Olympic Gold Medalist Shares Fitness Tips

By John W. Davis

January 30, 2011 Updated Jan 30, 2011 at 6:19 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - “Running is something you can do for many different reasons… I did it for stress release when I was in high school and college," said 1972 Munich Olympic Gold Medalist Frank Shorter.

Shorter said running is not just for collegiate and professional athletes, it is for the masses.

“It’s the easiest, it’s the most efficient and it’s 100 calories per mile covered no matter how fast. So if you walk a 20 minute mile or you run a 4 minute mile, you burn 100 calories, approximately," explained Shorter, who was also the 1976 Montreal Olympic Silver Medalist.

Shorter said running can be intimidating but it should not be.

“All training is, is getting to where you can run, or even walk for an half an hour at a time," said Shorter in a matter-of-fact way.

Shorter, now in his 60's, is revered as a running legend.

“When I started out the marathon was this mythical distance... speed doesn’t matter, anyone who’s willing to put in the time and the effort, can train to run a half marathon or a marathon," stated Shorter.

Shorter believes newbies, like people who have made New Year's Resolutions to exercise more often, simply need a running mythbusters lesson.

“The level of activity of which you need to go to really benefit your cardiovascular system and get in better health, is at about 75% of your maximum effort, which is very easy to determine, because it’s a pace at which you can go and still carry on a conversation," explained Shorter.

“If you’re going so hard that you couldn’t talk to someone with whom you’re walking or running, slow down because it’s actually counter productive. It’s not as efficient. So, actually going moderately is the best way to do it," continued Shorter.

Meanwhile, Shorter recalled his early days as a runner.

“I didn’t start running ‘cause I wanted to go to the Olympics. I started running for many of the same reasons that members of the Fort Wayne Track Club started to run," said Shorter.

“We started to do this, and found out we really liked doing it. And yeah, all the benefits were nice but what we really like most of all is just running. Just moving on down the road.”

Shorter, a graduate of Yale University and the University of Florida said he had no idea running would become the social phenomena that it is today.

“The number of people in our society that really want to know try to do this, has gone beyond whatever I thought it would be... having running clubs like the Fort Wayne Track Club training to run these long distance races, means that the long distances, particularly the marathon, they become demystified.”

Shorter has witnessed many first-time runners, fall in love with the sport.

“When you train and then run in a race, it has an end point. And so there’s that satisfaction of actually having achieved something," said Shorter finishing his conversation with Indiana's NewsCenter.

Shorter was in Fort Wayne on Sunday, as the keynote speaker for the Fort Wayne Track Club 2011 banquet.

For more information on the Fort Wayne Track Club, visit the related content section of this story.

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