Practical Physical Preparation

Practical Physical Preparation


We have seen an escalation of racist attacks and police violence directed, as always, against the working class. In response, there have been numerous demonstrations mobilized against these attacks. Because these mobilizations and attacks are necessarily physical events, it would be reckless to proceed without physically preparing ourselves for conflict with capital's armed goons. I am not speaking of any macho strength training regime to beat up cops or racist thugs. On the contrary, since labor wages a guerrilla war against capital, I will be speaking on the immense value of quickly running away. You may be a woman that has managed to briefly incapacitate your would-be assailant, a freedom fighter in the middle of re-appropriating capital when the cops show up in force, a black man noticing the sheeted figures approaching, or an undocumented worker hard at work when ICE rolls up, in any case, an immediate threat has appeared, and it is time to run. Now, of course, you can't just jog away hoping that your cardiovascular endurance is greater than your also jogging assailant, you are going to instinctively break out in an adrenaline fueled, Olympic time qualifying sprint. You will likely find cover, rest briefly and sprint to the best exit plan you can think of.

Training for this eventuality is relatively simple and requires only some open space inside or out. What you are going to do is sprint, as hard and as fast as humanly possible between two points you mentally or physically mark off for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat this 8 times. Before this, of course, you should warm-up. No, that does not mean stretching, it means jogging back and forth between the two points you've chosen once or twice. There is an app that has this timing protocol built in called Tabata Stopwatch that is free. If you don't have a smartphone you can go old fashion and use some form of a stop watch hopefully along with a friend to call out when to start and stop.

Before I begin addressing some anticipated questions, allow me to describe the actual 4 minutes of exercise and how it feels. The first cycle is a breeze, you can easily reach full sprint and transition from running to and running fro, during the first rest period you probably won't even be gasping for air. The second cycle should see no real change from the first aside from the fact that you have very likely begun gasping for air by the time the rest period comes around. By the third cycle you have begun to realize just how miserable the next five cycles are going to be. The fourth and fifth cycles will start to become more and more difficult to transition quickly from running to and fro, the amount of time it takes you to reach full sprint will have increased significantly. The last three cycles will be, if you aren't someone who is very physically active, the most physically miserable you  have likely ever been in your life barring some kind of traumatic experience. Your vision may go fuzzy and black by the end of the last cycle if you were pushing yourself the entire time.

Once you have finished the routine, you are going to want three things in order of importance, to get off your feet, air, and water. Each of the three interferes with at least one of the others. I typically sit or lay down for a few minutes before very slowly getting up to get some water. If you get up too quickly you are probably going to pass out after the sheer amount of physical exertion your body has just experienced. You will very likely spend the next 30 minutes or so, depending on how physically active you were before this, recovering from this 4 minute exercise.

Now that we understand a little bit more about the nitty-gritty of doing this sprint training, lets ask ourselves. What is the point? Primarily, this exercise is meant to improve your ability to quickly recover. In addition to this, it gives you practice sprinting, getting up to a full sprint as soon as possible, and transitioning from running in one direction to running in another.

How far apart should the two points be? I would use three different distances to be cycled through on different days, one that leaves you running a short distance, one that leaves you running a medium distance, and one that leaves you running a long distance. For the long distance one, the point is to try and increase your maximum speed. The distance should be long enough for you to comfortably achieve a full-sprint and maintain it for a few seconds so that you can try to exceed it. For the medium distance one, the point is to try and achieve full-sprint more quickly. The distance should be long enough to just barely be able to achieve full-sprint. For the short distance one, the point is to practice transitioning from running one direction to running in the opposite direction. The distance should be so short that you are more challenged by changing your direction than you are by sprinting, you should, of course, still be trying to achieve a full-sprint here though.

So how about some numbers for what qualifies as “long,” “medium,” and “short?” Sorry, you don't get them. Instead of trying to focus on specific metrics in advance, it is far more useful to understand what the goal to be achieved is. For the “long” distance sprinting, the goal is to improve your maximum speed, so you need at least enough space to achieve a sprint. How much space do you, the reader, need to achieve this space is something I can't answer, and if you're new to fitness you likely can't either. So instead, I simply recommend working with the space you have available to you and marking off distances that makes sense for the goal at hand. Once you have established your own set of baseline distances, you can work towards increasing or decreasing the distances as the case may be.

FAQ Section.

Should I do this exercise? If you have some kind of heart condition probably not, if you have some sort of health concern, ask your doctor. You should make no mistake-- this is a very intense exercise regime. The intensity makes up for the lack of time we have to prepare.

What should I wear to do this exercise? I wouldn't wear anything that might break while doing the exercise, but let me ask you a question that you should consider. What do you anticipate wearing when you get attacked by racist thugs?

How often should I do this exercise? I personally run it twice a week, but I also lift weights three times a week. If you aren't doing anything else you should be able to do it three days a week and be fine.

How long will it take to see results? Pretty quickly actually, give it about a month and you will have significantly improved your ability to recover.

What time of day should I do this exercise? Doesn't matter, variety is the name of the game, and again, what time of day do you think you'll be attacked?

What time should I do this exercise with respect to eating? I'm glad you asked. If you try this exercise immediately after eating, you are probably going to throw up everywhere. On the flip-side, if you haven't eaten in a while you are probably going to experience low blood-sugar. I usually do this exercise without having eaten in a while so I keep a single “fun” sized candy with me. That is all the sugar you need.

How do I run? Stand up from your chair, right now, and start jogging in place. Notice that you are essentially bouncing off of the balls of your feet, using the arch of your foot as a spring to transmit energy to the next “step.” This is how you run. If, instead, you run with your heel landing on the ground first and leaping the next step off with your toes, you are going to develop shin splints which will hurt badly the next day.

I didn't listen and now I have shin splints and they hurt really bad, how do I fix it? There is a simple stretch you can do to help fix shin splints. Find a wall or some sort of vertical surface to prop the front half of your foot on, then lean in to it. You should feel the stretch at the back of your calves.

Now, dear reader, I charge you with the task of going out and performing this exercise and reporting back in with your experiences, results, and further questions. I shall edit in further questions into the FAQ section

Please direct all comments to this Red Marx thread

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