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  • in reply to: Does pepper spray or mace work on dogs? #22664

    I carried pepper spray on a run once intending to use it on a persistently annoying dog, but wind and the dog's wariness rendered it innefective. Since it is almost always windy in Kansas, I have never carried pepper spray again.

    After reading this, I did a google search for “runner and dog” and found a few articles. Most of them were less aggressive in their approach than I am with some suggesting stopping your workout to deal with every dog. As I see it, a runner should have two goals in an encounter with a dog. The first is to avoid being attacked or bitten and the second is to minimize the impact to your workout.

    I have a few different tactics for dealing with dogs. The first priority is that the dog respect your space. If they are not in your space they will not impede your run and they cannot bite or hurt you. Most of these tactics are aimed at keeping the dogs at bay preferrably off of the road.

    Tactic 1 is to intimidate. I do this by speaking gruffly, yelling and/or raising my arms up and away from my body to look bigger.

    Tactic 2 is to run directly at the dog — picking up speed or sprinting if possible. You may have to stop and run back toward them for a few steps. It is important when employing this tactic not to run onto their property. On a couple of occasions, I have had the satisfaction of seeing a dog who had entered the road tuck its tail and run home. Usually, they just stop and bark from a safe distance.

    Tactic 3 is to pick up a rocks to thow or a stick to brandish. I would prefer a stick as I feel a stick would be more effective at keeping a dog at bay and rocks can be quickly exhausted. I would employ the stick in more of a poking or jabbing action to keep it between myself and the dog, but if I were attacked, I wouldn't hesitate to use it like a club. Rocks are more plentiful on the gravel roads where I run. It is not necessary to throw the rocks hard or even to hit the dog. (I have poor aim — especially since I usually try to keep running as I throw.) Just throwing the rocks will make most dogs more wary and give you some space. I once hit a dog with a rock that I flicked to the side without slowing my forward progress. (I had picked up the rock earlier when I saw the dog step into the road ahead of me.) There is no way that the rock had enough impetus to cause real damage, but the dog was startled and scrambled back into its yard. The great thing was that the next time I ran that way, the dog did not even enter the road.

    Tactic 4 is to stop, walk, and speak placatingly until I am out of their territory and they stop following me. An old coach told me that dogs like words with “th” sounds and to say phrases like “that's a good dog”. I also read in an article that it is good to smile and to avoid eye contact. Don't turn your back. Most dogs won't risk a frontal attack.

    Okay there are my tactics. I employ them in differnt combinations with different situations or different dogs.

    For friendly, playful dogs, it is generally only necessary to use tactic 1 with perhaps a bit of tactic 2 to chase them back into their yard. The other danger from these dogs is that they might try to follow you. If that happens, I have thrown rocks at them to dissuade them though the phrase, “This is going to hurt you more than it does me” comes to mind. I really do like dogs, but I know that it is safer for them if they stay at home. While living in town, I have had dogs follow me all the way back to my car or all the way home. I'd rather feel a little guilty about having thrown some rocks.

    Then, there are the barking dogs. Some of these stay off the road and may chase you while remaining on their property. For these, I do nothing. Others come into the road and perhaps will run right at your heels. For these, I try tactics 1 & 2, and if those don't work, I resort to picking up some gravel to throw and keep them at bay. Some of these may be somewhat aggressive, but they are not so serious about it as the next group and I can keep them at bay long enough to get past their “territory” without walking.

    For truly aggressive, intimidating dogs, I have to resort to tactic 4. I would also consider going a different direction. Although my workout is important, it is not worth injury. I will pick up rocks, but what I really want to find is a stout stick. I definitely do not turn my back on them. Even after they stop following me, I run backwards for a bit and I give a few backward glances after I do turn around. When I lived in town, I once had a boxer that was so aggressive each time I would turn around to run, it would come after me again even after I was well away from its house. The only warning was the sound of it's claws on the sidewalk. (I am glad it didn't stay in the grass as it ran.) A passing motorist saw my predicament and gave me a ride around the corner. I have never met a more aggressive dog.

    Finally, there is the danger of dogs in packs. I am not sure how to define a pack. For my purposes, “pack” would describe their behavior more than their numbers. I can often run past groups of non-aggressive dogs using tactics 1-3. It is only when one of the dogs is really aggressive or tries to get behind you and herd you toward the others that it becomes a pack. This behavior can be very dangerous. I immediately resort to tactic #4 in this case. In one case, I was a bit nervous, but not really fearful. There were 3-4 dogs with one large Saint Bernard. None were particularly aggressive, but one smaller dog kept trying to get behind me. I walked carefully to the other side of their property where I could continue my run. In another instance, there were several dogs in a field, and one came charging me very aggressively and the others followed. Since they were in an open field, I couldn't tell which direction was the shortest path out of their territory. Otherwise, I might have returned the way that I came. As it was, I believe that I was slightly past them on the road and I carefully continued in my current direction thowing rocks and looking for a nice stick until they finally stopped following. In that instance, I was definitely afraid and although I have sometimes run on that road again, I usually pick up a stick or a handful of rocks before I get near that field. I had run there several times without encountering those dogs and I've never seen them again since.

    After you've had an encounter with dogs, you have to decide if it is worthwhile to run that route again. The best solution might be to avoid the confrontation altogether. There is one stretch of road that I avoid nowdays because there is a dog that — although not particularly aggressive — is very persistent. That dog runs at my heels, barking incessantly. It's a black lab and the contrast of it's white teeth flashing against it's dark muzzle combined with the incessant barking is very unnerving. That dog will sometimes follow like that for up to 1/2 mile depending upon when it spots me. I eventually decided that stretch of road is not worth it. I have hit that dog hard in the hip with a rock once, but that only made it more wary of any changes in pace or sudden movements.

    On another note, if I see a dog in the road ahead who is not aware of my presence, I will generally make some noise so that I do not startle them when I get near. Also, for extremely obese dogs or dogs that don't notice me until I am nearly past their property, I will generally just race them to the edge of their property. I suppose someday I will be slower and I will have to deal with them too.

    The tactics above are what I employ when owners are not present. I am not likely to throw rocks at dogs if the owners are present – though I would likely pick up a stick if one were available and use it to force dogs to keep their distance. Owners are only helpful if their dogs are well-trained. Otherwise, they tend to muddle the process. When dogs are not directly impeding my progress, I generally do not go out of my way to help the dog owner get control of their dogs unless for some reason I like that particular dog or owner. Another note about owners is that sometimes dogs who have been unaggressive toward you in the past will become protective and aggressive if their owners are out in the yard.

    If you actually are attacked by a dog, I have read that if a dog bites, you should not pull away, but press into the bite. Pulling away will cause more damage to you as the dog's teeth are curved inward and pulling away will tear your flesh. Pushing inward may confuse or frighten the dog into letting go. Struggling will also prolong the attack. It is also recommended to drop and curl up to protect your face and head. Most dogs will give up once the struggle ends and they've “won”. That's what the experts say. I do not know if I could bring myself to employ the curl-up-like-a-rock tactic. In my situation, I may be far from home and if the dog's owners aren't home, there may be no one near enough to give assistance. Of course, if it were a situation where I simply couldn't win, that might be my only choice.

    Running in the country, I consider dealing with dogs a necessary skill, but in town, dogs should be confined or restrained. I agree that the police should deal with unruly owners.

    By the way, I thought that blackdog was brillant when she went inside someone's fence to escape a dog. That was quick thinking and it is definitely something to keep in mind. I assume that she was able to ascertain that there were no dogs inside the fence first.

    in reply to: 2007 Disney World Marathon, Half, or Goofy #22300

    I think that if I were going to put out the money for travel and lodging, I wouldn't have a problem paying the $190.

    in reply to: Drafting Etiquette? #21895

    Is there a certain race distance threshold where drafting etiquette matters? If there is little or no wind, is it important to do some of the pacing work? Would it matter in high school 1600m or 3200m races on the track?

    I guess I am asking because long ago in high school, my typical race was where I would sit behind someone and then kick in the last 200m. I ran very few races where I did not employ this strategy and I was particularly good at it as a senior. I imagine that if I had not been injured as a junior, I might have branched out a bit more my senior year. I think that part of it was lack of confidence and or experience running from the front. I think that if I had run more than three meets as a junior, I would have been more willing to experiment as a senior.

    There was one occasion where my league rival was likely trying to break me of this strategy. For several laps in a 3200m race, he would surge on the first turn and then slow sharply on the back stretch. The only way he could have been more clear would have been to pull into lane 2 when he slowed. (Actually, I am trying to recall if he might have done that.) I didn't waver in my tactics. :-[ (I had little imagination in my racing.) I still followed him throughout the race and kicked at the end.

    So, would my tactics have been considered bad racing ettiquette? When I think back, I know I must have been a frustrating person to race. But, I also think that running from the front would have been playing to my weakness.

    In my defense, the only time that I recall my coach ever giving me tactical advice, he reinforced my normal tactics. Basically he just stressed that I should not take the lead. I thought that it was odd advice at the time —  considering that I so rarely did anything different. But that is another story. After the race, he told me some things that made me wonder years later if he and the coach of the host school might have had a wager on the race.  😮

    I enjoyed this topic. I have a half marathon in a couple of weeks. I will keep these thoughts about drafting in mind — though I usually find myself running alone during the middle parts of longer races.


    in reply to: time versus money #21469

    I would take a good performance over money. Although I didn't win money, I have been to a few small races where I did win despite a mediocre performance. I found that so long as I felt threatened at some point during the race, the win soothed any bad feelings I might have harbored about my performance.

    If there is no sense of competition or overcoming anything, however, a win feels pretty empty. I once went to a small 5K cross country race thinking that it would be fun to run cross country again after about 17 years. The turnout was very small (8-12 people). There was one younger guy present who wore spikes. He had run at the local college the previous year, so I hoped that it would be a somewhat competitive race despite the small turnout. Unfortunately, he had spent the intervening year drinking lots of beer rather than running. So, I led the race from start to finish without ever feeling like I was in a race. Afterward I felt like both my time and my entry fee had been wasted.


    in reply to: New shoes – wrong feet #21504

    I won a pair of shoes at a race. The gift certificate was contributed by Nike and specified that I could pick up some Nike Moto's at the local running store. I needed a new pair of running shoes, so I went and picked up a pair. I tried running with them, but only put about 100 miles on them before I retired them. I found that my old shoes with about 800 miles on them were more comfortable for me.

    Like Rita, I only wear them on jeans day at work or if I go to town with my wife and daughter. It's actually kind of nice because I would never consider buying a pair of shoes for that purpose.


    in reply to: Occasional race during base training #20993

    Which “things” were “read” and where?  The problem is in racing too much during the base phase — time trials are a regular part of what Lydiard prescribes for the base phase.

    My source was here: https://web.archive.org/web/20061117045922/http://www.coolrunning.com:80/forums/Forum6/HTML/018553.shtml

    Now, I am self-conscious. I realize that I likely posted my interpretation rather than what was actually stated on that forum.

    The first post refers to an FAQ. You'll find the link in his signature.

    9. Can I mix a race in once or twice per week?
    No, you shouldn’t during the basebuilding period. Any racing will interfere with and possibly set back progress. Wait until basebuilding is complete first.

    My reference to “one hard effort” was probably too extreme. I only briefly reviewed topic on Cool Running before I posting this. I did not find the reference that I remember where it talked about needing to start over. That was something that I was pretty certain about having read. Perhaps I missed it or perhaps I found that from a different source. If I find it later, I will post an update.

    in reply to: Occasional race during base training #20982

    Thanks Ryan, Rita, and Chris,

    Thanks for the responses. I was kind of thinking along the same lines. Although racing during base phase cannot really help me physically for my goal race. I think that it could provide a nice change of pace.

    Chris, As far as the potential for injury, perhaps I would choose not to race if my goal race were something of greater importance. In that case, I would only run races that would complement reaching my race goals. But, since my primary goal is simply to have fun, I ought to run fun races as they are available.

    The races that I am thinking about are small, low-key races. One is a 5K in the town that I now live in and it is just too convenient to miss. The other is a 5 mile race in the town that I grew up in — just 30 minutes away. It would be nice to run there and perhaps see some people whom I have not seen in a long time. Both race may also be fun because I could be in contention to win either race. The guys who typically show up at these races are running times comparable to mine. So, they should be fun, competitive races.


    in reply to: JUNE Miles #20953

    I am just beginning to run consistently again after about 9 months off due to a combination of injuries and changes at work and home.

    I've only been getting consistent in the past couple of weeks, and I found myself lurking back here again. I thought I would go ahead and post.

    June: 93 miles; 13 days (Two doubles running 9 miles round-trip to work.)

    85 miles were in the last two weeks. The running highlight occured near the beginning of the month. I participated in a team triathlon. Our team placed third. I was able to contribute a bit by catching 2-3 people on my leg — overtaking third place in the final 25m.

    in reply to: When your running took a new direction #19826

    For me, there were a few events — positive and negative that have changed my running direction.

    In the Fall of 1985, I placed 6th at the state cross country meet. That night, lying in bed, I realized then that I could run with anyone in the state. The guy who won was from my league and I could sometimes beat him on the track. That night I began to dream of winning a state championship the following spring on the track. An injury that spring delayed my dream for a year.

    In 1991, after suffering a stress fracture for the second consecutive year and struggling through another mediocre year of running, I quit running at the college level and did not run consistently again for 10 years.

    In July of 2000, weighing in at 225 lbs, I married my wife and adopted her healthy diet. (Fortunately, she met me 5 years before and she found that she still loved me when I was fat.) In January 2001, my weight was 190 or less and I was running 2-3 times per week. I twisted my ankle on a chunk of ice on the edge of the road. While recovering from the twisted ankle, I was working out on an elliptical trainer in the fitness center at work. While I was there, I saw a posting on the bulletin board looking for participants for corporate challenge. My competitive nature was suddenly engaged. I went about training all wrong that year, but that was when the desire to run fast was reborn within me. I am more passionate about running now than when I ran in college. Racing in various corporate challenge running events has become one of the high points of each year’s racing schedule.

    in reply to: Changing Plans #19589

    Thanks, Ryan.

    Ryan wrote:
    Realize that it is difficult to peak at the beginning of a racing season and stay at a high level beyond that peak.

    I got the idea of continuation of racing from this article: http://www.fitnesssports.com/lyd_clinic_guide/lydpg1.html

    My hope is that the race/non-race plans outlined here might allow me to maintain a relatively high level of fitness for a few weeks. The link indicated that one might even be able to increase fitness by following the race/non-race schedules presented. I am not be counting on that. I merely want to maintain fitness for a bit.

    I have read one of Lydiard’s books. My library doesn’t have it, but I checked it out via interlibrary loan so I do not own it. I will probably check it out again this winter before I get too far.


    in reply to: Goal race coming Do I have a plan? #19598
    Mark wrote:
    Lydiard say’s to “Then start springing up the hill with a bouncing action and slower forward progression.” Should all hill running be done this way?


    You might be a bit cautious with this method. Last year, I tried doing hill training this way last year, the bouncing motion just trashed my legs — especially my calves and made it impossible to get in all of the workouts. It is possible that I was doing it incorrectly and this caused my problem. This year, I plan to run the hill portion of my training like traditional repeats as Ryan mentioned.

    Good luck,


    in reply to: The secret problem for high school coaches #19450

    I see now that I posted as guest earlier. I hope that won’t be too misleading.

    I am not certain how the interview/application process for teaching positions goes, but I would hope that they would look first at teaching credentials and second at whether or not they could coach a sport or sponsor some other extra-curricular activities. If that is the case, it seems likely that sometimes a school or district would find that they do not have any qualified coaches on their staff. Or, perhaps to get a job, an inexperienced person says, “Yes, I would be willing to coach .” Smaller school districts probably have a harder time finding a qualified coach among their staff than larger schools. I imagine sometimes an unqualified person might educate themselves and eventually become a good coach, but that would take time. So long as the coach is not causing injuries, it is probably better to have an unqualified coach than to eliminate the opportunity for the kids to participate and compete.

    Where I went to school, we just had some guys filling that role. They definitely were not the best coaches, but they probably were not the worst either. The current coach is pretty good. He was a year behind me in high school. He competed collegiately in the decathlon and he was a good regional cyclist. He is not a pure runner, but he definitely understands how to get fit and how to train for endurance events. This year, his team has won a couple of meets. The exciting thing for him is that I believe he still has a fairly young team. He had a good group of freshmen last year and their top runnner is a junior.

    I think that when the focus of the school is education first and extra-curricular activities second, you will not always be lucky enough to get excellent coaches and that is probably as it should be.

    in reply to: The secret problem for high school coaches #19444

    This is an interesting topic.

    When I was in high school and later in college, I didn’t know about the coaches training philosophy. I just did the workouts because coach said to do them. Years later, when I started running again, I had to read to learn how to train myself.

    Now, looking back, I see that there are lots of things that I missed out on — especially in high school. Cross country was not really a team sport while I was there. There were some individuals who were pretty good runners and then there were some guys who were running to be fit for basketball season. We never really had a race strategy or anything. As far as workouts, I think that we did fairly well, though I wish that there had been some advice or guidance about what we might do to improve ourselves in the off season. It might have helped to have one coach for cross country and to coach the distance runners in track.

    In track, the focus was all on quality. I doubt that I got over 25 miles per week ever. Only twice did I receive pre-race advice. Once when an older runner who had chosen baseball over track his senior year gave me excellent advice at the league meet my sophomore year. He was familiar with how all of the top competition ran and really helped me to have a good meet and to calm any nerves I might have had. A second time, my coach told me not to lead a 3200m race (which I never did anyway my only strategy was to follow the leader and then kick). It turns out that the coaches were trash talking before the meet. It was a more distant meet than normal. The coaches at the host school were wishing that another guy from our league had come so that their guy could have some competition. (I had been winning against that runner more than losing that season.) After I had won the 1600, my coach wanted to make sure that I did not do anything stupid because he wanted me to win the 3200 also. We had planned to try tripling that day running 1600m, 800m, and 3200m as an experiment to see if I would be able to do it at regionals and qualify for state in all three, but coach cancelled the 800m so that I could focus on the 3200m. He did not let me know why until after the meet. Now, looking back, I think that my coach’s advice was more for his own bragging rights than to benefit me. In hindsight, it would probably have been better to get a bit more 800m experience before the state meet where I did run three events but did poorly in the 800 for lack of experience or pre-race strategy advice. I got boxed in at state and made bad decisions.

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to make this a bitching session about my old coach.

    Ryan, your plan for a pre-season meeting with parents is definitely a good one. I am sure that you will make an excellent coach.

    I think that I could also enjoy coaching someday. Although unlikely, it is possible that if my daughter gets interested in running competitively has not decided go to public school by then (We’re homeschooling now.), I could get some opportunity to be coach or assistant coach and I have given some thought to how I might go about it. I hadn’t thought about the pre-season parent meeting though.

    in reply to: Should race results be based on gun time or chip time? #19073

    I also wonder about how waves affect awards. At the Trolley Run in Kansas City, gun time was used for overall awards. For age group awards I am not sure if it was gun time or chip time that was used. In some cases, individuals from the 2nd or 3rd wave won an age group award — in some cases beating out someone from a faster wave. I think that it would only be fair if they used chip time since presumably an individual could have started right on the line in a later wave and gained an advantage.

    At large races, perhaps the best solution is to use gun time for overall awards and official place and chip time for age group awards.

    in reply to: The Weekly Update (or weakly update?) #19068

    A couple of days were shorter than I would like, but I got my most important workouts in. The weather was nice and cool on Sunday and my long run went great. The last 6 miles felt great.

    M – 4.5 am / 5 pm

    T – 8.5 am / 4.5 pm

    W – 4.5 am / 7 pm

    T – 12.5 am / 4.5 pm

    F – 4.5 am

    S – off

    S – 20.5

    Total: 76

Viewing 15 posts - 211 through 225 (of 243 total)