Zombies, Run! discussion

Zombies, Run!: Keeping Fit and Living Well in the Current Zombie Emergency
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The Book > Week One: The Home Front

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message 1: by Lulu (new)

Lulu (robotwitch) | 19 comments Mod
Hi there Runners 5! I’m Lulu, part of the support team at Six to Start, and I’ll be taking you through the Zombies, Run! book for the next eight weeks.

This week, we’ll be looking at The Home Front.

Like most things, dealing with the zombie apocalypse begins at home, as The Home Front lays out. The Ministry of Recovery won’t let any of us survivors cut corners when it comes to exercises you can do in your barricaded shelter, chores that help improve your cardiovascular fitness, and projects to prevent cabin fever when you’re stuck in near-isolation.


Looking around the office, I realise that despite the expertise on zombie-evasion at Six to Start, we are woefully ill-prepared. I started compiling ideas into the list of tasks to reinforce the office, and working out where we are vulnerable:

This is peek at what we're working with:

The lunch table should stop any shamblers from getting in through the doors, and the sofas are nice and heavy.

Most of these tasks include heavy lifting, stretching or sprinting. While we don’t have any gym facilities in or near the office, the Ministry of Recovery has helpful provided exercises that we can do indoors.

There’s plenty of office chairs for chair dips, and though we lack stairs, we could use a sturdy box to step on and off of. As for the dancing suggested? Well, as long as radio keeps pumping, you’ll be able to have a silent disco - that is, where everyone wears headphones, which will stop zombies from rudely gatecrashing your party,

Have a look around you now - what can you do to make your home or shelter safer from the zombie attack? What spare items or furniture can you use and what exercises can you do to help you achieve that?

During the Siege

The Ministry includes a handy guide for how to keep yourself active and mentally well during siege situations. That includes studying a new subject that might be useful in the new zombie-ridden world, keeping a small garden, and writing in a journal each day. And what about if you are besieged with a group of other people? Working together on projects is a big one, as well as giving each other alone time, amongst other things.

Our office is surrounding by concrete, so gardening will be done in a window box. I can’t grow much, but at least I can spruce up any bland meals with a fiery chili pepper or a sprig of parsley. In the same vein, keeping up with cooking should improve the kind of meals I’m producing with scavenged food. There’s only so many ways you can cook a mouldy potato, but I’m going to make it the best mouldy potato you’ve ever eaten!

As for my language learning, it’ll certainly help if I stumble across any errant tourists trapped in the UK. If you decide to take on a language to pass time during a siege, remember to learn some key phrases: “Have you been bitten?” “Do you have a shelter?” “Are there zombies near by?” and “Look out! Zombies!”

What projects would you like to undertake in the coming months? How will they help you? As the Ministry of Recovery says, every hobby or project can be helpful in these grim times.

Daily Fitness and Wellness Routine

The Ministry of Recovery provides a sample routine for this part, while making it clear that it doesn’t matter matter what kind of routine you choose, as long as you follow it.

Remember to start off slow with a new routine - add too much and too fast, and you’ll surely burn out. I’m going to start with a couple of things to do in each box, and will add one bullet point each month. After all, getting through this zombie wasteland is more marathon than sprint.

Once I’ve successfully managed to follow this routine for 30 days, I’ll start by upping the intensity in which I’m doing these things - maybe I’ll study German in the morning and the night, and put some longer runs in there. Remember to that you have to fit these activities in between your responsibilities in your township or group, and don’t tire yourself out on any one thing!

It’s always good to be aware of your own deficiencies - I’m not very strong, so it’s going to take me a long while before I can add more strength training to my routine without injuring myself.

What does your routine look like? That can be your current routine, or the routine you’re working towards. Share pictures, if you have them, or write out what you’ve included.

Tell us what you thought of this section in general - and we’d love to hear what you’ve included from the book!

message 2: by Todd (last edited Dec 01, 2016 01:17PM) (new)

Todd Edson | 2 comments Lulu,

I may be channeling my Sam here but...
Looks to me like Talacre Community Sports Center and Kentish Town Sports Center are a hop skip and jump down the road from S2S. Likely the easiest path would be the shortcut on the Overground line avoiding the hordes of zombs likely to be present from the surrounding residential areas. Possibly some gear at the Parliament Hill Lido and Health Life Education Center as well.
There's easy access to all sorts of things to fortify the office right there as well at what looks to be a recycling center across the street by the Overland line. Easy pickings to get corrugated sheets from there to make effective walls and window covers. That would allow you to block off the enclosed parking courtyard area which could be turned into a gardening area. Rain water collection on the rooftop until you can run or lay pipes/hose from the ponds at Hampstead Heath the nearest source of water.
Personally my long term plan if it would be decided to stick in that area and start a base of operations would be to relocate to the Kenwood House and start work crews on fortifications and walls which could be expanded around the parkland. It makes more sense to relocate to somewhere sustainable where you would have room for additional survivors. Keep an eye out for the ghost of highwayman Dick Turpin!
The nearby Hampstead Underground (deep shelters during WWII) as well as other underground stations should be avoided. I doubt it would make for viable long term shelter (my opinion differs from the game here, the underground would be a horrible place in a zombie apocalypse in my opinion plus they would likely flood once the power went out. It would be like living in a contaminated industrial site and would pose health issues if it didn't flood. Those 320 steps at Hampstead station which everyone would be using once power was out (equivalent to a 15 story building) would be good cardio!

That is all likely getting ahead of The Home Front section and into more planning ahead stages. In my case I work at a hospital which in the case this happened I would be bugging out of ASAP. Especially considering my office is directly next to the morgue! It doesn't take much to figure out that a hospital is going to be among the worst places to be in this situation. If I were here I would load up with medical supplies and antibiotics from the pharmacy if I had time before making my hasty exit. I would go to my house which is around 20 miles (32 km) from work. Fortunately I live in the country outside of a small town on several acres of land. I run by a dam and river and have two wells on my land. I'm stocked with enough food to sustain several people for months as well as having enough weapons, firearms and ammo to last through the initial outbreak until more ammo could be scavenged or reloaded. The gentleman who built my house was a Polish survivor of WWII. He made sure there were open areas around the house for open lines of fire but the back acres are woodland. With it going into winter I have several cords of firewood stocked and would be fine if the power went out as heating could be from the fireplace and the cold weather would keep perishable food from spoiling when the power went out. Food preservation would be done by smoking meats (already have the smoker) and fresh greens and herbs would be grown under the skylights in the house which I already do as well. That doesn't produce enough greens to live on so I would have to scavenge canned goods to suppliment mine. Fortification would be fairly easy as a lumberyard is very close by. On my street I have only a few other permanent residents while the rest of the homes are summer homes for people in the Chicago area which remain vacant most of the time.
Some priorities would be establishing communications with the nearby military base if it weren't overrun. As very little traffic goes directly by the house I would likely have time to expand on the fencing around the property and the two sporting dogs in residence would help provide security. Longer term fortifications would be done with use of nearby heavy equipment which I know how to operate. Exercise equipment such as weights I have, the treadmill would be inoperable until a generator could be hooked up to provide power. Additional food could be harvested from the nearby lakes and rivers and abundant wild game in the area.
The exercises in the book are OK although I would probably stick to the exercise routines I already have established which include running, yoga, weights, and core work. I would expand this with hand to hand weapons training routines as well as archery practice to hone skills on noiseless elimination of any potential threats. I would conserve ammunition for when it was really needed rather than risk drawing zombs from the noise. I have a well stocked library and have plenty of things for entertainment. My main concern would be isolation from other survivors as I'm single.
Initially I would hunker down and see how things were turning out. With it going into winter I would observe if the below freezing weather would slow or stop the zombs moving about. I would likely make and initiate plans for rescue of some friends and family if possible. That would also eliminate concerns for company and additional hands to help out. If this were not possible then I would have plenty of food, water, protection, and shelter to last the winter either way.

The book (and app) is a bit unrealistic and somewhat naive I think when it comes to the whole zombie apocalypse genre. I would have thought initial planning should include how to procure food, shelter, weapons, and basic survival gear. How to secure a safe area of shelter should also be covered. Tossing a couch in front of a door honestly would do very little to secure it from a couple of zombs hungry for a manwich. I do keep reminding myself that the game and book are fitness based and have a more lighthearted approach to a grave situation.
I do think the opportunity is there to provide some good instruction along with the entertainment on basic survival skills. Knowing things like how to purify water in the field where no fresh water is available, how to start a fire without matches, set snares or forage for basic food. build a shelter and so on. Even covering some urban survival skills would be logical. How to move silently, how to move through a war zone (zomb zone) in urban and rural environments. These things aren't military secrets and are what keeps people alive in extreme crisis situations such as this would be. Even having some basic knowledge that can be passed on through a game like this would be invaluable to some if a real life situation ever came up.
Yes keeping up your morale is important as is fitness. However, you have to stay alive long enough to worry about being happy and in shape to deal with long term survival and rebuilding situations.
On a different note though this does remind me a bit of the information that the American government has sent out as far as survival propaganda. Very little of which is relevant or useful but does give the reader something to do until they are killed by the given situation. So if that was the intention if the MOD does things on a similar vein then this would be along these tongue-in-cheek thousand ways to die ways.

My apologies for negativity in this bit of the discussion but I don't think tooting the horn and saying wow, good stuff is in order. The information is just too out there for me to even consider it being useful in a beginning of an outbreak/war/massive crisis situation. I would have liked to have seen a more sobering approach.

I do absolutely love the app as it's fun and entertaining to listen to while running, The drama, developing character interaction and all is a laugh (sometimes a cry) and addictive to listen to while running. It really is clueless when it comes to actual survival though. I do look forward to reading this book and continuing to use the app while I run.


Geoffrey Crayon

TheCagg | 1 comments If you're looking for practical information, I can tell that this book isn't going to be the place to look. It's so far been a somewhat entertaining read but I was expecting a little more meat.

message 4: by Brunehild (new)

Brunehild | 2 comments It's more about the physical and mental health aspects, and about what you can do *now*, nevermind that there's no zombie apocalypse really going on.
Books on survival and defense are everywhere, this is not one of them and has another purpose (although I'm not done reading it, it's the impression I got from the first chapters)

message 5: by Ben (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ben Langleben | 3 comments I find the Zombie world a helpful analogy for motivating myself exercise and generally be more healthy. I've started doing some of the exercises in the book (glad I got the hard copy for this) but diagrams for more of the drills would have been helpful. The reading list was an interesting feature, though not all the books good rave reviews on this site (I was impressed however that they are indeed genuine books). I found Ed Caesar's "Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon" very motivational too, and recall key parts when I'm tiring on a run and the zombies are at my heels...

message 6: by Brunehild (new)

Brunehild | 2 comments Absolutely. I actually find it a very good analogy for depression. Maybe I'm just projecting... ^_^

message 7: by Karina (new)

Karina Fletcher | 3 comments I love the way this first chapter has been so thought through - even the introduction and the Ministry of Recovery as an organisation - I can so imagine that actually happening. Its was easy to get sucked in to the scenario.
Also, this first chapter is reminiscent of the Cold War pamphlets issued by the British Government on what to do to protect you in the home should a nuclear war occur - coincidence? or inspiration?

message 8: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Clarke (eruvadhril) | 3 comments I liked the reference to Ministry Briefing 23; it makes me want to go and collect all of the other Ministry-authored materials out there in the world. I know they don't actually exist, but I'm a completionist :D

I did like that it didn't try to be your actual ground-up survival guide and stated up front "if you're reading this, you've already got a fairly good idea of how to not die from zombies". In-universe, this is being sent out a while after Day Z, so advice on how to -prepare- for a zombie apocalypse or similar society-ending event would be a bit like bolting the barn door after the horses have turned into a slavering man-eating horde.

I'm fairly lucky in my accommodation: I'm on a top-floor flat with my boyfriend, like Jody. We've access to the roof, and a balcony on each side of the building. There's a park across the road, which would probably be a good place to scavenge soil for balcony and rooftop gardens, and being in the Netherlands we're probably going to end up with a lot of rainwater. The river down the road is fairly close by bike, and will at least be viable for washing if not for drinking water. Carrying a load of heavy washing back home on the back of the bike should be an exercise in balance as well as cardio.

A rope ladder or something similar up the side of the balconies should be a fairly secure point of access once the stairway is blocked up. It should be fairly easy for us to set up a hijsbalk on the roof at some point for hauling up heavier supplies.

Both of us have some experience with martial arts (though he's far more in practice than I am), so we should be able to adapt workout routines from those lessons to keep our fitness up. We'll definitely be keeping up with him teaching me swordfighting and me teaching him archery, too; some expansion into arrow-crafting might be a good idea on top of that.

This does inspire me to look around the flat and see what areas would be good for which types of exercises. Move the coffee table and we'll have a nice open space for stretching and combat training, shooting from the back of the bedroom through the door and to the other end of the living room would be good target practice, the stairs just outside would be good for step training...

Adrian Hon (adrianhon) | 2 comments Mod
My own accommodation is pretty defensible - I'm on the second floor of a well-built council housing property. There is a strong outer door that you'd need to get through just to get into the main building, then my own front door.

It's a very populated area, so I suspect I'd have a horde at my front door fairly quickly though!

Eva Therese (eva-therese) | 4 comments I took a good, hard look at my own home and found it okay. Certainly it has potential to be improved with a few simple steps.
I live on the second floor, so if the stairs can be blocked or, better yet, demolished, I should be pretty secure.
If I don't have time to do that, I can barricade my own door with the sofa, until the zombies go away.
I have a balcony where I'm already growing herbs. I'm not very good with plants, but I could learn. It will also be a good position for scouting out the neighbourhood.
I have a bathtub, which can be used to store rainwater for dry periods. And a gas stove, which will probably work longer than anything electric.
A very easy improvement would be to get a couple of flash-lights and a portable radio and stock up on batteries. And lots of dry and canned food, of course.

Denali (yarnbard) | 10 comments As far as reading the book for practical information goes, I totally agree with Brunehild that it's a good analogy for depression. Especially this chapter. And Zombies Run has always been about surviving the zombie apocalypse through fitness/wellness and community. So in that regard, this book is about a different set of survival skills than you would typically see in any other book about surviving the zombie apocalypse. Honestly, I really appreciate it, because these are survival skills that will help you outside of a zombie apocalypse (or any other apocalypse scenario), too.

I enjoyed this chapter, but so far, I've only had time to incorporate a little of the information into my own lifestyle. I decided to start with the flexibility routine for beginners on page 33, and I've been doing it every morning since. So far, I've been rather blown away by how much better I've felt since I started doing the simple exercises. Not only has my general flexibility improved, but so has my posture!

message 12: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (clbfreeman) | 15 comments I'm enjoying the book so far. The zombie apocalypse approach is definitely motivating! As I mentioned in my intro, zombies are the thing that finally got me running. Now that winter weather and days with less sunlight have arrived here in Iowa, I appreciate the indoor exercise suggestions. When the wind blows here it's easy to imagine zombies are the ones rattling the doors and windows! I'm trying to integrate these exercises into my daily routine. I have the added benefit of a couple of very active dogs thinking that means it's playtime,since they are my usual walk/run partners. Fending them off gives me some extra exercise!

In terms of home security, we live in a rural area on top of a broad hill, so we have great visibility for miles. We generally keep a pretty good stock of food and medical supplies on hand which is good. We'd have a barricade challenge though. We have a number of windows that are easily access from the ground. We do have some tall book shelves we could put in place over some of them. (That also means we have a bunch of books for keeping our spirits up.) We have some old barn wood we could nail in place over the other windows. There are trees nearby so plenty of wood supplies, and we have a wood burnt by stove. I think overall we are well placed on the Home Front!

message 13: by Lulu (new)

Lulu (robotwitch) | 19 comments Mod
Todd/Geoffrey - Lots of in-depth planning here! The book is set now that the initial outbreak is over, so is more on how to deal with the day-to-day problems of a zombie infestation. Of course, the concentration is still on fitness, like the app. It seems you'd do really well during the apocalypse, especially with a skylight and plenty of food!

I think you'll be pleased to see that a lot of your concerns are indeed covered in later areas of the book.

Ben - How are you finding the exercises to be? I'll have to check out that book recommendation!

Danielle - I love your analogy with the horses! Martial arts will definitely come in handy for you. The book mentions archery later on as a useful skill - mostly because you don't have to worry about running out of ammo. So you seem to be well ahead of the curve :)

Eva - What a good idea with your bathtub! I'll definitely be stealing that idea if the need ever arises.

Denali - You and Brunehild might be onto something! I'm glad to hear those exercises have worked out for you - posture is so important, whether in the apocalypse or not! Have you found it's improved your running posture too?

Carol - Dogs are always so helpful when it comes to forcing you to exercise! We'll be talking about dogs in a later chapter, too :) It definitely sounds like you're be alright where you are during the apocalypse - but hopefully that won't lull you into a false sense of security!

message 14: by Cari (new) - added it

Cari | 4 comments Brunehild wrote: "Absolutely. I actually find it a very good analogy for depression. Maybe I'm just projecting... ^_^"

I agree with you, Brunehild!

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