In the long run, we're all dead anyway

By Ray Banks
So Stringer’s buggered off to get married and celebrate another year of breathing, and as a result won’t be able to struggle up to the pulpit for a couple of weeks. Also, the bloke he was talking about last week – y’know, the human book daredevil wrestler fella – well, he got a touch of hay fever (apparently there’s too much rape in the air or something) and couldn’t make it. Anyway, thanks to those photos I have of Stringer’s half-hour spree in the marmoset enclosure at Barcelona Zoo, I managed to wangle the spot instead.
And I’ll tell you right off the bat, I had some dynamite for you. Get this, I was all set to blog about blogging (how enormously fucking meta of me), and how I’m wary of it, and how I’ve lurched from one blog platform to another – started with Blogger, went to Typepad, then Wordpress and now I’m messing with Tumblr – only to find that, despite posting stuff on a semi-regular basis, my biggest hits came from the semi-literate fuckwits wanting to know if Wrong Turn was based on a true story. And then I was all about how the Internet despises context, and how an online personal history comes in the form of sound bites wrapped up in persona, and how that relates to marketing yourself as a writer. At one point I got deep, started throwing philosophical questions into the mix, stuff that was going to blow your minds and make you come together and proclaim me your new king and shower me with candy and beer. Seriously. You would've been building shrines to me.
And then, just when I was about to get it all typed up and posted, Harvey Pekar died.
Yeah, thanks, Harv. I had ‘em showering me with candy and beer there.
Anyway, I’ve not noticed much of a reaction to Pekar’s death, other than the main news sources, and that’s a shame. If you’re not familiar with his work, I’d urge you to pick up any copy or collected trade of American Splendor that you can get your hands on. A particular favourite of mine is 1994’s Our Cancer Year – it, amongst others provided the basis for the 2003 movie American Splendor (for those of you in the UK, it’s on Film4 on Saturday 24th), which is certainly one of the finest, if not the finest comic book adaptations of all time.

Now Pekar isn't crime fiction. In fact, he’s barely fiction. And I have to say, that’s more important to me than any genre considerations, because Pekar was one of that rare breed: the honest voice. He eschewed fashion and told personal stories without recourse to the sex-crazed juvenilia that marred many early “comix”. Despite having no particular drawing skills to speak of, and with little in the way of early enthusiasm for the medium (thinking it “kid’s stuff”), he still believed wholeheartedly in its potential. According to Pekar, the only thing limiting comics was those who produced them, the publishers and writers and artists who insisted on pigeonholing themselves by creating books solely for kids. And he stuck to his guns throughout his thirty-plus year career, asking for nothing but a couple of bucks every now and then to keep himself and the comics going.
Now that might not mean a lot, especially in an age defined by popular culture's relentless "re-imagination" of itself as an autotuned and primary-coloured karaoke. In this climate, the concept of originality takes a back seat to that of branding, and honest, down-at-heel voices have trouble making themselves heard above the cacophony of shite. The quotidian concerns of a file clerk at the VA hospital seem too personal, not likely to hit a wide enough target audience.
This is not to say, however, that all the original voices have gone with Pekar's passing. If anything, the Internet has given further opportunity for these voices to be heard. So instead of me whinging on about the same old rubbish, how's about we take the opportunity to really recommend those voices that have meant something to us over the years, the ones with an honesty that might not always make them easy to take, but which make them even less easy to forget.
Let's hear it. The comments are open.

You’ll find endurance

In the Long Run
In the Long Run

The long run is the cornerstone of marathon training. In marathon training it has been found that 3 runs of 28-35 km over the 8 weeks prior to the marathon are an important predictor of completing the marathon.
The long run is also an important element for middle distance runners. The 10K runner will benefit from runs of 13, 16 and even up to 22 km or more and a 5K runner will from runs of 10, 12 and up to 18 km or so. The long run has been emphasised as the building block of training for over 30 years. Arthur Lydiard and many others have made it the base component of training programmes for distance runners. All of today’s programmes highlight the importance of the long run. Just what magic does the long run do? Long distance aerobic running gives the strength and ground work on which much will be built. Lactate threshold training, speed work, and stamina will all come later, but the ability to run long has many benefits.
VO2 max will increase from running within your aerobic training range. Capillaries will grow, enhancing the blood supply to the muscle fibres. Training increases the number and size of mitochondria. The mitochondria are the aerobic powerhouses of the cell. A variety of key aerobic enzymes will also increase. More myoglobin will be found in the skeletal muscle fibres. The significance of the increase in capillaries and myoglobin are the assistance that this will provide to the part of the VO2 equation specifying the difference in concentration of oxygen in arterial and venous blood, these changes facilitate oxygen transfer into the muscles.
Summary Of Long Run Effects:
  • Strengthens the heart – larger stroke volume.
  • Strengthens the leg muscles – endurance is developed.
  • Mind Work – mental toughness and coping skills are developed.
  • Develops fat burning capacity
  • Increases number and size of mitochondria
  • Increases capillary growth into muscle fibres.
  • Increases myoglobin concentration in muscle fibres.
  • Increases aerobic efficiency.
  • Increase in Maximum VO2..
Aerobic long runs also predominantly train the Type I Slow Twitch Fibres and Type II-b Fast Twitch fibres. These fast twitch “intermediate” fibres will become more adept at oxidative metabolism.
Getting Ready:
Rest the day before or make sure that your workout is an easy one. Increase your percentage of carbohydrate in your diet for a few days before the run. This will be good training for marathon week, if you have one planned. Try to sleep well the night before the run. In the summer, do it early, before the temperature climbs into the high 20′s and 30′s. Skip fatty foods, even tasty ones like pizza the day before the long run. Drink lots of water the day before the run and stay well hydrated during it.
During The Run:
Run about 1 minute to 1.5 minutes slower than anticipated marathon pace. Bring water and drink plenty of it during the run. Use energy drinks every 30 to 50 minutes on runs over 90 minutes.
Using a variety of training cues is helpful. Having an idea of the pace you should be running, keeping tabs on your heart rate and keeping it approximately 65% – 80% of MHR, and monitoring your perceived exertion will help keep your aerobic long runs in the aerobic range.
The longer the run the slightly slower the pace and heart rate should be. These runs are not meant to be at a hard pace for most of us. Those who are running 110-180 km per week are in a different category. They can run a bit closer to race pace or run their relaxed 28-32 km and then do 1000m repeats at 10K pace as some of the elite runners do now. That is not even a dream for the non-elite runner. (It sounds more like a nightmare, if it were even a remotely accomplishable feat.).
It is possible to include some pick ups within your long run if you have run a few marathons already. I suggest not running your long run at your marathon pace however. For most long runs I recommend 45 seconds to 90 seconds km slower than marathon pace.
For the advanced runner, looking for variety start off easy: do the first 3/4 of the distance at your long run pace, then speed up to finish close to marathon race pace in the last 1/4 of the run. For example on a 24 km run, run the first 18 at an easy pace, the last 6 go at least 20 – 30 seconds per km faster than you started out. An alternative is to run the first hour and 1/2 of a two hour run slow and easy and pick it up a bit in the last 30 minutes. You should not try these on a 40-60 km per week schedule or in your first marathon. On the lower mileage schedule your long run should be a purely aerobic workout with the only stress being the distance. Your body is learning to use fat as fuel at the lower speeds and longer distances. The benefit is coming from just being out on the road for longer than 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
Don’t forget to run slow and run long. This base is what the rest of the training pyramid will build on. Time spent in training is more important than pace for this type of running. And if you are considering the long run to improve your base for 10K running programs: try it, you might like it.
*   Rest the day before or make sure that your workout is an easy one.
*   Increase your percentage of carbohydrate in your diet for a few days before the run. This will be
good training for marathon week, if you have one planned.
*   Try to sleep well the night before the run.
*   In the summer, do it early, before the temperature climbs.
*  Skip fatty foods, even tasty ones like pizza the day before the long run.
*  Drink lots of water the day before the run and stay well hydrated during it.
*  Run the 1-2 km extra slow in hot or cold weather.
source: article by the late David Spence
View further Training articles
  • The Need for Sleep
  • Ten Mistakes Endurance Athletes Make
  • Ten Mistakes Endurance Athletes Make – Part 2
  • Timing your Workout
  • Components of endurance training explained
  • Build Rest and Recovery Into Your Fitness Programme
  • The cornerstones of training
  • In the long run – You`ll find endurance
  • Six Building Blocks of Distance Running
  • Six Building Blocks of Distance Running – Part 2

The Poker Long Run Winning the Real Game

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Poker is not a game of the moment. It seems to be, with pots being awarded nearly every minute, but the truth of the matter is winning poker is all about the long-run. Somewhat bizarrely, most players play for the moment: the thrill, the buzz, the immediate gratification. Most players lose. This is no coincidence.

Players should normally gear their decisions toward what is best for the long run and not fall victim to the temptations of the moment. That pitfall of temptation swallows up many a good player, including many who over time could move from being merely "good" to being one of the greats. Oodles of players can handle things when they are going well -- only to explode like a Pinto at the slightest stress.

Then also, anyone who plays serious poker can point to players who could do much better than they are, but since they've been "down so long," whenever they get a burst of good fortune (and bankroll), they become truly different people. The fellow who didn't have a pot to pee in a few weeks before now bets $4000 on the over/under of the third quarter score of a pre-season football game. A few weeks later this player is busted. Duh.

Keeping your eye on the prize, regardless of momentary circumstances, is a poker skill with a definite dollar value. Absent luck and assuming some skill, perseverance on an even keel is what gets the money. I'm not putting down aggressive, sensible risk-taking. Far from it. I'm talking about something else, something hard to put a finger on, that applies to both ring games and tournament poker. Maybe it's easier to understand by using an example from politics and one from sports.

Poker Long RunJohn A. MacDonald, longtime Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party, dominated Canadian politics in the 19th century. During his forty years in public life, MacDonald faced a succession of leaders from the Liberal Party, and usually came up on the winning end of the ticket. He once remarked: "The great reason why I have been able to beat [Liberal Party leader George] Brown is that I have been able to look a little ahead, while he could on no occasion forego the temptation of a temporary triumph."

Is that a poker concept or is that a poker concept?!!

I see it all the time in tournaments. Due mostly to good fortune and good cards, players jump off to a big lead, or have a big rush in the middle of a tournament. They pile up great gobs of chips. Certainly some times these players with a big lead go on to win, but these are the players I like to go after. The very best player to play against in a critical situation is a player who has been running good! Give me an opponent who has had good fortune tossed in his lap all day long. They make the most mistakes! They think they are indestructible. Please keep away those players who have been grinding away all day! They aren't deluded, drunk with the trivial success of doing well when there are 50 people left. That temporary triumph is no triumph at all, especially if, like often happens, they begin to play less sharply than they would if the deck wasn't constantly hitting them in the forehead.

Football offers another good parallel. One of the sport's philosophers, Alex Karras, once remarked that when his Detroit Lions played the Green Bay Packers, the Lions pounded the Packers up and down the field for sixty minutes, but when he looked up at the scoreboard, he would see the Packers had won the game!

Like in football, the point is to win the game -- and the game of poker lasts a lifetime.