Corps Strength – Take It Running

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.



15 Responses to “Corps Strength – Take It Running”

  1. Nate says:

    Unless you’re on private property, a base or training facility running with a Blue Gun will get you severely hassled at the least or shot at the worst. Right, wrong or indifferent that’s even the case in a fairly free state with a well-established open carry law like here in OK.

    I used to run with a 1″ stick of rebar just for this reason and te local fuzz still crawled in my ass about it when I was running by a school.

    Preserve yourself from idiots that can do you harm…

  2. Adrian Young says:

    Sadly I think that a “Blue gun” does not vaccinate you from getting shot or harassed by a cop. Even in America. In Europe I would not do this in any built up area. Cops here get nervous about guns even when they are in their own hands.

    I believe I read of criminal who have painted their real weapons muzzle devices orange. In order to confuse police to believe it is a airsoft (BB airgun) weapon.

  3. Jess Banda says:

    Just carry a brick…the implement should be awkward and a nuisance to carry

    • defensor fortisimo says:

      It’s not just a matter of weight. Carrying a long arm means your arms can’t move freely as you run so you’re working against yourself.

  4. Russell Jones says:

    EMTs are trained never to run while on scene. Although, I get what you’re saying.

  5. john says:

    nate, i dunno where in OK you are running that a blue gun would get you shot but that sucks.

    i used to practice roadmarch with a 4/4 post instead of a weapon, in full gear, same concept.

  6. paul says:

    If you follow Military Athlete, you’ll know what it’s like to run with a 10# sledge hammer.

  7. Kevin says:

    Buy a bodybar from amazon or instead. The length helps simulate a rifle and people don’t call the cops for a guy carrying a gun shaped object. They are available in a variety of weights with the 9lb model being around $40 straight from the manufacturer. For an added bonus you can wrap it with high visibility tape when running at night. For guys who carry support weapons, there are even 30-40 lb versions.

    It works very well for ruck marching too.

  8. JohnC says:

    “Buy a bodybar….”

    Or, just buy some 1-1½” steel pipe for $8 (add sand or water for weight and/or to make your own “shake-weight-gun”). As a plus, no one will think you’re a chick.

  9. MGunz says:

    Hey guys, The fact is I have ran with my Blue rifle at least a 100 times out in town. Many times on the beach here in Pensacola, on base, off base, in New Orleans and in even in NY at a park. Though I have had many weird looks, and some people have asked me about it. I have never had the police stop me. I’ve actually had PD wave at me as I run by. Pretty obvious its a toy.

  10. JohnC says:

    That may be; but at least once a day, and probably far more often, police act on reports of a “heavily-armed suspect” only to discover the weapon in question is, e.g., a sword-umbrella (mistaken for a gun), a paintball gun, a Lego AK-replica, Nerf, Wii-controller, Airsoft, etc. In fact, for about five years, LEOs have been warned that the color of the gun-shaped object is relatively unimportant, since guns of all sorts are available in/can be colored lime-green, pink Hello Kitty, bright orange, etc.

    Not that this all makes it likely running with a blue replica will cause a problem (though I’d still advise against it). But, what might be permissible off-base may not be, e.g., in Newton, CT. And obviously, don’t point it at anyone. Also, as noted above, probably shouldn’t be combined with other accoutrements: