*Coach Helder may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
It’s no secret that I feel that physical preparedness is one of, if not the most, overlooked skill set needed for survival. Most that are focussed on emergency preparedness devote a great deal of time and expense to getting prepared. Their food, water and shelter needs are all addressed and good to go. Unfortunately, when it comes to the ability to move out on varied terrain, with a 50 pound backpack, most survivalists come up short.
I completely understand that life and packed schedules tend to get in the way of devoting time to physical fitness. But you need to keep in mind what that may cost you and your family in an actual crisis. The ability to travel on foot, at a relatively fast pace, may mean the difference between getting to safety or just becoming a statistic. Locomotion, in the form of running, is a basic movement pattern that is under trained by many in the preparedness community.
As we develop through life we go from crawling, to standing, to running. This all happens in a relatively short period of time. As we progress through our movement patterns in our forming years, we seem to have the ability to run for days.
Have you ever seen children play at the park?
However, as adults, we tend to lose the ability to run, effectively, in an blink of an eye. Injuries such as knee and back problems are a major contributor. I, for one, have learned this lesson first hand. I have an old military, service-connected, knee injury that led to me losing my ACL and meniscus in my right knee. Doctors told me that without surgery, I would never be able to walk right let alone run. I spoke to various specialists and the advice seemed to be unanimous.
But I Knew That There Had To Be A Better Way For Me To Address My Disability.
The feeling of being limited with my movement and emergency preparedness options was becoming unbearable. How could I “Lead From The Front” when I had basically lost the ability to move effectively in a crisis? I needed to figure out a solution, not only for myself, but for those that were depending on me to guide them through the mission.
I began researching and gathering as much intel as possible on the subject. I learned that it wasn’t running that was causing issues, it was how we were running that was causing the damage. I began implementing the running bio-mechanics that I was studying and everything began to change. I was able to begin hiking. From hiking, I progressed to rucking with my go-bag. As I continued to build my muscle groups and refine my form, I was finally able to run again!
-I’m Still Have My Disabilities But I Learned To Utilize My Body To Compensate For My Injuries-
I proved the doctors wrong but it did take a lot of hard work. As I continued my progress, I realized just how much I was missing when I lost my ability to run. I used many of the same excuses that I hear today from new students:
“I can just bug in.” or “I have enough firepower that I won’t need to be the one running…”
Well, I certainly agreed with that philosophy when I didn’t have alternatives. But once I re-introduced the skill set of being able to move out at a fast pace, a plethora of choices began to open up. These options were always there, but my physical ability kept those resources from even being considered. I share this information with you in hopes that it motivates you to get your running ability back. I know that as broken as I was, I was able to fix myself. If I can do it… You or anyone that you know that needs fixin’, can accomplish the same thing.
The ability to run, and run well, is crucial to survival. I want to go over a few of the reasons that my running practice helps me with my emergency preparedness plan. Hopefully, a few of the items on my list will appeal to you and you can put them into use.
My Reasons For Keeping My Running Performance At It’s Peak:
For Self Defense:
I spend a great deal of time teaching combative applications and self defense. One of the measures that I put into my training is the ability to escape. There are countless factors that can come up when you are being or about to be assaulted. We are unaware of what weapons the attacker is carrying. We are unsure if there will be multiple attackers or just one. The type of training that the “bad guy” has is also an unknown.
The ability to create separation from your attacker and get to safety is imperative. If you are unable to run, your ability to survive an attack greatly diminishes.
To Get Help:
Anything can happen while we are out in the field. If the grid is down, it will be quite difficult to call for help if medical assistance is required. As an example, if someone in your group were to fall off a clip and require a medical evacuation, how will you get first responders to your location? This scenario applies to circumstances that are brought on when SHTF or just simply in a recreational environment.
In the scenario mentioned above, every minute counts. Bleeding, not breathing and other vitals need to be addressed immediately. If you cannot get to assistance rapidly, the chances of the victim surviving will greatly diminish. Every person in your group needs to have the ability to run. You never truly know if you may be the one that requires the life-saving assistance.
Increase Fitness Levels:
I began by speaking about the lack of physical fitness being addressed by those focused on emergency preparedness. One of the reasons for this is the complications and the falsehoods being spewed by the fitness industry. They try to get us to buy all sorts of “toys” that will get is in the Best Shape Of Our Lives! But in reality, they are adding expensive barriers that are deterring survivalists from addressing their fitness skill set.
When it comes to running, there is very little equipment needed. As far as its contribution to helping you become physically fit… Ask any military and elite law enforcement operator if running is part of their fitness routines. I think that you know what the answer will be. These elite personnel have access to any fitness routine that they choose; budget is not an option. However, working on their running ability is something that they never will forego and usually tops their list. Running is so important that it is included in every physical fitness exam that I have taken both in the military and with law enforcement units.
Get To Your Destination faster:
In a SHTF situation, time is always crucial. Depending on your preparedness plan, you may have to move out by yourself or a smaller group in order to meet up with your larger group. The faster that you can make this happen, the safer that your journey will be. We have power in numbers and during an emergency, you will need all the help that you can get.
You may also need to manage the times that you choose to move out. You may require daylight for your mission or you may choose to use stealth and only travel in the dark hours. With either choice, you will need to manage your time. The ability to move out, at a fast pace, will certainly help you to meet your time restraints.
A certain amount of excess fat has actually proven to help people survive during an emergency. However, too much fat is actually detrimental to your health. Not only can this cause health issues, while medical facilities may not an option, but it also impairs many of the physical abilities needed to survive. Ironically, running is one of those abilities that are affected by carrying around an unhealthy amount of fat.
Luckily, as you practice your running skills, you can burn up a bunch of that unwanted fat at the same time. This is a great example of a multi-purpose application for running. As people focused on preparedness, the more skill sets that we can address and practice at the same time, the more time that we will save.
I’m sure that you have heard of runners getting a “high” when they run. The way that the body and mind combine during the act of distance running, brings a sense of euphoria to the runner. Many runners, including myself, feel a sense of well being while on these runs. It is similar to the calmness brought on by deep meditation. When life tends to get a bit overbearing, it is always a good idea to go on a long run to clear the mind.
In an emergency scenario, the stress will be overwhelming. When the need to move out on foot arises, the fast pace will help to clear your mind a bit. You will burn off excess cortisol levels which will aid in the ability to think clearly. Any bit of tranquility that we can gain when the SHTF is beneficial in helping to ride out the emergency situation at hand.
Become Familiar With Your Environment:
One of the ways that I use my running practice is to find evacuation routes while I’m on the run. During an emergency, we may need to move out in order to find safety. You may need to utilize certain areas for short periods of time and others for longer durations. It is important to know exactly where these locations are, especially if you need to move out in the dark.
During some of my runs, I specifically seek out these bug out locations. I visit them often and look for any changes in the environment that may make it unsuitable. I name these locations as certain zones and list their pros and cons. When SHTF, I will know which location(s) to head to depending on the current circumstances. Not only in this valuable recon information that I am collecting but it also makes my runs go faster and also a bit more entertaining.
Practice Other Skills While Running:
Keeping with the multi-purpose application theme, I bundle in various survival skills when running on the trail. First off, I wear one of my go bags while I’m working on my running skills. I choose a lighter that usual go bag but I increase the weight as I progress. This allows me to know my limitations when an emergency arises. We cannot expect to throw on a 60+ pound ruck and bode well when we had little to no training with it.
I hit certain areas along the trail where I am able to purify water. Not only am I able to quench my thirst but I am also devoting valuable time to refining my water purifying skills. Another example of multitasking is when I stop on the trail for a chow break. I have a biofuel burning stove in my go bag which allows me to get some fire building practice in. Once the fire is good to go, I am able to practice my cooking skills.
If time is not a factor, I like to fish instead of using the food that I brought with me. If I have any luck at that fishing spot, I am able to utilize that fish as my meal. Once again, I am solidifying skills such as fishing, fire building, cooking and fish preparation that are imperative to my survival when SHTF.
I often hear that running is not for everyone. I would add to that thought and state that running is not for everyone unless you plan on boding well when SHTF. Those of us that are prepared will have a much better chance of getting through an emergency. There are many out there that do not see things the way that we do. Keep in mind that their survival rate will be much less that yours.
When the SHTF we need to look out for us and our loved ones. Every skill that we own, greatly adds to our success rate. Being able to run efficiently and effectively will put you ahead of many that will be competing for the same resources. Get out there and run as if your life depended on it; some day it might!