Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Running/Walking A High Tech Sport.

I started running somewhere around 1978. I worked up to where I was running for a full mile. At that point I bought a Runner's World Magazine. Wow, was I doing everything wrong. To start with I was running on the balls of my feet like a sprinter. (The funny thing about this was that I was in the military and we had to run for our fitness tests, but there was very little knowledge out there about how to run) I was wearing a pair of flat sneakers commonly called deck shoes. I didn't warm up I just went as fast as I could go, which wasn't all that fast, till I couldn't go any more.

This particular magazine was the annual shoe rating issue. The top rated shoe was the Brooks Vantage and I think number 2 was the Etonic Street Fighter. My budget didn't fit stuff like that so I went to K-Mart and bought some bright blue track shoes with little rubber knobbies on them. They worked better than the deck shoes and I got up to a couple of miles wearing them, in my cotton socks of course. When I did finally have the money for a pair of the Brooks Vantage I thought I was running on pillows. Oh my what a difference.

I was beginning to really enjoy the runs now, especially since I learned about warming up. Once my muscles were warm it really started feeling good. That's about the time I learned about balance. My lower back started hurting pretty regularly. I had been reading everything I could about exercise and I had specifically read, "if your back hurts it's probably because you have a weak stomach". Well I started doing sit ups every day and with in a few days my back stopped hurting.

I learned about cotton and chaffing, I learned about cotton socks and blisters, I learned about how to eat prior to running and through trial and error I learned what NOT to eat. Fried chicken an hour before a run will give you cramps about mile 3. I was learning something almost every day it seemed.

The important thing for me was that I was in the military and the military was ignorant about running. When I was in basic training we did our 3 mile runs in combat boots, fatigue pants and T-Shirts. I think the reasoning behind this was that you trained in the uniform you fought in. Trouble is you didn't learn how to exercise so you could do it on your own when you got out of basic training.

I was selected for First Sgt duty in 1987 and was able to put my knowledge to work and to gain a whole lot more. I worked my way up to becoming First Sgt of the Hospital Group, there I was able to work with Doctors, Physical Therapists and Nutritionists to design fitness programs for the base population. I even had a Kenneth Cooper's Human Performance Lab in Dallas on speed dial. He was the advisor to the military for fitness, he started the "Aerobics" method of training.

Our sports of walking or running have come a long way since our ancestors chased down game for dinner. It does seem though that there is new and improved everything on the market now. The problem now is if you pick the wrong kind of shoe it can really become a problem causing issues with your knees, ankles, achillies tendons and ITbands. You can be virtually crippled as a runner or walker by wearing the wrong shoes.

If you are going to pursue the sport of walking or running get as much knowledge as you can, you will be amazed how high tech putting one foot in front of the other has become.

Thanks for reading.

Techno Cave Panda

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