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Off and Running with Mission:Milspouse’s George Banker

One mission of MISSION:MILSPOUSE is to provide information about health and fitness.

It was easier to be fit as when we were school-age children.  Think about when you were growing up and how often did you hear, “Go out and play.”

What did you do when you went outside?

My guess is that you stayed out too long. You may not have had the technology that is available today such as video games. You relied upon your creativity and found your way to the playground.


What has happened over the years?


The list includes school, military service, travel, and family commitments. Along your journey, you became a master of your time and being a provider. Do you think there was a price you paid? What has happened? Are you the type who every New Year’s Day your resolution is to start a fitness program?


Medical science has not developed a magic fitness pill.


You invested money in exercise equipment, and it stated it was easy storage, which turned into permanent storage. It is time to turn your life around.

You know the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and you can make a personal list of what you want to achieve.


Running can be your fitness program of choice for many reasons:


  • There are few limitations for where to run.
  • You can run around your neighborhood, a high school track, at your local gym using a treadmill or indoor track.
  • There are running paths at local parks. 
  • A starting point is to determine how much time you have available to run.
  • The easiest way is to get a calendar and mark the days which you will devote to running.


Where to Start?


Check out some beginner running sites to learn more about training programs. One approach is to set a plan and be consistent and stay with it for 30 days. If you should miss a day, do not double up the next day.

An important piece of gear is running shoes. Do not think the more you pay, the better the shoes. You can visit a local running store so can get properly fitted and take a pair of older shoes so they can see shoe wear. You should wear shoes for running and not casual wear.

I know some of you are fashion conscious and you want to look your best and just a word of caution. It can be expensive so choose wisely.

Most of the running clothes are made of the same products and a brand name on a shirt can cause the price tag to increase by $20. The times have changed, and cotton is not king, and the technical fabrics offer fit and breathability (wicking properties).

I will be the first to tell you that an expensive running T-shirt or shorts will not make you run any faster.

Let me share some comments from Lisa Rainsberger about the preparations for taking your first steps.


Lisa Larsen Rainsberger, previously known as Lisa Larsen Weidenbach, is a distance runner. She is a member of the University of Michigan Track and Field and Road Runners Club of America Halls of Fame.

Her marathon times were among the top ten in the US in 1984 and 1987– 1994. Wikipedia.



Rainsberger now spends her time coaching kids in her youth-focused development program.

“Most everyone can enjoy running”. While it may seem daunting, given the correct circumstances such as Doctor approval, setting a specific goal, giving yourself the correct timeframe to achieve your goal, correct training equipment, properly fitting shoes, and a support group can make your running program safe and enjoyable.

  1. Rainsberger also advises to first start with your doctor’s approval if you are uncertain about your health. Hopefully, your doctor will encourage you to run to help improve your overall health.
  2. Set a specific goal as you why you are starting a running program and create a daily plan. Working with a coach or a running group can help you reach your goals and keep it enjoyable.
  3. Visit your local specialty running store to find a local training group.
  4. Whether your goal is to run a 5K, ½ marathon or full marathon, give yourself enough time to train properly for the goal race.
  5. Do not expect to go from the sofa to the finish line of a marathon in just a few weeks. Give yourself time to train for success.
  6. Make sure you have new and properly fitting shoes as you embark on your running journey. Once you train consistently, you will need to replace your shoes every 3-4 months. Shoes may “look” okay, but shoes do breakdown.
  7. As you approach the hot summer month, make sure you carry a handheld water bottle with you on your long runs to keep you hydrated. They also act to carry your car key and fuel gels.
  8. Find a local running group to train with. Misery love company! Check with your local running stores to find a training group to join. You can also find an online coach or training program to follow.  Once you have reached your running goal, keep going! Set the next run or race to enter and make this a lifelong journey.


There is value in the words above. If you are not there yet, continue reading.


The following three words will be key to your success: CONSISTENT–INSISTENT–PERSISTENT.

You can write your own definition of the above words and then apply it to your running program.

The following are random thoughts for your consideration and things which I have used. You can search the Internet and find an array of approaches. As a person starting out, stay away from the topics of how to get faster unless you aspire to making an Olympic team.

The goal is to find the fun in running while staying healthy.

The best place to start out to build up confidence is using a track either inside or outside. A high school track is a quarter mile around and four laps to the mile. The trial period is a month.

The first day, walk four laps to get a mile. On your second outing, you walk one lap to warm up and on the second lap do a slow jog along the straight and then walk the turn. Continue the run/walk for the balance of the remaining three laps. Continue this for the 4-5 days of the week. This is the break-in period. If you feel you want to extend the distance, then let your body be your gauge.

The jogging part feels comfortable and using your normal stride and your body will let you know what feels comfortable. The tendency is to start out fast, and that is what you want to avoid and save that for later.

You may develop shin splints as you use muscles which you have not used before. There are stretching exercises which can be found to help reduce the pain. Once your body gets adjusted, the pain will vanish.

The gradual building up your muscles will adjust, and what started out as being hard will slowly vanish. There is no 10-step easy program to run, and it is one step at a time.


It goes without stating that nutrition will be a factor in your running program.


Your body relies upon having the proper fuel as an automobile. Yes, some research is in order for you to determine what will provide the maximum fuel for your body. You will find what works for others may not work for you.

During the 30-day period, you will adjust to your lifestyle. There will be things which you will give up as you develop new habits. The transformation will not be automatic and once you reach a comfortable place, you will be proud of your achievement.

This is all for you. If you do not act, there will be no progress.

I was coaching Candy, who wanted to run. We met twice a week at a local high school after work. We were three weeks in, and one day Candy stopped and said, “I dislike this running.” My reply, “Now that you have tried it, at least you know.” As a result, Candy developed a love for walking, which she took up with vengeance.

Doing something is better than doing nothing.

Let me share a story about my best friend Jen. We talk daily and like clockwork in our conversation she mentions her usual walk of a couple miles but never over three miles. The distance goes to 2.6, 2.7, etc. My response is, “Do what makes the heart feel happy.”

If I say, “There is a contest where you can win a $1,000 shopping spree and all you have to do is walk four miles.” I think she would do it.

Truth be told is that I am proud of her no matter how many miles. 

For those who think their age plays a role, my friend George, age 91, ran a 10-mile race in 3 hours, 11 minutes, and 28 seconds. At age 90 he ran 2:33:04, which is a pending age group record for ages 90-94 as the fastest American. This should settle questions about age.

Over the years, George has perfected his style and has adjusted to continue his love of running. He told me this year, “I cannot find anyone to compete against.” I replied, “Don’t look at me.” Several times when he was in his 80s, we ran marathons, and I was tired of looking at his back.

Mission:MilspouseTruth be told, my first race was a half-marathon in Philadelphia. I was into fashion, blue hat, blue shoes, red shirt, and matching shorts.

I looked at that picture and I knew the city had to resurface parts of the road as I was tearing it up.

Each time I look at the picture I know what I felt like that day and the rush from the accomplishments. Here I am many years and miles later feeling the same way.

We will be cheering you all the way from the start until the finish. The next move is up to you.

What are you going to do ?



*Additional information about Lisa can be found here…Episode 98: Boston Marathon Winner and Coach, Lisa Rainsberger, Has the Mindset of a Champion by Run Farther & Faster — The Podcast with Coaches Lisa Levin and Julie Sapper (

More posts from George Banker can be found on the M:M Expert Blogger Page.



  • 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 United States. Since 2003, his responsibilities include the operational planning, logistics, community outreach, design of the course, volunteer recruitment, and support to medical and police jurisdictions. 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. He is retired from the U.S. Air Force (enlisted grade Technical Sergeant), where his experience included 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 with Palm, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal (1969-1989). Since 1983, he has worked as a freelance photographer and journalist, senior writer for the Runner’s Gazette, contributor to Running Journal newspaper, and He is the author of “The Marine Corps Marathon: A Running Tradition”. He is an avid runner, with 114 marathons completed. You can find our more about him at


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EIN Number: 88-1604492


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