Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cerutty on "Hibernating"

I don't mean to be critical,think of this as an observation with a question: why is it that everywhere I turn I see people talking on cellphones? Be it in the car,going into a store,in the store,going out of the store,walking down the street, I see people on cellphones. What is most disturbing is the number of people I see texting while driving.There is no doubt in my mind that cellphone use is habit forming, and to many,addicting. However the purpose of today's post is not to rant about cellphone use and abuse but it did give me the idea for what you are about to read. Today we consider the necessity for athletes to "hibernate" periodically,to get away from it all; away from the noise and the busyness of everyday life. Cerutty addresses this subject quite nicely in the following excerpt from one of his early writings.
"Few or no animals would appear to function without periods of rest. Many have periods of hibernation. Man can benefit similarly.For many years I practiced this principle.At least twice a year it is good to get away from it all.This does not mean tearing off to some social place for a round of fun. Hibernation is when we go to some remote place and rest.I conceive it as perfect when we assume a hut or cabin,with or without companions,where we are 'snowed in'.There is food,firing,books.We lie about,resting alot; eating a little,reading resting,dozing,perhaps chatting a little.After two or three days a man will leave and return to 'civilisation' like a giant refreshed."
To the above I'd add that your place of hibernation should have no TV or other electronic conveniences like radios and cellphones.If you do bring someone along with you make sure that they understand fully what is,or better said,isn't going to be happening.Solitude and having the opportunity to think and rest allows you to "recharge your batteries",to consider things you might never have considered if you hadn't taken the time to "hibernate".

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My Favorite Running Books

Someone sent me a link to a list of the 50 best running books (thanks Jason), I always enjoy reading Best of Lists on most any subject. The thing that struck me about this list was the distinct lack of older running and related books. The following is my list of great running books, books I believe should be listed above any of the 50 on that list. In no particular order:
Self-Made Olympian Ron Daws, The Olympian by Brian Glanville, Athletics: How to Become A Champion Percy ...Cerutty, The Golden Mile aka The Herb Elliott Story,Herb Elliott, Running To the Top by Derek Clayton, Serious Runner's Handbook Tom Osler, Running the Lydiard Way Arthur Lydiard, No Bugles No Drums Peter Snell, Beyond Jogging Mike Spino, Van Aaken Method Dr. Ernst Van Aaken, most anything by Kenny Moore (Especially- Best Efforts), Runners and Other Dreamers John L Parker, Marathoning by Bill Rodgers and Joe Concannon, Pre by Tom Jordan, Middle-Distance Running by Percy Cerutty, Running To the Top Arthur Lydiard, Why Die by Graem Sims(Cerutty bio), I could go on but.....

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Cerutty's Camp at Portsea

Portsea Daily Training Schedule
What follows is an excerpt by Herb Elliott of the daily training schedule at Portsea in Australia.

7a.m.--A five-mile run before breakfast in any direction our whim took us,followed by a dip in the ocean.
8a.m.--Breakfast of uncooked rolled oats(without milk) sprinkled with wheat germ,walnuts,sultanas,raisins and sliced banana. Perhaps a few potato chips to follow.
9a.m.--Swimming and surfing or outdoor chores like chopping wood,painting and carpentry.
Noon--Training and lectures at Portsea Oval,followed by another swim.
2p.m.--Lunch--fish and fresh fruit.
4p.m.--Weight lifting.
5p.m.--Ten-mile run along dirt roads ending once more at the beach.
7.p.m.--Tea and a general discussion led by Percy on a wide variety of subjects.
11p.m.--Lights out.

There is something to be said about the communal aspects of training with others. I don't know if you ever were able to go away to the summer camps they would hold prior to each cross-country season, but if you did, you'll understand what I mean. Getting together with other athletes while living and training together is a great experience,something that you will remember for the rest of your life.
Cerutty's camp was probably a little more difficult than the ones I was familiar with,Elliott recalled:Pain, not euphoria,set the tone of Cerutty's camp,and he preached on and about it, "Pain is the purifier..thrust against pain...walk towards suffering,love suffering,embrace it..."

One of Elliott's fellow athletes wrote this poem about Cerutty's regime:
A runner at the Pearly Gates,
His face was worn and old,
He bravely asked the man of fate
Admission to the fold.
"What have you done," St.Peter said?
"To seek an entrance here."
"I trained at Portsea,that was my task,
For many and many a year!"
Then wide the gates did open,
The angels clanged the bell.
"Come in and take a harp," he said,
"You've had enough of Hell."