Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What the Army taught me

I run 4 times a week, but I wouldn't call myself a runner. My idea of a 'runner' is someone who puts in 20+ miles a week. I put in about 10+. I'm not killing my knees, hips, legs...for a title. But for those that truly are runners, I applaud you. And I'm a tad jealous.
I go to the gym 5 days a week, but mainly I do cross training. I put in 30+ miles a week in on the bike, no sweat. But not running.
For example, yesterday, I was at the gym with Matt, we biked 5 miles, and I only ran 1. (The kids didn't seem like they'd cooperate much longer than that.) I did some weights and called it a day.
A typical day at the gym consists of 45 minutes of cardio and the remaining 15 minutes (because that's all I'll get out of Claire most days...an hour) I'll putz around and do weights and ab/core exercises. Easy enough.
A friend of mine asked me today what to do about shin splints. She says she runs down hill a lot during her regular running route and wondered what to do different.
When I was training to leave for the Army, I started running. And oh. my. god. did I get shin splints. I was in misery. I thought I'd never make it through basic. But I did. Because of our cross training and good shoes.
The Army isn't stupid. They know how to train a soldier correctly. And while I did break my hip, prior to that, I was in solid shape. And my shin splints never once acted up.
Here's how we did it:
We had organized workouts 6 days a week. Monday through Saturday. Sunday is the day of rest, you know. Every other day was either running or conditioning. On days we'd run, we'd run a few miles, but sometimes in between miles, we'd stop and do something different. For example, we'd run a mile, then bear crawl for 50 feet, sprint a 1/4 mile, then job the remaining miles. But first and foremost, we'd ALWAYS warm up appropriately.
There's the kicker.
And I still don't do that correctly.
Prior to running, especially on our 7+mile days, we'd stretch and start out at a fast walk, then jog, then run. We'd pace ourselves...and then when we were coming down to the last half mile, we'd jog again, then end with a fast walk. Every time.
I also think it was the shoes. When we first got to reception, we had to get fitted for running shoes. And it wasn't just your regular trying on shoes, it was standing on a clear box while this 'specialist' measured and poked and prodded, getting our perfect shoe.
After a long run morning, we'd all get ice packs to put on our shins. Regardless if we were hurting or not. Heat after running is really bad for your muscles, believe it or not. It's suggested to take a colder shower after working out. So we'd sit in front of our barracks, icing down our legs, then off to the showers, where they controlled the thermostat and wouldn't allow hot showers.
Mean? Perhaps. Smart? Definitely. Controlling? You bet.
So I look at my workouts now, and what the Army taught me. Well, too much to really mention here...but still. The Army taught me to warm up properly, give each workout your best, be mindful of every footfall, and cool down.
Warm up. Cool down.
The Army's motto is, "Hurry up and wait." Yet, with working out, they tell you to take your time. Warm up properly, cool down right. They don't want anyone passing out, breaking things, or getting hurt anymore than your mother does. At basic they are investing a lot of money per soldier to come out and fight later. It makes sense they'd teach us right.
So next time you start your workout, be mindful. Warm up. Stretch, jog slowly. When you're done with your intense workout, cool down right. Don't make me go Drill Sergeant on your ass.


Bachelor Girl said...

I hate to admit it, but I never EVER warm up.

No more. If it's good enough for the Army, then it's good enough for the BG. Thanks, Cassie!

Elizabeth said...

Hmmmm...what is this "warming up" you mention?

Cassie said...

we did as a warm up was them yelling at us. But for a proper warm up, do some explosive jumps, x jumps, jumping jacks, exaggerated run jumps...