Zero to Ten in Six

Before I let on what the topic means, it’s time to level set. Look at this as your first day of class where the instructor goes over the lesson plan for the course. During the period you can work individually or in a group, whichever is more desirable.
You are reading this because you have an interest in health and fitness or you are just curious. The topic “Zero to Ten In Six” stands for “0 miles to 10 miles in 6 months”. This column is being devoted to take you from 0 miles to 10 miles with the Army Ten-Miler as a target race or another 10-mile race in the month of October. Before you even stop reading I need for you to read the entire column before you make a decision.

Many of you have purchased exercise equipment and part of the sales pitch was easy storage but not permanent storage. Where is the equipment now, under the bed or garage? Running is another form of physical fitness which can be done almost anywhere or anyway. It’s not the intent here to give you advice but to share conversations and ideas for your consideration. One rule of thumb before starting any exercise program is to ensure that you have been cleared by a physician to do so, only a recommendation.

Getting Started:
I have been asked to join the Army Wife Network to write a fitness column. Lets share some things to get you relaxed so you know who is doing the typing. I did not start running until I was 32 years old along with being a journalist and photographer. I am retired Air Force and come from a Marine Corps family. My bride and I have been on our journey for 38 years and like many of you we have gone through our share of TDYs and PCS moves. You know none of them are ever at the right time, but we find ways to adapt. We didn’t have the Internet and had to rely upon the mail carrier and we still have a box of our letters.

No, I have not always been a fitness minded person as one who was smoking a pipe in 10th grade; please don’t tell my mother because she found the pipe and to this day she thinks it was my older brother. Yes, during the military tour I had my flings with alcohol to where it had the upper hand to where I will label myself as an alcoholic who has not had a drink in over 10 years. Do you think it’s easy? NO! You name some situations which confront military couples from the young enlisted on up and more than likely my bride and I have been touched. Let me say that we could sit down with a cold bottle of Gatorade and talk all day long. You thought I was going to write “beer”.

Why the background information? In order to believe what others say we need to know what they have experienced and if they have credibility. I can inspire you to take action, for you to aspire to achieve a goal which you set. I have completed 77 marathoners and four ultramarathons (50-milers).

Here is the first assignment, ask yourself how bad do want to start running or a get involved with fitness? If you want it bad enough you will do whatever is necessary to make things happen. Here are some terms which you need to write your OWN definition: will power, commitment, focus, and pain.

The reason for the definitions is for you to embrace and to know what you are signing up to do. If you can’t make a commitment to yourself and keep it, how can you keep a commitment made to another?

The first item on the list is running shoes and it’s best to go to your local running store to a properly fitted shoe. The shoes are to be for running only. The running shoes are like the shock absorbers on a car. (Now, we are all slaves to fashion and it’s a must to be color coordinated so we all look good. Hey never can tell where the camera crew will be hiding.)

The following are just some suggestions that have come across my table, which I have found helpful:
A device called “The Stick” ( which is used to roll out the muscles in the calves and hamstrings. You can use this to warm up and loosen up the muscles. Other benefits:
>>Improves Strength
>>Increases Flexibility
>>Extends Endurance
>>Accelerates Recovery Time
>>Reduces Muscle Soreness, Stiffness & Pain
>> Prepares Muscle for Rigors of Activity
>>Flushes Muscle from Rigors of Activity

A beginner’s book with useful everyday information and is easy to read:

“The Galloway Book on Running”, by Olympian Jeff Galloway
Galloway is credited with starting the “walk-run” programs used by many marathoners. There are training programs and helpful techniques included.

“Exercise & Physical Activity” by the National Institute on Aging
This guide can help you take charge of an important part of your health. You may want to read through the entire book first to learn about the benefits of exercise and physical activity, and to find out how to get started, reduce your risks, and reward your progress.

To order a FREE copy of the 120 page book:

An inspirational movie: “Peaceful Warrior” starring Nick Nolte
Learn what it means to get the “trash out”. Sorry but you’ll have to see the movie. I watch it every time it’s on cable.

The Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma
This site can provide some valuable information on how you can prevent certain injuries by doing specific exercises.

I am asking you to consider making a commitment to make a change in your lifestyle. If you don’t have the will power to act alone then pull in another person.

I don’t want any of you to just jump right into any of this without thinking. I was where some of you are today. At age 32 it took me 12 minutes to run one mile. Afterwards I was looking for the rescue squad. I even thought I saw Elvis running alongside the road.

So, what could happen to you? Some will progress from walker to jogger to runner to racer. There will be others who will be happy walking and there is nothing wrong with that. It is better to do something than do nothing.

When do we get started? I am going to break things up into six months so we now focus on April 20 – May 14, 2010. You need to benchmark a mile time. You can walk four times around a high school track and be sure to time yourself. The time you record will be slowest you do anything.

In the first couple of weeks just walk the mile and stay on the watch. During the third week, instead of walking the entire lap, walk halfway and then jog if you feel comfortable doing so. The goal is to come in under your bench mark walk time.

There are a number of ways to mix it up, walk for 2 minutes and then jog for 1 minute. You will soon discover that the total time for the mile will begin to decrease.

You will need a log book or a calendar to keep track of your workout schedule. Oh yeah…. A workout schedule. We are getting serious now! You will have an option to modify your own workout schedule at any time. I am only suggesting something easy.

You are to select 3 days a week which you can devote to your workout. The weeks of
April 25th, M=1 T=1 Sat=1
May 2nd, M=1 T=1 Sat=1
May 9th M=1 T=1 Sat=1

You will be doing only 3 miles total and if you feel up to more then go for it, but don’t overdo it. Never approach the workouts when you are not fully rested. You can walk-run the mile according to how you feel. If you are out in the heat ensure that you have some type of sports drink to keep off dehydration. You may try a cooler part of the day or early evening.

One item to keep in mind as you arrange your schedule, keep it consistent so that your body can adjust. If something begins to hurt, do not try to run through the pain, slow down or stop.

The above looks so simple and may be it will be, but the concept is to gradually build up the endurance and the distance. By the end of September your long run will be 10 miles.

Let me share some other thoughts about the sport of running which can be fun as well as emotional. There will be days when you are hitting all of the marks and there will be days when nothing is going right. The not so good days are to be expected and that would be the day to skip.

What lies ahead?
May 15 – June 14 2 Miles each run
June 15 – July 14 4 miles each run
July 15 – Aug 14 6 miles each run
Aug 15 – Sep 14 6 miles for the 2 days of running and long run of 8 miles
Sep 15 – Oct 14 6 miles first day, 8 miles next day, and long run of 10 miles
Oct 15 – Oct 22 Taper days where you reduce the daily runs to 5-7 miles

Please feel free to use your own creativity to develop a schedule that works best for you as what I have listed is the basic concept. As long as you begin to feel stronger on each run then you are headed in the right direction.

You may find that the weekend is a better time for the long run. If you run on Sunday then skip Monday and start back on Tuesday.

I will be the first to admit that I do not go with all of the technology which is on the market. I just know my body and that is what is most important. Each time you lace up your shoes will turn into a different person, that athlete. It’s not about speed but accomplishing a goal to get to the finish line.

We have to balance family and work but somewhere you have to set aside the quality time for yourself.

I would love to hear from you with any questions you may have and I am not an expert but I know how to listen.

Read all of this over a couple of times to determine if you are ready to make a commitment, to remain focused and take a little of good pain to make the adjustment. We can make this a journey to help you to reach a goal which you set.

Run well and stay healthy.

About George Banker

George Banker is the Operations Manager for the Army Ten-Miler (US Army / MDW), the second largest 10-mile road race in the Unites States and this year the race will accept 35,000 runners. The responsibilities include the operational planning, logistics, community outreach, designing of the course, volunteer recruitment, and support to medical and police jurisdictions. Started August 2003. Prior to joining the Army Ten-Miler he worked 25 years at IBM serving in administration and management within the federal marketing environment in Bethesda, Maryland. Retired from the U.S. Air Force (Enlisted grade Technical Sergeant) Experience include ground refueling supervisor and cryogenic fluids production supervisor. He received 14 military decorations including the Air Force Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/Palm, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal (1969-1989). Since 1983, a freelance photographer and journalist, Senior Writer for the Runner’s Gazette, contributor to Running Journal newspaper, and RunWashington. District of Columbia Road Runners Club (DCRRC) Hall of Fame Inductee for 2006 The former president and meet director for the Mid-Atlantic Corporate Athletic Association Relays (1986-1993). Director for the Washington’s Birthday Marathon Relay (1989-1999), started the Relay. Race consultant, and steering committee member with the following events: Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run (1989), George Washington’s Parkway Classic 5K/10 Miler, Lawyer’s Have Heart 10K, Marine Corps Marathon (Historian - Ad Hoc Publicity Committee) , Navy Half Marathon & 5-Miler, and Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon. State Record Keeper USA Track & Field, 1993 to present. Chair, Trends and Issues Committee, Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) 1993-2000. Member USA Track and Field Hall of Fame. Avid runner, 99 marathons completed and serve in additional capacity as race announcer, media relations, and invited elite runner coordinator for several local area races. Six JFK 50 Miler completed to date. The Marine Corps Marathon in October 2014 will be my 100th marathon and my 31st time running it. Author of “The Marine Corps Marathon A Running Tradition” (1976-2006) September 2007 publish date. Completed 30 MCM’s to date (2013). ( December 2006 MetroSports Athlete of the Month Hall of Fame Inductee 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon Running PRs: Marathon 3:04:32 (’88) Houston-Tenneco, Half-Marathon 1:22:40 (’84) Philadelphia Distance Run, 10-Miles 1:02:10 (’87) Army Ten-Miler, 10K 37:42 (’84) Diabetes Derby, 5K 18:28 (’88) Stanford University, 1600 Meters 5:18 (’87) Gallaudet University. Graduated with an AA in Accounting from Prince George’s Community College with honors, Largo, MD (’76), and a BBA in Accounting from George Washington University, Washington, DC (’84). Educational community involvement: Volunteer speaker, Connection Resource Bank, Division of Family and Community Partnerships, Montgomery County Public Schools (1995- Present)

5 Responses to “Zero to Ten in Six”

  1. Sue Bozgoz April 21, 2010 1:54 pm


    Your words in your “Zero to Ten in Six” column, not only inspires my 45 year old body to get focused and fit, your column also makes me smile because every word is true.

    I strongly believe that “not exercising” is an option for me, but sometimes, I make excuses and back slide…and Lord knows I dont want to lose fitness, health and etc. (I have a lot of living to do).

    Again, thanks for your article! You make me want to get real and stay fit!


    LTC (Retired) Sue Bozgoz
    Former ALL Army Marathoner and Track and Field Runner

  2. Robin Goodwin April 23, 2010 5:15 pm

    Loved your article. I especially loved your background information. Your the man!! I’am teaching running for 6 weeks. My runners are going to run their first 5k in three weeks. Your story is very inspirational. I hope to get them to read it too.

    Love Robin

  3. Cindy Risch April 23, 2010 5:31 pm

    George, thanks for your encouragement! It’s exactly what I needed to read to make my commitment! I’m looking forward to the challenge.

  4. Courtney Moore June 16, 2010 8:46 pm

    Hi George,

    I have been Googling information on the Army 10-miler, as I have a great interest in it. I was wondering if spouses can participate or if it it just for the Army enlisted? My husband is stationed here at Fort Hood, and while he doesn’t have the motivation, I have run 10 mile races and places third in my division just a few weeks ago in my first Half Marathon, finishing under 2 hours.

    If you have any information, it would be great. I would love to be a part of the team if they take spouses, or perhaps if spouses run together to form their own Army 10 Miler.

    Thanks! If anyone else has any other information, please get back to me.

    Many regards and good luck to all of you in your fitness endeavors,

    Courtney Moore

  5. Starlett Henderson June 18, 2010 7:31 pm

    Hi Courtney…
    Hopefully your google search brought you to

    Registration for 2010’s race has completed, but they are offering ways to enter…via a lottery or buying someone elses’ slot who can’t attend like they thought they would be able to.

    Army Wife Network’s core team signed up to run, as individuals, but we’re going to stick and run together.
    We have been telling our facebook fans ( that we’ll let them know when we have t-shirts available if they want to match us. And we’ll let everyone know where we’ll be if they want to run with us. We will also have a AWN booth.

    So, if you do end up getting a slot into 2010’s race, let us know. We’ll look for you. Sounds like you could be great motivator for all of us. 🙂

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