Thursday, February 28, 2008

Run - Fred Grace

by Fred Grace (1965)

Every lifter should run and every runner should lift. Healthwise this combination is tougher to beat than the American swimmers were in Tokyo.

Since I was 14, I have run intermittently, one to three mornings a week. However, until Coach Igloi of the L.A. Track Team moved his runners from a nearby school to the playground where I run, and I became better acquainted with him, I had learned nothing about running.

Coach defected from Hungary eight years ago. Until he came here American distance runners were as fast as a guy wearing an Oregon boot. Now they’re beating more foreign nations than we give aid to.

Minus the refinements for each individual runner, the Igloi formula might be stated as follows: work and more work, sprint, slow up and sprint, shorten stride and take two steps in the time you were taking one.

At present I have been training about five months under the Coach’s method. If my condition were any sharper more barbers would shave with me than an Oink Oink blade.

Five mornings a week I sprint and trot eight miles. On Saturdays I trot past the 100 yard marker and sprint back. I do this 40 times each way. The coach thinks that by the end of 1965 I will have started to speed up.

Until you have tried it a few weeks you may find it very hard to believe that you can speed up by shortening your stride. But remember, two steps will be sprouting where formerly only one took root. It won’t take you long to discover what an economical way it is to run. While in Mexico I have seen Indians carrying heavy loads shuffling along mile after mile. They not only endure, but make very good time. The shortened stride is almost like an extension of that shuffle.

If you’re already running, change over to the Igloi method. You’ll be glad that you did. If you’re not running now, get with it. Start right in sprinting and trotting. That’s the only way to really sharpen up. Your sprints don’t have to be all-out until your legs can’t take it, but do change speeds. Coach Igloi says the changing of speeds is very easy on the heart. I can’t vouch for that because I’m not even aware that I have a heart, but I can assure you that it sharpens the wind.

How often should you run? If you’re a mere youth of twenty to forty you might lift Mondays, and Thursdays run Tuesdays and Fridays and follow some sport or sports Saturdays and Sundays. If you’re 55, like Peary, you had better run four mornings a week. If you’re 67 like me, and one foot’s playing near the worm pit, make it no less than five a week. The older you get, and this you already know, the more you need workouts. You don’t need rest. You’ll soon have one longer than the time it takes for a combined lifting and posing meet. Of course, being planted might prove more exciting.

Don’t confuse the running you do in a sport that you may follow with running itself. In any sport, running is intermittent. In running, the motion is continuous for a half hour, for an hour, or for an hour and a half. Forty years ago I was boxing, playing handball and baseball several days a week. My wind wasn’t near as sharp nor my legs as good then as they are today.

But what will running do for your lifting or your so-called bodybuilding? Running distances as far as I do and running as often, I’m sure won’t do a thing for your lifting, but it won’t do anything TO it either. After fifteen months of six-days-a-week running, my press dropped 10 pounds below bodyweight after 12 months of no training on the press. I can make that up quicker than you can lose your bank roll in Vegas. But what if I couldn’t? What difference would that make? I’m just like 9,999 lifters out of 10,000. I never could lift!

Russia is supposed to have hundreds of thousands of males lifting. Since there are no colleges subsidizing footballers, baseballers, basketballers and track men, no doubt she has. Yet how many top lifters in each division does she have? Very few. The reason? Not many are born to be champs but nearly everyone is born to have health. Lack of know-how, indifference, and wrong motivation are all that keep the majority from enjoying a vigorous youth, middle, and old age.

What will running do for the pump-up gang? I think it’ll deflate them considerably and that’s all to the good. Grotesque exaggerations could probably become esthetic lines. Jealousy? I hear the pumpers and their followers cry. Their followers? Yes, they’re the guys who don’t even bother to pump up.

Why should the older man run? Because he needs endurance more than strength, or money in the bank. Money, at best, can buy him specialists to keep him in a comatose stage a few weeks longer. Many hang around for many years without ever having been strong. But the moment anyone can no longer endure, his undertaker gets a windfall.

Before you readers get the impression that I think all exercise freaks and monsters should be exterminated, let me explain my objection to them. I have known some very nice monsters. I have also known some very nice freaks. There are also some who are rotten stinkers. Lifting weights never put a halo on anyone. Taking food supplements never made anyone trustworthy. The semblance of power gives no one intrinsic worth. Isolating a muscle gives no one proper posture. One who deliberately adds 100 pounds of blubber just to lift a little more weight looks no better than the glutton. And both the exercise freaks and the overly pumped are keeping millions of intelligent youngsters from taking up weight training. Why? Because most of them want to look human. They want to follow a sport that will not deform them.

I also have a personal gripe. Before the posers dominated the lifting contests I never missed one. Now I never attend. I still remember a Mr. America winner of some years back who conked out after he won his title. It happened after the show when he was posing for the photographers. The Miss America winners never pass out. They just break out in tears.

In a past article I pointed out that it’s not only important to know which foods to eat, but that it’s equally important to know which foods to eliminate. I urged you to start in by eliminating potato chips. Now I’d like to go a step further on potatoes and ask you to eliminate them entirely if you eat in restaurants. But if you want to maintain a high degree of health, why are your eating in restaurants?

Unless the restaurant is a very small one potatoes are no longer prepared in it. They are brought in from factories. Some french fries are even pan fried. All are prepared by machinery and preserved with chemicals. At least one manufacturer I know will not eat his own product. If you’re living on junk you’ll wind up on the junk heap no matter how much weight you push, how big your arms get, how wide your lats get, how thick your pecs grow or how many machines you wear out.

For those more concerned with the semblance rather than the substance of health, should they take to the running fields, I must remind them of an unusual dividend for them. Their calves will grow. Mine are now about an inch bigger than nothing, their pre-running measurement. Except for the exhilarating feeling of being ALIVE, besides an increase in calf measurement, don’t look for another serendipity from running. For example, my arm now measures minus one. Holy Cow! That makes it 19” from nothing. Cold? Of course!

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