09 February 2011

Run And You'll Only Die Tired, The Logic

When a person thinks about superheros, certain paradigms come to mind- Superman, the goody-two shoes superstrong alien who can fly and see chicks under their clothes, yet never bangs Lois Lane (could it be she's hiding a cock under that skirt?); Spider-Man, superstrong nerd who got bitten by a radioactive spider and swings around the city banging models and fucking up everyone from aliens to dudes made of nothing but sand; and the Hulk, a nuclear behemoth with the world's worst roid rage, capable of feats of strength that would make Paul Bunyan weep and switch his wardrobe to polka dots.  You might think this is all irrelevant fantasyland juvenile bullshit, but it's actually not.  One very simple method of determining what people consider to be a laudable physical attribute is looking at what powers superheroes possess.  Clearly, there's not a manjack or broad amongst you who doesn't wish you had Wolverine's superhuman healing powers and adamantium claws and skeleton, or the Hulk's insane strength.  With either, you're damn near indestructible, able to tear apart your mother-in-law with your pinkies the second she starts berating you for any of the thousand failings she imagines you possess, and you can pretty much own anybody's face at any time.  I'd imagine some of you (perhaps those amongst you who are "light of heel" would appreciate the ability to fly.  Flying can be kind of cool, since pterodactyls did it, and pterodactyls were a gigantic bag of "holy fuck that's a giant scary bird/bat/fuck I'm dead" awesome.
Some of you, perhaps might even enjoy those other, lesser superpowers associated with travel, like portal creation, teleportation (Nightcrawler was the lamest X-Man ever, but maybe you're a gymnast and you can identify with being a carnie freak) or even superhuman speed.  Further down the ladder of cool, right next to the characters in Family Circus and the Go-Bots, were "the runners".  The runners of the comic book world generally sucked.  Quicksilver was such a lame villain that he became an Avenger, making him more or less a member of the comic worlds' Village People; the Flash, a character who's sucked in four different incarnations over the last century, gave rise to one of the worst television shows of all time, and purveyor of the world's worst fucking catchprase, "My name is Wally West. I'm the fastest man alive."; Speedball, a character so lame that as a child I actually tore comics apart out of frustration that featured him; and a whole host of eminently forgettable, bullshit filler characters spanning every comic company's universe.
Hi! I'm Speedball! How are you?  I'm FABULOUS!

Their powers, to a person, consisted by and large of the ability to run really, really fast.  They were all a French general's wet dream, capable of retreat at anything from the speed of sound to the speed of light, and occasionally able to do such awe-inspiring things as make a small whirlwind.  Eminently useful when fighting supervillians who weight dozens of tons or who can rip worlds in half...  right?  Nowhere, however, will you find a superhero who can just run a really, really long way at a reasonable pace without getting tired.  Know why?  Because if you're in a fight and you run at a moderate pace, a really long way, you're retreating.  Slowly.  Which is about as useful as having your cock suddenly grow to 12 inches just as you become the last human on Earth- it's irony at best.
Superstrength gets you Uma Thurman.  Fuck an a right.

Let's look at distance running another way- of all of the creatures on the planet, which ones are generally suited to running long distances very slowly- predators, or prey?  Given the fact that lions sleep for up to 20 hours a day, most people should be inclined to go with prey, and they'd be right.  Predators, by and large, are heavily muscled, aggressive, meat-eating creatures with binocular vision... much like the readers of this fine blog.  Amusingly, even the Roman gods echoed this distinction- Mercury, the messenger god, was also the god associated with grain, and was built like a pre-teen boy.  That is, of course, except for the fact that he was occasionally depicted as having three dicks, but you assholes should stop fucking nitpicking- the point is, he was a little-respected and generally bullshit god.  Hercules, on the other hand, was as heavily venerated as he was muscled by the Greeks, Romans, Etruscans, and even the Germans, who sang of him first in all of their battle hymns.  Rome's enemies certainly weren't singing about their twink jogging god as they waded into the fray against the Centurions... unless it was to mock them.
A jogger in the 19th C wouldn't be caught dead in public without his Penny Farthing!

So why, then, would anyone thing that jogging was a good idea?  I've no fucking idea.  It's certainly one of the new forms of exercise, arising in the mid-seventeenth century in England... hardly a period of history known for athleticism or really any kind of awesome.  Jogging spread slowly (literally) throughout the British Empire until kiwi Arthur Lydiard really popularized it by getting eventual Nike cofounder Bill Bowerman into it.  While getting Nike off the ground, Bowerman became the head of the uber-successful University of Oregon's track program, and used that as a springboard to sell books on jogging and Nikes

"But the marathon", you say, "it's ancient!"  Sorry, fuckface- no it's fucking not.  It didn't get included in the Olympics until the modern era, and only did then because jogging was popular in Britain, and four of the13 founding members of the IOC were British, British colonists, or American.  The "original" marathon was done by a herald (read "messenger" of the Greek army who ran 150 miles in two days, followed by another 26 miles thereafter.  Given that he did so running to and from battlegrounds, it's likely that he did so in his armor, which weighed up to 50 or 60 lbs. (Hoplite)  Thus, he did a three day weighted run of 176 miles, or nearly 60 miles a day.  And then died.  The longest race in the ancient Olympics was 2.86 miles (24 stades), because the ancient Greeks knew long distance running was fucking stupid.  Other pre-industrial people seemed to share that sentiment, as ingenious running events like the Kraho/Xavante log run and Sherpa mountain runs involve running up and down mountains while carrying weights, over distances of a few miles at most.
They run up a mountain with a basket full of rocks strapped to their fucking head.

Why, you ask, wouldn't they run further?  Because as we've already examined, the ability to run a long distance slowly is not a laudable goal, anywhere outside of the Schindler's List lookalike conventions that are distance running events.  Humans aren't designed for that sort of behavior, and the runners' physiques are a reflection of that fact.
Next time- the science behind my ridiculously compelling argument.


  1. Damn dude, you really, really loathe running. hahaha

  2. "Which is about as useful as having your cock suddenly grow to 12 inches just as you become the human on Earth- it's irony at best."

    I think you a word there.

    Good point on the runners. Still not a bad idea to be able to catch up to some asshole though, but I suppose thats sprinting.

  3. But what about David Goggins?!?! ha ha... I just had to.

  4. Interesting perspective. Thanks, Jamie.

  5. @J I was thinking the same thing. i thought my vision was faulty.

  6. Bane pretty much is one of the greatest Batman villains there is (Batman, coincidentally, being one of the best DC heroes ever), as his comic version is both incredibly fucking strong and a highly intelligent strategist.

  7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistence_hunting

    I'm not trying to attack your point about the desirability of distance running, but it does seem to be something that humans are especially good at, and probably had it's place in our evolutionary history, so make sure you have your facts straight.

    That said, scrawny persistence hunting tribesman probably got their asses handed to them by stronger warriors from more developed societies.

  8. holy shit, epiphany.

    all the most beta ethnicities produce the best long distance runners, slaves to the cruel white man.

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  10. Some of the baddest mothers of the ancient world could run for hours.

    The Roman legions were known for their ability to cover ground, because they could march, in full battle gear, for every hour they were awake. And along their frontier, they were consistently outmaneuvered and ambushed by Celts, who stripped down to little more than a shield and some spears and out-ran them.

    Being the strongest guy on the block is meaningless when the guy only slightly less strong is able to repeatedly stay out of your reach and choose the time and place of battle for you.

    Just as being a scrawny runner unable to lift weight is a bad idea, being an overly jacked lifter unable to run is a bad idea. Be fit to survive.

  11. @Gomi

    I think the article was referencing runners/joggers who prefer to run long distances in lieu of lifting.

    If you're jacked and conditioned well, of course you would have an advantage over someone that was only jacked (if slightly moreso).

    Great post.

  12. I despise running.....

    ANCHORMAN: The Legend of Ron Burgandy

    (BURGANDY)-"Oop... I almost forgot. I won't be able to make it, fellas. Veronica and I trying this new fad called, uh, jogging. I believe it's 'jogging' or 'yogging.' it might be a soft 'j'. I'm not sure but apparently you just run for an extended period of time! It's supposed to be wild."

    Burgandy would run his ass off for a piece of Corningstone's trim.

  13. I'll cover persistence hunting in the next blog. As a spoiler, most hunting of that sort it's a hell of a lot of briefly sprinting and then walking or jogging at a very low intensity rather than running at a moderate pace for a long time. Same goes for the Celts. With the advent of the horse as a mode of transport, most societies abandoned distance running.

  14. Dray- Bane's being played by Tom Hardy, the guy who starred in Bronson, in the new Batman.

  15. I think your facts are totally off on this one Jamie.

    As someone mentioned above, persistence hunting played a big factor in our evolutionary history.

    There are many advantages to bipedalism, one of which is the fact that it is more efficient for covering longer distances over time than running on all fours.

    The other advantage we have is our relatively hairless bodies and increased number of sweat glands; again something that is beneficial for keeping our bodies cool for long distance treks.

    I'll let Attenborough explain:

    For the better part of our evolutionary history we probably were prey animals. The fact that the tables turned recently wasn't because we became overly muscled, powerful animals, but rather our brains grew bigger and we became craftier (i.e. weapon/tool use).

  16. What are all your thoughts and opinions on stretching, flexability, warmups etc?

  17. The theory that humans aren't designed to run at a steady, moderate pace over long distances is debatable... this is why physiologists and evolutionary scientists debate it. Nobody's actually called bullshit on the facts I presented, however. I'll give you the science in the next one, lest you worry.

  18. An to the other guy, I don't do it, flexibility is overrated, and I've blogged about my warmup- I like to tan before lifting.

  19. Tom Hardy is also playing Max in the next 2 Mad Max movies. They take place soon after Thunderdome.

  20. http://oozman.com/what-really-killed-ranjan-das

    young marathon runner dies...
    cause lack of sleep
    why? cause he running all fucking day.

    What to take from it?
    Lift more, live more. fuck jogging.

    My gf is training for miss universe canada and she can't get off the elipitcal. i've shown her books, articles, blogs, videos, showed her in the gym how to perform the exercises.Showed her profiles of chicks that lift wieght and look great. but still walks over to the eliptical and does her 30mins.

    Retarded, especially cause she's in university and instead of doing RESEARCH based on science she f'n reads those cosmo mags doing stretches as a workout. useless.


  21. My favourite type of running is to cover trails as quickly as possible. It lends itself to including a lot of ducking, jumping, diagonal cutting and hill sprints and is less boring (for me) than just sprinting from one goal post to another.

    I do most of my running with my dog. We jog too sometimes but it's usually because I'm too tired/lazy to run any faster and even he's happier when we're going full speed.

    Running backwards is fun too.

  22. Jamie- Finally, some good news about live action Batman. Here's to hoping he lives up to the DC comics version. Except maybe the part about the teddy bear.

    Also, Glen, I remember starting out at the local MMA camp here and first day of conditioning they had us warm up with some moderately fast backward running. My legs ended up sticking up and I toppled backwards in the middle of the run. When we pulled the light sled I ran backwards a lot too (or grabbed the straps me and ran with my arms straight behind).

    Somehow I don't think I could manage to cover a trail like that as my sense of direction is absolutely horrendous and I can get lost in the suburbs.

  23. I don't run backwards on trails.
    It doesn't surprise me that an MMA camp would have you running backwards. I was first introduced to it in boxing. It seems to be a common exercise among fighters. I do it when the dog has either fallen behind or stopped for some stupid reason to let him catch up.

    I also like crab walks, bear crawls and lunges for cardio. The distance between two goal posts is good enough for any of these.

  24. I actually stopped running a few weeks ago. I realized it isn't necessary. I don't need the specialised endurance of running. I gain enough endurance, cardiovascular health and lung capacity doing MMA. I sometimes sprint though.

    I'm a former endurance running competitor and I hated it then and I hate it now. No need to make your life miserable. Just think about your options and quit.

    -Raw Finn

  25. Bear crawls might just be the funnest conditioning exercise ever, maybe next to band sprints taking a band as far as it'll go on all fours. When we snapped the band the entire group of guys there ended up competing to take it as far as possible and finally reached around halfway across the room on each go. Felt similar to holding onto a takedown.

  26. Won't believe a word of it unless you address Chris McDougall and his "Born To Run" stuff. As much as I hate to admit it because I fucking hate running, the arguments he presents are pretty damn compelling. It would seem that humans are built to do 3 things that are actively discouraged in modern society: eat a shitton of meat, have a shitton of sex, and run everywhere.

  27. Yeah, but running everywhere is quite different than jogging everywhere.

  28. An overlooked power that all superheroes have is superhuman endurance. They never run out of stamina. They don't have to sleep or eat and they make full recoveries from any injury. No scar tissue or disfigurements on their hands or faces either.
    Endurance is important. It's so important that it doesn't even need to be pointed out that any superhero has it. We just take it for granted that they'll never get tired because they're superheroes.

  29. Maybe they never get tired cause they are fictional!!! They never drop deuces either! But you never see them jogging! They may have incredible endurance but they dont use it to get around really really slow, they use it to destroy shit! Even the ones that aren't able to fly or aren't strong use planes and motorcycles and cars and shit! As to our paleo ancestors they weren't predators in the sense that lions and cheatas are, more advanced like wolves. They hunted in groups and often cornered thier prey or drove them off cliffs. Manveet is right... they became craftier and used tools to hunt....and thats why there are no more dinosaurs!! ha ha

  30. Do any of you guys actually play any real sports or have you all got your heads up your asses in freakshow fantasyland?

  31. I play Jai Alai thrice weekly.

  32. Would you respect me more if I said yes?

  33. I wrestled for a while, and other than that have been too poor to actually participate in any sport I was interested in. I'm not sure since at the time I was incredibly weak, but my experience was that conditioning and intensity were the most important factors to the sport.

  34. Too poor?
    You only into ice hockey?
    What costs so much, league fees?

  35. Submission grappling tournaments have a fee, and MMA has all that equipment and shit.

    Not sure why you seem so pissed off, adebisi.

  36. Give Adebisi a break. Being stabbed to death by Kareeem Saied is no fun.

  37. I'm not pissed off in the least.
    Those were genuine questions.
    Maybe you're just being defensive.
    What equipment do you need in MMA besides a mouthguard and a speedo?

    Kareem Said aka Goodson Truman was an uncle Tom and a hypocrite. The spirits of my ancestors haunt him to this day for the injustice he perpetrated upon me and my prison empire.

  38. Ice hockey is one of the more expensive sports.

    MMA is expensive too. Not so much because of the equipment but because it's so trendy right now that monthly gym fees are very high. That's why it tends to be a sport for suburban prettyboys who train but don't compete.

  39. Jamie, I see part of your BA was East Asian Studies. 你当时学习了汉语吗?

  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

  41. Adebisi, I'm not really being defensive, or trying to be anyways.

    As far as MMA, it was an obvious choice to check it out after I loved grappling. I was pretty damn serious about it, but now, like then, the financial drain was way too much to handle.

  42. Still waiting for the SCIENCE behind all this shit! Stop playing dead.

    PS: word verification for the post : hating. Good thing.

  43. If I recall, a study showed significant necrosis in the muscle tissues of long distance runners.

  44. Stuart- I spent 4 months in China 12 years ago. Since then, I've spoken and read virtually no Chinese. My linguistic skills are currently limited to cursing in a lot of languages and conversational German, a skill which is also atrophying here in the least worldly city on Earth.

  45. You are so right. I wish there were less hippy idiots that thought running long distances was a good idea.

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