A Smile at Jogging


Running has not been so popular since Atilla the Hun hit town. Businessmen, health spas, ladies clubs, priesthood quorums, wards, and stakes have taken up programs of running for health. (When I was young I had a program of running for my health, but then I came from a tough neighborhood.)

In the midst of this heavy competition, I should like to audaciously announce that Dick Davis and I are the champions—that is in our field. We are not the fastest, the longest, nor the strongest runners in the land, but I contend we are the most versatile.

Five years ago we looked at our physiques. Dick has the more traditional, chunky-jogger look, while I have what you might call a war refugee’s build. We decided that something—anything—must be done. Since our work in the entertainment business demands much travel, we have had to jog in some unusual places. In an effort to help those who feel they don’t have the time nor the proper place to jog, may we submit a sample of our record.

We have jogged: through the wheat fields of Saskatchewan and the rain forest near Olympia, Washington; over the Snake River in Idaho and along the Skunk River in Iowa; up and down the Capitol Records tower in Hollywood, and up and down the George Washington Monument; above the grape vineyards of Napa Valley, California, and through new snow in Cache Valley, Utah; along the Atlantic at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, along the Pacific at Santa Barbara and Vancouver, B.C.; through the hardwood forests near Nashville and the sagebrush around Las Vegas; along the Los Angeles storm canal system and around the Atlanta Civic Auditorium parking lot; around the high school track at Roseville, California, and down the railroad track near Ritzville, Washington; in Houston when it was 98 degrees, and in Calgary when it was 38 degrees below zero; in, near, around, or through the Montana prairies, the granite boulders near Silver City, New Mexico, the Czechoslovakian Embassy in Washington, the old western movie sets near Prescott, Arizona, and more freeway rest areas and public parks than we want to remember.

From this vast reserve of experience, we would like to offer some pieces of free advice that are worth every penny of it.

Piece of Advice Number One—Starting Your Jogging Program

Start your jogging program slowly and build up gradually. The first day out, never do as much as you think you would like to. If you are over thirty, check with your doctor first. Come to think of it, if you’re over thirty, what are you reading this for anyway? You should be reading the Ensign.

People sometimes ask us: How do I get started jogging? One good way is to lean forward until you begin to fall on your face. Take a step to correct your balance. Keep leaning for a mile or so. Then either straighten the body and stop, or lean a little more and collapse on the ground, whichever seems appropriate.

Piece of Advice Number Two—Jogging Forms

The basic jogging form is head up, rib cage lifted, medium arm action, feet pointed forward. Most new joggers prefer rolling from heel to ball of the foot as it is easier on the calf muscle. Jogging should be easy and rhythmical. If you find yourself gasping for breath, clutching at your throat, staggering, turning gray, or inching along on all fours, cut back a little on your jogging program.

The sprint form is head erect, mouth open in large smile, arms agitated, feet barely touching the ground. This is used by new joggers their first morning out for approximately 25 yards.

The shuffle form is a good steady ground gainer used at the end of a five-mile run. It will get you there, but it wears out the toes on your shoes.

The pacer form is a sort of prancing gait, not unlike a show ring pony. Keep your head erect, chin tucked in, chest thrust out, knees pumping high, toes slightly pointed, jaw firmly set, but facial muscles giving the appearance of quiet control. This form is used mostly for passing girls of your own age coming the other direction on bicycles. With practice it can be sustained for bursts of 10 to 15 feet.

Piece of Advice Number Three—Other Things You Should Know about Jogging

1. Pain in the side. Some joggers complain of a pain in the side. This is especially common among joggers who planned to jog past their girl friend’s house, and their mother said they had to take their little brother along. No medical cure known.

2. The blind staggers. This is a dizziness experienced from jumping up off the couch too fast and jogging out the door when your mother says, “Jim, did you cut the lawn yet?” Cure—cut the lawn yet.

3. Proper breathing while jogging. While jogging be sure to alternate breathing in and out, as too much of one or the other will cause discomfort.

4. Charley Horses in your calf muscles. This is mostly a rural ailment and hardly ever experienced any more since most people live in the cities.

5. Jogging in inclement weather. Track coach Stretch Scrimshaw said, “It don’t hurt nothin’ to run in inclement weather, but, however, I wouldn’t run in the rain. It gets your shoes all muddy.”

6. Shin Splints and Chill Blains. These were two of the most famous joggers in American history. They set out to jog from Baja, California, to Miami, Florida. Unfortunately, they forgot to consider the Gulf of Mexico.

7. Dogs. Dogs along your jogging route should not be considered a hindrance. They are an opportunity to develop your speed and endurance. Admittedly, dogs do present certain dangers. Dick is in danger of being bitten. I am in danger of being buried.

8. Jogging attire. This is a good idea, especially if the tire is hanging over your belt.

9. Palpitations of the heart. (See #1, “Jogging past girlfriend’s house.” Also no medical cure known.)

Piece of Advice Number Four—

Happy jogging, and as the great baseball pitcher Satchel Page once said, “Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.”

[illustration] Illustrated by Richard Brown