Sunday, February 27, 2011

Remembering Jack Foster

Recently in the running mags I've read articles pertaining to growing older and dealing with the inevitable slower racing performances. I can't help but think of Jack Foster when I see these articles.As I write this, I wonder how many runners today even know who Jack Foster was. Foster emigrated to New Zealand from England at the age of 24.Before and after his move he was a serious cyclist but gave that up for a number of years when he started running at age 32. His running accomplishments are remarkable to say the least. At the age of 39 he set a world record for the 20 mile run.The one record he is most known for is the one he set at the age of 41 in the marathon, 2:11:19 at the Commonwealth Games where he won a silver medal. This master's record would stand for 16 years. He also ran the marathon at the '72 Munich Olympics(age 40) and the '76 Montreal Olympics(age 44) where he finished 8th and 17th respectively. In 1975 he was a member of the New Zealand team that won the World Cross-Country title.There were other records set and marathons won (8) during his career but Jack Foster was more than just a man who achieved running success at an age when most resign themselves to what I call "diminishing returns." Friends and elite runners alike remarked at the appreciation he had for life and the zest he had for living it. It was reflected in everything he did,even his training,of which he said: "I don't train; never have. I don't think of running as training. I just go out and run each day,and let the racing take care of itself." As far as growing older and running Foster said this: "I feel like I'm running as fast as always--as long as I don't look at my watch." When he realized that he had lost his passion for running he returned to his first love, cycling, which he resumed with the same zeal he had applied to running. Fellow New Zealander John Walker said this when visiting him shortly before his death at age 72: "Jack hadn't changed. It was like seeing him 20 years ago, the bike kept him young, at 72 he was a young man." Sadly, a cycling accident would end Jack's life shortly after this meeting. As I have said before,it is nice to see when there is more to a champion than just great times and records. May we all learn from Jack's example and heed the words of the sign that was pinned to the wall in his garage which said, "We don't cease to play because we grow old. We grow old because we cease to play."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Regarding Dean Karnazes

Friday, Dean Karnazes,endurance athlete and ultrarunner,began his run across America from Disneyland in California. Reports say Karnazes will average 50 t0 60 miles a day,it is predicted that he will arrive in Manhattan around May 11 where he will finish at the studio of "Live! With Regis and Kelly." The show will be providing daily updates of his run. Predictably,the running forums and blogs have used this event to bash and criticize Karnazes as they have done on a regular basis in the past. I find their doing so unfortunate and perplexing. Unlike Stan Cottrell of the '70's, who claimed to have completed some incredible ultra runs only to be proven a fraud, Karnazes is a great runner.He is a past winner of the Vermont 100 mile Endurance Run and the Badwater Ultra. Those who question his racing ability need to do a quick search and they'll see the degree of difficulty as it relates to those two events. He's won other races and has done such things as run 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states, as well as run 350 miles in 80 hours without stopping.A few years back when he dnf'd at the Western States 100 mile Trail Run, people on the web posted derogatory comments questioning his courage and his ability as a runner. Interestingly,these same people will post on Scott Jurek's and Anton Krupicka's blogs expressing their sympathy when both of these runners dnf a race. Jurek has been openly critical of Karnazes in the past,something that runs contrary to his persona. So why all the disdain and hate for a runner,who at age 48, is clearly an outstanding athlete? Why is it silly to think this way? You don't have to be a graduate in psychology to recognize that the primary reasons for this are envy and/or jealousy. Another reason might be, and a belief I once held to, is that Karnazes' self-promotion can be a little grating and runs contrary to the view we have of the quiet,introspective distance runner. When you think about it though,who can blame a guy for behaving in a way that allows him to make a living doing something he loves? Wouldn't we all want to? I know I would.
Ultimately,hating Dean is silly and foolish. Why? The answer is simple and it all has to do with the promotion of running. The only time I read anything about running in the two newspapers I receive is when the Pre meet is being held and maybe the Millrose Games. Usually,other then that, I won't see a thing about distance running until it's getting near the time of the Olympics.However,there have been a few occasions in the last two years when I have seen articles written about running other than during the Pre meet or Millrose Games.First was when Karnazes was running the 50 marathons and the other was this past Friday as he began his cross country run. When I was growing up features about runners and races were a regular part of the sports section of the newspaper, track meets were covered just like baseball and basketball games are today. As a result of this kids were encouraged to take up running and join track and cross-country teams at school. I'm sure running still flourishes in certain parts of the country but nowhere near like it once did.Instead of criticizing Dean, we should be thankful that because of him more articles about running are being published in the mainstream media. It is my hope that because of this coverage, others will be encouraged to take up the greatest and purest of all sports,running.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lessons From Lydiard,pt.2

"The idea that you can't lose contact with the leaders has cut more throats than it has saved," quote by Arthur Lydiard.
The above quote contradicts the instruction of every running coach I've ever had. It would probably not be an exaggeration to say that it also goes against the advice I've heard most other coaches give.However, Arthur's quote makes alot of sense when you stop and think about it. I say this because you cannot make all encompassing statements about racing strategy.This is because you need to consider the length of the race as well as the type of runner that is racing. Runners have strengths and weaknesses,not all do well with the mindset that you must keep in contact with the leader no matter what.We've all seen races where a runner has made his way up through the pack or surged over the last lap to win.Conversely, we have also seen the front runner of a race eventually fade near the end.There is a time to hang with the leader but using your head and assessing the competition as well as yourself during the race is the smart way to run.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Something to Think About,pt.9

John Wooden was named the greatest coach of all-time in 2009 by The Sporting News.There are not too many people who could provide a convincing argument as to why this recognition isn't warranted.He garnered 600+ wins as coach of the men's UCLA basketball team but this is not the sole reason he received this honour. Wooden had a profound and lasting influence on his players,he stressed character building as much as he did developing their basketball skills. If only we had more coaches like him in the collegiate ranks today.The following is a quote by Coach Wooden:
"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
This sort of reminds me of the earlier post that pertained to negativity. For most,we have a tendency to look at what is lacking in our running instead of considering our strengths.We all underestimate what we can accomplish and need to provide ourselves with daily reminders that our perceived limitations are too often self-imposed.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


"Nothing seems more appealing and easier than considering a running comeback over a few beers." I wrote the above several years ago in one of the articles for The Stotan News. I suppose I could add to this quote that what you hope to achieve in a comeback increases in appeal and ease as your consumption of beer increases.I don't know about you but I have set many goals and planned several comebacks over the years. Some have pertained to achieving a specific time in an event while others have related to running more mileage. For various reasons,more often than not, I have not achieved these goals. The beauty of it all for those of us who live for the run, is that our love of running and the process of attempting to reach those goals more than makes up for falling short of them. I have seen many runners over the decades,runners who are very talented, quit running because they did not reach their self-imposed goals. Two obvious conclusions can be drawn from this: #1. they put too much importance on achieving these goals,#2.they ran for reasons other than just the pleasure of running. Now I don't want to sound like "the Penguin" but it really is too bad any time a runner gives it up because he believes he's fallen short of his aspirations.Let's put things in proper perspective,for the majority of us we will not be toeing the starting line at the upcoming Olympic trials. So why are we allowing ourselves to become neurotic,obsessed and ultimately discouraged because we didn't hit such and such a time or finish in this or that place? Racing performance should never be allowed to destroy our love of running!
Perhaps I digress but this brings us to what this post was supposed to be about today,comebacks. How 'bout you? Have you drifted away from something you once thought would always be an integral part of your life? I'm speaking of running here. Have you allowed yourself to be drawn away from running because of certain "things" that you have placed far too much importance in? Do you feel a twinge of regret when you think back to the days when you were "into it"? How do you feel when you see a runner going by? You know what I'm getting at,if you feel the regret or you think wistfully back to the days when you ran,you know that you're prime for a comeback. Ultimately,running is a profoundly healthy activity,you owe it to your loved ones to stay healthy so you need to make a comeback.For those who contend that they don't have the time I suggest two things,#1. turn off that box called the television and you'll suddenly find you have the time, #2. make the time because the physical health you attain from running brings a type of peace and happiness unattainable by any other means.
And for those of you who are still running but feel you are drifting away, I say this,set some new goals like increasing your mileage or entering certain races or training over new courses and terrains.Always keep in mind this essential point though,never let any goal you have set sabotage your love for the purest of all sports,running.

Tommorrow I will offer a few suggestions to those who are beginning a comeback. For anyone who may be interested I have started a Stotan Runners page on Facebook.

Friday, February 18, 2011


There is something about a sports comeback that is so appealing. Even people who don't follow sports will read the articles and books and watch the movies that recount some athlete's unexpected return from nowhere to achieve success. I suppose in part,that is one of the reasons I found the movie, On the Edge starring Bruce Dern to be so good. This was a fictional account of a runner attempting to make a comeback after being banned from racing because he had at one time violated amateur regulations.
There is no question in my mind that the greatest running comeback ever was Alberto Salazar's record setting win at the 1994 Comrades Marathon. After years of injury and illness Alberto returned and won a race traditionally dominated by elite ultra runners. Few in the running world would have disagreed with the statement that prior to this race Alberto's best running days were far behind him. For those who may not realize, Comrades is a 52.9 mile race, not 26.2. Why they call it a marathon I am not entirely sure but it is one of the premier sporting events held in the world each year.I'll always remember learning of his win the day after when I picked up a copy of the USA Today newspaper and saw three very short paragraphs describing it.I wasn't even aware that he had been training and planned to race at the Comrades. The other thing that made this win so incredible was that this is a race always won by the very best and experienced ultra runners in the world. As I later read stories that covered this race I learned that Salazar's entry was viewed with skepticism by the other top runners. Often in the past elite marathoners with pr's below 2:20 had entered and went on to "crash and burn". But not Alberto, he not only won but he set a record on that day. In describing his win he said, "what happened was a miracle." I would encourage everyone to do a search on the Web and read the stories relating to his win,they are so inspiring. It's really amazing how few people who follow running are even aware of Alberto's comeback. The account of his win would make a great book.Someone call Kenny Moore.
Tomorrow I will post Comebacks,pt.2.,comebacks are not just for the formerly great,they can be for you and me as well.

Something to Think About,pt.8

"Until you know how to peak at certain events you don't know anything about training," a quote by Arthur Lydiard from Running Magazine(British,Feb. '87).
Those who choose to adhere to a training schedule in preparation for a specific racing season will recognize how true the above statement is. So many people say they are training to get ready to race but will basically just do some mileage for awhile and then start their interval work that continues up to and through their racing season. These people are locked into the flawed belief that you have to run fast to race fast.If you are familiar with the fundamental principles of distance training you will realize that this statement is only partially true. I say this because there is a certain time in your training in which you do "speed work" that precedes a period of time where you can race at an optimal level.You may recall from a prior post entitled, Lessons From Lydiard, that training should introduce increasingly more stressful workouts as your body is able to handle them.This all leads to a point where your conditioning reaches a peak and you are ready to race.Since we are human beings and not machines,it is logical to assume that we can race well for only a certain amount of time before we get what is sometimes called "diminishing returns." To learn how to peak properly takes time, and the willingness to take the time to study and "listen" to your body.Unfortunately,many who say they want to train in order to get in their best possible racing condition, are unwilling to do this,choosing to simply run intervals pretty much all year.If you are willing to put in the time and effort,why not do it right?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Something to Think About,pt.7

"Those persons who cannot work alone,who must always be surrounded by companions,who do not instinctively prefer to train and practice alone,or as near to being alone as possible,such persons can never expect to achieve the successes that otherwise could be theirs," a quote from Success in Sport and Life by Percy Cerutty.
The above brings to mind a few things as it pertains to people who are seriously committed to running. First, I think we've all known people who would rather not run then go for a long run alone. Some have told me it gets "boring" when they're out there for several miles and they don't have someone to talk to. I believe a statement like this shows, to a certain degree, a lack of mental toughness and discipline. We are increasingly becoming a society that is continuously surrounded by sounds,be it music or someone talking. It should be a welcome relief to be able to engage in something where you can be alone in your enviroment and thoughts. I've heard runners tell me that they do their best thinking when they are out on a long easy run.
Others have told me that long runs,alone and away from traffic,provide a contemplative aspect to their running.
If you are indeed serious about your running,do not ignore the necessity and benefits that can be gained from running alone.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Buffalo's Incredible Running Tradition

Recently after connecting with, and looking around the excellent site,, I began to think about the long and rich running history Buffalo has.I had lived in the Buffalo area all my life until June 2000 when I moved to Raleigh,NC where I stayed for for a year and a half. I remember how surprised I was when I discovered that Raleigh,a city that was bigger and had more readily available running places than Buffalo,couldn't begin to compare with what was going on in Buffalo running-wise.There were more races,more runners and more running clubs in Buffalo.I have never spent too much time in Boston but I believe that,outside of Boston having more famous runners connected with their area, that Buffalo had and still has, a running community equal to Bostons'. To those few who don't know,Boston is one of a handful of cities in the U.S. that is considered the running "mecca," or place to be for runners.
The following are some of my early memories about running and racing in Buffalo. You may not live in this area but I'm sure some of the following will lead you to think back to when you first got into your local running scene.
The first local road race I ran was in the mid to later 70's and was at a place called the Eldredge Bicycle Club in Tonawanda,NY. It was a staggered race that sent runners out in stages based on their best time in I believe the mile run. The course was probably between 2 and 3 miles long,we started by going out the side door of the gym after the race director told us to Go! Back then it was not uncommon to see staggered races. Not too long after that I ran what came to be called the "Turkey Trot" on Thanksgiving Day. The race was small enough at that time where you could register on the day of the race. Today, this is no longer possible because the race has grown and has an entry number set at 13,000. By the way,it is said to be the oldest continuing foot-race in the United States.The thing I loved about the race was that it was basically 5 miles(8k) straight down Delaware Ave with inclines and declines along the way.All the really good runners from Buffalo and out-of-town would make it a point of racing here on Turkey Day.
You know at the heart of every running town is the running shops.We had two Runner's Roosts stores on Hertel Ave,one if you can believe this,was totally dedicated to selling only Adidas shoes and products. What was nice about these shops back then was that the staff were runners who actually knew about what they were selling. I recall that Ralph Zimmerman worked at the Adidas store for awhile.
Also essential to a running community,running clubs. The early clubs that had a real impact were the Greater Buffalo Track Club,Buffalo Philharmonic AC, Belle Watling AC and Checkers AC. Many were comprised of good runners but they also had a number of,for lack of a better word,"unique" personalities among their ranks. There was a tradition among a few of these clubs to qualify for, and make the annual trek to Boston to run the marathon. May I quickly add that this was back during the days when qualifying for Boston was a real challenge.
Of course, what would a running town be without your running bars. There was Checkers on Hertel Ave which was owned by a guy who ran,I'll always remember the big poster of Bill Rodgers that was on the wall. Then there was Coles on Elmwood Ave,they had a yearly race that finished right in front of the restaurant. The night of that race they always had a dinner/party of which I frankly don't recall too well for reasons I'd rather not get into here.
With a great running town there is always a great marathon.For Buffalo it was the Skylon marathon which went from downtown Buffalo,over the Peace Bridge into Canada and then along the waterfront to Niagara Falls,Ontario. If I'm not mistaken, I believe it was the first international marathon run in the U.S.,the other one is based out of Detroit. Skylon was also the site for two Olympic Marathon qualifiers in 1980 and 1984.
When you speak of running towns, you know they always have to have a central place where it seems everyone runs,from the jogger to the serious runner. For Buffalo,that place was and is Delaware Park, a 1.779 mile loop surrounding a golf course.
I could go on but I think you see what I mean when I say Buffalo has a rich running history. The great thing is,is that Buffalo still has a vibrant running community.If you go to the Buffalo Runners site written above you will see for yourself.There are a phenomenal amount of races throughout the year with big numbers running in most of them.
They are now in the process of establishing a Western New York Running Hall of Fame,there are so many people who could be eligible for this Hall. I am thinking of the runners who made up the running scene from the 70's,people like: Lanny Doan,Alex Trammell,Margarita Ekiss,Ralph Zimmerman,Nancy Mieczak,Harvey"Skip" Sipel,Gloria Brown, Marjorie Bessell, Matthew Hellerer,Dan Loncto,Joe Campbell,Tom Donnelly,Dave Bogdan,Carl Pegels,Dave Broad,Joan Zirkelbach,Tony Napoli,Bill Maloney,Dick Kendall,Henry May,Hank Shealy,Richard Sullivan,Jesse Kregal,Jack O'Sullivan,Jack Meegan,Gordon Walker,Mike Mieczak,Fred Gordon,Richard Saunders,Fran Emmerling,John Felix,Tom Courtney and I am sure there are others I can't recall at the moment.
Here's to Buffalo and all the great runners,past and present, that have made it into the great running town that it is.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Something to Think About,pt.6

"There are no secrets to running success,anyone who says there are is probably trying to sell you something." A quote from Real Running,a book by Marty Liquori and John L.Parker.

How true the above is.It seems every year or so there is a book that touts a new technique or program that will "revolutionize" your running. Many are well intentioned while others are yet another attempt by an author to make money and gain an audience.I recall one book that was quite popular 10 years ago and promoted a certain technique for running.When I was living in Raleigh I saw that the author was going to have a two day seminar not too far from where I lived. Although I didn't believe in what he was promoting, I thought I'd attend anyway.When I called the contact number I was informed that the charge for attending was $375, needless to say I didn't attend. I believe I've said this before,there are no new techniques for learning how to dribble a basketball,throw a baseball or hit a golf ball,so why should we think there are new ways to train and get ready to race? Conditioning always involves starting at a point where the workouts are less stressful and gradually become more so as your fitness level improves,then there is a point you arrive at where you can race at an optimal level for a certain period of time.There is a natural progression and logic to this system that just makes sense.

I have put up a Stotan Runners page on Facebook that is totally unrelated to this site.It's my attempt to connect with others who have questions about Cerutty,are interested in the Stotans, or are Stotans.As I have said previously,the biggest misconception regarding Stotanism is that it's all about running hard in a cross-country type enviroment. It's much more than that, it's also a philosophy that encompasses values, how you look at life, and how you deal with its challenges.

The above was originally put out this past Friday, due to a computer problem it was deleted the next day. A new quote with a commentary will be posted tomorrow.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lessons From Lydiard,pt.1

One of the misconceptions regarding Arthur Lydiard is that he's an advocate of long slow running or what is most often written as LSD. People that attribute this to Lydiard seek to justify this assertion by citing his quote,"miles make the champions". People who are critical of Lydiard's training principles are as a rule those who have not read his books or listened to his interviews.One thing that he taught when I attended an all day seminar he gave back in the early 90's was that you adapt his system to who you are as a runner. This of course takes a person who is willing to devote the time to evaluate himself and acquire more than just a casual knowledge of running and training.In this MTV, sound bite,fast food nation we live in,people have a tendency to want others to give them a schedule they can simply pick up and follow. One of the first things I learned as a coach was that every runner has different strengths,weaknesses and needs which you have to be aware of when you set up their workouts. I can't tell you how many times I've watched H.S. coaches send their whole team out on a killer workout when it looked to me that a third of them didn't have the conditioning to finish it. It's a real shame when potentially good young runners give up because they are trained poorly by coaches who either don't have a clue or don't care.But I digress. What I'm about to write is training 101 for those familiar with Lydiard but bear with me. I have spoken to alot of people who weren't aware of this aspect of Lydiard's training.
What follows is a direct quote from Lydiard: "It is necessary to run as many miles as you possibly can at economic or aerobic speeds to lift your oxygen uptake to your highest possible level as the foundation upon which to base your anaerobic or speed training." I just marvel at the utter wisdom,truth and simplicity of that statement. He goes on to say: "To gain the best results for the time spent in training,it is important to run at your best aerobic speed." So much for saying that Lydiard advocates long slow distance. At this point I would like to recommend,once again, that you go online and pick up a used copy of his Running With Lydiard if you don't have one.I prefer his late 70's,early 80's editions to the one put out by Meyer and Meyer in the 90's called,Running To the Top. All these books will provide more detail as well as the rationale and benefits as it pertains to reaching your best aerobic speed.
For those who may not know,aerobic running is when you can run comfortably and don't become winded because you have not gone into oxygen debt(anaerobic) as you do from running fast.Simply put, this is what Lydiard recommends: begin by running out and back courses. Run out at an easy(aerobic) pace for say 10 minutes(time can vary depending on your fitness),when you reach 10 minutes, turn around and run back to your starting point.If it takes longer to return, then you realize that you went out too fast and so you were forced to slow down in returning to the start. Lydiard says," You will soon learn about your present capabilities and fitness and so adjust your running efforts accordingly. Progressively the running time daily should be increased so that as your oxygen uptake improves you will find the training progressively easier and your possibilities of increasing running time greater." I'll add two things right here,one,if there was ever a time that a heart-rate monitor was appropriate,this would be it.Obviously though, this is not a must have item to do this type of training.Secondly,and this is what I often don't see experienced runners doing during their aerobic training phase,they don't use several courses of different distance and terrain that they can run during the week and gauge how they are progressing as far as increasing their aerobic uptake. This is what the beginning runner should do once they have gotten into better shape and can move on from the out and back workouts mentioned earlier.I have always found that running different courses during the week and observing my aerobic progress makes my training even more interesting. The challenge for all of us though is to not go into oxygen debt during these runs because we are trying to "beat the clock." Doing this type of base,aerobic building workouts lays the foundation for what is to come.
More on what that is at another time.
Due to a computer problem,Something to Think About,pt.6, which was posted earlier today,had to be removed and will be put back up tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Learning From the Legends,pt.2.

A big quality you see in successful people is persistence. When they encounter obstacles or don't meet their goals, they re-evaluate what they've been doing, then regroup and continue on. Sadly, for most, too many people allow a type of thinking that will inevitably lead them to abandon their hopes and dreams. That type of thinking is negativity or being negative. The two people I quote below are not simply offering statements regarding negativity,they faced and overcame it personally and from others. Jack LaLane for instance preached a message of fitness well before it became fashionable. More specifically, early in his career he taught the necessity of all athletes to train with weights.The prevailing opinion at that time was that weight training would cause athletes to become muscle bound,ultimately leading to diminished performance. We all know who was proven right in this area.Derek Clayton, from Australia,set the world record for the marathon in 1969.That record stood for an incredible 12 years.Prior to setting the record Clayton reached a point in his running where the kind of improvement he desired wasn't happening.He examined how he had been training and then made some changes,the most notable of which was increasing his mileage.By the way,Clayton was also the first marathoner to go under 2:10 when he set a W.R. in '67 at the Fukuoka marathon.
Derek Clayton is quoted here from a story about him in Guide to Distance Running by Dave Prokop(1971),"Negative thinking never achieves anything in life;therefore,I refuse to have it in my make-up."
Jack LaLane,from a Spring 1999 interview published in the magazine,"What is Enlightenment?"
"I try to keep all the negative stuff out of my brain because negativity is like a poison."

I particularly like LaLane's quote because negativity will pervade your whole being if you allow it to. Many times you have to fight against such thoughts and feelings. Ever have thoughts come into your head in regards to running that say things like,"what are you doing this for,you're not getting anything for it," or, "you just don't have the ability to do it." I think we all have.Personally,when I do,I think about Ron Daws and how I have accomplished some things that at one time I didn't believe I could.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Aging and Running

I am often perplexed and somewhat amused when I hear people who are "old" make these two comments: "If I had to go back and do it again,I wouldn't change a thing," the other one is, " I wouldn't want to be (pick an age) again for anything." I say this to those two statements, gosh, would I ever like to go back and change many things I've done in the past,and, although I consider myself a very youthful 61,it would be OK with me if you wanted to take ten years off my age.There is however one advantage to the aging process, and that is that for most with age,comes the attainment of a certain amount of wisdom that's gained from your life experiences.For those of us who live for the run and have been at it for years,we've learned many things about running and training. With me,when I think about some of the things I once did and thought in regards to running,training and racing, I just shake my head. Much of what I did wrong was done either in ignorance or because I allowed myself to get so neurotic about trying to be a better runner.What follows are some suggestions as to what to do with your running as you get older,it's by no means the definitive and complete list.
I'll begin by stating the obvious,with increasing age comes a drop off in not only racing performance, but there is also a change in your ability to train hard and recover from workouts. Here is an interesting point though,everyone has a different age where they reach that drop off. For some it may begin at 35, for others 40, or for some of the lucky ones it may even be 45.Every experienced runner who is at least mildly in tune with their body recognizes when that point is. It's foolish to recognize this point and continue to train as you once did.So,what follows are my humble suggestions and guidelines to deal with advancing age.
1.We all want to run forever so we must recognize that our running should no longer be primarily focused on optimal racing performance. I'll quickly add that this doesn't mean you shouldn't try and want to race faster.I'll address this point a little further down the list but keep this in mind,hard training and racing month in and month out is not condusive to a long healthy life.This is not my opinion,it's the belief of Docs and athletic experts who are runners and work with athletes, anerobic training and racing is very stressful on almost all parts of your body no matter what your age.
2.As we age there is a tendency to put on weight. To minimize stress on your joints and heart we must keep our weight at an optimal level even if that means making changes to our diet. I know I can no longer drink the beer and eat the pizza to the frequency and degree I once did.I find it amazing at local road races when I see overweight runners running as hard as they can.I give them credit for wanting to run fast but there's no way they should until they lose the weight.For them,longer,slower training interspersed with walking breaks should be the key as well as eating less(the VanAaken method).
3.Here's something I found to be essential as far as dealing with advancing age,maintain regularity with your running,don't take breaks from running. I realized that when I somehow wasn't able to run for several days I was more prone to things like calf,muscle and tendon problems. If I take any days off from training it is spent walking with some brief 10 minute per mile jogs thrown in.
4. Finally,as mentioned above,with age must come a decrease in the amount and degree of intensity of your running. Consider Ed Whitlock who set an outrageous marathon record for 70 yr.old runners by running well below the 3 hour mark. What made up the bulk of his training? Easy 2 hour runs daily at a park near his home. More of an emphasis on aerobic training is needed but Arthur Lydiard adds: "as we get older we are inclined to lose our speed;therefore it is necessary to put in more (aerobic) training to retain suppleness and also do some sprint training workouts.A good idea is to bring into your weekly training one or two sessions of fast relaxed running near your best speed but still keeping relaxed over over about 100 mtrs. with a 250 jogging interval before starting another." I have found that doing an easy 10 or 15 minute jog before starting say 2 or 3 sets of four reps,depending on your level of fitness, is very effective.Ideally, these workouts finish with a slow jog and are run over a stable,firm grass or dirt surface.Once again,why run on concrete or other hard surfaces if you can avoid doing so?
There is nothing sadder than seeing a runner whose running career was cut short far too soon because he didn't know or ignored the necessity of making some concessions to age. I'm sure we all know people that this has unfortunately happened to.
For those who might be interested, Meyer and Meyer published a book by Arthur Lydiard called, Distance Training for Masters which is quite good,you can purchase it used at Amazon for a fairly low price.

FYI,for those new to this site; a new article is published each weekend day, then on another one or two days during the week a quote with a commentary is posted. Also,if you look to Blog Archive on the right side of the title page,you will see 2010,click there and you can read, First Post,What This Site is All About.It is my goal to provide something you don't find at most running blogs and sites.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Stotans,pt.1

I'd like to preface this by saying the purpose of this blog continues to be what I stated it was going to be in the very first entry.If you haven't read it,simply look to the right side of this page and click 2010 under Blog Archive.I recognize that I frequently reference Percy Cerutty but if you've had the opportunity to read some of his books,especially, Athletics:How To Become A Champion,you would understand why.I first became aware of Cerutty in the late '80's when a friend gave me a paper with his picture that had some of his beliefs written on it. His concepts that athletics were essential to life and happiness,that humans cannot be "reduced to the status of a machine," that training is best varied and done in nature as well as the need to avoid fixed rigid schedules for training were instantly appealing to me.Soon after, I got some of his books and began to tell my running friends about him.They too found Percy's teachings exciting and wanted to follow them. Out of this expressed desire I started my version of the Stotans. We ran the trails, did the trail,cross-country races and attempted to live the Stotan life as best we could.Designating myself as "Leader",I wrote a brief list of things that described what this "club" was all about in response to inquiries as to who we were. Written slightly with tongue in cheek, yet with genuine enthusiasm,the message I tried to get across was that being a Stotan might not be for everyone but it's too bad that it wasn't.The Stotans still exist, they're all over the country,I moved to an island on the east coast of North Carolina to establish what I call The New Portsea.If you find what Cerutty taught appealing and want to know more or simply have questions,just email me at .Bear with me,tomorrow I'll offer an article on Aging and Running.What follows is what I wrote as a description of who the Stotans are.
A very few words on The Club.
Every now and then someone will ask me what the Hell does Stotan mean? Simply put,Stotan is an offshoot of the word Stotanism(a union of the words stoic and spartan). Stoic-indifference or ability to accept pain---spartan---a person of great fortitude.Percy Cerutty originated the word,he believed that running should be arduous,yet spontaneous and free-spirited, taking place over a variety of terrains. Structure and regularity is for work,endless laps of the track and around a park dull your mind and body.
New members are by referral of existing members only and subject to approval by the Leader. However, it is doubtful that the Leader would go against the good judgement of an existing member.
A prospective member must love distance running,especially over the trails,hills and mountains .
A prospective member would never view cross-country as something that gets you in shape for track.
A prospective member can talk for five minutes without mentioning his accomplishments or impending greatness.
A prospective member knows and recognizes the accomplishments and greatness of Arthur Lydiard.
A prospective member also knows that there is more to hard training than preparing for your next 5k road race.
Finally,a prospective member knows that Stotan running is free,strenuous,instinctual and NEVER routine.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Something to Think About,pt.5

"I am convinced that movement is life--activity in the human being regenerates,makes for life. That ease,rest,relaxation,unless well-earned,is the way to a painful finish. I have become convinced of this,and I am committed,as long as I have life in me,to a future of activity and exercise. To me there is no other way. Next year,I hope to teach many people the reason for these beliefs. I do not do what I do thoughtlessly. I am a man of technical and scientific training. The whole subject of the health of man,the possibility of regeneration and the certainty of being able to enjoy life to the full,as a man should,is open to everyone. I believe that I am demonstrating that. But the way is not easy.It is hard. Only those of courage would attempt it. But the reward is certain." ( a quote by Percy Cerutty from his biography,Why Die? by Graem Sims).
Two things impress me about the above quote: first,it was probably written in 1947,very few people at that time were teaching the truth that activity and exercise are essential to a long,healthy and happy life. Secondly, to say Cerutty's desire to reach out to others and let them know what he had discovered was admirable,would be an understatement.
Sadly, in this world you see many people who are facing the "painful finish" he describes in this quote. Perhaps we need to take the Cerutty message to them.

As a note to those who are new to this site, new articles will be posted on each weekend day. I will also try to post quotes and excerpts with commentaries at least twice during the week.