“Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic.” -Tim Noakes
Physical fitness and prioritizing one’s cardio health should be of the utmost importance to anyone who takes survival preparedness seriously.
A multitude of unexpected crisis situations can and will be sprung on us at any given moment, look no further than this past year’s events for proof.
Whether the crisis comes as a wildfire, active shooter, spontaneous riots, or mad max style marauders, we as preppers need to have the ability to escape dangerous situations. Fast.
Long distance running is a practical solution to escaping and surviving countless life-threatening scenarios.
Let’s face it, we won’t always be conveniently positioned next to our bug out vehicle with a full tank of gas and provisions when SHTF.
Neither can we count on being home with our bug in supplies 100% of the time.
Vehicles are important resources for bugging out, though they’re functionality depends on weather, road conditions, and traffic.
S*** happens, and it’s happening more and more often these days.
Whether you’re vacationing in a different state, shopping for groceries at Walmart, working in your cubical, or on the battlefields of Afghanistan, running may be your first or last choice.
If you are new to prepping and come across terms that you haven’t heard before, feel free to visit this sites glossary page for personalized definitions.
Establish a Baseline
Maintaining the endurance to run 5 miles without getting overly winded has been my baseline for the last 5 years, and I believe its realistic and achievable for most people.
In the last five years, I started trail running at 2 miles round trip (RT), hit my longest run at 20 miles RT, and have maintained the endurance to run a consistent 5 to 7 miles during my worst months.
The 5 mile mark is my baseline which lets me objectively judge my fitness level and disaster readiness. That’s 2.5 miles one-way, and 2.5 miles back.
There have been times when I’ve become less active due to family life and work requirements, and 5 miles has become painfully difficult, but I won’t let myself fall below that threshold.
Whether your well-trained military personnel who can log 2 miles in 7:15 min/sec, an ultra-marathon runner that can achieve 100 miles in 24 hours, or someone that just wants to become healthier-
Set a baseline goal, stick to it, and understand the safety and security it brings.
Contemplate the Worst
If you’re thinking that 5 miles may not be worth the cost, remember the victims that lost their lives in the Las Vegas shooting, 2017.
An unimaginable and hellish scene of bullets broke out from a deranged shooter reigning bullets down on a large crowd.
Everyday Americans ran for safety, police officers ran to eliminate the shooter, and first responders ran to save lives.
They all needed to run.
God forbid any one of us encounters a scenario like that in our lives, or meet something even remotely reminiscent if we experienced it firsthand.
Future similar travesties are possible, and there’s no controlling when and where it could happen.
Seeing the news aired across the television 24/7 that week burned a permanent impression in my mind:
- I could have easily been there that day; wrong place, wrong time.
- If an event like that happened there, it could happen here.
- If I was in the chaos of that shooting, I would run like hell. But back then, I didn’t see myself as fast enough.
Watching the 2017 Las Vegas shooting transformed my preparedness mindset:
- I may be away from preps, I may be away from the safety of home, but from now on I will do my best to prepare, to be willing and able, physically and mentally, to survive and outrun my adversary if necessary.
Push yourself to become faster and stronger in training, as if you were to find yourself in a life and death situation.
Train with purpose, push yourself to run that extra mile, and visualize why you need too.
Advance in Agility
Once you put a few miles under your belt and are feeling comfortable with your established baseline, challenge yourself and try mixing things up, year-round.
A few less advertised conditions which I’ve found surprisingly enjoyable and challenging (after pushing past 5 miles in my personal journey), have been:
Recommendation: Try running on dirt trails or paved sidewalks at night without the help of additional lighting. This may feel unsettling and clumsy at first, and discretion is needed for determining safety precautions based on your particular area.
Benefits : Become accustomed to moving more gracefully, silently, and gain better balance. Increased awareness of surroundings through the five senses, and solid preparedness training for escape and evade scenarios.
2. Cold Weather
WARNING: Can be potentially fatal if done without proper layering and conditioning!
Recommendation: Set shorter distance goals which you know for certain that you can achieve. If you stop running in below freezing temps, the sweat on your clothes will freeze and your body temp will slowly drop. Though a fair amount of skill and a decent fitness level is required, running in the bitter cold may increase your time due to the fresh crisp air.
Benefits: Mental and physical toughness, invaluable training for real-world situations, and increased knowledge in body temperature regulation.
3. Steep Terrain
Recommendation: The most challenging yet rewarding terrain to run through is steep hills, valleys, and small game/hiking trails (in my experience). Find a public park, national forest, or any forested area with boulders, cliffs, and steep dirt trails. This shouldn’t be attempted for the novice runner, as proper lower body strength and muscles need to first be developed.
Benefit: Gain well-rounded balance, superior lower body strength, and truly test your lung capacity.
Make both short and long term goals and stick with them.
Push yourself to achieve that next level of cardio that you know you will need to keep yourself alive come that day, though don’t overdo it.
Listen to your body, do your homework, and train yourself to run like hell.
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