Hi, I’m Mark and I am a Runner. Yes there was a capital “R” for Runner. I can finish a ten mile race in 70 minutes and have done marathon distance twice now. The first time was an accident, the second time intentional and now I am training to do that distance as an official race. What does this have to do with LARPing? A lot! Boffer LARPs are very physical and being in good cardio fitness is key to success. Countless times I have been chasing a player (I’m almost always an NPC) and I have had to stop and let them catch their breath to prevent a real life medical issue. Stereotype aside, many LARPers are not in the greatest of physical health. Improving your cardio will not only make you a better LARPer, but improve your health in real life.
First lets talk some basic running terms. When you run, how fast you go is determined by your stride length and stride rate. The stride length is the distance one foot travels before setting down again, for average adult male runners it is about 28 inches. Next is stride rate, this is how many strides you do per minute or mile (usually mile, though metric users can use kilometers if you want). Then there is sprinting, this is running at your top speed. While sprinting is very good for training (and for burning fat), it is not good when LARPing and should be avoided (more on that later). Interval training is alternating between fast running and slow running/walking (or even complete rest). Interval training is key to improving cardiovascular fitness. Now that I have covered some basic terms let’s apply them to LARPing.
Sprinting is bad at LARPs: it is a safety issue. Sprinters have longer stride length, which means your legs are kicking out more. Most LARP sites are not the most stable ground, this means larger chance of tripping over something. When chasing another person you want to match speeds before attacking, and if you are sprinting you won’t be able to match speeds and stand a good chance of crashing into them. Finally, sprinting wears you out very quickly, you have maybe 60 seconds of top speed, then you are out of breath and combat probably isn’t over.
Key to almost any sort of running training is know your one mile and 5k (about 3.2 miles) times. If you are a beginner you may need to work up to a 5k, there are plenty of resources available to get you there
Interval training is my favorite training for LARP. There are many different ways to do it, the simplest involve run fast for a set time or distance and then rest for one to two minutes. I personally like run a quarter mile for 90 seconds, rest 90 seconds then repeat 9 more times. This is taking my best one mile time (6 minutes) and trying to maintain it for about two and a half miles by taking breaks in between.
I will end this post with a cheat for you all. They say the only good running training is running, but using an elliptical can help a fair amount and put less stress on your joints. You can either try for a good half an hour workout, or something shorter and mix in some interval training. Do not use a treadmill, they put excess stress on your joints.
Good luck and good running.