Friday, February 26, 2016

My Philosophy

You don't see with your eyes, you see with your brain. And the more words your brain has, the more you can see.--KRS-One

For those readers that have given years of their life to read my words, you can attest to the fact that I read an awful lot. It doesn't really matter where it comes from as long as it is a topic that I find interesting. Similarly, I listen to music virtually every time I have a moment to turn it on. For those that follow me on social media platforms, you will discover my love of photography. The conglomeration of these things creates a particular sort of person with a specific set of beliefs.


I've learned, over the past year or so, many of the reasons that I love to run. Running, particular when you cross over into calling oneself a runner, is full of science, strategy, and intimate knowledge of how your body works. The first thing I learned when I became certified as a USATF Level 1 coach was coaching philosophy. I was told that if I didn't have one that I needed to get one. All of my favorite coaches, Hall of Fame coaches, are judged by the effectiveness of their philosophies.

If you were to look at the definition of philosophy, I will paraphrase and essentialize (I know, not a word) what it means, it says essentially that philosophers will come up with a way of life and live in that way. In today's world those people are considered heretics or extremists living in a manner not necessarily approved by the masses. It has already been proven that runners live kind of on the fringes. How many non-runners truly understand why we do what we do?

Every coach has such a philosophy. Percy Cerutty, Bill Bowerman, Jack Daniels (the coach not the drink), Paavo Nurmi, Arthur Lydiard, and countless others had ideas that were not popular at the genesis but have become doctrine for running now. I also believe strongly in Nick Saban's approach to coaching. I think overall, despite the many different schools of philosophy, a coach is a pragmatist.

I think I am a pragmatist. The pragmatic approach is to relentlessly pursue the truth. In theory, the truth can never be reached because the search can never fully stop. In simple terms, one will seek the best way to get things done using trial and error and some hypotheses without bureaucracy. Few if any coaches will know from day one which philosophy will generate the most success. If a coach is successful on their first shot it is likely based on luck and will sooner than later crumble.

Many of the Hellenistic schools of philosophy, coupled with pragmatism, shape my thought process as a runner. I will oversimplify here but state plainly what each philosophy means to me. Stoicism, maintains the emotions in a narrow range to not get too high or too low with performance. Eclecticism uses many philosophies to form an idea of the way of life. Aestheticism studies the beauty of art, music, and taste. And as I mentioned before, pragmatism, the relentless search for the truth. Spartan lifestyle is one dedicated to peak physical condition for performance and "Sabanism" incremental dedication to execution in the moment.

I take all of these philosophies and create the runner that hits the street everyday.

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