Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Challenges and Comebacks

Everyone loves a good comeback story. We especially see this in the world of sports. This past weekend we saw a big one. Tiger Woods won his first major golf tournament in 5 years. Now I am by no means a fan of golf but this comeback was especially amazing. I say this because Tiger had endured four back surgeries, two knee operations and more than a few public humiliations as a result of what at best could be called very bad behavior.
Consider this: four back surgeries. Ever know anyone who has had back surgery? I have, several in fact. The common theme in most? The initial problem is never entirely resolved. Back surgery is a difficult and tricky procedure. For many, having to take powerful pain meds for long periods of time after is a real possibility. You may have read where Tiger was found by police "stoned" in his car a few years back as a result of those pain killers. Embarrassing for him to say the least. As I said, one of several such public incidents he experienced. I am sure this was especially difficult for someone who was once described as proud and somewhat arrogant.
It would be safe to say that many former greats would have packed it in to enjoy their millions and/or take up other endeavors. But, Woods didn't. He persevered, he found a way to succeed because he wanted it, he needed it, he craved what he once had and experienced. So, in the end, he found a way to overcome the obstacles. All the scoffers who grew in number as each year passed, including his peers and younger players, could only shake their heads and be amazed
For us who desire to succeed, there are lessons to be learned from Tiger.
What can we learn?
Before I begin, ask yourself this question: have you had thoughts of making a comeback? A gnawing feeling that you are incomplete, that there is something you need to do to feel fulfilled? If so, consider the following:
1.Do you really want what you say you want? Or, is this only something you think about after a few beers or when you're looking at an old running/ training mag? Hey, it's OK if you choose to move on with your life but make sure you are at peace with the decision you make.
Here's the reality, you can bet that with Woods his comeback was something that consumed him, a burning, self-motivating desire to regain what was once his.
And please, don't give me the line, "he did it because it's all about the money". Look it up, Google it, the guy is worth $760 million dollars.
Again, do you really want it?
2. Make your goal a priority in your life. Sure, you may have a significant other and a job but there are 24 hours in a day. What you do each day will be centered around what you are doing to reach that goal. As an aside, I have written on this blog and  my other one, torunistolive, that one's athletic aspirations are as worthy as anything else you do in life such as working.
3.Be willing to make adjustments that take into account where you are now physically and mentally. You know Tiger has. Perhaps it's been a few years since you seriously trained, maybe longer. Be willing and open to tweaking your training regimen in order to stay healthy.
4. Hang around or be in contact with those of like mind and interests. The reasons for this are obvious. The motivation fires stay stoked when you are with those who 'get it'.
5. This is a no-brainer as they say, I mean I don't really think I have to say this but I will anyway, have a specific goal you are shooting for. Be it an under three hour marathon, going below eleven hours for an Ironman, swimming the channel, etc, etc., have a goal!
6.Lastly, and I don't want to sound like some new-age philosopher here but enjoy the journey, enjoy the process. The training and everything that comes with it mentally and physically is, and should be, a labor of love, not drudgery or a job. If it is, then you are better off not proceeding.
Think about it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Words To Live By

         "Better to live vigorously, better to fight, than to simply wait for the peace."

         J. Donovan

         New article coming tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Glory Days of Track and Field and Running

To all you sports fans under the age of 50--believe it or not--there was a time in America when the sports page in your newspaper and the sports shows on television gave equal coverage to Track and Field as it did pro Baseball,Football, and Basketball. Track and Field was loaded with great athletes and performances. Myself, as well as I am sure as millions of other kids, were inspired and encouraged to take part in this great sport because of what we read and saw.
Sadly, those days are long gone. The sports pages today give very little coverage to Track and Field except when the Olympics roll around every four years.
Sports sections are now dominated by pro sports and the multi-millionaire athletes who play them. Attending pro sporting events like a Bills game in my area costs a couple of hundred dollars if you take someone along with you. Affordable for the average person? Hardly.
Below is a link to the glory days of track and field and all things running. It's been around for years and has an extensive archive section. Check it out and see, in my opinion, what a true sport is all about.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Update--Training Hard Mentally and Physically

Soon to be 69, still running the trails and hills.

Will till the day I die.
Live the life you love. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A Quick Message

Just a quick message to let everyone know I am taking a month break to recharge myself mentally, physically and spiritually.
I know it is a cliche-- but-- live the life you love--AND--don't put off until tomorrow what you hope and dream of doing today because tomorrow is promised to no one.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Once More, Draper On Discipline

It is my observation that in recent years discipline is not as common a human attribute in people as it once was. Figures showing that well over 50% of Americans are overweight and surveys that cite a significant drop in youth(teens) participation in organized sports would appear to, in part, confirm this.
Also, we are now more of a spectator nation than we have ever been. As I am sure you all know, serious involvement in anything, not just sports, requires discipline. Please note that Dave Draper echoes a theme of Cerutty's in the last sentence of the following quote,involvement in athletics have benefits that go beyond the physical:  

"Discipline is not owned by repeating mantras, reading a book, watching a video or following a formula. 
Discipline is founded in need and desire and developed in deed. Discipline is yours.
You want something, if you can't buy it or steal it, you must work for it. The more you want and need it, the harder you try to get it. The wanting and needing, the working, trying and getting combine and eventually present discipline. Great or small, this stoic quality is a benefactor assuring that you become a better person, more complete and capable and aware, as you pursue your healthy and humble goal giving it your very best shot."

Sunday, March 11, 2018

On Committing and Becoming Successful

The following by is Joe Vigil, a highly successful coach, what he says applies not just to athletics:

"Once the decision to undertake the lifestyle necessary to become successful in athletics has been made, you must make the commitment to overcome all the pitfalls which will clutter your path and continue to march on.
Remember that indecision to direct your life along a positive course is probably the greatest thief of opportunity you can encounter.
A life of adventure and self-fulfillment is filled with many decisions, good ones and bad ones, but never give up the spirit to succeed.
You have to teach yourself not to worry about the mistakes you make along the way but have to develop the courage to persevere."

A positive mental attitude and a never give up spirit are the two attributes you read over and over again by people who have accomplished their goals.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Something To Contemplate

Tomorrow is promised to no one. I have seen the truth of this statement more and more as each year passes.
So many things can happen that could change what you do and how you live in an instant.
Each day we need to remind ourselves of this. What follows are some things to consider.

"The Best Day-Today,
The Best Work-What You Like,
The Greatest Stumbling Block-Your Ego,
The Greatest Mistake-Giving Up,
The Greatest Need-Common Sense,
The Greatest Wealth-Health,
The Great Sin-Fear,
Your Enemies-Envy, Greed, Self-Indulgence, Self-Pity,
Life's Greatest Adventure-growth on the Physical,Mental and Spiritual Plane,
The Greatest Race To Win---A Long Vigorous,Purposeful Life,"
(author unknown).

Do not wait for some still undetermined time in the future to live the life YOU want!

Herb Elliott On What Runnning and Racing Should Be

Herb Elliott was the 1960 Olympic champion in the 1500m, as well as a world record holder at that distance and the one mile run. His 3:35.6 at the Olympics set a world record that lasted for over seven years.He lost only once in his career and that was at age 14.
As Percy Cerutty's most famous student, Elliott became the ideal of what a real athlete should be. Articulate and insightful,Elliott always has much to offer when interviewed. Here is what he said in response to an interviewer asking him if there is anything that runners can learn from his career:

"Running is a tool by which you can learn alot about yourself and develop yourself both physically and spiritually as a person. That's the way it should be viewed. People who focus totally on the evident achievement of winning races or winning gold medals often are the ones that run into all sorts of psychological problems when they retire because they haven't fit it into their life.They shifted it out of their life and made it a selfish focus."

A few things come to mind as I read what Herb said. One is the countless number of successful athletes who seem to be lost after their career is over. Many get into trouble with the law, abuse drugs and alcohol or become involved in some kind of misadventure(s).
Then there are the athletes who attempt to make a comeback after a few years of their retirement.

The common theme, as readers to this blog know, is your involvement in athletics should be more than just a physical experience. It can be a vehicle to become a complete person; disciplined,
insightful and intelligent.
However, this will only happen to those who are seekers and regard their athleticism(in whatever sport) as essential to their lives as eating and sleeping.
Cerutty's books and writings can be the guide to your quest for excellence.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Cerutty On Why You Should Say No To Roads

Cerutty had a lot to say about why hard surfaces like the roads should be avoided in training. Many think he was against them primarily because they were not "natural" and as stimulating mentally as the trails, dunes and parks. That was only part of his reason for his advocating staying off the roads and hard tracks.
Consider the following:

"The muscles and the tendons in the legs are like springs and the hard roads and racing track take out the natural bounce, potentially causing serious or permanent injuries. Running on natural surfaces of sand, grass and dirt all strengthen as does changing the terrain which varies the amount of pressure placed on the muscle groups."

Cerutty also wrote that habitual training on the roads will eventually lead to a shortening of the athlete's stride.
After decades of training and seeing what has happened to those who ran exclusively on hard surfaces I see the wisdom of Cerutty's words.
Back and leg problems have put an end to all but a few of the athletes I ran with in the 70's.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Why Poor Marathon Performances?

The reasons for poor marathon performances are many. I'd be willing to bet that anyone who has run more than a few has had at least one. Oh, the disappointment! All the preparation, all that excitement and anticipation!
It's easy to identify why a marathon went bad, some of the causes we have control over, others we don't. Consider the following;

1.Bad weather. Not much you can do about that. I've known runners who've "bagged" their race the morning of due to the weather and picked another marathon somewhere else a week or two later.
2. A big one here: starting out too fast. You get caught up in the race day excitement and run those early miles much quicker than you had planned. This is something that should only happen to an inexperienced runner.
3. Insufficient hydration and electrolyte replacement before and during the race. If you dehydrate or run out of fuel, you're done. Experimenting beforehand with drinking fluids during long training runs is essential.
4. Not doing enough pre-race preparation. Here is one example of faulty preparation-- During my marathon days, the backbone of marathon preparation was the weekly 20 miler. I don't know how it was for you but everyone I knew did a weekly or twice monthly 20 miler. The problem I found early on was that the race is 26 miles, not 20. Derek Clayton (pictured above) said he always made a point of running the marathon distance once a week. I am not recommending this but I found that three, 24 to 26 milers incorporated into my marathon training worked very well.
5.Here is another big one: insufficient tapering for the race. A sufficient marathon taper involves "backing off" for two weeks prior to THE day.
Think about it, months of training, much of it stressful, now it's time to intelligently back off and allow your body to rest and recharge.
This is a common rookie mistake, but, I can't tell you how many experienced runners, athletes who should have known better but still couldn't back off those final two weeks. Some of them had been training and focusing on their marathon for 6 to 8 months, did they really think they were going to lose it all in the last 14 days?
After being around runners for as long as I have, I see the common cause of this "failing to taper" as  uncontrolled anxiety. I think of what a wise old runner once told me, while pointing to his head he remarked : "you run with this as well as your legs."
I will offer a final bit of advice regarding the marathon and I have written on this subject before.
If you want to race a  marathon (emphasis on race),  I believe it is something that you work up to after years of running and racing. It is a distance that is not to be taken lightly. Preparatory races from the 10k, to the 20 km to the half marathon to the 30k should be in every sensible runner's resume before tackling the marathon.
There is no pain quite like that experienced by a runner who tried to race a marathon but "crashed" because he or she hadn't done the necessary prep work.

Each race, good or bad, each workout, provides an opportunity to learn more about ourselves. Take advantage of that.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Sittin' and Waitin'--Not the Stotan Way To Race

"I rarely go into a race with preconceived tactics. The only tactics I admire are those of do or die," quote by Herb Elliott.
We've all experienced it before,you're in a race,cruisin' along,thinking you are doing the best you can when you become aware that someone is running a little behind you. Initially paying it no mind you find yourself becoming mildly annoyed when this runner is still with you a half-mile or so later. As this continues you try throwing in a few brief surges to drop him but they remain a step or two behind. With the finish in sight you pick it up with intentions of finishing fast and strong. At the same time your unwanted running partner also picks it up and blows by you to finish 10 yards in front. The above described tactic of sitting,leeching, and then kicking it in, is what I call hangin' and bangin'. And folks,I've got a confession,I've utilized this technique in the past as part of my race "strategy." I don't believe it would be a stretch to say many of you have done this also. However,I have come to learn that this is not the Stotan way to race,and in many but not in all cases, it is a gutless way to race.

 In a related matter, I remember watching either the '88 or '92 Olympic 1500 meter final as the best in the world ran an extremely slow race for 1300 meters and then kicked it in with 200 meters to go. The finishing time was the slowest 1500meter final since the 1952 Olympics race. All I could think was,what kind of way is that to race one of the most prestigious races?

So where do I get off saying sitting and kicking it in is not the way to go? I should clarify this statement by saying it's not the Stotan way. You only have to read the quote at the beginning of this article plus the two I'm about to write to conclude that anyone who purports to be a Stotan would not use the hang and bang strategy. Former world marathon record holder Derek Clayton said: "I've never been one for sitting back in a race no matter how I feel. I prefer to go 20 miles and blow it for a fast pace rather than go the whole distance and finish about 10th or 20th."
 Not surprisingly Cerutty nails it when he says: "Rather be beaten than let another athlete make all the pace and beat him in the last few yards."
As a thought, it's interesting in reading the above that this go for it mentality was part of their character unlike those of us who have to make a conscious decision to be more aggressive in our racing. Some runners I've spoken to about this subject say, "who cares, I'm not a Stotan so what value is this type of strategy to me?" Consider this:
Take a moment and think about this "go for it" mentality. Ever run a race and believe you're doing rather well,you're running smoothly and efficiently telling yourself that with a half or three-quarters of a mile to go you'll begin a long kick to the finish? However, as you approach this point the inevitable fatigue(translation-pain) sets in and your plan of stepping it up becomes one of maintaining pace. Running a race aggressively could eliminate this from occurring but I would keep two things in mind: #1. This strategy shouldn't be done if you aren't in proper condition to do so. Too many people race without being in shape. It only takes a visit to a local road race to confirm this statement. #2. As Cerutty wrote: "this (strategy) does not mean we go off like a frightened hare but we have acquired an instinct for pace."

As we reassess our training periodically we also need to do so with our racing.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Quotable Stotan, 2018, Pt.1

Quotes, as I have written previously, are too often looked at and not given as much serious thought as they should. The ideal quote should inspire and/or inform. The following are a few selected quotes that deserve your consideration. After some of them I will offer a few comments.

Ted Williams from his autobiography:
"Nobody in the history of the game hit anymore balls in practice, pleasure or dead earnest than I did."
Ted is widely thought to be one of the greatest natural hitters of all time.
What I get from his comment is that no matter what the talent level you start with you must practice, practice, practice. Runners tend to think, "well, I did my mileage for today, I don't need to do anything else," Really? How about stretching sessions as well as lifting and other forms of strength conditioning?

Ultra marathon great Yiannis Kouros said this in an interview:
"I think an ideal life is a life with obstacles."
Probably seems like an absurd comment to many but to Stotans it makes perfect sense. With obstacles you confront, evaluate and overcome, thus becoming a better person for it.

Percy Cerutty from his book, Athletics: How To Become A Champion:
"To me it is of the greatest importance to concentrate on excelling in life rather than merely gaining (things)."
The quest for all things material is addicting, unending and ultimately not truly satisfying in the long term.

Athlete and writer Dave Draper:
"The secret is, there  is no secret."
That's right, to be a success in athletics requires persistence and time.
As Marty Liquori once said: "anyone who says there are secrets to athletic success is probably trying to sell you something."
We see the truth of his words by the multitude of books, websites, etc. promoting THE way.

It all comes down to the fundamentals, patience and time.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Lest We Forget

The following is from athlete and writer Dave Draper. Dave is one of those rare former champion athletes who can convey so well all things relating and pertaining to training and succeeding.
What you are about to read should be a "given" for those of us who train for reasons more than just keeping fit, looking good, and holding back the aging process. Consider how you match up with what you are about to read.

"Our workouts--our training sessions--are not optional.
They are as necessary as eating, sleeping, breathing, working and loving. Daily living must include exercise and eating right if we expect to live fully.
They are fundamental and essential.
The car, the TV, the sharp dress, the pool, the boat, the cruise, the jewels, the real estate, the amenities, accessories, and extras, come later, way later."

I recall over the decades former serious athletes who professed an undying love for their sport drifting away from it because they allowed themselves to be carried away by money and possessions. More than a few have expressed regrets to me later for allowing this to happen.
Don't let this happen to you.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Cerutty's Outline For Living

What follows is an outline by Cerutty for successful living and longevity. Unique, and in my opinion correct, this "outline" should give pause for everyone to consider.

His plan encompassed six components:

"1.The assumption of full responsibility for oneself and one's antics, responsibility that does not need a destiny, fate, hereditary, gods, rewards or punishments as an excuse to bolster it up.

2.The full acceptance that the present is the important thing and that there is only one life and that one is of it and in it now.

3.That without strength, efficient organs, intelligence and an absence of secret fears man is only a parody, and for him life cannot be fully lived. He does not dominate his environment, it is the environment that dominates him. Only the mentally free and the physically strong can live this type of life to the full. Nature ordains it this way. Nature favors the fit. In the ultimate only the intelligent survive.

4.To live fully, not only must the body be fit, but the sense of frustration and disillusionment must not develop. Life should open up as an ever expanding progress.

5.That the identification with all natural things, no matter how comprehensive, is a sine qua non(am essential condition) for living. All that hampers such an approach is bad; all that assists to that end is good. Correct living can be judged only by action and motive.

6.Simply that the matter rests upon the ability to so mould and build up the body and the mind that all the customarily demanded can be ignored. When this is extended to all medical, spiritual and social props then we have a true individual who incorporates within himself the ability to live a full life. Three key words to attain this ubiquitous state are: Understanding ,Reflection and Action."

Some thoughts on the above:
In harmony with nature we build our bodies and minds. Independence and self accountability are keys to the process of evolving into becoming what Cerutty believes is the ideal man(woman).
I really like the three key words he uses in connection with reaching this ideal state--Understanding, Reflection and Action. As I have said before, he would have had nothing but scorn for the "dumb jock" or athlete who refuses to think, learn and study.

Cerutty was about so much more than being a good runner. Most miss this because they haven't read his books and writings.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Taking Risks, Pt. 2

Humble apologies if you have read the following verse. I had never seen it till someone sent it to me years ago. It addresses a subject that is a favorite of mine,the necessity of taking risks,going for it and living your dreams.Most sources say the author is unknown,I have taken the liberty to edit out the verses that don't pertain to an athletic context.Oh yeah,you will see the word certitude in the second last verse,frankly,I had no clue as to what it meant so I looked up the meaning in the dictionary.I believe in the context it was written it means belief,conviction or assurance.

"To place your ideas,your dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.

To live is to risk dying.

To hope is to risk despair.

To try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken,because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.

The person who risks nothing does nothing,has nothing, and is nothing.

They may avoid suffering and sorrow but they cannot learn, feel,change,grow love,live.

Chained by their certitudes they are a slave,they have forfeited their freedom.

Only a person who risks is free."

As I read this again I was struck by how similar it was to Cerutty's philosophy. I wondered as I often do,what is it that makes us less willing to take risks as the years go by?
You'll notice as you get older,many people seem resigned to the life they are living. It's predictable and safe, but too often it's boring.
Is it any wonder that we've become a nation of watchers and spectators,drinking and drugging ourselves to a degree that has never been seen before?
But,that's other people,that doesn't have to be us.
Think about it,take a look at yourself,have you been playing it safe? Do you feel you are living a fulfilling life?
I'm not just talking athletically here.Do you feel trapped by your job, the area where you live or the relationships you have?
As far as your athletic life goes: You've been talking about training in a way and to a degree you never have before......for the past several years.You've been planning to do this out of state race(s) for the last ten years but......

What are you waiting for? For many, it's time to make some changes and truly live.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Live for the Run: Denying Oneself,An Essential Discipline,and Ultimately, The Key To Athletic Success.

A relevant and needed message for all athletes, not just runners.
Just click on the title below to access the article.

Live for the Run: Denying Oneself,An Essential Discipline,and Ultima...: This article is for the distance runner who desires to run as well as he possibly can.The title of today's post may be awkwardly phrased...

Bowerman On Keeping It Simple

Bill Bowerman pictured above with Steve Prefontaine was the long time and highly successful track coach at the University of Oregon. What some of you may not know is that he was the original Nike shoe innovator. Phil Knight had the business genius, Bowerman designed the early running shoes.
Another fact you may not be aware of: after a 1962 trip  to New Zealand where he met with fellow coach and friend Arthur Lydiard, he was introduced to the concept of jogging as a fitness routine for people of all ages. As a result of this trip he published a book in 1966 called Jogging which is credited with started the "jogging craze". And you thought it was Jim Fixx who started it all.
Oh yes, the book Jogging sold over a million copies.

In a past and present era of complicated running programs which often involve meticulous timing and dots and a whole host of other technical aspects here's what Bowerman had to say:

"We intellectualize too much about running. We complicate it too much, and make it sound like too much of a choice. We talk too much of times, schedules and formulas. When, where and why. Form, diet and injuries. Equipment, facilities and formal structures.
You don't really need so much of this. You don't need to be a student of the sport or an expert in physiology."

Beautiful--as they say--keep it simple.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Stotans Know This!

                                                         Stotans know this!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Live for the Run: Now Is the Time

Keeping on the theme of yesterday's post- From an article I did many years ago. Click on Live for the Run:Now Is the Time just below the picture.

Live for the Run: Now Is the Time: "The credit belongs to those who are actually in the arena, who strive valiantly; who know the great enthusiasms, the great devotions...

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Rambling Thoughts--The Necessity of Just Doing It.

Got to thinking of this post the other day after seeing another hooded sweatshirt with "Just Do It" on the front. We all know that was coined by Nike and is probably the most popular phrase ever. At least when applied to athletics.
Oh yes, before I get to my point, I was buying running shoes the other day and the salesman told me that Nike would soon be selling running shoes only through Amazon, Footlocker and Nordstrom's. He then added that in his opinion, their Pegasus and one other running shoe whose name I forgot, were the only good ones, the rest were "fashion" shoes. The news took me by surprise as I thought back to the history of Nike and running.
Now, considering the phrase "Just Do It"--what I once dismissed as yet another of dozens of similar phrases pertaining to athletics and life I have read on apparel-- this time when I saw it, it led me to really think about what it meant.
We live in a world filled with advice on how to this, how to that, do this to become that, what you need to do to succeed, etc., etc.(For more on this subject check out my old article--Information Overload).
The Web, books, TV, all supply us with more info than we can ever use or need.
I have a friend who is always touting the latest "in" thing for getting in "the best shape of your life". He will try one plan for awhile and then move on, never reaching his goals. I've noticed others who do the same on nutrition and diet, and eating.
Here is my thought for today--if you are guilty of doing this--Stop!
The time is now to stop searching for THE way and Just Do It! Stop wasting time chasing after the next big thing.
In athletics, there are the fundamentals of training--easier work precedes harder more stressful work, all culminating in peak condition and/or a competitive season.
Let's stop trying to reinvent the wheel.
Forget my crudity here, I say: "sh*t or get off the pot." Just Do It!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Use Your Time Wisely!

In addition to the above I would add---athletics----What Cerutty would say if he were around today.

Why We Love To Run

Why do we love running so much? Joe Henderson says it best when he writes that running is a "vital counter balance to the often oppressive weight of modern living."

We all have our thoughts on this subject. What follows are reasons given by Henderson from one of his books written either in the late 60's or early 70's.
After each of Joe's reasons I provide a comment:

"1.The more we are burdened with mental work, the more we need to strike a physical balance."
And for those who don't seek the physical outlet, the more likely they are to seek solace in unhealthy activities like overeating, drugs or alcohol.
"2.The more we meet with collective repression, the more we need individual expression."
Most of us are controlled by others in the workplace, not so in our running life.
"3.The more we're alienated from one activity, the more we need strong attachment to another."
I don't know about you but with some jobs I've had, if I didn't have running I would have lost my mind.
"4.The more complex our lifestyle, the more we need a simple uncluttered routine."
Running should always be a return to all things simple and basic. As Cerutty said, running should never become regimented work.
"5.The more we become civilized, the more we need to revert to a more primitive state."
What do you think the reason is that you feel so good and free when you are running the trails deep in the woods somewhere?

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Will Beats Mind by Paul Waggener

As I have written previously, posts to this page will also be by those whose words are very much in the Cerutty tradition. Consider the following by Paul Waggener(picture above) from part of an essay he wrote entitled. "Will Beats Mind".

"An iron will trumps a brilliant mind. It may be best to have both, but determination and the ability to be tireless is better than a rapid fire intelligence. Both can be cultivated to a degree, but the will is more receptive to improvement than the brain.
Set yourself up for success by taking on challenges both great and small and seeing them through to the end. If you can set this idea of always getting through to the finish line you will be able to outwork those who may be smarter than you but less capable of pursuing the kill over hill and dale, inexhaustible, like a blood hound.
One good idea in the hands of the tireless is better than a thousand, million dollar ones in the hands of the chronic quitter."

I am sure Paul has never heard of Percy Cerutty but his words are strikingly similar.
Persistence, the Will, Desire cultivated by Practice and Focus, and Self Separation from useless worldly activities, are some of the essential ingredients to success in athletics and life.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Cerutty On Pain and It's Benefit

The above is a classic quote by Cerutty. But, like most quotes, they are too often relegated to a poster on the wall or used as a screensaver on someone's computer, not experienced as intended.
Cerutty was a believer in regularly pushing your body to the limit, not only for the physical benefits but the mental and emotional ones as well.

The following quote is a quote by Ernst Junger I came across while reading a book by Paul Waggener. I wouldn't be surprised if Cerutty, being as well read as he was, hadn't seen the following:

"Whenever one approaches the points where man proves himself to be equal or superior to pain, one gains access to the sources of his power and the secret hidden behind his dominion.
Tell me your relation to pain, and I will tell you who you are."

Pain--can be much more than just something that 'hurts'.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Herb Elliott's Interview About Cerutty!

It is with great excitement I present a 29 minute interview with Percy Cerutty's #1 pupil, Herb Elliott, Olympic Champion and former world record holder.
The interview is all about Cerutty and even features Percy talking. It is an excellent(understatement) insight into the man and Sotanism.

Click, or cut and paste the link below--

The Harsh Reality According To Cerutty

Following Cerutty's theme of being a free, independent thinker, consider the following:
"I have said it and I repeat it, the hardest, and most painful thing that anyone can do is--to think: to become self-sufficient: to know for oneself: to be independent of others: self-reliant: a leader and a champion.
It is equally true that many do not want to be self-reliant, to be leaders. They are content to follow, to adopt anyone's schedules or ideas, to let anyone think for them--no matter where it may lead or how hopeless the outcomes."

Cerutty always talked and wrote about the potential of a certain amount of "aloneness" for those who might choose to be an independent thinker.
Yes, at times it may take a degree of courage but it is ultimately the way to being completely content with yourself as a person.
Most of the world--chooses to follow--that is them, it doesn't have to be you.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Man, Be Yourself

Cerutty stressed the necessity of being yourself and not mimicking or copying others. He added that this is something done by children but should never be done by adults. He wrote rather cynically that 'copying' was one of the reasons various "idiocies" were "perpetuated from generation to generation."

Consider this: "Thus it is far better to study oneself than to study others. When we have mastered ourselves as persons: recognized out weaknesses, and tried seriously and conscientiously to overcome them: when we have discovered by trial and error(such as by tests: pitting ourselves against standards)--we can then have a chance of reasonably evaluating ourselves as against our fellows. 
But the prize above all is not in being 'clever', but in being an individual" unique, and if necessary, different.
Nothing is more deadening to the personality than conforming: nothing more chilling than mediocrity."
Cerutty certainly lived those words during his lifetime.

He believed that the person who truly wanted to succeed should question "the orthodox: the traditional: the safe, the secure, the satisfactory(in athletics and life)."
Ultimately, what I believe Cerutty was getting at was: a 'blueprint' for becoming the total(ultimate) person/athlete.
Rigorous self-evaluation, sincere, sustained efforts to improve, a questioning nature, as well as individualism were the keys to becoming all we can be. 

I see the wisdom of what he is getting at. I also see where I have fallen short in following those words. How about you? It is never too late to change.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A Few Words From Raw Dog Frankie

In the September 19, 2011 and October 10, 2011 posts for my other blog ----torunistolive---I featured two articles on what I will call a radical off-shoot of the Stotans, a group that calls themselves The Raw Dogs. The members were initially connected in the mid-eighties with the Stotans I formed in Buffalo, N.Y.  After some differences in what direction the Stotans were headed, four of the guys left and formed what they called "The Raw Dogs". They recruited other members and moved to Colorado to live the "true" Stotan life. I pretty much lost contact except for some second hand reports I would get from a friend in Rochester,N.Y.
Recently I was fortunate enough to reconnect with this friend. I inquired about "the Dogs" and he said they were still in Colorado and he would give one of them them a call and ask them to contact me, if they wanted to. I was also told that they "don't do computers" except for obtaining orders for foods, supplements, and gathering information. I didn't hear back for awhile but was surprised when I got a letter in the mail from Frankie, one of their self-described leaders. The letter was cordial, gone was the testiness that characterized his interactions with me in the past. He wrote that if I still did my writing he asked that I post the following. Zeal for Stotanism still burns hot for this Raw Dog.

True Stotans: What We Do and Don't Do

We do recognize the genius of Percy Wells Cerutty and actually live his teachings.

We don't keep our faces continually on our cellphones, if we even have them. Selfies? You're kidding right?
We do physically test ourselves on a regular basis whether it's by lifting or running that certain mountain loop, or both.
We don't do arm sleeves, leg sleeves, monitors and other gadgets, running guides, spandex, $200 running shoes--you get the picture--we keep it natural.
We do live each day to the fullest as Cerutty taught without worry about tomorrow or remorse for yesterday.
We don't get preoccupied on material things, we recognize that they are potential barriers to living free.
We do acknowledge what PCW wrote and taught: that life is to be lived to the fullest. That it is only through the maximum development of our bodies and minds can this be achieved.

I close with these words from Cerutty: "It is not the 'arrival' that is important but the journeying to."

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Cerutty on Intelligent Training Schedules, Pt.1

Cerutty taught what we all know: "Every person is different: no two athletes are identical."
He then goes on to say, like snowflakes, where all are different from the other, there is a distinct similarity among all of them. Cerutty used this analogy in talking about training programs for athletes.
He goes on to say that with this similarity in athletes there will be a common denominator to all programs but the details of them "will vary in infinite detail."
I doubt that there is an informed athlete in any sport that wouldn't agree with this. Emphasis here on informed,
I will add that when I coached high school runners, most coaches weren't aware of this fact or couldn't be bothered with it. 
If you look at the picture above you will see what incredible sense it makes: 'easier' training precedes progressively harder, more stressful training. All leading to a specific racing season.
Yet, runners and coaches continue to do 'speed work' year round because: "you gotta run fast to be fast." Pure ignorance there. But, I digress.

Consider Cerutty's admonition on developing a training program" No coach, or no athlete, must lay down a rigid day to day programme. To do so, is soon to break the spirit of the athlete, or, as usually happens, to reduce the daily routine to a mediocre effort and grind. Weekly, and monthly, targets must be set, but firstly, they must not be such that they are impossible of achievement, secondly, they must be sufficiently flexible that odd days missed for all the many varieties of reasons, do not effect the objectives set and aimed at."
I'll say that I'd be willing to bet that by: "odd days missed", Cerutty was also referring to the days where the schedule was changed due to the physical status of the athlete for that day. I have read such in one of his other books.

As athletic neophytes in any sport, I am sure most of us tried the 'one size fits all' program but soon learned the folly of doing so.
In the conclusion of this article Cerutty provides the outline for the quintessential training program.

As I have mentioned previously, if you know of anyone you think would enjoy one of these articles or this Blog it would be much appreciated if you could pass it on. I don't think I am exaggerating in saying that this is not your same old, same old running site that makes up most of the internet(and mags and books for that matter).

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.