Saturday, February 28, 2015

Some Characteristics of People Who Persist

Determination and persistence are the keys to distance running success.Consider the following by C. Al Huang,those who persist tend to:
"Create fun in the process of accomplishment.
Have a strong sense of self and feel that,regardless of the outcome,they will be still worthwhile.
Have the courage to act and take risks.
Make changes gradually and patiently.
Reward themselves periodically for small gains they make.
Seek the support of others when times get tough.
Like variety as a means of maintaining interest.
Expect positive outcomes.
Focus on the joyous aspect of the journey.
Know that progress is always two steps forward and one step, backward."

I like what the above has to say.One thing that really hits home are the references to the joy and fun aspects that must exist in order to stay persistant.Why turn a great activity like distance running into an ego driven quest for success? Enjoy the journey.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Four Tenets

Thanks to C. Bergland for the following:

The Four Tenets of Running Bliss

1.Presence of positive emotions.

2.Physical pleasure.

3.Meaning or significance(you believe your activity is 'worthy' of your time and involvement).

4.Sense of achievement(no matter how small or insignificant that achievement may appear to others).

Regarding the above--this guy nails it--the truth.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Quiet Strength

"It's a quiet strength,not one borne from slogans printed on t-shirts or bodies. It's a strength acquired from a conditioning and lifestyle that has no need of vain proclamations. It's a strength earned by challenging yourself daily within the simplicity and sometimes harshness of nature while striving to obtain victory over oneself in the process. Ultimately, it's a quiet inner strength gained from a life you've chosen, understanding that there are no sacrifices in this process,it is a labour of love devoid of pretense"

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cerutty Speaks

"Success should never be gauged just in terms of records or victories. Success should be measured by how much the person enjoys what he is doing and to what degree he is striving to do his best," a quote by Percy Cerutty. It would be safe to say that one man's perception of success might be another's idea of having failed.As said previously, often times the path to "getting there" is more satisfying than actually reaching your goal. Also, the journey,and what you learned and experienced along the way can make up for the possible disappointment you might feel in not reaching that goal. Do not get so hung up on the goal that you ignore all the things that are going on during the pursuit.Ultimately though,for those of us who live for the run, the enjoyment that Cerutty mentions above comes from the act of running.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Decline by Dave Draper

In many ways, the following reminds me of what Cerutty wrote about in his book, Be Fit! Or Be Damned! Referencing the U.S. over the last several decades, Draper hits on what's gone wrong in this country and why. While some would say the following is depressing and even negative, I believe it's a call for people to be optimally fit, self-reliant and disciplined,exactly the message Percy Cerutty preached and wrote about for years.  The Decline by Dave Draper:

"Here is a rough bullet-summary of a devastating decline of modern mankind. Laugh it up. Pretend it's a badly scripted, poorly directed B-flick from a Hollywood starring the Osmond family.

Fitness takes hold in the '60s and erupts in the '70s. Swell. Big biz and big bucks do their dirty work: feeding frenzy, deception and hype, confusion and gluttony. No comprehensive education offered, intended or achieved, just sell, exploit, sell. Aerobics will set you free, buy a $7,000 treadmill.

Fast food arrives in the '60s --- just what we needed --- waistlines and appetites grow, time shrinks.

Schools drop athletic programs and classes on nutrition. Junk food and fast food is installed in school halls and cafeterias instead.

Fast-track living increases across the fruited plains to accommodate rising costs; God's replaced by a second job, second car, second mortgage and declining morality.

Generation gap in understanding critical need for sound exercise and right eating widens... going, going, gone.

Less family life, more single-parent families, less homefront education from the now nutrition- and exercise-ignorant moms and dads results in the development of horrible eating habits and passive lifestyles.

Computers and video games replace physical play and sports for adults and kids alike, Standard game rules: 1) Sit on butt and 2) Press the buttons.

Governments miss the picture by light-years. The FDA and other agencies are 70 years behind the times in nutrition information they offer to the populace.

Sugar and grain lobbyists and fast food bosses control the government and they control society, the herds, the sheep.

Terrorism, wars, serial killers and small and large thieves --- wickedness --- removes the prevailing wind from the ship's sails and strain at man's hopes.

The match is not over yet. It's time to get back up and fight like a man, like a woman, right here, right now. Exercise, eat right and grin with joy, and build enabling discipline and enliven the weary character as you do."

Monday, February 9, 2015

Why I Believe in Fartlek by Percy Cerutty

"Man is an animal. Naturalistically he fluctuates from day to day---his feelings,strength,abilities,desires. Capacities vary from day to day,hour to hour. His strength ebbs and flows. Civilization,the daily routine of school and work,disciplines him, conditions him, and mostly reduces him to an automation,a robot. How futile to add to such a regime to his athleticism. How much better to use his training,conditioning and racing as a means,as it should be, to at least temporarily to remove him from this artificial,and harmful, civilizing mediums that result from normal school and work. In his ordinary life he has little chance to escape from the humdrum,the routine. Why,then, as I say,add his exercise,his athleticism,to the list of compulsions. Athletics should be, and with me is, the prime means to escape from these imprisoning conditions, to exult in our liberty,free movement,capacity to choose. Our training should be a thing of joy, of hard,battling exhaustion and enthusiasm,not a daily grind upon a grinding track,artificially hard and carried out under full circumstances and unaesthetic enviroments as a rule. How much better to run with joy,shear beauty and strength,to race down some declivity,to battle manfully to the top of another. At Portsea we train along paths that are found along the cliff tops,descending at times to beach level,in the midst of of some of the finest scenery in our state.We run for miles on the heavy sand with the great waves crashing and pounding and swirling,at times,to knee depth as we run. Or we run upon the the golf links,or moors,or some speed work,occasionally on the grassed oval in one of the prettiest and most natural amphitheaters,surely,in the world. Here, in this enviroment, over this terrain,the spirit of beauty and high endeavor enters our souls. Seek out your Portseas,train and run as the impulse comes on you. An hour,two hours of training slips away as so many minutes. You become tired,exhaustingly tired, but never unhappy. It is work,but it seems only fun. Exhilarating,satisfying fun." Whew--that about says it all to me as far as what is the essence of Stotan or Cerutty inspired running. Something to especially take note of is written near the end when he says: "Seek out your Portseas..." You can establish your version of Portsea somewhere around where you live. When you do, your running will reach a whole new level in regards to enjoyment and performance

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Herb Elliott on Training

What else can one say about Herb Elliott? He was a phenomenal athlete and gentleman who won the gold medal in the 1500 meters at the 1960 Olympics in record time. If you are one of the few runners who have never watched that race,you have to go to YouTube and check it out. Also,in a previous entry I reprinted an article by Sir Roger Bannister which gave his account of Herb's Olympic win. I believe it was in this same article that I provided the stats showing how his Olympic record has been bettered by less than a handful of Olympians since the start of the modern day Olympics until the 2000 Games. Elliott knows training,and why shouldn't he? His coach was Percy Cerutty as I'm sure all of you out there know. However, he has his own thoughts and opinions regarding running and training. He had this to say on that subject: "Running is a natural movement we can practice effectively enough without resorting to complicated theories that will only help to introduce tension. The reason I am skeptical about the benefits of interval training is because it appears to be so unnatural. The runner should be able to judge himself how much training his body needs and,if he's honest with himself,he'll learn to differentiate between genuine tiredness and laziness. Unfortunately,city dwellers have lost the capacity of knowing instinctively when the body requires exercise.They should revert to naturalism,not follow rigid training schedules that militate against simplicity. Nature provides us with many signs that we are training too hard or not hard enough. If our calves and ankles are constantly sore we know that our body is finding it difficult to adjust itself to the training.On the other hand,if we never raised a sweat or hurt ourselves we're only kidding ourselves that we're training." The beauty of the above is that Elliott's career proved that to race well you didn't have to train in the regimented,potentially soul killing way that every other track runner had trained before him and has since.Cerutty believed that his athletes should eventually be able to make their own training schedules.Ideally,isn't that the way it should be?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Champion's Heart

I am the champion's heart,
Sometimes I'm called your spirit.
I'm a part of every true athlete's life.
I am what causes you to train when you don't feel like it.
I make you go outside when the weather tells you not to.
I'm the one who makes you crazy when you're injured.
I'm the one who tells you,you can do more,even after you've found victory.
I am the one who doesn't let you give up,even when everyone tells you that you should.
I'm the one who makes you feel guilty when you've told yourself you've quit for good.
I'm the one who keeps you coming back.
I am the champion's heart.

To me, a champion is one who keeps at it day after day,week after week,year after year. Most of the people I trained with decades ago,many of whom achieved great success, simply walked away from it when the victories stopped. I wouldn't trade a lifelong long love of running for any amount of temporary success.