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The Book > Week Five: Fit for Survival

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message 1: by Lulu (new)

Lulu (robotwitch) | 19 comments Mod
So you’ve mastered the 5k, and want to get serious about being a runner for your community? To help you kick it up a notch, the Ministry is getting us Fit for Survival.

Come Rain or Shine

Zombies are never deterred by the weather. Even if they are rotting in the sun or moulding over in the rain, they’re still determined to eat you.

For humans, it’s a little different. Thanks to not being dead, it is much harder to take care of ourselves in all seasons, especially when it comes to physical exercise. That’s why we’re lucky to have the Ministry to point us in the right direction.

They’ve also given us a handy guide to how zombies behave, depending on the weather! Spring and autumn is a dangerous time for us runners, It is definitely going to take all of my willpower to avoid stomping on all those crunchy leaf piles.

Having read the advice, here are the supplies I think I’ll need to run in all seasons:

I already have Lycra running tights, so that’s sorted. I’ll scavenge the rest slowly, as I improve both my running abilities and my running frequency. There’s no point on spending lots of energy trying to find fancy gear if I’m not sure I’ll need it.

The only thing I need soon are new running shoes, as mine are not very breathable. This slows me down significantly, especially at the end of a run - when a surprise zombie attack could have me sprinting to my shelter!

Do you find it harder to run in certain months? What supplies do you need to up your running game? What is your current favourite piece of gear?

Special Zombies

As if mindless shamblers weren’t terrifying enough, “S-type” zombies seem to have retained some muscle memory. Like the child zombies from Fit for Battle it’s good to remember that they are not alive, just because they are following their human routines. So don’t think just because your postman keeps trying to shovel letters through your front door, that he isn’t there to bite you too.

We must watch out for fast zombies as well as elite athletes, whose strength and speed can easily overpower the average human. In the Ministry’s words:

“Never assume that the peaceful slow-moving horde you see through your binoculars will remain thus if they catch sight or smell of you.”

Good rules to live by. Have you spotted any unusual zombie activity during your scouting or recon runs? If so, don’t forget to report them to the Ministry of Recovery!

Interval Training

Anyone who has completed our 5k Training programme will be familiar with interval training. It’s an effective way to up improve your fitness, and to get your cardiovascular system working. The programme suggesting here by the Ministry, however, is much more intense than our beginner’s programme.

This includes challenging exercises such as jumping jacks, squats and burpees - the latter of which, I’m hardly surprised to say, is grueling for nearly everyone who does them regardless of their level of fitness. That’s why these suggested routines are best left for after you’ve conquered the 5k and have done some strength training exercises suggested in The Home Front.

The book also includes guidelines on how to formulate your own tailored interval training programme. Just take it slowly at first. Taking on too much, too fast, is a good way to end up not being able to exercise for a while at all.

Do you have any experience with interval training? How has it affected your level of fitness?

10/20/40k & Backpack Training

If you’ve managed the 5k, it’s time to take on the 10k. The Ministry has helpfully supplied training plans for not just turning 5k into 10k, but also plans for 20k and 40k training.

These are comprehensive, and include which days as well as for how long you should be running. It even suggests whether you should do an “easy” or fast pace run!

I’m not quite at this level yet, but I’ll be sure to give them a go once I have completed my 5k training!

Will you be trying out these plans? What distances can you currently comfortably run?

But what good is running so far if you can’t carry things back for your community? Here, there is a step-by-step guide for building up to carrying a full backpack while running. Being in the far-reaches of London, we don’t have much sand at our disposal. However, I’ll be using things that weigh approximately 500g each time I need to add to my weight.

I’ll also be on the hunt for supplements and vitamins, things sorely needed in this post-apocalyptic limited diet, as well as matches to start fires to keep the team warm over winter.

What kind of things do you or would you carry with you on your runs?


Any Sherlock fans out there will immediately recognise the idea of a “memory palace”. It’s a difficult skill to gain, but, as the book explains, an important one if you’re the runner for your town. It’s not only a good way to build up a picture in your mind of your surrounding area, it’s also useful for keeping your brain active as well as your body!

It’ll also make it much easier for you to tell if something in your local area has changed, and you can then report it back to your community for further investigation. It’s also helpful to be able to remember where you saw supplies or food that the community might need, as the case study shows!

Do you have any memory tricks you use? Have you got your own version of a “memory palace”?

I’d love to hear what you all thought of this chapter! Did you find any of the trick and advice useful? And, as always, feel free to discuss things I haven’t talked about!

message 2: by Denali (new)

Denali (yarnbard) | 10 comments I have a hard time running in winter, because not only do the snow and ice make it more difficult, but there is also a lot less daylight, and I don't like to run in the dark if I can help it.

I became familiar with interval training through the 5k training app, but I was glad to see a detailed plan for training for a 10k and beyond! I've been too busy to run lately, but I do really want to get back into it as soon as I am able, which'll hopefully be within the next couple years.

I enjoyed the section on backpack training, too, because that is one thing that always seemed like it would be rather difficult to me, though I could definitely see the utility of it, even if it's just to carry a water bottle for myself while I'm out on a run!

And the memory trick was a nice touch! I knew a bit about using a memory palace, but the example in the book was one of the most practical uses of the technique that I'd ever seen.

message 3: by Lulu (new)

Lulu (robotwitch) | 19 comments Mod
Denali - Yes, we don't advise on running in the dark, especially if you're on your own. Have you tried going to the gym, if there's one near you that isn't swarmed with zombies? Though I understand that isn't always practical, if you're very busy.

Hopefully, the instructions in the book has made backpack training seem a bit more accessible, as it is indeed a useful skill. It's also good if you want to run back home after school or work, but have your backpack on you.

message 4: by Carol (last edited Jan 11, 2017 05:13PM) (new)

Carol (clbfreeman) | 15 comments Sorry for the delay in responding to a few things here in the last couple weeks. You know how it is in these apocalyptic days when things get hectic from time to time!

I agree Denali, I do find it MUCH harder to run in the winter. Living here in Iowa it stays dark later in the morning, gets dark earlier at night, and can get VERY cold - then there is the snow and ice (though we have not had much of that so far this year). The winds can also be very strong and thus you get a pretty good windchill. I did recently acquire a face mask which helps. I need to get some NON-ventilated running shoes. It is still hard to find a time not on the weekends to be able to get out because of the dark. I don't fancy running in the dark out in a rural area with no lights. You never know what is out there! I wish there was a gym nearby but at least I have a small, non-electric, tension only elliptical I can use in the house.

Interval training works really well for me, especially when it comes to running, since this is still a relatively new activity for me. I did the 5K training app and really appreciated the lessons in building up slowly to get to the point of being able to run the full 5K. Interval training also helps me learn how to breathe properly while running, that was always one of my biggest struggles. I've only completed the full 5 K a couple times so far, so I think I will stay with that one for awhile, especially since I will need to go back to basics again in the spring when I can get out more consistently.

I currently carry my phone and headphones, a treat bag, doggie pick up bags, and a water bottle with me on my runs. It is a good idea to start training to carry more supplies with me. You never know when you might need to pick something up, or might need something to help you out of a situation! The reminder to build up slowly is helpful!

Ah Sherlock's memory palace! YES! I love the ideas in this part of the chapter. I have always been a pretty observant person, but the way to stay sharp is to always practice. I plan to start making this a regular part of my runs. I love the red car game idea and plan to pick something different to watch for each time I go out.

I thought this was an interesting chapter with some good ideas about maintaining both physical and mental fitness!

message 5: by Lulu (new)

Lulu (robotwitch) | 19 comments Mod
No need to apologise, Carol - we all get busy! Ooh, a face mask sounds like an excellent idea in this weather, both to keep you warm, and to keep your skin protected.

I think learning to breathe is an under-appreciated learning curve when it comes to running. You definitely have to practice it. Interval training is also good because it teaches the body where oxygen needs to be - going to all-out marathon straight away isn't going to help anyone.

Let us know how you get on with the memory games - I'd be interested in trying it myself when I'm running more regularly (because, like you and Denali, I'm not much keen on going out in the winter).

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