Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The One Thing You Must Not Forget

As human beings we are all capable of change,mentally and physically. The big question is, do we want to change and do we believe a change can actually happen?
Emil Zatopek,who won the gold at the 1952 Olympics in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters and the marathon, has something to say about this:
"By a persistent effort of will it is possible to change the whole body. The athlete must always keep in mind this concept of change and progression; he must never accept his limitations as being permanent,because they are not."
Emil was living proof of the validity of that quote.
The logical question is, are we accepting our perceived limitations as being permanent?

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Is Your Racing In A Rut?

Early writings by Joe Henderson are filled with much relevant and useable info.
Joe was a runner first and then he was in on the formative days of Runner's World when it stressed mileage and performance.
Consider the following self-evaluation which helps to determine if your racing or training has bogged down or is in a rut.Sometimes we runners just don't see or ignore the fact that we are.This of course will prevent us from improving and fully enjoying our running experience. Ask yourself:
1. "Do you insist on matching to the minute the amounts of training ordered by the schedule?
2.Are you nagged by chronic low-grade aches and pains that you must not allow to interfere with your program?
3.Do you frequently get bored with your training but still run your daily quotas?
4.Do you often find yourself dreading and delaying the start of your runs until you can psych yourself up to do them?
5.Would you stop training as you do if the races races didn't require it of you?
6.Before races,do you magnify every minor physical complaint into a race threatening crisis?
7.Have your racing times stopped improving even though you work as hard as ever?
8.Are your confidence and enthusiasm badly shaken by any racing slump?
9.After races,are you more likely to complain about what went wrong than to bring up what went right?
10.Have you come to expect better results from yourself than you can produce?
The more you answer yes,the more sure you can be that you have raced yourself into a rut. If more than half of those questions describe you,ease up on yourself. The training and the racing are running you--rather than vice versa."

How true that last line is, 'The training and racing are running you---rather than vice versa.'
 I know runners who have driven themselves crazy because they just don't recognize that they are in what Henderson aptly describes as a rut.
 How 'bout you?

Thursday, July 25, 2019

To Live Life Fully By Percy Cerutty

Percy Cerutty believed quite correctly that with the body properly trained and honed, a person was best able to take on the challenges of this world. Consider the following:
"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 enviroment,it is the enviroment that dominates him.Such a man is not free. Only the mentally free and the physically strong can live this type of life to the full.Nature ordains it this way.There is no catch to it.Nature favors the fit."
There is a confidence and self-assurance that just seems to be a part of the person who trains his whole body on a regular basis. I am not only talking about getting in your daily five miles here,I'm talking about other exercises and types of training routines which ultimately challenge you and build character.
Consider the above and ask yourself, are you doing enough?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

When Arthur Lydiard Speaks.....

It would be no exaggeration to say that Arthur Lydiard developed  the modern day distance training program. Initially using himself as a guinea pig in the process of formulating his program, he went on to become the coaches coach and all around ambassador for running. His book, Run To the Top, written in 1962 with Garth Gilmour, was about his schedules and thoughts on running.
Another thing people may not know about Arthur is that Bill Bowerman, University of Oregon coaching legend and Nike co-founder, visited Lydiard in New Zealand in the early 60's. Bowerman saw first hand the "jogging" for the masses that Lydiard espoused in his book Run For Your Life(1965) and all the benefits that went with it. After returning to the States he wrote Jogging(1967) which is credited with starting a jogging boom here.
So, when Arthur Lydiard speaks, serious athletes should all listen, consider the following:
"Your schedules are only for guidance.Study your reactions to training from day to day and if you feel jaded or suffer from any soreness allow time for recovery.
Never do speed training when your muscles are sore or you are feeling very tired.Just jog easily,irrespective of what is on the schedule for that day's training.You can never do yourself any harm by jogging and it will usually help to overcome the soreness or tiredness.
Control your training so that you are not racing it,except when full efforts are called for in the schedules.Run strongly and easily in effort,always keeping something in reserve.As you feel improvement,gradually increase your training tempo but never use that reserve."
A common mistake by rookies and  runners who can't control their anxiety is not being able to back- off. They believe that any letting up on, or changing a workout to accomodate their physical condition, will negatively effect racing performance.This of course is nonsense.Easy jogging when feeling overly tired or sore, in place of "gutting out" a training session that will  ultimately be debilitating instead of constructive, allows the body to recover and come back strong.
As a sidenote,studies have shown that a conditioned runner will lose only 5% of his fitness if he does no running for a week.I would quickly add that this percentage increases if the inactivity goes into 2 and 3 weeks.
It's become a cliche but we must "listen to our bodies" and not treat them as if they were machines.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Not To Hurry

Most often, to reach your goal(s) takes time. People are not as patient as they once were, they want results sooner not later. Successful people are patient people. From the seldom read archival writings of writer, coach. philosopher Percy Wells Cerutty consider this:

"The serious athlete does well to remember there is no haste on the creative plane, that Nature cannot be hurried, that the greater the eventual accomplishment, the longer the time, the more strenuous the effort."

The above reminds me of something former '68 American Olympian marathoner Ron Daws said, he wrote that he  knew he didn't have the natural talent many of his competitors had, but, through time and careful preparation, he defeated them.

As I always say, enjoy the process, the journey, it all plays out in the end.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Principles As It Pertains To Your Training

"As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods, ignoring principles is sure to have trouble."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I don't believe Emerson was an athlete but the above quote sure is applicable to training.

Not too long ago someone asked me if I had heard of a book on running that advocated a certain way of training. I said that I hadn't heard of that book but if it incorporated the fundamentals of training for distance runners, I was all for it.
As most of you readers probably know, a large part of the training principles for distance running and other sports teach that easier work is followed by progressively more stressful work as the body is able to tolerate it. At the end point,these training principles all lead to the athlete being in peak condition for competition.
It's all incredibly simple, logical and sensible.

The running coach I greatly admire, Arthur Lydiard, instructed athletes to follow the principles he laid down but added that the individual could adapt them to their specific needs( the methods).

As far as training principles for sports? They must take into account human anatomy and physiology.
Still, many people try to 'reinvent the wheel' and come up with "methods" they believe will revolutionize their sport.

Be very careful when you decide to choose a way to train, or way to eat for that matter, ask yourself this, is it adhering to sound principles? Do not be fooled by charismatic hucksters.

 As an aside, a little anecdote about Arthur Lydiard: he was a giant in the sport of running, just as Vince Lombardi was in American football, John Wooden in college basketball or Casey Stengel in  pro baseball. Even though Lydiard trained and developed many champions and record holders,  he would always take time to interact with anyone who approached him.
 I recall back in the '80's writing a letter to him, I can't remember how I found his address in New Zealand. I sort of hoped he might write back but wasn't willing to put any money on it.
Sure enough, not quite a month later I received a letter from him. A couple years later I wrote again and the same thing happened.
As I read somewhere after he died, talking with others, no matter what their status was, was something he really enjoyed doing
Take it from me, this is a rare quality among famous people.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Truth From Cerutty

"No door remains forever locked against the man of indomitable will and courage. What we most lack is the power to continue: continuity and perseverance--the never quit spirit allied to intelligence is the secret key to success: not great natural endowments,powerful friends and favourable environments." By Percy Cerutty.
Don't forget or doubt this, Cerutty and countless other people are proof of the validity of this quote.
Why not you too?

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Mind Over Matter

Think about this for awhile:
"The athlete,through being trained and practised properly,will find that the mind can dominate the physical body,and he can maintain an effort long after other competitors have abandoned all hope of holding the speed required to win."
Quote by Percy Cerutty.
"Percy helped me to world records not so much by improving my technique,but by releasing in my body and soul a power that I only vaguely knew existed." Quote by Herb Elliott.
A strengthening of the mind should be the natural byproduct of a well planned training regimen.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Do You Have Championship Character?

There are certain traits that are evident in successful athletes.Many of us have the traits I'm about to list below but certain athletes have it to a greater degree than others. Cerutty believed in self-evaluation as being essential for those who desired to do well. The following is a partial list devised by Dr. Ogilvie (in quotes with my comments after) of what he called championship characteristics.
Examine Yourself!
1. Desire to win or be successful.
2.Aspires to accomplish difficult tasks.
3.Sets and maintains high goals for himself in athletics.
4.Responds positively to competition.
5.Desires to attain athletic excellence.
1.Willing to practice long and hard.
2.Works on skills until exhausted.
3.Often works out willingly by himself.
4.Persevering, even in the face of great difficulty.
5.Patient and unrelenting in his work habits.
6.Doesn't give up quickly on a problem."
I believe #6 is the key to running success, sticking with it well after the time the average Joe would have bagged it.
"Mental Toughness
1.Accepts strong criticism without feeling hurt.
2.Does not become easily upset when performing badly.
3.Can bounce back quickly from adversity.
4.Can take rough coaching.
5.Does not need alot of encouragement from others."
  On a related note, I used to wonder why professional boxers, when they were beaten convincingly,always seemed to come up with a rationale as to why they lost. Some people might call it an excuse. Perhaps #'s 2 and 3 are the reason. Yeah, I did poorly but..
What is the alternative? To say: "I got whipped,he's just one of a slew of guys that can beat me."
 Once an athlete says and believes that his ability to compete is seriously below others, he is done as a competitor.
Lots of great insights by Dr. Ogilvie for us to think about.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Getting Philosophical With Cerutty

Cerutty taught the necessity of staying relaxed while running and provided useful instruction on how to physically do so.
In the following, which is a testament to his ability to think "outside the box," he provides some reasons as to why athletes are not relaxed in their sport, and in life.
These are things that one would not usually consider but should cause us to stop and think. If anything, the following is provocative. I personally find it to be incredibly insightful.
"I go further,I hold that as long as people retain fixed prejudices,rigid ideas,and convictions,lack a sense of humour in their attitudes to themselves,their fellow men, and life in general,there must be,and will be,tensions which extend from the mind to the physical body and its movements.
So relaxation,in the last resort,if we would be perfect,depends upon,firstly,freeing the mind of all restrictive attitudes and beliefs,and adopting,if it is possible, the carefree(but not irresponsible) attitudes of the child,trusting in our instinctive likes and dislikes,responding to,and giving to others,kindnesses to others more than ourselves. In a word--living fully,freely,with as little restrictions upon our good impulses,in particular,as possible.
Never was it more truly said that to enter the athletic kingdom of heaven one must become as a little child."
Although Percy denied any allegiance to a particular faith,the last sentence from this excerpt is his rephrasing of a passage found in one of the Christian Gospels.
It is an unfortunate occurrence that as we get older far too many of us become cynical and negative,we lose the innocence and enthusiam for life we had as youths. I believe this is why so many turn to other means to find happiness, such as adopting unhealthy habits like alcohol and drug use as well as the endless quest for entertainment and satiation.
We must not forget to appreciate the "little things" in life,the things that most take for granted(family,health,etc.).

Saturday, July 13, 2019

On Racing By Percy Cerutty

In the following, Cerutty offers some profound insights into racing as well as advice as it pertains to a  runner's competitive season.
Provocative, thought provoking stuff here.After each paragraph I'll offer a comment or two. Percy proclaims:
"The athlete should be aroused simply by the idea of competition. This should be enough to make him emotionally ready, and draw on what has been developed through practice."
Aroused, an interesting choice of words but I know exactly what he means. Have you ever been so ready,emotionally and physically to race? Have you been so confident of your condition that you couldn't wait to to test it out? I have, but not nearly enough as I should have.
"This arousal can be hampered by worry about the race or the competition,lack of interest or staleness. These are the enemies of good racing. An athlete can put in months of grueling,exacting workouts and then be defeated by them in a race situation."
Optimal,peak condition should greatly reduce the chances you will "worry"excessively.
"When serious racing season is underway,races take priority. Training should be limited as much as possible,usually to no more than a little sharpening work on the grass. The runner has to save his best efforts for the race. Many waste them in time trials and workouts."
Isn't that the problem with the majority of elite and serious American born distance runners? Who haven't you known that hasn't continued "interval" sessions into their racing season? Lydiard tells you not to,Cerutty says the same,so why are they continuing? It would be easy to blame bad coaching but don't you think it could be something else? Try anxiety or fear, try an unreasonable belief controlled by emotions that send the message that if they don't continue to bust their butts in training they're going to lose their edge.
"If the runner has trained properly and is "mentally tough,"the race should be run as fast as possible. Since the runner's physical condition doesn't change very significantly in the space of a week or two,if the runner is doing his best,his racing should not fluctuate much from race to race. They should be progressively faster."
Progressively faster--if---you haven't been leaving your best on the track doing foolish workouts mid-week.
 Positively essential advice by Cerutty for anyone who is serious about racing.


As we strive to achieve our goals, the word perseverance always comes up. Do we recognize all that this word means or do we just say, 'oh, that's about sticking to it.' Well, there's more to it then that, consider the following by the great Track and Field Coach Del Hessel:
"Perseverance means showing firmness, steadiness, determination, tenacity and backbone. Perseverance is the ability to endure adversity until the problem is overcome.
Perseverance is remaining confident and faithful to yourself while the odds appear to be mounting against your chance of success.
Perseverance is being able to progressively attack adversity in an intelligent aggressive manner until the task is mastered."
Reads like it could have been written by Cerutty.
How do you measure up?

Friday, July 12, 2019

Encouragement For Those Getting Older

For those of you who are getting "up there" in years and may not be hitting the times you once ran or the amount of  weight you once lifted, consider the following by Jack Lalanne. Talk about having the right attitude and mindset! Oh yes, that's Jack at 84 pictured above.

"Forget about what you used to do. This is the moment you have been waiting for."

With each passing year should come new plans and new goals.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Inspired By The Stotan Creed: The Company You Keep and Your Lifestyle

You say you want to be at the top of your game mentally and physically, but, are you willing to do all the things necessary to reach that point?
Sometimes doing the things required to maintain focus and keep on track can be difficult. Many of us will have to make serious lifestyle adjustments along the way.
For instance; a partying, unstructured life will never get you to where you say you want to be. As an old friend once said, "you can't soar with the eagles if you're out prowling with the dogs every night." Continuing to associate with people who live a kind of day to day, pleasure centered life will only distract and possibly sabotage your best intentions.
Perhaps that's how you once lived but now you realize that it's a dead end route which ultimately leads nowhere except to a life of habitual pleasure seeking, which for most people, includes consuming copious amounts of alcohol.
That is the true "opiate" of the masses these days.
I could go on but you get the picture---in order to reach your goals changes have to be made that will take resolve,organization and discipline. It's all part of the process but it can be an enjoyable process when the end means a life that is meaningful and fulfilling.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

So You Want To Be A True Stotan?

Recently I have received a few inquiries about being a Stotan and Stotanism in general.
What you are about to read was something I sent to a sincere seeker who desires to live and breathe the Stotan Life. There are many misconceptions as to what it actually is. The passage in quotes below is by Percy Cerutty, the rest by me. Here goes:

I could go on and on about what being a Stotan is using my words and experiences but it was best said by the man himself---Very important to know AND the truth that the MAJORITY of clubs, groups, etc.miss when they say they are Stotans--it is every bit and maybe more a philosophy of life as it is a way of training---They think it's all about sand dunes and busting your gut running--WRONG!

The Following is sometimes called the Stotan Creed written by Percy Cerutty---you want to be a Stotan--get to know the following so well you have it practically memorized--like you said
You have to walk the talk!!!!!!!!

“A Stotan is one who hardens, strengthens (and) toughens…the (mind &) body by consistent habits and regular exercises, which are consciously and irrevocably made part of the life plan of the individual, as well as consciously determining that the mind will be cultivated upon such abstractions as purity, beauty and logic. Erudition, in as complete a degree as possible shall be the lifelong aim: Truth, in relation to all aspects of life, the unending search.

Stotans will, by virtue of their philosophy, be nature lovers, with a respect and appreciation of all evolved or created things. They will appreciate the sanctity of creative effort both in themselves and in others.

Stotans, for all the reasons that their philosophy stands (viz: hardness, toughness, unswerving devotion to an ideal), would look upon the sea (or mountains) as their pristine element and endeavor to associate themselves with their primeval source by immersing themselves (to training) in all seasons of the year. No practice is disposed to toughen, both the body and the morale, more than this.

Stotans believe that neither the body nor the mind can be maintained at a high pitch of efficiency unless sufficient and regular rest is obtained, and aim at a daily average of 8 hours sleep.

Stotans, also, will not be found in social places after midnight. Stotans shall so regulate their lives that at the end of a period, varying with the intensity of effort, each shall realize that they have attained, without conscious striving, to a state of knowledge, and a position of leadership within the community.
It is axiomatic that only the pure can understand purity, only the cultivated appreciate beauty, and only the strong truly measure their strength.
Therefore, only the self-disciplined can command genuine respect. A program shall be aimed at which shall be designed to [train each Stotan]:

(a)… to withstand physical hardship, to accomplish feats of strength and endurance, to understand orderliness, and the true meaning of intelligence.

(b) To know himself as an organism and a personality

(c) To emerge, eventually emancipated, from all dogmas, creeds, and beliefs, as well as worldly and unworldly hopes and fears.

(d) To habitually function upon the highest planes of thought and physical effort.

(e) To place the objective of an alert, informed intelligence, and a perfected body, as primary in Life. And to arrive at the conclusion that all else will follow on.

(f) To learn that on this basis, the whole world, and all that it has to offer, opens out as a vision, splendid, normal and realizable.

(g) To understand that Past, Futures, Fates, Fears, Death, Selfishness, Egoism, Pride, Envy, Hate and Prejudice can be replaced by Intelligence that controls emotion, dominates destiny, manifests completeness and exults in Life.

(h) To understand that, in actuality, evolved man is a King, but without the trappings. That Kingship is his right and his destiny. That we can make ourselves, in time, all that we would. That we honour real men but are subservient to none.

In addition, Stotans shall train themselves to withstand, stoically, personal criticism, also, scepticism as the necessity or wisdom of such a Way of Life. In this regard, Stotans soon learn that they command knowledge, experience and ability not available to the prejudiced, the ignorant or the slothful.

Also, having embarked upon the Stotan Way of Life, like the Spartans, one must go through with it to the end. There is no giving up throughout life. The first pre-requisite for a Stotan is tenacity. The next is to understand that his loyalties are towards making the most of the material that is his, to the expansion, or at least the manifestation of the Life Force, and a constant identification of himself with his Life Force through his Way of Life.

To live this Way of Life is hard. It is not for weaklings. It is the Way that is travelled by all the truly great ones. It requires strenuous effort of body and mind.”

Brilliant, inspired--Keep me posted

Why Serious Athletes Need To Listen To Jack

In the past I have featured articles on the late Jack LaLanne whom I have described as a modern day Cerutty.
 I have also previously posted this picture above as well as one of Jack doing fingertip push-ups with his arms fully extended in front of him, at the age of 84!
Jack was totally committed to personal fitness as well encouraging others to recognize the benefits of working out and eating right. He "walked the talk" as they say.
What follows are some things he said that all of us can learn from and be inspired by.
When asked if at the age of 84 he still worked out 7 days a week he responded: "Absolutely,see I'm one of these guys who don't want to take a step backward. I either want to hold on to what I have or improve a little bit. My workouts are part of who I am."
 I think most of us can relate to that last statement. Commenting on training Jack said this: :"Fitness starts between your ears (editor: where have you heard that before?). You have to figure out what you want and then go ahead and do it. Your body is your slave. We must learn to control the bestial and sensual sides of ourselves."
 A few thoughts on these remarks: many times people who say they desire running or athletic success are a bit hazy as to exactly what kind of success they want outside of the generic,"I just wanna race(perform) well." If you really want success you have to be much more specific then that or chances are you will simply continue on by just sort of going through the motions. Jack was big on the quote, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." If you really want it, then commit,totally! Finally,"controlling the bestial and sensual sides of ourselves" has become less common in this day and age,even among athletes. It is a quality we must have to not only achieve success but to become better people

Monday, July 8, 2019

Random Cerutty Quotes

"It cannot be over-stressed,for survival--intelligent survival and longevity,there must be some return by man to the natural enviroment,the elements,in a word,the simple life of the country or the seashore."
Herb Elliott once said that the ideal life for an athlete is one of simplicity. How true that is. Too many activities,committments and striving for more "things" will eventually become the determining factors as to how you live your life. If you can't put yourself in the enviroment that Cerutty describes in the opening quote then you should make a point of regularly training in the ones he mentions above.

"Fitness,above all,pays dividends as no other investment can." The only thing better than being fit is being optimally fit,ready to race fit.
I see people walking down the beach at about a 15 to 20 minute per mile pace and wish I could tell them that if they really want to get fit they have to do more than what they are doing. Sure, it's better than sitting in front of the TV eating Doritos but they've bought into the lie that sauntering down the street for X amount of minutes is a way to physical health.
Getting fit takes work,sweat and dedication. The dividends paid out are both mental and physical. Those of us who live for the run know this only to well. Ideally,we should become an example to family and friends of what a healthy lifestyle can bring.

"Living is not only getting and gaining but doing." I think I've cited this quote previously but for obvious reasons it's a good one.
Not only is living vicariously through the lives of million dollar pro athletes a waste of time but it can detract the spectator from actually being a particpant in sport.

In closing--Live life vigorously!