A Brief Defense of Short Shorts

shortshortsIn light of the hilarious Gizmodo article published a while back on the tiny black $9 shorts I’ve worn for years (known affectionately as “Ranger Panties”), and maybe because I’m starting to dream about running in something less than two layers of clothing, I have take it upon myself to offer this defense of absurdly short running shorts. Briefly. (See what I did there?)

Complaint: Short running shorts are exhibitionist.

Answer: It’s function of fashion. If you like running ten miles with shorts that hang past your knees and look like those things we called “Jams” back in the 80s, then more power to you. Me, I want to forget I’m wearing shorts in the first place, so I can focus on what’s important. Like finishing this horrible jog.

Complaint: Short running shorts are feminine.

Answer: So’s your mom…wait. That made no sense. OK, so, yes, the nearest approximation in aesthetic might be found stretched across a waitress’s tushie at Hooter’s. But maybe they’re on to something. Hard-working, blue collar, the shorts go the distance. Silken undies might also be classified as “feminine,” but I’d wear those bad boys without complaint. Hell, I’d run in a skirt if it took ten seconds off my 5k PR.

Complaint: Short running shorts are offensive, especially when worn while stretching.

Answer: This one’s a little hard to get around. No one wants to be eye level with Random Dude’s twig and berries during a post-run stretch. All I can say is that Web MD advises stretching after you run. There is no mention, however, of recommended attire. As my friend says, “‘Rung whatcha’ brung!”

Complaint: Short shorts result in male objectification.

Answer: Liar.

Complaint: Short shorts are outdated.

Answer: Some things never go out of style. Like plain white tees, blue jeans, Chuck T’s, high heels, the Little Black Dress, and a well-worn ball cap. I suppose I could chase current fitness fashion and run in shorts whose inseams never look north of 5″. Maybe some of those lycra booty shorts that pop up in ads for men’s yoga attire. But fellas have been running in shorties since the day some smart human realized that running naked is for the birds. You can’t argue with history.



Running: 1st Month of The 5k Training Plan for Time Misers

Marine Corps Marathon 2013: On my way to a PR of 2:44. Feels like forever ago.

No chafing here. 

I’m so out of shape, my thighs chafed during my last long run. Yeah. That was humbling. But you gotta start somewhere, and if you buy that, then here’s the start of a simple four month plan for the time-constrained.  We baselined some things last post: time available, setting goals, etc. so I won’t rehash. But not because they’re not important. So make sure you figure those things out before chasing a fast 5k.

CAVEAT: This plan assumes you’re healthy. Fit bill of health and all that. And that you have the sense to dial things back if injuries arise. Alright, enough said, here’s the plan:

1) Enter the next 5k you can find and race your ass off. Even if you’re coming off the couch, it will tell you exactly how long you were there. Race again, once a month. Try to space the races out 3-4 weeks. Note your improvements.

2) Month 1 Quality Workouts (aka “speed work” or “sprints” if you’re an endurance noob) will consist of one of the following. A) 400m repeats, preferably on the track. First week, six repeats with 45s rest (read: light jog) at current 5k pace (not a sprint obviously.) Second week, eight repeats. Third week, ten. Fourth week, twelve. If you miss a week, don’t skip forward. B) One week, 20:00 tempo (add about 15-20s to your 5k pace per mile, should be hard but not killer). Next week, hills of 30s/45s/60s duration with a walk down recovery. Do four sets, and try to extend the distance you cover each set. What that means is that the 30s you run on the last set should cover more ground than on the one prior. Same for the 45 and 60s repeats. *Notice I don’t tell you how to warm up or cool down. In general, warm ups should elevate your heart rate. Cool downs should decrease it. You will figure out what works for you. Some people run 3-5 miles before a track session. Some folks do some push-ups and call it good.

3) Long Run: a lot depends on how fit you start. I’m assuming you’re capable of running a 5k without walking, in 20:00-30:00 minutes. But being able to run 45:00 – 60:00 continuously would be about right for the end of the first month. If you’re coming off the couch, then maybe keep it on the low end. General rule of thumb: 10% increase in distance, per week.

4) What to do with time windfalls: mobility, strength, recovery runs. In that order. I’ll answer any questions in the comments. The focus of this first month is building your work capacity and sense of pacing. If you’re wondering about periodization, we will get to my philosophy on that later.

Making It Count


Thanks to everyone who took the time to read through my lengthy last post! Some really nice comments, but really a reminder that having friends who read what you write is what makes it worthwhile.

Speaking of writing, I’m hoping to get out a few more posts this week on aid and missions work. There have been a, lot of developments, both interesting as well a tragic since we last talked about this issue. See you soon…

By the way the pic included with this post is me and Thomas G Marsden,  newborn to Super Fans
Kev and Lupe!