HomePublicationsThe Tracker MagazineVol 1, No. 2, Feb 1982

The Tracker Magazine - Vol 1 No. 2, Feb 1982

Splatter Vision Running
Peter Parks

Ya’ know, I actually don't like to jog. But I do like to compete in races; and, over the last 3-4 months I've been in a few foot races, horse races, and foot and horse races ("Ride and Ties”). To get in shape, if you want to be competitive in your time, you need to train. This means many hours on your own out covering distance.

Well, after learning from Tom and his instructors on a Standard Course this summer about how to move upon the earth, I've been able to apply it to my running style and "damn, if it don't work great".

Here's what goes on. I try to run well balanced from my gut, landing on the outsides of my feet, feeling the ground as I hit. While doing this I try and keep my vision off the road directly in front of me, but rather look off ahead into the distance ("Keep your head up!" I'm always saying to myself).

Now you might say "Well, ya’ gotta look out for rocks, 'cause you're gonna twist your ankle...." Well, sure, I check the road every so often, but I ya’, there’s something that goes on in your foot to earth coordination, as you "feel” your way along, as Tom's taught us, that works out. You develop this neat sense of where to land.

I also try and travel light, making as little sound as possible. I try to keep relaxed and open, calling on the energies of the earth, the sun, and the breezes to help me along. I become the light trotting coyote or the agile cougar, out pacing through the woods in quiet search of game ... always aware of his surroundings, eyes alert, smelling the air, ears attentive. I even try and name the trees and plants along the side of the trail while looking straight ahead, then check to see if I was right. Here is where I put into use the most important tool: splatter vision, or looking into the distance while also being aware of what's off to either side of me. And, I tell ya’, doing this as I move over the ground sure helps shrink the distances. I'm talking 7, 10, 14 miles I've run putting all these little techniques together--being that cougar, out trotting ever so quietly and atune to what's around me--and to find that there's so much to notice that those long used-to-be-boring miles just fade away.

I actually do experience more too. I remember running this one stretch of back roads where I came upon two different sightings of mule deer in an area where they're rarely seen. Three bucks the first time and two more bucks the second; and the second time one of the bucks, after bounding across my path, stopped not more than 20 yards away to watch me as I passed (probably wondering why this two-legged wasn't making as much noise as the others he’d seen!). All were in velvet too - ahh!

So if you're a jogger, or a distance runner, or just have to cover some ground at a run sometime, try out these "ways of going" I've described--become that coyote or big cat or whatever you desire--and I'll bet you'll be surprised at how easily you got to where you're going!

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