Tag Archives: Terrible advice

A Modest Proposal To Ending The Shutdown: Blackmail The GOP

Show no mercy

Show no mercy

Love it or hate it but running a campaign for a state or national office is an expensive affair now. Part of the immense (and exponentially growing) cost to candidates is devoted to covering opposition research. It is now a requirement for a functional political party that every significant (and even minor) opponent is throughly investigated. Voting records, personal problems, business deals, and embarrassing yearbook photos are all gathered en masse for use in the public relations war defines the modern election process. If you ever ran for elected office, somewhere in a basement your entire fucked up life in a detailed and well- organized binder.

Creating these binders is expensive and arduous as hell, especially when you consider that most of the information that is gathered remains secret forever. Despite the bullshit you might have heard about the “nastiness” of modern politics the truth is that very few campaigns have the gall to release the goriest details of their opponent’s life. The reasons for doing so are obvious. You never want to turn your opponents shameful secrets  into an asset by making that malignant motherfucker look sympathetic. You also want to save that information if that piece of shit you are running against goes for a higher office later in his awful life. But frankly the chief reason that the “binder of doom” is never fully disclosed to the press is out of deterrence. The sooner you leak that your opponent is into scat porn the faster the media will find out about your candidate’s predilection for vacations with underage thai prostitutes.

I bring all this up because we as a nation are now in day four of the GOP’s latest idiotic attempt to destabilize the country because they lost a presidential election. Since the Republican fucked up the 2008 election, the ACA SCOTUS case, Issa’s various investigations, and the 2012 campaign they are going back to appendix of the Newt Gingrich playbook in order to score more points with their dwindling base. Fuck whatever noise you are hearing from television or newspapers, this shutdown is the desperate wet fart of a political party that long ago decided that the purpose of an elected official is to gain as much screen time as possible in order to secure a Wingnut Welfare® pension. Working on legislation is an annoyance for these folks.

So how do “we”- meaning folks who would like a functioning democracy instead of a country ruled by hayseed hate group rejects- combat the “suicide caucus?” These are folks who were re-elected by double-didgts margins of voters who have been spoon fed Fox News styled insanity for 30 years, and who have no real legislative accomplishments or priorities to speak of that can be leveraged against them. How do you reason with self-important psychopaths with nothing to lose?

You open those binders.

Most of the media is focused on comparing this current shut down to the 1995 Gingrich mess, but the parallels between this current miasma and the Clinton Impeachment are more helpful. Obama, like Clinton in 1998, does not have to worry about re-election, and thus is more concerned with securing his own accomplishments (i.e. the ACA) than demonstrating that he can play nice with the opposition party. The Republicans on the other hand are in a very similar position to Gingrich in ’98- almost universally despised having spent all their capital on idiotic and fruitless attempts to extort their way into relevance. Impeachment over a blowjob was literally the last thing the House Republicans had left in there arsenal of ratfuckerry.

As we know today the Lewinsky idiocy ended up being a massive embarrassment for the GOP, but what is lost in that narrative are the counter attacks leveled at the Republican House and Senate Leadership during that time. Larry Flynt for example devoted his plethora of cum-stained resources into publicly shaming the various sexual misdeeds of Newt Gingrich, Bob Barr, and Bob Livingston. Henry Hyde’s nasty little affair was also exposed during this time along with the antics of Dan Burton’s crazy ass. This release of information not only exposed the hypocrisy of the Republican’s crusading against Clinton, but it also effectively neutralized desire of these very flawed men from pursuing this line of attack again.

The stakes of this current shutdown are potentially catastrophic for our economy and for the very future of our democracy, as giving into the jackals in any manner will only empower them further. As such the DCCC needs to hand over their opposition research files on these motherfuckers in full to scandal rags like Gawker, TMZ, and the New York Times. We are in this mess because one political party decided to use their positions of power to mug for the cameras rather than pass a budget. There is no shame or downside into ruining the lives of these amateurish brats who have caused so much needless pain since 2010.


The Answer Is Simple, They Must Be Destroyed

I’m done with the bar so now my time will be spent trying to find a job and catching up with the news that I missed over the last few months. In terms of the latter activity, this interview from Melissa Harris-Perry and Congressman Rush Holt (who is challenging megalomaniacal Wall Street asshole Cory Booker for the open New Jersey Senate Seat) is worth pointing out, if just to show that perhaps our Democratic party is learning five years too late that they GOP has lost their fucking minds:

REP. RUSH HOLT (D), NEW JERSEY: Great to be with you, Melissa.

HARRIS-PERRY: So what is happening in the house? I mean, really.
Like you look at the senate, there`s at least a little bit happening there.
You`re getting some confirmations.

But this — wasn`t there once a time when House members went open in
august to tell their constituents, here`s what we did. What are these
folks going to say they`ve done?

HOLT: Sure. Many members of Congress came to congress to make
people`s lives better, with a belief that we can actually do something to
help people. Speaker Boehner said recently that the Congress should be
judged by the number of bills repealed, not by what`s accomplished. You
know, by that —

HARRIS-PERRY: They`ve also repealed zero.

HOLT: Well, actually, even by that measure they`re failing.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes.

HOLT: But the health care bill, as you said, today, this was the 40th
attempt to stop it. You know, we can`t deal with this with platitudes
about, let`s come together. We need adult leadership. We need — how long
are you going to negotiate on health care with somebody — to improve
health care, to bring more people into health care, to keep costs down.

How are you going to negotiate to get legislation with people who have
this obsession, an ideological obsession, to repeal? If it`s just like,
how can you negotiate on science education with people who deny Evolution?
How are you going to deny on health care quality of coverage for women with
people who invent their own biology about women?

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes.

HOLT: How are you going to negotiate with people on energy with
people who deny climate change?

The answer is that you frankly refuse to “negotiate” with these jackals for the simple fact that they have zero desire or even the scintilla of an incentive to accomplish much of anything. The current members of the House GOP are intrenched in safely drawn districts of low-informatin white voters who will keep pulling the lever for the likes of some psychopath like Steve King because he hates the same groups of people that they do. Those who fund the national and state GOP are also fine with this level of intransigence because they see elected government as simply a dumping ground for the lesser members of the aristocracy that might actually do significant damage if they continued being lawyers or financial analysts. So what if you have to deal with Trent Franks occasionally plagiarizing Randall Terry in front of cameras? As long as the top bracket for the income tax stays at historically low levels Congress is doing just fine in the eyes of the 1% crowd.

So for the ump-teenth time, if you (regardless of what your political party is) want a more responsive government that is not controlled by guys whose speaking privileges in their science and civics classes were revoked in the first week of 9th grade, perhaps it is time to start forcing your local Democratic party to pay attention to the state and local races happening next year. Placating these idiots or treating them as equals has not worked, so belittling them and aggressively campaigning against their horseshit is a necessity. Otherwise don’t be surprised when Ted Cruz becomes majority leader next year.

Just a thought.


The War On Terror Is A Bipartisan Fuck Up (Oh And I Was Wrong About Drones)

"SAY HELLO TO THE NEW BOSS"

“SAY HELLO TO THE NEW BOSS”

I have not written much over the past few weeks for a variety of reasons. School work has picked up and the news has centered mostly on the various ways in which both parties are seeking to use “teh deficit” to continue decades long tradition of transferring our collective wealth into the hands of the 1%. Furthermore cataloging the various stupid shit that conservative pundits and activists say and pretending that the existence of such insanity will prompt a change within the GOP is also a waste of my time. However something did strike me about the argument here in leftblogistan over the nomination of John Brennan for CIA chief. It’s a familiar sense that the hippies have this one right yet again, and that those of us who fancy ourselves politically astute might want to start and listen to them before it is too late.

It has been almost 10 years exactly since the previous President decided to stake his place in history by engaging in our most pointless war on a series of lies that the media had breathlessly repeated for the previous year. I was a teenager at the time and was frankly amazed at the universal failure of virtually ever major institution that I as a citizen expected to act as a check against the narrative. Sadly despite the rather obvious progression that lead to this complete disaster we as a society seemingly learned little from the experience, as evidenced by the current intransigent nature of our discussion concerning National Security.

Democratic voters responded to the Bush Administrations draconian fervor to destroy the world by falling way to the left of their elected counterparts. While powerhouse politicians like John Kerry, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton allowed their judgement to be swayed entirely by idiotic village thinking concerning the imminent threat of Sadamm Hussein (i.e. they saw what happened to Max Cleland in 2002), voters were uniting around a virulently anti-war ideal. Howard Dean almost became the nominee for President in 2004 and Barack Obama’s entire career was provoked by being one of the few establishment voices against the conflict. Nevertheless here we are in 2013, talking about the legal potential for an American citizen to be killed within this country based on the mere belief that the individual provided material support to the nebulous enemy of terrorism.

Something has gone seriously wrong, and it is unfortunately our (meaning progressives) fault.

In a similar vein to those dull Democrats who actively seek out the “A” rating from the NRA for its political gain, the “Hawk” Democrat has in the last forty years become a standard part of our party. Their existence persists no matter how such beliefs run counter to the overarching philosophy of our voters, partly because of the media’s obsession with authoritarianism, but mainly because of the nature of the defense industry. Liberals like Sherrod Brown or even my own Congressman here in Long Beach know that the Defense Industry is one of the few domestic manufacturing employers left in the country, and Boeing/Lockheed/Northrup/etc have astutely spread out their offices and plants throughout the country regardless of whether the district was blue or red. The result predictably is the creation of a perpetual war machine that (like any other capitalist venture) demands growth in order to survive.

Regarding the drone issue specifically Liberals as a group have engaged in a series of circular arguments concerning the nuances of the policy itself (where the strikes should take place, the legal steps that must occur in order for due process to be fulfilled, etc). Those of us who see the drones as necessary evils of the post 9/11 era look at the Glenn Greenwald’s of the world as at best politically naive or at worst tools of the reflexive right-wing (who as a group obviously love to see a discordant opposing side). I too engaged in the difficult defense of the policy, especially around the time of the election when I saw such debates as counter productive towards the goal of preventing a Romney/Ryan White House from having access to the kill list. However now I see the error of my ways and wish to step back into sanity.

To put it succinctly:  drones are a problem, but they are just a microcosm of the immense insanity that we have cultivated over the past generations.

Fortuitously while the conformation hearings for Brennan were going on I happened to be watching a few documentaries on the news media and their coverage of the War in Iraq (as well as a few on the War on Terror in a general). These works mainly consisted of interviews that I had either seen before or I had seen their subjects speak at other points after 9/11, but the context in which I saw them now allowed me to recognize my own faulty conception of the world that we live in now. Back in 2006 or 2007 I would have seen someone like John Brennan, Robert Gates, or Richard Armitage as lackeys of the Bush Administration and consciously dismissed virtually everything that they said as being consistent with the dominant culture of employing lies for the greater good of inflicting malice on the rest of the world. Now that those same people (or their analogous counterparts) are working with my guy or appear on the liberal MSNBC, I take them seriously and at least accept their justifications as being based on actual facts.

This phenomenon is a serious issue for liberals, and it needs to be corrected before it is too late.

Make no mistake, John Brennan is a terrible person and his policies and worldview are despicable no matter what Obama says about him. Brennan is yet another member of the extensive club of sociopaths in suits that have plagued Washington since the Cold War began (think Robert McNamara, Kissinger, and other killers who perfected the efficiency and corporatization of our foreign policy). Virtually every military or foreign policy decision that we as a country have made since World War II has been shaped by a culture of armchair warrior fanatics, whether it is Rumsefld and Cheney on the right or Diane Feinstein and Joe Lieberman on the left. Despite the fact that doves have been correct in their predictions concerning every single military intervention that the US has undertook, they remain a mocked minority throughout the political establishment.

As liberals we have a duty (especially since the other side obviously isn’t big on the whole self-reflection thing) to examine our own responsibility for the perpetuation of this incredibly awful set of policies. Let’s use the same jaundiced eye towards our own guy concerning war that we gave Bush (a task that should be rather easy given the repeating cast of characters). When we are being told that extra-judicial killings are being performed with the highest respect for the law, imagine that the person telling us that just happens to be Liz Cheney. The “imminent” threat of terrorism existed on 9/10/2001 and disappeared as of 9/13 of that same year- yet for some reason we keep on killing people.

Beyond the fact that this policy is counterproductive (and more than likely based on the same pile of lies and fear that we dismissed when it was presented in Bush wrapping paper) is that there is diminishing political value of such wariness. In the past thirty years only a handful of elections have been decided due to what was happening on the foreign policy front, but for some reason Democrats still feel reluctant to embrace the sensical idealism of supporting international human rights and peace as electable values. The Republicans will probably recognize the shift in a few years, as the Lindsey Grahams and John McCain’s of the world are pushed aside for the traditional Rand Paul styled isolationism (foreigners, in the GOP lizard brain, are to be either bombed or ignored dependning on the direction of the breeze that day). Furthermore it makes little sense to constantly defend the bloated defense budget while “compromising” on necessary entitlements that traditional Democratic voters actually like.

The truth of the matter is one that we as a society will always refuse to admit. The nature of the enemy in this never ending War on Terror is that it is impossible to destroy it. Terrorism is a chronic condition within a free and democratic society, and the best that we can hope to avoid it is to either do our best to address its systemic causes (i.e. stop supporting the assholes in the House of Saud and the Likud Party) and to punish those responsible in the same manner that we would any other crime (actual judicial due process versus the facilitating martyrdom of the extremists). However Americans do not like to confront their own mortality, and for some reason are convinced that they will die a preventable violent death rather than the much more likely preventable “natural” death related to their increasing poverty. As a result both sides of the political divide will continue to patronize to their base that they know the best way to kill our way into safety, regardless of the actual facts of the matter.


Dear Republicans: You Lost Because You Were Fucking Stupid. Get Over It.

Wonkette’s screenshot’s of Victoria Jackson engaging in some live action self-harm

For the party of he-man jagoffs and wannabe Christian Soldiers of Fortune the right wing is taking this loss like the biggest titty-baby of all time. Whether it’s Bill O’Reilly’s lament on the loss of institutional white supremacy, the various conspiracy theories flying around the despondent wingnut facebook pages, or the calls from the Brietbart blogging heads that Romney wasn’t conservative enough, I am at once surprised and frankly scarred that these dudes are as incompetently withdrawn and clueless as we portray them in our satirical web postings. As Rachel Maddow said on Wednesday, this lack of awareness and willingness to change might win our side a slew of elections from here on out, but having an incensed ball of white hatred is dangerous not just for the political stability of the country (yay more intransigence in the House) but for our physical safety as well (never ever fucking forget the militia movements of the 1990’s).

What makes this loss of sanity (at least on this topic) even more difficult to grasp as an outsider looking in are the demonstrable mistakes and easy historical examples that should prompt the dudes who run the GOP to realize their mistakes and make the appropriate changes. I’m not one to dole out advice to those dickweeds, but the following should be apparent to anyone without their own head up their ass:

1) Your Candidate Was Apocalyptically Atrocious

Say what you will about George Bush Jr. and John McCain, but on paper they made sense and each had their strengths. Bush had a history as a semi-moderate Governor of a large state (even if the position was basically a glorified figurehead according to Molly Ivins), built-in political establishment backing, and was amazing charismatic to a broad range of people who should have known better. McCain was a war hero with slavish support from the D.C. media, a tangible record of hating George Bush, and actually enjoyed campaigning.

What the fuck were you thinking with Romney? A humorless awful politician with no base, no history of accomplishments that he himself wasn’t ready to flush down the toilet, oh and the whole “he’s a massive vulture capitalist” thing works really well in a country still reeling from a Wall Street induced financial meltdown. But to make things even worse, you paired him with the embodiment of the “fuck the poors” Social Darwinism of 21st century Randism for some EVEN BETTER outreach to the common man. Great hustle guys!

2) Listening to blogs is one thing, but running your campaign through them is not a good idea

Look the liberal movement today would not be where it is if not for Kos, Think Progress, Salon, etc. and their insurgence against both Fox and the centrist establishment media that threw Clinton and Gore under the bus in 2000. That said there is something to say that Obama is willing both to listen to what is said in baseland, and is equally willing to dismiss it if he feels that it would not work or is absolute bullshit (FREE BRADLEY MANNING LOLZ). That is called leadership and voters of all stripes tend to admire it.

By comparison basing your entire campaign on the right wing echo chamber and taking talking points from the likes of Breitbart and Drudge is transcendentally dumb given the tiny slice of the wingnut pie who are satiated by their messaging. The right wing’s inability to attract support is not derivative of their inability to make their failure to rile up their increasingly apoplectic base, rather it is the continuing blanching of their voters into a smaller and smaller subgroup of the same angry white folks who propelled Reagan and his demagoguery into power (albiet when whites equaled 80% of the vote). Rolling the roulette wheel of electioneering and shouting “EVERYTHING ON WHITE” just will not work anymore, and the willingness for Romney and co to take advice from people who insist on maintaining that strategy (without the charisma of a Reagan or Bush) just demonstrates that they did not know what the fuck they were doing.

3) Technology Is Your Friend

Like most people when I heard about the massive amounts of money leaving the care of Adelson or the Koch’s and into the hands of Rove or Ralph Reed I had visions of an unstoppable and well oiled machine of money making a GOTV effort that us poor community activist hippy types could not match. Hearing stuff like this was certainly not encouraging:

Reed has described FFC, launched in 2009, as “a 21st century version of the Christian Coalition on steroids.” Reed’s new organization seeks to meld the religious right with the Tea Party movement through the use of voter turnout strategies. But however successful he was in bringing right-wing evangelical voters to the polls during his tenure at the Christian Coalition, his managerial skills and business ethics appeared to be less than stellar.

However while people like me were sweating at the specter of Ipad armed evangelical partisans coordinating a successful ground operation in swing states, in reality Mittens had been hustled into spending north of $100 million dollars on “Project Orca”. This was a software program now being derisively called the “Fail Whale” on account that the masters of the universe who ordered the thing didn’t listen to the programmers who told them that it did not fucking work (from Wonkette by way of a programmer who had a first hand experience working the Windows Vista of GOTV):

  • There were nightly conference calls that were supposed to be for “training” but were really more for pep talks, at which Ekdahl’s legit concerns about the system were ignored.
  • The ORCA “phone app” was actually just a mobile-optimized web page, which confused everybody.
  • Everyone got “instruction packets” emailed to them the night before the election. These were 60-page PDFs they were expected to print out.
  • In order to be an official poll watcher, you need to get a certificate from the campaign, or else you’ll be shooed away from the polling place. Volunteers were supposed to go get this from a local campaign HQ, but nobody was told that in advance or in the packet.
  • Attempts to call anybody to resolve these problems were routed directly to voicemail, obviously.
  • [V]olunteers were all given the wrong PIN for the ORCA app, and then the system that was supposed to reset their PINs didn’t work, so somebody did it manually, and then their PINs still didn’t work.

So as Brietbart themselves put it Romney essentially suppressed his own vote. Compare this to the now vaunted Obama Machine, the improved version of the feared ’08 version (which itself was originally the Dean Internet Machine that almost propelled the Governor into the Democratic nomination in 2004). I can tell you from personal experience as a volunteer was both easy to use and incredibly effective at reaching voters. The California phone banks that I attended each weekend running up to the election were making calls each day around the clock, and the stories I heard from the front lines were amazing tales of well coordinated offices on every corner in cities across the swing states. Obama used his money to build a Facebook with a purpose, Romney set his on fire.

So there it is Republicans. You already gave up on trying to govern the country in exchange for constantly winning elections. Now that you suck at that perhaps it is time to do some self-reflection before you really become a joke.


My Final Thoughts On This Election

“NOW I CAN’T MAKE YOU DO IT”

Okay right now I am sitting at my computer, trying my best to avoid social media so that I can knock out the immense amount of law school homework that I have neglected this semester (sorry, Molly, mom). Like you I have refreshed 538 enough times to keep gay wizard Nate Silver employed through 2020, and still I’m anxious as a gay prostitute in Lindsay Graham’s apartment. This election matters (like everyone before it after it), and the results for the myriad of races that I care about are still up in the air.

In 2004 I cared deeply about the Presidential Election, but was a wee freshman at Brandeis whose main concern was a) not getting drafted, and b) beer. 18 year old me valiantly sent in my absentee ballot for Kerry (to the great swing state of New York), and debated my like minded floor mates in the dorm about how the election would play out. I did not volunteer or participate in the GOTV in anyway. Not because I didn’t have the opportunity, but rather because I was immature and frankly, fucking stupid.

On election night I sat in the same “lucky” chair in which I saw my moribund Boston Red Sox stage their comeback against the Yankees not three weeks prior, so I was convinced that the planets would align and that Bush would be sent back to binge drinking in his Crawford basement. The by the end of the night I ended up smoking a lonely cigarette by the Massell Pond as a slight rain fell. A fellow student approached me and told me not to jump in- because it was too shallow.

I have been a rather obnoxious, reflexive liberal on most issues throughout my life, and treated my interests in politics much like any other hobby. Whereas most dudes sought refuge in the tribalism of sports, I enjoyed the “my side beat your side” dynamic of politics as the best way to pass the time. In other words, I had the political mindset of the cynical morons at Politico who see our elections as akin any other form of meaningless entertainment in which there is an opportunity to make a profit. The results of the second half of the George W. Bush Administration, and my growing the fuck up and becoming an adult ended that inane pastime.

The results of the 2004 election (as well as the equally disappointing 2000 contest) were truly a matter of life and death for the people across this country who are invisible to the well coifed members of the national media whose job it is to frame the issues in an election. Tell the people of New Orleans in August of 2005 that there was no difference in the leadership between Bush and Kerry. Tell the servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan that “both sides” would have lead us into those conflicts in the apocalyptically stupid manner in which those wars were designed. Tell the millions of people out of work and with no social safety net that the Republican party gives a fuck about them and their long lost homes and retirement savings. Tell the teenaged rape victim in Mississippi that a Republican controlled Presidency and Senate will appoint a Supreme Court Justice that will preserve her fundamental right to control her reproductive organs. Elections always fucking matter, and those who tell you otherwise have a clear conflict of interest in promoting your apathy.

For those of us in Blue states, vote for Obama and for the down ballot Democrats (hi Alan!) and ballot initiatives. Spend today calling swing states using this tool from the AFL-CIO or any of the links from this post. I hate phone banking as well but it works. Trust me, I convinced an 18 year old stoner from Colorado that he needed to vote for the President yesterday and if his Cheech and Chong ass is the difference between Paul Ryan being a heartbeat away from the Presidency and teaching a class on Ayn Rand to bored freshman at the University of Chicago next year, I will sleep easy.

For those of you in swing states, vote. Stand in line and endure the bullshit from the poll watchers, the long lines, the weather, and your wonderful fascists in state government who would rather see a collapse of our representative democracy then lose. Your children will thank you for preserving this democracy and repairing the damage inflicted upon it from the last 30 years. Also bring a friend(s).

For those of you in red states, vote for the Democrats even if they don’t have a chance (except for the Senate seat in Tennessee, holy fuck stay away from that guy and just write-in “Steve Cohen”). Call the nearby swing states and tell them that your livelihood depends on their perseverance. Then wait like the rest of us and pray that Ohio works out in our favor.

After this is done, no matter what the result, we need to organize and build on whatever happens. Start locally and turn back the tide of fundamentalist authoritarianism in our politics and the intentional neglect for the welfare of our citizens. If your local party is too passive and moderate for your taste, take it over and start wrecking shit.

And finally for those of you who need a bit of encouragement from some one who is not running on just caffeine and fear, here is the most inspirational speech that I could think about (just replace “football” with “politics”).

FIRED UP. READY TO GO.


My Top Secret 5k Training Schedule

To end Running Week here on the blog it seems appropriate to publish my finely tuned super awesome training routine that has led which has allowed me to consistently run a pretty fast 5k, while balancing out commitments to school and my family. Each of these workouts should take an hour and a half of your time (except the “long run”). I run about a race a month, so this schedule basically follows a repeating 3 week training routine.

As you will see, I chose Sunday to be my “rest” day. Obviously your life may dictate that another day makes more sense to take off, but just be carful that you always take that rest day no matter what.

Week 1

  • Monday: 3 Mile Tempo Run
    1. Jog a mile to warm up
    2. Run 3 miles or a full 5k (3.1 miles) at around the same pace that you would run a mile. If you do not have a Garmin, this is a workout that is probably best to do on a track.
    3. Cool down by jogging a mile
  • Tuesday: Weight Lifting
    • Some runners do not do this, but I think that it is pretty essential for the purposes of building strength and preventing injuries. I prefer full body weightlifting, and this routine is decently efficient at hitting most of the key muscle groups.
    1. 10 minutes of ab work (I usually do 1 minute planks on each side).
    2. Dumbell Lunges
    3. Pull ups
    4. Dumbell Squats
    5. Dips
    6. Weighted Calf lifts
    7. Pushups/chest press
    8. Deadlifts
    9. Rows
    10. Bulgarian Split Squat
    11. Shoulder Press
    12. Step Ups
    13. Bicep Curls
    14. Box Jump
    15. Lateral Raises
    16. Swiss-ball Leg Curls
    17. Ammo Can lift
    18. Break for 3 minutes
    19. Repeat 2-17
    20. Break for 3 minutes
    21. Repeat 2-17
    22. Cool down (or if you are hardcore, do some more plyo or jump roping)
  • Wednesday: Track Work Out (quarters)
    • This tests your speed, so you should be running your fastest while doing this workout.
    1. Start by jogging a mile to warm up.
    2. Run a quarter mile at your fastest possible pace
    3. Rest for two minutes
    4. Repeat 2-3 another 11 times
    5. Jog a mile for a cool down
  • Thursday: Weightlifting
  • Friday: Long Slow Run
    1. Warm up mile
    2. Six miles at a slow pace
    3. Cool down mile
  • Saturday: Ladder
    1. Warm up mile
    2. Quarter mile run the same pace as your mile, the 2 minute rest, then another quarter (followed by rest)
    3. Half a mile at the same pace as your mile, then a 4 minute rest, then another half (followed by rest)
    4. Mile at 10 seconds below your usual mile pace, then an 8 minute rest, then another mile and rest time
    5. Half a mile at the same pace as your mile, then a 4 minute rest, then another half (followed by rest)
    6. Quarter mile run the same pace as your mile, the 2 minute rest, then another quarter (followed by rest)
    7. Cool down mile
  • Sunday: NOTHING.

Week 2

  • Monday: Tempo run
  • Tuesday: Weight lifting
  • Wednesday: Track Work Out (halves)
    1. Warm up mile
    2. Run half a mile at your fastest possible pace
    3. Rest for 4 minutes
    4. Repeat 2-3 another 5 times
    5. Jog a mile for a cool down
  • Thursday: Weight lifting
  • Friday: Hills
    1. Mile warm up
    2. Run up a steep hill at a sustained sprint (find one long enough that it takes you about 45-60 to go from the bottom to the top of the hill)
    3. Jog back down the hill
    4. Repeat 2-3 9 more times
    5. Cool down mile
  • Saturday: Long Slow Run
    1. Warm up mile
    2. 8 miles at a slow pace
    3. Cool down
  • Sunday: NOTHING

Week 3

  • Monday: Weight Lifting
  • Tuesday: 3 mile tempo run
  • Wednesday: Weight Lifting
  • Thursday: Track Workout (miles)
    1. Start by jogging a mile to warm up.
    2. Run a mile at your fastest possible pace
    3. Rest for 7 minutes
    4. Repeat 2-3 another 2 times
    5. Jog a mile for a cool down
  • Friday: Weightlifting
  • Saturday: Long Slow Run
    • Warm up mile
    • 10 miles at a slow pace
    • Cool down mile
  • Sunday: NOTHING

Week 4 (RACE WEEK)

  • Monday: Weightlifting
  • Tuesday: 1.5 mile tempo run. This should tell you roughly what to expect for your 5k (just double it and add a minute).
    1. Warm up mile
    2. 1.5 miles at your fastest pace
    3. Cool down mile
  • Wednesday: Nothing
  • Thursday: Nothing
  • Friday: Nothing
  • Saturday: Race!!!
    • Before the race jog about a mile (or the whole course if you have the time).
    • After the race: beer.
  • Sunday: Nothing

Stefan’s Guide To The Gear You Need To Run A 5k Real Good

 

If you are entering the sport of running with limited funds and a lack of knowledge about what you actually need in order to do well, you are in luck. I’m not going to claim to be an expert, but as an amateur 5k competitor I can offer you some of the tips that I learned (by stealing from the experts) over the last four years.

Just as a bit of a disclaimer, I’m a short dude who likes to run 5000 meter street races more than other events. Your preferences might be drastically different once you start running more so adjust according to what works with you.

The Essentials

If you walk into most commercial sports apparel shops you are going to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff you can buy (as well as the price), and yet simultaneously mislead by the staff that probably has little direct experience with running as a stand-alone activity. Given this paradox I recommend finding a smaller, runners-only store (the gold standard for me is Breakaway Running in Memphis). People at these stores are usually life-long runners who can steer you towards the products that worked well for them instead of what makes the most money for the store (plus these places serve as the social hubs for the larger running community, which will help you aid in your training).

If you are in a remote area and lack a specific running store, Running Warehouse is pretty sweet. Their prices are almost always lowest you can get, and it has free shipping if you live in California. If you must go to a Sports Authority or its equivalent, shamelessly use their stock to figure out the right size for an item and then buy it online.

Shoes

The debate over which sort of shoe works best for a runner is a never ending sectarian battle which only serves to confuse the shit out of the general public who just want something that won’t cause an injury. For me, I prefer the lighter “minimalist”  shoes for training (versus my wife who needs something more substantial). I feel confident in recommending these types of shoes because since I forced myself two years ago to adopt the “front strike” stride (i.e. toe to heal running where you almost feel like you are running on your tippy-toes), my times have dropped by about a minute and I have yet to sustain a serious injury.

For the purpose of training for anything less than a marathon (which I have never done), you should have at least two but perhaps even three pairs of shoes.

One pair should be saved for your races, particularly if you intend on running competitive 5k’s or 10k’s on at least monthly basis. For your “race” pair I would buy either the same version as your “fast” shoes, or if you get really good, invest in a pair of flats. My favorite are the Asics Piranha, which at 4.3oz is pretty goddamn light.

Your next pair are your main trainers. If you are training for a 5k or 10k, you will need to do both a speed workout and a tempo run each week while training. Use these shoes for that workout. This pair should be light, but have a slightly more sturdy build than a true minimalist shoe. My favorite shoe for this purpose is the Saucony Kinvara, which are light as hell but have enough of a sole for me to bust out a few months of quarters and halves on a street without destroying them (they are also good for people like me with wide feet).

Your final pair should be devoted to your “long slow run”, where you do a 8-12 mile run at a slow pace. As this run is mainly to address issues of form and build up your strength, a super minimalist shoe would be great for this purpose. I must admit that I have only been wearing them for a short time, but the Saucony Hattori has been doing wonders for me on my long run (other friends of mine swear by the Vibram Five-Fingers).

Watch

You need a watch if you are training for anything more than to just finish a race (which is a perfectly fine goal). If you are like me and do not live near a track, I would recommend the Garmin brand of GPS watches, as they track your milage, speed, and can be programmed to include specific workouts for you to do. It’s a little old now, but my Garmin Forerunner 405 is a beast, and probably my best friend. This watch might seem a little expensive, but it’s a bargain when you realize that it can turn any nearby parking lot into your own private track.

Sports Bra

Obviously as a dude I have no idea of what works “best”. I can tell you that my wife likes the cheaper Champion brand bras that she bought from Target, but at the same time the many of the uber serious female runners I know rely on singlets or unitards with built in support. Regardless of cost however, it is important to find one that works for you, as an uncomfortable or inadequate one will quickly ruin your desire to go running.

Other Accessories

Investing in a good skullcap and a pair or two of running gloves will save you from hypothermia or just being very uncomfortable during your run. Also find a pair of sunglasses that won’t fall off during a fast run.

The Stuff That is Nice To Have

Socks

You can spend a ridiculous amount of money on fancy socks. I have a few pairs that cost around $12 a piece. These socks are great at reducing moisture, which means fewer blisters and a less pungent smell of your shoes wafting around your apartment. However in all honesty the athletic socks made by Champion and are sold by Target are a serviceable substitute. Just make sure that any cheaper socks that you buy do not have ANY cotton in them whatsoever.

Fuel Belt

Now for a 5k you should not need water on hand during a race or a practice run. Doing speed training while wearing one of these is also the height of stupidity. However the belt, which holds two bottles of water, a snack, and your keys is almost essential on a long run away from your house. If you are running a long race (+ 8 miles) you should defiantly get one. At the same time do not go overboard and buy one that holds more than two bottles of water, any more than that and you are working as a pack mule.

Thermal Sleeves

I live in Southern California, so I never have to run in sub 50 degree weather again. Nevertheless, since I started running while at college in Boston I do sympathize for runners in places with actual cold weather. These sleeves from Swiftwick are pretty awesome at keeping your arms cold without weighing you down like a hoodie.

Fancy Shorts/Singlets

As long as you avoid cotton products you will probably be fine with wearing most any lightweight crap that you can buy from a large department store. However I do have to say that once one becomes a serious runner, small differences in shorts do make a difference. If you are a dude, look for one with a built-in compression liner that will prevent chaffing and keep everything snug and in place while running.

If you can afford it, you might want to invest a pair of long compression tights or capris, particularly as it gets colder. I have a pair of Pearl Izumi 3/4ths legth capris and they have been fantastic for my tempo and track workouts.

Other Accessories

If you find yourself doing mainly longer runs, investing in a box of you preferred gels or chews will help you maintain a good pace while burning away all of your energy. That said, some people find that dried fruit works just as well.

One borderline essential/good to have product is Bodyglide or TriSlide. If you are like me and running causes horrible chaffing on the inner thighs, these lubricants really help. Some runners also endure abrasions on their nipples or underarms, and these tools can prevent a literal bloody mess after a race.

Useless Bullshit That You Do Not Need

Ipod and Fancy Headphones

Leave that all shit at home. I know that hearing some awesome Meshuggah or One Direction will get you motivated to get out of bed. However the sooner that you separate yourself from relying on music for getting your run over with the better.

Listening to your body and your footsteps will help you maintain a desired pace during your run. During a race you will be able to instinctually “know” what your breathing and strike pattern sounds like when running at a six versus a seven minute pace. While relying on the pace of your music could help you run a better race, it could also very easily sabotage you by aiding in your running to fast out of the gate or by suppressing a second wind on mile 2.

Music also distracts you from your wider environment. Drivers and bicyclists are assholes enough to runners, but removing your own awareness exponentially increases your chances of being involved in a nasty accident. Furthermore you are outside, try and take in the world around you before you are stuck back in your cubicle or in traffic. Running can be a pretty awesome escape if you want  it to be (then again it helps to live a block away from the Pacific).