Estremera: Build stamina and look ahead

Spider’s web

AS A very young and sprightly mountaineer during my college years in Diliman, my org-mates who were extreme adventurers long before extreme adventure became mainstream taught me how to shorten the descent: Run.

You cannot run if you are looking down to where your feet are stepping. You have to look 10 meters ahead. In this way, you already see the terrain, the cracks and bumps, the shrubs and trees, the drops.

My co-mountaineer told me to focus at least five meters ahead, better if 10 meters. In that way, the brain already sees the terrain ahead. Our feet will just skip over obstacles, evade drops, and jump over fallen logs and rocks. Our brain is wired like that: The feet will follow what the brain has already processed.

On the way up, the trick is to fully straighten your leg after every step up instead of rushing on step after step putting extra strain because your legs are bent all throughout. It’s a tad slower, but it makes for better speed because it lessens your time to rest. Keep at least a one meter distance from the person in front of you and look at where you are going, not down on your feet to see if the person ahead has stopped or fallen down or a tree branch is snapping back at you.

I did both and they do make for faster progress.

But these only work if you did your assignment of keeping fit. The downward momentum can be very strong, it can throw you down head first. That is a recipe for disaster, even death. How can you step up and up ever forward if you do not have the resistance to keep on?

Meaning, build your muscles and stamina, and then go. Train yourself to look ahead and not down. Then run on the way down or step fully up on your ascent to make good time.

This applies to life and all our endeavors, the very reason why in the olden days master craftsmen always have apprentices who work under them, learn the ropes under them, are not even recognized for the works they do for the master.

Recognition comes after they have mastered the craft and become known for their own creations. Insisting on equal recognition even before you build your skills and name will only destroy whatever has been started. For there is no master craftsman who would want to take in anyone who would rather bicker for recognition than learn. Not a single one. Even HR managers are on the lookout for trouble-makers and famewhores.

True, there will always be that twinge of envy as you watch a successful person take on the centerstage, but let that twinge be a prompter to push on. Focus on what you want to be. Work out. Build muscles and reputation. Then run full speed or walk up with determined steps, enjoying the momentum that nature provides because you have made yourself fit enough to withstand the pounding. Enjoy.



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