn't make the necessary 'sacrifice'.

So: that is how we know them! Those who would achieve: who see the way to achievement clearly, or dimly, 'sacrifice' will be the one word they never mention--because they have no consciousness of making any 'sacrifice ' at all.

Accept it this way. For everyone who will 'go along with you': be in tune with you: support you--you must expect to find to find one hundred who will criticise you--tell you the 'sacrifices' they see--(but you don't) are not worth it.

This fact in itself makes for a certain isolation. If you are not prepared to endure(I would say 'enjoy') this separation, then believe me--you have not passed the chief test that places you in the category of the great, but has placed you in the category of those who miss out being truly great by a metre or a mile.

Summed up: finally and irrevocably--those destined to be truly great never envisage anything they may do as resulting from personal sacrifice."

I'll sum up Cerutty's words by saying this, your quest becomes part of your being, of who you are.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Cerutty Says: My Stotan Philosophy

"My Stotan philosophy is based on communication with nature. This communication takes place when the person sleeps under the stars at night, hears the birds in the morning, feels the sand between his toes, smells the flowers, hears the surf.
Nature can bring the mind and body into perfect balance with the universe. This is one of the factors that allows the athlete to reach new levels of excellence."

Some may say after reading Percy's words above, "that's all well and good but I don't live near the ocean or the woods for that matter."
I would refer you to an article I did on July 9, 2014 for this blog, it was all about creating your own Portsea environment, wherever you live.
Simply put, seek out the opportunity, take a few days whenever you can get them and camp out in the woods, by the ocean, by a lake.Wake up and go for a run, a long hike during the day, a run and what ever later on. Then you get a taste of what Cerutty wrote about.
 Needless to say, you leave all electronic and related devices at home

You see, it's easy to read what Cerutty says and think, "yeah, that sounds nice", but you don't really get anything from it unless you DO it!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Why Training On the Hills Is Essential For the Serious Runner

To say Cerutty was a big advocate of hill training is a huge understatement. What follows are some of what I call the technical  reasons why training on the  hills is essential for those who want to be the best they can be. This is an excerpt from an article I wrote several years ago.

"Who out there doesn't know that hill training makes you a better runner? For instance, it's common knowledge that hill running strengthens ligaments and tendons. This of course reduces the potential for injury.
One writer noted:"Training on hills improves leg-muscle strength, quickens your  stride, expands stride length and enhances your running economy.There is no question that running hilly courses and doing hill training will make you a healthier, stronger and faster runner". What follows are a few other benefits you may not have heard about:
Studies done at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that "after 12 weeks of twice weekly hill sessions, the athletes running economy had improved by 3%, this improvement would have helped them take as much as 2 minutes off a 10 mile time or 6 minutes off a marathon."
They also discovered that runners who trained on hills have a significantly higher concentration of what are called aerobic enzymes.These are the chemicals in your body that allow your muscles to work for long periods of time at high intensity without fatigue.

And finally:"Those who run on hills have been shown to be less likely to lose fitness when they take time off from training. Scientists believe that hill training can improve the elasticity of muscles,tendons and ligaments, allowing these tissues to carry out more work with less effort and fatigue."

If you haven't already, commit to making hills an integral part of your training program.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Cerutty On Achieving Success, What It Takes

Cerutty believed in total commitment by those who desired athletic and what I will call worldly success. What you are about to read may sound extreme but it isn't if you really want what you say you do.

"There will be no social life for the dedicated athlete. His will be the singleness of purpose, the complete concentration on a goal that is usually only associated with a soldier in war time occupied in battle.
He will live a monk-like existence of his own choosing.
When the personality is given over to the job of doing something worthwhile there is no need or desire for anything else but the getting on with the job. The athlete lives his 'work' or ambition day and night. He is outside every other segment of life and being.
His conscious mind will never be free of the desire and determination. His mind will be permanently preoccupied with the means of achieving his ambition.
This is no fanaticism but it is obsession. It is good to be obsessed with worthy ideas, ambitions, hopes and desires."

So, that's why I haven't achieved the success I said I wanted.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Cerutty On Why Weight and Strength Training Are Necessary For Distance Runners

Percy Cerutty was a big advocate of weight and strength training for his runners. He was so in a time when it was thought to be potentially harmful for a distance runner to supplement their training with weight work.
What follows are some of his thoughts on why it is necessary. Not surprisingly, Cerutty rejects the current type of weight work that is done by most distance runners.
Later posts will show the specific lifts and strength training he recommends.

To begin, so why weight training for distance runners?
"Good running starts in the upper body and is then transferred to the legs. Strength is the main factor that will enable a person to reach his potential.
Great strength, properly acquired, makes for quicker reflexes, greater agility, longer stride, more endurance(since great strength can be parcelled out in a short terrific effort--or a longer easier one)."

Cerutty believed in an 'intensive' system of weight training which is contrary to the accepted,more repetitions, lighter weights system advocated these days.
Heavy weights, few reps is what he believed in.
The reason?
"The intensive system is known to alter the nature of the muscle fibre--and to strengthen it--rather than get added strength by increased size of muscle."

To close, Cerutty wrote this:
"The whole purpose of weight conditioning, as any form of conditioning, such as running the sand hill, is to acquire enhanced 'power' in order that we can do a thing more powerfully, faster, better."

Makes sense to me.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Percy Cerutty: "Why I Stress the Physical"

There are in my opinion two must have Cerutty books. One is, of course is, Athletics: How To Become A Champion and Success: In Sport and Life. The "Success" book is not readily available but I would highly recommend trying to obtain a copy. It is loaded with applicable insights and advice for the athlete as well as those who just want to be "successful" in whatever field they have chosen.

In the following quote Cerutty describes what I have found to be true, a strong body can lead to a strong mind and a strong will. But again, it's not just about building your body, it's also about developing your mind. Cerutty delves into this whole subject, the hows and whys in his Success: In Sport and Life book. Consider:

"It is said that I over-emphasize the physical, the importance of muscular strength, I will defend my attitude by saying that only the truly strong, as the pure in heart, can ever develop the spirit that lives without oppressive fears. All others will tend to compromise: turn away from the sacrifice, recant under pressure, or for self-preservation, or what is worse, pretend to an unctuousness(false sincerity) that is both unworthy as it is hypocritical and conceited."