Thursday, February 20, 2020

Cerutty On Keeping At It

"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." Percy Wells Cerutty.
The biggest excuse a distance runner can give to explain his lack of success is to say, 'I just don't have the talent.' The above quote applies to all facets of our life,not just running.
Also note, intelligence is a key ingredient to achieving success. As Cerutty use to say, the ideal athlete is a "deep thinker," capable of self-evaluation. The dumb jock may be successful in other team sports but not in distance running.
The path to success more often than not takes years.How many of us truly want to put the time in?
But as I always say,in distance running,the joy is in the journey.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Gayle Olinekova--Breaking Boundaries and Stereotypes

The following is proof that you don't have to be built like a stick figure to run a fast marathon-
Cerutty was often criticized by the running establishment of his time for advocating lifting weights and strength training-Gayle Olinekova is one example of how right he was.
Gayle was at one time the third fastest woman marathoner in the world.
This is an article from the S.I. archives. Incredibly interesting and inspiring.…/greatest-legs-to-ever-stride-the-earth…
Image may contain: one or more people, shoes, outdoor and water

Sunday, February 16, 2020

A Philosophy of Commitment,Pt.2

In continuing this subject I started the other day,we are again reminded that the qualities needed to find success in athletics are the same ones needed to succeed in "the world." I believe this fact is sometimes forgotten.Most people tend to think that if you are not winning championships,setting records or are a member of some national team then a total dedication to distance running(athletics) is,well.......extreme or inappropriate. Of course, I quickly add that your involvement in sport does not give you license to neglect family or other obligations.Sadly,over the years I have seen athletes do just that.They have not developed the moral precepts and values that Coach Vigil notes are essential to success in sport and life.However,no matter your level of skill in your chosen sport,your dedication to, and the pursuit of excellence in that sport is a worthy endeavor.
Consider the following by Vigil:
"It doesn't matter what your goal in life is,you must develop a sense of purpose.To participate in sport,to study,and to train is to believe in something.It is this relentless quest for excellence and the unyielding belief in yourself that challenges you to strive and overcome.During the process,the individual becomes transformed and inspired to new heights of achievement.You must develop a deep vision and total commitment because then,and only then,will you develop a deeper perspective of life in general."
I don't know about you but I find the above profound and most insightful. For instance, it is so true when Vigil says you must develop a sense of purpose in your life. From my experience in the psychiatric field, I've seen countless numbers of people drugging and drinking to excess because they were just going through life,they had no purpose, no passion. Look around at the people who live long,vigorous lives,these are most often the people who are doing something they love.
What you may already know is that there is much more to distance running then simply lacing up your shoes and heading out the door.Yes,it's a physical sport but it should also be a thinking man's (person's) sport.
I've known alot of great runners in my life,many of whom were not what you would call people of character,many tended to be shallow and egocentric.Unfortunately, they  were never taught or recognized the totality of what this sport has to offer and the lessons that can be learned from it.Ideally, athletics should make you a better person in all areas of your life.
So,are you really committed to achieving athletic excellence? Have you made it a priority in your life?
 If you haven't, you should consider doing so today! I say this because you will reap more than the physical benefits.As Coach Vigil writes: "The decision to go after a goal is the key to success.The determination to stay with it is what brings out the quality of excellence."

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Cerutty's Talking Attitude Here

I'll have Part 2 of yesterday's article up tomorrow. I came across this quote from Percy's often overlooked book--Middle Distance Running.
It reinforces something that comes up often in the words and works of the greats in athletics and elsewhere. The power of one's attitude in effecting a positive outcome.
Personally speaking I had been skeptical of this for ages, probably because I had read lots of quotes that were more like new-age platitudes than something based in reality.
The following I have found to be true and have read pretty much the same thing by other people I respect. Consider thoughtfully:
"Improvement is not merely deciding to carry out a certain curriculum (schedule) of exercises. What determines the good and bad in such curricula are your attitude towards them."

For me, this means taking a moment before a workout and thinking about what I hope to accomplish and how it will work towards achieving my goal(s).

Thursday, February 13, 2020

A Philosophy of Commitment to Athletics, Pt.1

"Every Man Must Find His Own Philosophy---His Attitude Towards Life"--  Lin Yutana
It is vitally important to establish a training system that works for you.Your training system has to take in how you are physically,what you're goals are and how much time you can dedicate to achieving personal athletic excellence.
What follows are some more words of wisdom from Coach Joe Vigil on becoming the best you can be.For those who might not be familiar with Coach Vigil: he has a doctorate in exercise physiology and has coached and lead his team,Adams State College, to an unprecedented 19 national championships (14 in cross country).
He has coached internationally at the Pan American Games,The Olympics and the Cross Country World Championships. Obviously,the man knows distance running and has much to say about all aspects relating to it. I find it interesting that most runners I've encountered over the years have never heard of Coach Vigil.
In Vigil's mind, an athlete must establish the worthiness of his seeking athletic excellence.If a distance runner believes that his running is just a healthy supplement to his life then chances are that's what it will be and remain. As we've said here before, when running is a part of your being,a part of who you are,you don't put it on the back burner of your daily life. You'd no sooner do that than you would disregard eating,sleeping or working.Those who Live For the Run don't view running as a frivolous activity.Vigil reveals that the quest for success in life and sport are intertwined.
Coach Vigil states the truth when he says the following:
"Philosophy for life and philosophy for athletics are one and the same. It is essential that those who have a dream or vision of accomplishing a goal or task in life develop a set of guidelines or values which will become their philosophy--their roadmap to a destination of victory and success.You must be willing to inquire and understand the most comprehensive principles of reality that are available to you.It is this love of knowledge about your sport and the search for it that directs the course of action which becomes your philosophy,like a huge umbrella hovering over you and constantly reminding you of what your purpose in life and sport is all about."
After reading the above I asked myself,"Is it any wonder that Cerutty entitled one of his books,'Sport is My Life'?"
Due to time constraints I have to cut this article short but I will post the remainder of it tomorrow.
Coach Vigil has some really unique insights that I'm sure you will find most helpful.

For those of you who may not know: On the title page of this Blog, in the upper left corner is an orange B. That is the link to search articles on this site. You can type in subjects like running books, Lydiard,Cerutty, trails, etc., and it will bring up past articles pertaining to those topics.
Also--on the right side top of the title page under my name is a reference and web address to my inactive running Blog--torunistolive-there are 365+ posts and articles on just about every aspect of running, Cerutty, etc. These Blogs of mine are not your same old, same old, running sites.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

More Than Just The Physical--Herb Elliott

Sometimes overlooked by most who have read the Stotan Code, Creed, Philosophy or whatever you want to call it, is that there is so much more to it than training hard in a natural environment.
As Herb Elliott states above, Cerutty's philosophy was just as much a mental, spiritual thing as it was physical. He advocated the development of the whole man (woman). Read the post I did on the Stotan Creed published here on July 10, 2019. Following what he details will make you equipped to deal with anything within yourself and the world.
Don't shortchange the benefits that are there for you by looking at this as just a way of getting physically fit!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Proper Running Form

There appears to be a recent surge in the number of articles regarding proper running form. Many are a little too technical for my taste. What follows is Arthur Lydiard's take on the subject enclosed in an article I wrote several years ago.
I can't imagine that any readers of this Blog don't know about him and all he did to formulate the fundamentals of distance training. He did a whole lot more for this, the purest of all sports. Here goes:
Something that is most often overlooked by runners is the importance of good running form. Poor running form can add seconds and minutes to your time, and worse yet, lead to injuries.
I believe there is a mistaken belief that we think the way we run is just the way we run, that it's something which is unique to us as a runner and there is no real need to "tinker" with our running style. The majority of runners I see could use varying degrees of instruction on their form, most notably in the way they carry their shoulders.
 Arthur Lydiard gives some great insights on this neglected subject:
" Most people you see running don't know how to run. Invariably, they bring their arms up around their chests somewhere and roll their shoulders.If you run that way,you lose forward momentum by throwing kilos of bodyweight from side to side.Tight shoulders are another fault which wastes effort.
You do need to know how to run properly and how to develop a technique which will direct all your effort into going forward comfortably and as economically as possible.
The key to good running is relaxation.You must be nice and loose in the shoulders.The arms should be loose,relaxed and coming straight through as they do when you walk.The hands come from behind the hips and,when the elbow gets alongside the torso,the arms should flex so that the thumbs are in a line directly in front of the shoulder blade.
Check your footfall by running on sand or across a dewy lawn.To be most effective,your feet should form almost a single straight line."
Any of the above comments speaking to you? Making adjustments to our form takes time,concentration and a self-monitoring of how we are running.
What we've been doing for years won't suddenly change overnight.If we stick with it though, we'll become faster and more efficient runners.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Qualities Needed and Not Needed to Excel in Athletics

Much has been written about what is required to be a successful distance runner. Cerutty's classic, and best book was entitled, Athletics:How to Become a Champion.
Over the decades of my being involved in this,the purest of all sports,distance running,I have found some qualities you need, and some you don't need to become successful. By successful in distance running I mean either competitve success or becoming as fast and fit as you can be.
Obviously,determination and persistence are essential but everyone should know that,let me present a few that are frequently overlooked.The following also applies to athletes of any sport, not just running. Here goes:
1.A love for the sport of distance running is an essential quality needed.This love, that is a part of your being, takes you through the years,the injuries,the changes in your life,the times when you feel you are getting nowhere and every other obstacle that arises along the way.For instance,I'm sure you've seen  runners come and go over the years,some have enjoyed varying degrees of success only to abandon the sport after the success fades,the injuries arrive or they move onto some other activity.When you really love something you stay with it because it.
2.You don't need to be born with natural talent to do well in distance running. Buy a used copy of The Self-Made Olympian by Ron Daws, look up an article I wrote entitled,The Lesson of Ron Daws and you will see how true this statement on talent is.
You will find that you have to pay more attention to the details than the naturally gifted runners but Ron wrote the textbook on achieving much after starting with less.By the way,The Self-Coached Olympian is on my top 5 list of greatest running books of all-time.
3.You must be organized.Having a training program with an accompanying racing schedule is a must.The schedule must reflect work and family demands.More on this below.
4.You need to be goal centered,some may call it self-centered,others maybe selfish.What I mean is,if you really commit to excellence in distance running,you lay out the plan that includes training and racing,you go over it with your significant other or family and then you work your life around that.There are 24 hours in the day so I hardly think taking 2 hours out of 24 is being selfish but.......On a related note,I still haven't figured out why self-described hardcore runners marry people who don't respect their love for running.I mean,it's a part of who they are,it's what in many ways makes them the kind of person their partner finds appealing, so why does this person resent their degree of involvement in running? For far too many significant others it's about control and doing what they want,it's not just about the running.
A refusal to be methodical and organized indicates a questionable desire to succeed.The proof as they say is in the pudding,what you do proves what you say you want.It's easy and fun to lace on the shoes to do a run; for many,it's less exciting to sit down and write in a journal,lay out a schedule or any of the other seemingly mundane tasks that you need to do sans training shoes.
I could go on, but for me,the above are the essentials. I think of other things like you don't require much money to be a runner.I have a friend who has spents thousands of dollars on being a triathlete.His bike cost more than the used car I bought a year ago. I guess that's one of the reasons I refer to distance running as the purest of all sports.
It's natural simplicity is what makes it so great.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Cerutty Speaking His Mind

Subtlety was never Cerutty's strong point. My takeaway from the above? Don't waste your life being a watcher and satiating every desire and urge that comes your way. Live Life Vigorously!