The Need for Cardio

Running can be a joy or a chore. In my case, I started out hating it. But give me some kick ass music and my imagination kicks in. My energy hits higher and I start to sprint. Over time I started enjoying the longer runs and pushing myself further each time I hit the road.

Stamina, attitude, strength, health, the amazing runners high you get and the burn you feel when you’re done. Over and over again, I’ve felt like not doing the run. And every single time, even after a less than successful run, I’ve felt better than I ever would have if I had stayed on the couch.

Let’s face it, running makes your life better whether you like it or not. So let’s take a look at what to do to save your life in case of emergency and improve your life in case you keep doing that too. Living I mean.

Once again today we are joined by Jesse Sumrak of FalloutFitness


When I think cardio I tend to think running. But what else is out there?

Most of the time, I use running and cardio synonymously too, but there are so many more effective forms of cardio – especially when it comes to post-apocalyptic training. In my Cardio 0 to Cardio Hero article, I identified the most important forms of survival cardio.

First, you have HIIT (high-intensity interval training). This is a form of exercise that alternates between low-intensity and high-intensity. This is perfect for zombie evasion training! Sprinting, walking, and jogging mimic the kind of scenarios you’re likely to encounter when escaping the undead. It’s unlikely you’ll be doing much long-distance running from zombies – you’re much more likely to be sprinting to safety, jogging to regain energy, and sprinting again to safety.
Another form of cardio is biking. Since cars and other forms of transport will be hard to come by when society falls, you may need to rely on a bicycle. But cycling around isn’t as easy as you think! Yeah, cruising down the boardwalk on your beach cruiser can be pretty relaxing, but evading hungry zombies and pedaling over rugged terrain can quickly exhaust your stamina.
Stair sprints are another effective form of training. You’ll be lucky if you can always escape your undead predators on flat terrain. But if you unexpectedly need to climb a couple flights of stairs, you need to improve your endurance so you’re not winded!
Anybody visiting this site has got to be familiar with the famous Zombieland rules and rule number one is cardio. Do you agree?
I believe balanced fitness should be the #1 rule to survival. It’s great if you can always outrun the dead with phenomenal cardiovascular capabilities – but are you going to keep running? Run and run until all the zombies decay and drop motionless? Chances are you’ll end up doing some up-close and personal hand-to-hand combat with zombies, whether you like it or not. If you don’t have strong muscles and adequate strength, you’ll never stand a chance. Cardio and strength are both necessary to survival!
I always find nutrition, fueling myself for runs, really tricky. What should people be eating to be ready to for a run?

The way you fuel your body before a run will ultimately determine the success of your run. Fail to eat anything, and you’ll be on an empty tank before 10 miles. Eat the wrong kinds of foods, and you’ll experience cramps and discomforts that will leave you useless. 

I believe a mix of high-glycemic and low-glycemic carbs is the best choice. Like banana in a bowl of oatmeal. The banana acts as your quick go-to carbs – the ones your body will use first and fast. The oats will digest quickly and give you greater energy for the long haul.If you’re doing a quick, short run in the morning, you can do fasted cardio. Anywhere between 5 – 10 miles I recommend a banana or Clif bar (both high-glycemic carbs). Anything longer than that, and you’ll need to throw some low-glycemic carbs into your pre-workout meal as well (oats, brown rice, apples, etc.).Unless you have food along you’re run – that changes everything. For example, my 50K trail run will have stations every 5-6 miles with high-energy food and drinks. Because of this, I don’t need to eat a lot of food before the race – I’ll continue feeding myself fast-acting energy throughout the run!
Let’s say I’m not a particularly strong cardio guy. What do I need to go from zero to hero?
To begin cardio training, you need a plan! Lacing on your running shoes and shooting for a 3-mile run your first day will leave you exhausted, sore, and discouraged. Work your way into things slowly. Start with walking – then go to jogging – then go to jogging quickly – then go to running. Building your cardio is a process. A process that takes time. No matter how much effort you put in, your body will take time to adapt and strengthen your cariovascular system. Be patient with yourself and don’t overdue it!
Any favorites when it comes to shoes or equipment?

I used a pair of Nike Freeruns for a while, but they were really meant for short-distance running. But since I didn’t have money to invest in long-distance running shoes, I would use these for everything. This lead to knee pains, foot injuries, and all sorts of problems I could have avoided. Now, I bought a pair of Brooks Trail Running shoes (Grit). Because they are intended for all kinds of terrain, I don’t have a problem using these on the road, trail, gravel, or anything in between. I highly recommend using shoes specific to your training conditions.It’s worth the investment!

Fantastic. Thanks for the info Jesse.

Now get out there and run like the dead are chasing you folks.


Published by

Mike Kloran

Educational Designer from Brooklyn New York. I'm a teacher, an artist, an athlete and constantly doing, making, drawing, creating! It's a busy life but I'm doing what I love and that's what matters most to me!

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