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Boot Camp Tips to Help You Run Better

Updated on April 25, 2011

As a former member of the United States Army, I can attest to the fact that running is a part of everyday soldier life. In boot camp, we were taught to properly run because one day, it could mean the difference between life or death. I had run during my school years before joining the military, but it was not until my time as a G.I. that running, for me, was conquerable by practicing the following:

  • First and foremost, make sure you are cleared by your doctor to start any type of exercise regiment!!!
  • Be well hydrated before and after you run. As you run, your body heats up and a sufficient amount of water is needed in order to help cool it down. Fluids are lost through body sweat and need replenishing afterwards. Proper hydration also keeps you from getting abdomen cramps.
  • Smoking reduces your lungs' oxygen capacity. Therefore, reducing and quitting altogether will help to regenerate your lung tissue. That is why it is banned during boot camp.
  • Drinking alcohol the night before your morning run is not recommended. Alcohol evaporates moisture. Therefore, it depletes your body water percentage. Drinking water in the morning might help a little, but it will not be enough as the body needs time to recover and longer water intake to flush out the alcohol toxins.
  • Select running shoes that are specific to your feet arches and make sure you replace them after running about 300 to 500 miles total.
  • Always warm up your leg muscles before by running in place, or brisk-walking, and by properly stretching.
  • When running, avoid stomping the ground. This causes more and unwanted stress on your knees and ankles. Develop a heel-to-toe smooth rocking motion as you are stepping.
  • Run with a straight posture. Keep your back upright with your head and eyes straight forward and never look down on the ground. Do not close, or clench, your fists and avoid letting your arms cross in front of you. The military teaches this to instill pride in their troops.
  • Have a consistent breathing pattern/rhythm to avoid lack of oxygen. Ever wondered why troops sing cadences while running and marching? This pumps them up as well as allowing better breathing. Try it by singing your favorite songs when the running gets tough.
  • If you feel the need the fall out of the run, try thinking about something else to get your mind off of it. Imagine a prize awaiting you at the end of the run and reward yourself with such. Running is hard and it can suck, but if you stick it out as long as possible, the more endurance you will build.
  • Run with a buddy or with a group of friends for motivation and support. Troops run, train and live together because their functionality depends on operating as a cohesive team. It is all about the person in your front, right, left and rear.
  • If you feel nauseated and have a need to vomit, discontinue the run. Those are symptoms of serious dehydration especially in very hot weather. Of course, troops will turn their heads to the side and throw up while running. Talk about hard-core warriors.
  • When ending the run, do not come to a complete halt. Instead, slow down and, with your hands clasped behind your head, walk until your heart rate slows down and your breathing is normal. Abruptly stopping during a run could result in fainting or a heart attack.
  • While still fresh from the run, stretch again so as to avoid muscle soreness and fatigue.
  • Always...  Drink water!

So, there you go! Use these tips if you want to run like a Soldier.

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