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Mental Toughness, Stotan Training, Random Ramlings and Other Madman Musings (Read 192 times)

Nimmals


Stotan Disciple

    This wasn't really a topic but I did want a thread to ramble on my constant musings. I have no desire or discipline to maintain a blog so I'm just going to take this little corner and make my own little beet garden.

     

    Parking this right here:

     

    Stotan principles are many and varied, but most importantly it involves training by feel, embracing a holistic regime of natural diets, extremely hard training in natural surrounds, and mental stimulation. By stotan principle you live and train on tenets.  I know some Stotans who take a different approach to training but though different they are all based on phronesis (practical wisdom) learned from experience and then applying it effectively.  To some it seems to lack a science based approach as training schedules are not regimented and planned out. I have my own four tenets that are the cornerstone for my athletes training

    1. Honesty    40%

    2. Flexbility 30%

    3. Self reliance 20%

    4. Mental Toughness 10%

     

    All of which are weighted so the most important is Honesty. Honesty keeps you from over training, it helps you recognize impending injury or burn out. Reaffirms, by evaluating your commitment. If you are honest in your approach to your training, you hold yourself accountable and train to the level you've set. Honesty also make you choose smart attainable goals.

     

    Flexibility is my favorite. My girls love it. Honesty make them consider a workout as assigned. It leads them to be able to think be empowered to make choices and changes.  "Am I on my 1st day hmmm its an intense workout?".  In steps tenet 2, flexibility, that combined honesty let them say "coach I have my period today so Iam just going do to a longish easy run which is better than hard intervals considering my present condition.

     

    See how it works, I use these examples because I mostly coach women. Stotan principles allow you to not merely follow instruction but to promote changes that best suit the athlete.  I tend to be long winded so I'll stop here, its simplified but I hope you get the point.

    Thinking should be done first, before training begins.

      I find these Stotan principles so interesting yet kind of allusive to grasp. I kind of get it but I kind of don't. I just read this article by Alex Hutchinson in Outside Online that talks about using Foucauldian philosophy to help athletes become less docile and more empowered in their training. It gives me the same uneasy but interested feeling that reading your thoughts on training did. Quote from the article... My head would pretty much explode with such impressionistic instructions. 

        The methods of training labelled by Cerutty of "Stotan" (the combination of stoic and spartan) training should not have many different versions.  Bill Aris has adopted some of Cerutty's methods to build his program taking on the Stotan approach.  I don't mean to be critical but if coaches are changing the methods they should call it something else.  Maybe you are not because your post is a little vague so this might not be directed at you in any way.

        IAAF Level 5 / USATF Level 3 Coach (Endurance)

        IAAF Level 5 / USATF Level 3 Coach (Sprints & Hurdles) 

        USTFCCCA Strength & Conditioning Certification

        USATF Cross Country Specialist Coaching Certification

        Nimmals


        Stotan Disciple

          JoAnn, Thank you for sharing that Hutchinson article. I really enjoyed reading, it made a lot of sense. If you ever get a chance please also read Amazing Runners by Marc Bloom. It's based on Bill Arias version of Stotan coaching, a lot of it is based on principles similar to those  applied in the Foucauldian approach. Arias appears to be a philosopher much like the great Cerutty. He provides a lot of structure and at the same time he creates a universe but in that universe the runners share a connection they function as one and though they are all different the slower runner will push to keep up with the faster runner. All the while the faster runner does not hold back. They are encouraged to go out to  do the run together. In all honesty even if the team has 30 boys the elite 6 train together and so you get A,B C squads and A squads weakest must maintain contact in training with its fastest member. They teach the greater good goal which is to win races where places matter. Their goal is to have the lowest score. You will see a lot of these Foucauldian principles at work. There is no written workouts or training plans.

           

          But Percy Cerutty himself went a step further he removed the controls completely he saw himself as a guide or teacher and his aim was that you would become your own coach. He didn't expect you to wait on him, he taught you what to do and as you learned yourself what works best and how to train his goal was that his athletes were thinking athletes who thought about their training. So you were not a docile he removed the controls. I am coaching someone on here and she is in her final weeks and she is writing her schedules and she has only been running with me since late October her highest mileage week and her last week schedule was written by her. Percy empowered his. Athlete much like I empowered my athlete. That's why on another thread I said burn Pfitz and Daniels books while promoting Hudson who talks about the athlete not training by way of a plan but by feel that you learn to coach yourself and master your own progression. I have some people who prefer to be lead but those who want to take control I encourage as long as its in the right direction.

          Here is an excerpt on Percy's end goal.

          "It seems as if Percy believed in teaching his athletes how they should run and what different types of elements to include in their training, but he let the athlete ultimately control his own running schedule.  This allowed the athlete to run how he felt and to be more in touch with nature.  A good quote by his star pupil, Herb Elliott describes this well “He would just inspire you and then leave you pretty much to your own devices. He’d check on the sort of intelligence of your training, to make sure that it made sense, but he just seemed to know that you were committed or you weren’t committed. And if you were committed, he walked away from it at that point.”  Also Percy said in Training with Cerutty on page 12 that “I always encourage the athletes who come to Portsea to be independent in their training.  This can only be accomplished when the person makes his own schedule each day in terms of what he wants to accomplish his life.  When any coach gives a schedule to an athlete, it seems to take all the fun out of athletics.  I only counsel the athlete who seeks my help on running technique, or asks me to evaluate his training diary.”

           

          "Cerutty was the type of coach who unlike many other coaches was not content to coach from the sidelines. He was sometimes twice or three times the age of many of the athletes whom he coached but in spite of this he was often able to match it with them and at times beat them on long runs over the sand hills at his Portsea training camp. Many other coaches of that era and in fact today were "armchair" coaches and completely unable to do this. Below is Percy doing dune sprints with Herb.

           

           

          Percy Cerutty not only taught athletes how to run to the best of their abilities but he also instilled in them an appreciation of the aesthetic beauty of life. This was gained by encouraging his athletes to read poetry and philosophy as part of not only their physical development but also their mental and intellectual development. He was once quoted as saying that there was no use in training an athlete to run a sub-four minute mile if he is incapable of appreciating the wonders of a beautiful sunset.

           

          If you really want to wrap your head around it read

           

          The Extreme Phronesis of Percy Cerutty

          Thinking should be done first, before training begins.

          JMac11


          Taper Czar

            Here are my thoughts on some of the ideas discussed:

             

            - Honesty being number 1 is important. Unfortunately, in today’s world of “kudos”, I think some of that is lost. One bad race or bad week is completely normal. Multiple bad weeks/races require you to really ask whether you are training correctly, or are just stubborn. Every single one of us has fallen into that trap. In the same regard of honesty is integrity. We know about all the course cutters (a contentious topic) but there are plenty of people I’ve seen on Strava run non-certified courses and claim PRs when every single person running the race has a GPS that’s short. Yes, your GPS is not as accurate as course measurement, but claiming a PR on a short course shows that you are not in this for yourself. For me as a golfer, it’s the same thing as not finding your ball in the woods, looking around to see if your partners are paying attention, and then dropping a ball out of your pocket and saying “I found it” Sure, nobody will know, but what’s the point?

             

            - On flexibility, I don’t really agree with burning Daniels/Pfitz, but it’s highly dependent upon how you approach it. There are people who run exactly what those books say and don’t succeed. That is not being flexible. You need to realize what works for you. As with any book, the most important thing is pulling out they principles, e.g. why did the author set up the schedule the way they did? If you understand that, you can modify it and run based upon what is best for your personal circumstances. Of course, I would say the majority of people do not. You will find countless threads of how Daniels 2Q has burned people out. I’ve used Daniels principles for my last 3 marathons, but have never followed the 2Q plan to a tee.

             

            - Finally, linked to the “kudos” world we’re in: people LOVE smashing workouts to show off on social media. Fast easy runs are probably the obvious example of this, but there are plenty more.

             

            So really at the end of the day, I think it’s a combination of using a coach/program, but employing these principles listed. That’s how you get the best success.

            5K: 16:42 (9/20)  |  10K: 34:49 (10/19)  |  HM: 1:15:28 (3/20)  |  FM: 2:36:31 (12/19) 

             

            Next Race: Whatever COVID-19 will allow me to run 

            bhearn


              I find these Stotan principles so interesting yet kind of allusive to grasp. I kind of get it but I kind of don't. I just read this article by Alex Hutchinson in Outside Online that talks about using Foucauldian philosophy to help athletes become less docile and more empowered in their training. It gives me the same uneasy but interested feeling that reading your thoughts on training did. Quote from the article... My head would pretty much explode with such impressionistic instructions. 

               

              Thanks, Joann. I follow Alex but had somehow missed this. Generally anything he has to say I find worth reading. But like you I'm not quite sure what to take away from this one — I'm not a coach, nor am I coached, and my workouts are very different from those he describes. But maybe some of the same principles could still apply.

               

              Nimmals, for those of us (most here, I expect) who have never heard the word "stotan", would you mind backing up and giving us a little context for this post? It looks like you have interesting things to say but I kind of feel like I walked into the middle of a conversation.

                I have my own four tenets that are the cornerstone for my athletes training

                1. Honesty    40%

                2. Flexbility 30%

                3. Self reliance 20%

                4. Mental Toughness 10%

                 

                 

                 

                 

                In the context of the described philosophy, I am finding it difficult to reconcile that these tenets are both ranked AND weighted. I'm probably overthinking it, but not sure why ranking wouldn't be enough.

                Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
                We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes

                  Totally agree, not sure what 40% honesty really means? lol.

                   

                  I like the 4 tenets...feel like they should all be 100 and looked upon/self reflected in general...

                   

                   

                  In the context of the described philosophy, I am finding it difficult to reconcile that these tenets are both ranked AND weighted. I'm probably overthinking it, but not sure why ranking wouldn't be enough.

                  300m- 37 sec.

                  Nimmals


                  Stotan Disciple

                     

                    In the context of the described philosophy, I am finding it difficult to reconcile that these tenets are both ranked AND weighted. I'm probably overthinking it, but not sure why ranking wouldn't be enough.

                     

                    There have been instances where decisions have to be weighed. Sometimes the athlete might find themselves needing to compare 1 or more tenets against another.  Such as 1 vs 3 & 4. I want honesty to always supersede the others.

                    Thinking should be done first, before training begins.

                       

                      There have been instances where decisions have to be weighed. Sometimes the athlete might find themselves needing to compare 1 or more tenets against another.  Such as 1 vs 3 & 4. I want honesty to always supersede the others.

                       

                      Ok. We’re on different planes, and I see no good in playing out this argument, so onward with the discussion...

                      Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
                      We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes


                      Elite Jogger

                         

                         - Honesty being number 1 is important. Unfortunately, in today’s world of “kudos”, I think some of that is lost. One bad race or bad week is completely normal. Multiple bad weeks/races require you to really ask whether you are training correctly, or are just stubborn. Every single one of us has fallen into that trap. In the same regard of honesty is integrity. We know about all the course cutters (a contentious topic) but there are plenty of people I’ve seen on Strava run non-certified courses and claim PRs when every single person running the race has a GPS that’s short. Yes, your GPS is not as accurate as course measurement, but claiming a PR on a short course shows that you are not in this for yourself. For me as a golfer, it’s the same thing as not finding your ball in the woods, looking around to see if your partners are paying attention, and then dropping a ball out of your pocket and saying “I found it” Sure, nobody will know, but what’s the point?

                         

                         

                         

                        As a former keen golfer I love this example of honesty!  We had a guy in our group who had a serious case of ‘the yips’ and when we weren’t playing in a stroke competition he would just lift his ball up and give himself a gimme if it was an inch or less within the hole. There is nothing funnier in sport than watching a golfer with the yips. 😂

                        5k - 17:53 (4/19)   10k - 37:53 (11/18)   Half - 1:23:18 (4/19)   Full - 2:50:43 (4/19)

                        Nimmals


                        Stotan Disciple

                          The methods of training labelled by Cerutty of "Stotan" (the combination of stoic and spartan) training should not have many different versions.  Bill Aris has adopted some of Cerutty's methods to build his program taking on the Stotan approach.  I don't mean to be critical but if coaches are changing the methods they should call it something else.  Maybe you are not because your post is a little vague so this might not be directed at you in any way.

                           

                           

                          I'm usually never understood but I will still try to answer. Cerutty rejected science. Although he was a believer he thought training was more personal he wanted thinking athletes who were not only great at following instruction but that they would also grasp what needed to be done to improve their event. Remember Percy trained swimmers as well as tennis players and he welcomed anyone to his Portsea camp. So even while being an athletics coach, he believed the intellectual and physical training along with healthy eating good habits that promote a healthy lifestyle would lead to the best athlete.  Percy had creeds and tenets himself and always seem to contradict himself.

                           

                          You said the training should not have versions and I disagree. Everyone is different and Percy recognized that. We have several modern day Stotan coaches and each has their own version and interpretation of Stotan training. Bill Aris coaches young HS and middle school kids some as young as 6th grade. He also has a post collegiate team and his methods with them is completely different from those of his high school runners. The principles are there but the approaches are different.

                           

                          Another popular Stotan coach is Mike Spino who won 12 national championships in cross country & track. Unlike Bill Aris he actually studied under Percy Cerutty.  Spino coached almost 40 years after Percy developed Stotanism. He had his own version as well. He would say his is the truest modern form as he was the last coach to be mentored by Cerutty. But I had friends who ran for him so I know his program. He was one of the few coaches who incorporated the Sand dune exhaustion training and built one for his athletes to train on.  Can you be a Stotan without sand dunes? Of course Arias substituted grassy hills, hills, hills… Percy was big on using your terrain immersing yourself in it. I live on a flat island where the shallow sand dunes are protected for rare bird species. So I adapted… adapting is versioning. Adapting allows Stotanism to survive in an era where most can't grasp its relevance.

                          Thinking should be done first, before training begins.

                          Cyberic


                            Very interesting discussion here.

                             

                            Not saying I know everything there is to know about "traditional" training, but discussions about VO2Max and tempos and the like are often very similar.

                             

                            I like it when people throw different stuff at me. Doesn't mean I'll adopt everything people say, whatever their running/coaching resume might be, but I sure am interested in hearing (reading) about it, and you (Nimmals) seem to me like you will throw some different stuff at us, so I'll sure be sticking around to read what you have to say.

                            Proud run commuter since 2017

                            Nimmals


                            Stotan Disciple

                              Very interesting discussion here.

                               

                              Not saying I know everything there is to know about "traditional" training, but discussions about VO2Max and tempos and the like are often very similar.

                               

                              I like it when people throw different stuff at me. Doesn't mean I'll adopt everything people say, whatever their running/coaching resume might be, but I sure am interested in hearing (reading) about it, and you (Nimmals) seem to me like you will throw some different stuff at us, so I'll sure be sticking around to read what you have to say.

                               

                              Hello CyberEric, thanks for popping in. Opinions matter and its important to share ideas and ideals. At times I'm a little hasty in calling for the burning of Daniels and Pfitz texts. While that's not a constructive idea, sometimes cooler heads can sometimes offer a convincing and well place point of view and even if I disagree, I learn something. So while I have my ideas and approaches, I am constantly learning and adapting. I also believe in Kaizen and that's the culture of continuous improvement that's how we improve and become better in athletics, studies or the way we live our life. So welcome and thank you.

                              Thinking should be done first, before training begins.

                                 

                                 

                                I'm usually never understood but I will still try to answer. Cerutty rejected science. Although he was a believer he thought training was more personal he wanted thinking athletes who were not only great at following instruction but that they would also grasp what needed to be done to improve their event. Remember Percy trained swimmers as well as tennis players and he welcomed anyone to his Portsea camp. So even while being an athletics coach, he believed the intellectual and physical training along with healthy eating good habits that promote a healthy lifestyle would lead to the best athlete.  Percy had creeds and tenets himself and always seem to contradict himself.

                                 

                                You said the training should not have versions and I disagree. Everyone is different and Percy recognized that. We have several modern day Stotan coaches and each has their own version and interpretation of Stotan training. Bill Aris coaches young HS and middle school kids some as young as 6th grade. He also has a post collegiate team and his methods with them is completely different from those of his high school runners. The principles are there but the approaches are different.

                                 

                                Another popular Stotan coach is Mike Spino who won 12 national championships in cross country & track. Unlike Bill Aris he actually studied under Percy Cerutty.  Spino coached almost 40 years after Percy developed Stotanism. He had his own version as well. He would say his is the truest modern form as he was the last coach to be mentored by Cerutty. But I had friends who ran for him so I know his program. He was one of the few coaches who incorporated the Sand dune exhaustion training and built one for his athletes to train on.  Can you be a Stotan without sand dunes? Of course Arias substituted grassy hills, hills, hills… Percy was big on using your terrain immersing yourself in it. I live on a flat island where the shallow sand dunes are protected for rare bird species. So I adapted… adapting is versioning. Adapting allows Stotanism to survive in an era where most can't grasp its relevance.

                                 

                                This I a good discussion.

                                 

                                I agree with the contention that Cerutty did not believe in a "cookie cutter" type schedule.  I admire this as you do, but I believe I have a slightly different view.

                                 

                                Most really good coaches today have a schedule as a plan, assess how their athletes feel and then change it accordingly.  I have the season mapped out for my XC team yet I can't remember a week going to plan at any point during our last season due to many unpredictable variables.  Most of the better coaches would agree not to blindly follow a plan.  Believe or not Daniels and Pfitz also agree to go by feel and not follow schedules to the letter although they provide them in their literature.  But the schedules provide a framework for training.  Lydiard also used to print schedules in his books but only because the publishers pressured him to.  He hated the idea of it.  

                                 

                                For my team of 30+ kids in the fall on any given day I have 6-8 training groups at different paces with some athletes being "dropped off" earlier than others in the run.  My top runners return and sometimes add on depending on the day.  So I might have as many as 20 different variations of training on each day depending on the athlete.   

                                 

                                Today's elite coaches have a framework to their training but change them according to their athlete's needs.  And, they understand that one schedule does not fit all.

                                 

                                Cerutty had a different view of science, but I wouldn't say he rejected it. To Cerutty is was a blend of philosophy and science.  Cerutty writes, "I freely admit my debt to all the great minds that have gone before, from Plato and Aristotle, right through to Newton, Hackenschmidt and Hoffman, the fathers of the modern world athletics era. I have read widely, on all subjects, ranging from Freud to Krishnamurti, Buddha and Jesus, to Carrell, Jeans and Einstein.  What have these hundred or more 'authorities', scientists, philosophers, to do with world-class athletic performance?  I say everything..."

                                 

                                "How to become a champion" is a mix of philosophy, attitude, lifestyle, training ideals, etc.  There is information about conditioning and form translating to speed.  Some of his other books like, "Middle Distance Running", and "Be fit or be damned!"  explain exactly the kind of training and specifically references training paces needed to compete at the highest levels.

                                 

                                For today's athlete I firmly believe that you need a good balance between guidance, coaching, assessment, and explanation of the goals of each session.  It's important for a knowledgeable coach to find the right direction not only for each session but for the macrocycle without undermining the athlete's long term development.  An objective point of view from the coach can be very helpful in that most motivated athletes can get impatient without considering the consequences or even a thought about periods of recovery and adaptation.

                                 

                                To have a grasp on what type of training works with each athlete a coach must analyze age, training age, muscle fiber type, body type, injury history, health concerns and history, lifestyle, personality and psychological considerations, etc...

                                 

                                To get the "buy in" from your athletes as a coach, particularly from a team I believe you need to be up to speed on all of the principles and theories of sports science.  As an example, if you are explaining to a group of sprinters you are training that their phosphocreatine levels rebound to 85% on average after a 3 minute rest after a 50 meter sprint in training, and the goal is to hit the same intensity on the next rep using the recovered levels, then they will want to wait the 3 minutes.  The next time you have that workout, with that goal in mind you will not even have to tell them to wait that long.  Your normally impatient sprinters (that  want to get out of there ASAP) will wait willingly because they understand why that rest period is beneficial for that type of session.

                                IAAF Level 5 / USATF Level 3 Coach (Endurance)

                                IAAF Level 5 / USATF Level 3 Coach (Sprints & Hurdles) 

                                USTFCCCA Strength & Conditioning Certification

                                USATF Cross Country Specialist Coaching Certification

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