Including this morning, I’ve been running now, in one way or the other, for about forty years. Running to train for football, boxing, track, adventure races, marathons and triathlons and of course for the Marine Corps, not to mention my present job as an instructor. The point being is I know a little something about running as a means of getting in, and staying in shape. Not everything by a long shot, but like most Marines I learned most of what I know the hard way, by my own mistakes and successes. One thing for sure is that while running in shorts, t-shirt and running shoes is a great conditioning method, its not the end all if you’re a first responder or in the military. In my book Corps Strength, I’ve spoken about training with weighted vests, and wearing boots to simulate the weight of the gear you have wear while doing your job. Another important aspect is conditioning your body (and mind) is to hand carry something while moving. Most military people have some experience with this: running while carrying your rifle is a boot camp standard, and First Responders need to condition themselves in the same way, as firemen (especially Wildland firefighters) have to hand carry gear when climbing hills, stairs, ladders, etc. SWAT guys carry weapons and gear, and EMT’s carry boxes of medical supplies, oxygen bottles, same concept for all.
A simple way to do this is to carry something that simulates what you have to carry on duty. A real weapon, or equipment isn’t always practical, and it’s sure to freak out the public if you decide to take a jog at the local park with your favorite AR at port arms. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee in today’s world you’ll have a cop up your butt in a hot minute if you do. Better just to avoid all this drama and carry something that gives you the same workout without the risk of getting shot or arrested. Here at the schoolhouse I talked my boss in laying out a few bucks (more than a few in fact) for a set of rubber training rifles for my students to PT with. They are the same exact size and weight of a M4, but are just blue rubber. To make it a better training tool, we tape a 3lb weight to the fore stock. It looks and handles like a real rifle, but is harmless and the bright blue color cuts down on the 9/11 calls. Firemen can run with their “Halligan” bar (carefully). These are heavy and its something firemen have access to, or you could use a heavy piece of rebar, a sledge hammer or a length of heavy pipe. If you want to get fancy you can buy one of the “Fitness Bars” that I see in gyms now a days. They have the advantage that you can buy the exact weight you want, (10 lbs is about right). In any case the addition of hand carrying this extra weight is sure to make any training run (long and slow, or short and fast) tougher, and your conditioning more realistic. Try it. Be Safe and Good luck.
Tags: Corps Strength