Thursday, February 05, 2015

On Road Marching, Again

At WRSA, the conversation continues. I will reiterate. Take it for what it is worth.

I takes a lot out of a man to road march fast. It takes determination that you're just going to do it! When you're learning, it takes someone setting the example.

Everyone has a strength. The man who runs at a pace of 5 minutes per mile, generally doesn't set the standard in push-ups. The man who can max out push-ups on his PT test generally isn't the one setting the pace on a 5 mile, non-standard run.

When someone has a strength is a certain area, let him set the example and tell the rest how he does it. Let him set the standard toward which the others strive. The goal must be an achievable standard which is within reach, not easily attainable, but not impossible either.

When I was a young Private going through RIP, I (and a handful of others) took off on our, graded for time, 12 miler. A soldier named Paul Scurka set the pace and we did our best to keep up. To us it was blazing saddles. To Sgt. Scurka it was an evening stroll. You see, he was an instructor at RIP and a two time winner of the Best Ranger Competition. I was amazed than any man could walk that fast. When I finished RIP and got to the Battalion, I was equally amazed there was a battalion full of men who could do it. A year later, I could do it in my sleep. It is all in how you train.

I said before. First, work on your speed. Stretch out that stride. (Don't run!) Force yourself to exaggerate the normal walking stride, because road marching isn't a nice evening stroll. You can add weight when your speed comes up. Condition yourself first. Start out with 35 or 45 pounds in your rucksack. Additionally, wear whatever load bearing gear you would normally patrol with. Carry your weapon, or a seven pound hickory stick. That will be enough to BEGIN training your body and mind. When you can road march, without running, at a speed of 4 to 4.5 miles per hour, then begin adding weight. You will notice that adding weight will make your shoulders ache more than it will slow you down. Determination, will, "Dammit! I'm just gonna do it!" goes a long way toward keeping your pace. "It's all in your mind...!" I used to hear. I hated hearing that until I could meet the standard, then I realized it was true. Take care of your feet. When you get blisters, let them rise for a day, then pop them. They will drain, be sore, dry out and grow thicker skin. This is what you need. Your feet are gonna ache. Deal with it. It sucks, deal with it. The bad guys chasing you, or the ones who you attack at the end of your march don't give a flying fuck how much your feet or shoulders, or back ache.

Finally, set an achievable goal. Congratulate yourself when you have met the standard. Its OK to feel satisfaction. If you haven't trained like this before, start with five miles. Then go to six, then to eight, then to ten and twelve. Don't over do it. Keep your goals reachable until you are ready to try something butt fuckin hard! There will be a time for the ultimate test. Initial training phase isn't it. Remember, speed first, then load. When the time comes, you will be able to throw any necessary combat load on your back and get to it. By then you'll be thinking, "I have done a hundred of these. No big deal."