I’m Back! November 2011 Running Reflections


SORRY for yelling.

No I am really not – but I am so excited about the progress I have made over the past month that I wanted to shout it out LOUD. I had been running a little here and a little there since June, but I but I finally decided to put up or shut-up about running and my knee at the end of October and keep a log on what I am doing.

This is the first month that I have been able to really run in what seems like forever, well actually since February 2010. That was when I injured my knee playing racquetball, it has been a long time getting over that injury, culminating in surgery during May 2011 and the recovery period for that.

I had 82.6 miles total for the month of November with two weeks over over 20 miles and another over 18. No not all of the runs have been easy and I haven’t wanted to go run on some days, but I got out there and did it more and better than I have in a long, long time. Continue reading

RunLog 11/30/11 – I Ran Anyway

Okay today was supposed to be a scheduled day off. Thanks to my compatriots on Twitter, I got the itch to run today.  It was just too nice a day to take off – 54F and bright sunshine for the last day of November.  I actually wore shorts and a long sleeve t-shirt with my synthetic undershirt to wick away the sweat.

I wanted to run at least 3.0 and just do it easily. I ran easy and really focused on my form and forefoot striking while running.  After the first 1.5 miles I had to find a tree, I really hate it when that happens, but it is just part of running, sometimes you can’t wait and have to do it wherever/whenever.

During the run I got to thinking and that for me can be pretty damned dangerous. I haven’t done any speed work for a long, long time. My knee was feeling really good and I wasn’t putting a lot of effort into the run, so I thought why not. I would do 2 phone pole repeats (about 100 yards) and see how it went.

When I finished my 3.2 mile run which was a new course record by 6 seconds, I still don’t know how I did it without trying to. Who knows maybe loosing weight and running for a month is starting to get me in shape. Continue reading

Saucony Peregrines after 60 Miles of Running

Back on November 7th, I purchased a new pair of Saucony Peregrines, since then I have run in these shoes 19 times and have put 62.3 miles on these shoes.  So how have they been?

In a word:  FANTASTIC

Initially I was thinking that they don’t have enough cushioning to be comfortable running shoes for me.  As I have worked on my mid foot strike which the Peregrine promote, the need for the extra cushioning has been much reduced. The Peregrines encourages me to use a mid foot landing instead of landing on my heels and I really believe that once this become more second nature that it will allow me to run more – probably my faster days are behind me. 😉

The first day that I had them I ran 3.2 miles on a course with a few small hills and mostly dirt road and they felt pretty good. Since then I have run on a trail run and was super impressed with the traction and responsiveness when navigating tree roots, rocks, mud and wooden decking (which can be slippery as all get out). The mud did cake in a little bit but a quick stomp/kick to a rock or tree cleared most of it out quickly.

Messalonskee Stream Trail

I ran in the day before Thanksgiving Nor’easter and didn’t have any problems with traction in, slushy, snow covered roads, that I had issues slipping around on with my PacBoots. So I was very impressed with their performance that day in the snow.

Saucony Peregrine tread pattern in the snow

Then I tried a trail run at UMO (one with 3-5 inches of wet melting snow on it) and while my feet got pretty wet this time (I wore wools socks for a reason), the traction on the snow covered trail was amazing as long as I stayed off icy sections and stayed in the snow.

UMA trail

Over this time I have also done my long runs on mostly tar country roads in the Peregrines. I know, I know a long run for me is different than a marathoner’s long run, but right now for my present level of running it is a long run. The Peregrines have done very well for my 5.5 miles runs. No hot spots, no pain in my knee, and they are light.

When I have to dart into the ditch to avoid dump trucks or semi’s or stupid trucks, I don’t slip and slide all over the place and fall down (which I have in the past with road shoes) – you never know what kind of footing you will find in a ditch, when a dump truck decides it ain’t moving over – you will move and pretty quickly).

The reality is that

the Saucony Peregrines have in a short time climbed into my top 10 list of running shoes. I have feeling that their position will only improve as I run in them more. Going back to a more minimalist running shoe seems to be the right direction for me, if my first month in them is any indication.

Overall impression 

The Peregrines are a very comfortable, well made light weight trail shoe that I am using for all of my running right now. I am glad that I went a 1/2 size larger than usual though, my toes have plenty of room to splay out, have room for wool socks and they are still the same weight or lighter as many of my so-called “racing shoes” from my earlier days in running.

They are what we used to call low-rise heel and in many ways remind me of my favorite running shoe – the Blue Adidas Marathon Trainer with the Dillinger Web.

So in case you haven’t guessed, I am very impressed so far with the Peregrines and look forward to seeing how they hold up for over the next six months. They are definitely worth taking a second look at if you are looking for a pair of running shoes for the winter or to trail run in and if they continue to impress me, I might find a place for a second pair, next Spring.

Disclaimer: No one has paid me or provided free samples of this shoe to write a review, I purchased the Saucony Peregrines with my own money and this review is simply my thoughts on a product that is working for me so far.

Originally written by Harold Shaw or Mary Shaw and published at One Foot In Reality, © 2011 – All Rights Reserved. 

Running, Dogs and Trails – Part 2

In my Running, Dogs and Trail – Part 1, I discussed meeting dogs on the trail, when running or walking and offered up some observations and tips.

This post is from the other perspective having a dog with me, while walking or running on a trail and then encountering runners, hikers or walkers on trails.

Yes I have a dog and yes I walk him on trails and eventually plan to run with him on trails. However, unlike some of the characterizations in my first post, I would like to believe that I am fairly considerate of others who use the trail also.

Trail Rules for my Dog

These are the rules I try to follow when I walk my dog on a trail:

  • Don’t leave dog poop on the trail, we carry bags with us to clean it up with. I know how I feel when I step in dog poop, it pisses me off.
  • I keep my dog on a leash at all times. Not because he is a vicious, but because I know that he will run, bark, jump up on people and not obey my commands well enough to be off the leash.  In fact we use a double-system collar and harness – he can be a Houdini and escape just one of them. Bennie is a Jack Russell Terrier with an extremely short attention span, who is very inquisitive and with a mind of his own. Other dogs might mind better, but it is best to leash a dog when approaching stranger or when being overtaken by other trail users.
  • If possible I move off the trail when I see someone coming or catching up to us, warn them that my dog will probably bark and lunge at them, and allow them to go by, while holding onto my dog’s collar and the other hand on his rump forcing him to sit-down.
  • If someone asks to pet my dog and I think it is okay (I have told some people I would prefer they didn’t – just a feeling, but I go with them). I firmly have a hold of his collar and have my hand on his rump while he is sitting down and ask them to move in slowly to pet him, while I am talking calmly to Bennie.
  • I wait until the other people are at least 10 feet away before continuing our walk.

What Can the Runner/Walker Do

As a runner or walker what can you do to make this brief meeting both safe and enjoyable.

Just because you are panting and stomping your feet into the trail, doesn’t mean that a dog or the owner know you are coming up behind them. If they are immersed in thought or looking off the trail at a gorgeous scene, looking at some other critter or otherwise occupied, they might not see you coming towards them.

When you notice that they are not looking back at you and moving to leash or take a hold of their dog, there is a pretty good chance they do know you are there.

Warn Me You are There! 

If that is the case and you suddenly are only yards away from them when the dog notices you, most people and their dogs will be startled and the dog(s) will probably bark and lunge at you.

The owner will have much more difficult time reacting appropriately to your presence.

Then you get pissed because the dog is barking and lunging at you, that you were slowed down, had to go around them or that in their state of surprise might have been said something rather unflattering to you.

So when running or hiking please warn people with dogs that you are coming up on them for your own safety, if you don’t see or hear them getting their dogs ready for you to go past them.

Ask before attempting to touch or pet any dog, you might not like the results if you don’t.

Don’t Be an Ass

Really you don’t need to be an ass, just because someone is on the trail with a dog. Most of the trails are public and open for all to enjoy appropriately.

If you start yelling at the owner, telling them to get to f#$* out of the way, acting all impatient and important, while they are trying to restrain or move their dog, it only makes the situation worse. The dog(s) will pick up on their stress level and start to get stressed as well, which will cause even more delays.

Most dog owners will not purposely delay you, but if you are acting like a jerk, it is much easier for them to be a jerk too.

Dogs Not on a Leash or Aggressive

If you see that a dog is not on a leash watch it carefully, if it starts moving towards you, or stops and starts growling or barking at you. Stop running and give the owner a chance to get their dog leashed or restrained before you start running by.  At this point I recommend you go into a defensive posture and ask, then tell the owner to ensure that their dog is leashed if they haven’t attempted to so by that time. It is okay to talk to the owner to find out what they are doing and which direction is best to get around them.

I don’t care how fast you think you are, you are not going to outrun a dog, unless it is an ankle bitter and then they run faster than you think, so don’t just keep running.

If you keep running, the dog might think you are playing, attacking us or you will activate their hunting instincts and they will chase after you.  None of which is what you or the owner want to have happen.

Yes I know that it is a pain in the ass to stop while the owner gets their dog under control, but if you do stop for a few seconds there will be less problems and issues for both of you and you will be able to start enjoying your run again sooner.

You wouldn’t step in front of a car with a green light, you might get hurt. Think of an unleashed dog as a stop light and your continuing to run in the same manner, if you keep running, you could get hurt, so stop until the owner has their dogs ready for you to go by. A dog growling and barking aggressively is definitely a red light and you need to stop running until the situation is safe to proceed.

Most dogs believe they are protecting their humans from you. For some reason you smell wrong to them?  If that is the case take a defensive posture and wait to see what the dog and the dog’s owner is doing, it is better to be a little patient than get bit. Then move on as soon possible.

Part of the Family

Dog owners do not consider their dogs to be vicious attack dogs, they are their family pets and a part of the family, a companion that they know and love.

The owners often honestly don’t understand why you are intimidated, concerned or a little afraid of their sweet little Cujo – be aware of that. In their eyes, they see the sweet cuddly little furball that sits in their lap or by their feet, not the snarling, growling, red-eyed demon from hell that you see.

The reality is that

I understand that coming up on a dog while on a trail might be an inconvenience to you. You might have to break stride or having wait a minute while the owner gets their dog out of your way. Stop and think I am a runner also and the person you are meeting on the trail might be a runner too.

Ninety-five percent of the time, most people I have met on the trails are great and share my interests in being outside with or without my dog.

To that other five percent that thankfully I don’t run into you very often. Get off your high horse, show a little patience and respect for others who you are sharing the trail with. You may be the center of your universe, but you are not the center of mine or my dog’s.

Final thoughts

  • If you have are a dog owner on a trail – keep it on a leash when people are around (many times there are leash laws and dogs are required to be on a leash- just follow the laws in place) and then restrain your dog while the rest of us go by.
  • If you are a runner or hiker – show a little patience, while the owner is restraining or leashing a dog, so you can go by.

We all have the right to use the public multi-use trails around us for hiking, walking, trail running and yes even walking our dogs. However, we need to treat each other with respect when meeting each other on those trails.

What are your experiences with obnoxious runners/hikers?  What caused the problem and how could they or you changed it so it wasn’t a problem?

Dog owners, what is your advice for runners or hikers who meet you on the trail that I didn’t mention above.

Originally written by Harold Shaw or Mary Shaw and published at One Foot In Reality, © 2011 – All Rights Reserved. 

Enhanced by Zemanta

RunLog 11/29/11 – Just Made it In

Once again the weather is unseasonably warm. I dressed in shorts, synthetic sleeveless shirt as my base layer, long sleeve synthetic and a orange cotton sleeveless shirt for visibility. I wore gloves for the first half and then stuffed them in my shorts when I got too warm for them and my high vis ball cap.  I was very comfortable for the run especially after I took off my gloves. About 10 minutes after I got in the house, just after TheWife got outside for her run, it started to pour – she will come back in spitting and sputtering about that – I got lucky.

The run itself was really good, I focused on maintaing my stride and form, especially the last mile when I was getting tired. It is then that I tend to go back to bad habits and heel strike while running, today I did a little better forefoot striking during the last mile, but it is not to the point where it is automatic yet.

Even though I wasn’t pushing I still came within 7 seconds of last weeks run. That makes me feel like I am making progress!

Quality of Run: Very Good
Time of Run: 10:40A.M.
Weight: 176
Temp: 54F
Weather: Overcast with a 5-10mph breeze out of the North. Rained about 10 minutes after I got back.

There I got my long run in for the week and it is supposed to be cold and rainy the rest of the day and tomorrow, it might be a good day to take a day of, we will see.

Originally written by Harold Shaw or Mary Shaw and published at One Foot In Reality, © 2011 – All Rights Reserved. 

By Harold L. Shaw Posted in RunLog

RunLog 11/28/11 – Easy Run

I couldn’t believe it the weather today was warm enough for short and a long sleeve t-shirt! The sun was coming out just as I started running, after it being cloudy most of the day. It was a perfect day for a run. I am learning to not run, right after doing a long walk with Bennie, the immediate double workout takes too much out of me right now.  Maybe when I loose some more weight and get in better shape it won’t bother me, but right now it does.

The run itself was good, going out I was pretty stiff from yesterday’s trail run in the snow, but after a quarter of a mile, I loosened up and felt fine. I got through 2.0 in 17:09, but the hill killed me and even though I tried to maintain my form couldn’t. It is getting there though, because without trying I cut 1:06 off my time for this course.

I even noticed that a lot of my whattle chin is gone when I looked in the mirror this morning 🙂

The knee is a little sore, so it is probably time for a day off pretty soon, maybe Wednesday, it is supposed to rain cats and dogs, we will see how it feels tomorrow.

Quality of run: Good
Time of Run: 2:45 PM
Weight: 177
Temp: 54
Weather: Sun breaking through the clouds, wind about 10 mph out of the South

Originally written by Harold Shaw or Mary Shaw and published at One Foot In Reality, © 2011 – All Rights Reserved. 

By Harold L. Shaw Posted in RunLog

Running, Dogs and Trails – Part 1

Image by FlyinPhotography via Flickr

Yesterday I was out running a local trail system and had a dog encounter and to be very honest it bothered me – a lot, see my RunLog 11/27/11 post for more information. So I have decided to do a two-part series on Running, Dogs and Trails and this is the first one from the runner’s perspective.

Sort of an open letter to dog owners from a trail runner, hiker and walker about dogs and trails, with a few tips for when you encounter dogs on the trail.

I have been a runner, hiker, and trail walker for a long time and it seems that over the past few years people’s attitudes towards other people who are sharing the trail with them and their dog(s) are changing and it is not a positive change.

Several times this year I/we have been on trails and suddenly hear and see a dog running free and coming towards us. We usually yell “Hello” to alert the dog’s owners that someone else is on the trail with them.

At that point we invariably hear the famous words “Oh don’t worry, my dog is friendly“.

Oh really! Then why is your dog’s body language aggressive, the fur on the nape of its neck is raised, it is growling at me and its lips are curled back so I can see its fangs – the damn thing looks more like Cujo than that “friendly” pet the owner is talking about.

As the owner gets closer, the dog finally responds to multiple voice commands by the owner and runs back wagging its tail – saying “see I protected you from those strangers”. You then get to hear all the excuses and apologies, but a dog is going to protect its humans from strangers, you are not part of their pack.

Yes 90% of the dogs I meet on trails are friendly and wouldn’t hurt you, but sooner than later you will meet that dog that isn’t friendly and is running loose and sees you and it starts towards you.

What do you do?

So what do you do when you suddenly come up on a dog like that?

First thing – Don’t run or keep running, from what I have read and been told, this triggers the hunter instincts in a dog and by running you have signalled that you are prey or are afraid of it. Not a good thing for a strange dog to be thinking about you.

Personally, when I see a dog running loose on a trail – I immediately stop, stop my timing device, step off the trail, yell a hello to the owner and politely ask them to leash or hold their dog until I am by them. Then I wait to see what the dog’s owners are doing and keep a really close watch on the dog, not moving any more than I have to, until we get things figured out. Loosing a little bit of time is a lot better than loosing a lot of time.

I do not crouch down and I do not try to maintain eye contact with the dog, but I definitely keep close track of what it is doing and am looking around for trees go up quickly or branches/rocks for other purposes.

I don’t get all freaked out and yell and scream, but act calm and in control of the situation. Otherwise the situation can quickly get out of hand and bad things can happen that could have been avoided if you stay calm.

When trying to get the owners attention, I try not to sound pissed, peeved or anything other than friendly or neutral. However, if the dog has an aggressive posture or isn’t stopping on my loud command to it to “STOP” or “SIT DOWN”, I have been know to yell out “get your fucking dog – now” quite loudly as a kind of warning to them that I feel threatened by their dog. I only do this in situations where I feel very threatened by their dog and at that point I really don’t care if I piss them off.

After all their dog is their responsibility and it is their responsibility to keep you safe from their dog on a public trail.

Position Yourself for Safety

When I first see a strange dog, I also stand sideways to the dog with my dominant hand back as a strange dog or human approaches, at this point in my life, I don’t even think about it, I just do it automatically.

Example: I am left-handed, so I stand with my right arm exposed to the dog. If the dog does attack, this stance provides a good stable base, I will be harder to knock down and not expose myself unnecessarily (stomach, privates, etc.) to the dog. It also puts me in position to side kick the dog and fend it off with my right arm and attack with my left. Hopefully, this is just a precautionary position and not one that you have to defend yourself from.

While I am talking with the owners, I am watching to see if they have control of the dog, is the dog taking an aggressive stance and are they continuing to walk by you or motioning for you to go by them.

Be Nice!

It doesn’t hurt to be friendly to other people on the trail, after all most of them are really out there to enjoy the freedoms of the trails, just like you are. They have brought their dog along to enjoy some freedom as well. So I am polite as possible and wait to see what they are doing, say our Hello’s and start walking or running slowly again, ensuring that the dog is not coming after me.

Being nice even if they are not, helps to resolve a lot of problems before they get out of hand – don’t get into a pissing contest out in the woods, nothing good will come of it. It is better to let it go and move on than stay in a situation that will have no winners.

Adamant about leashing

However, I am fairly adamant about the leash/restraining a dog until I go past, especially with the bigger dogs, when they haven’t been responsive to the owners voice commands immediately. Sometimes you know when a dog is safe, other times you just can’t tell, better to be safe than sorry.

Why am I adamant about asking someone put their dog on a leash.  Especially when the owner says that the dog is so friendly?

  • First – most communities and States do have a leash law or that the dog must be under the person’s control, the trails are public and I have as much right to be on the trail safely as the other people who have their dogs with them do. 
  • Second – I don’t trust dogs, I am not scared of dogs (I have been around them my whole life), but they can be unpredictable and I have been bitten a few times by those “friendly” dogs, because I was a stranger.  
  • Third – I will defend myself and if the owner does nothing or very little to prevent it and it will be painful (probably for me more than anything), but a dog might get injured if it attacks me.
Pissing some people off
For some reason or other, this request to leash or hold their dog, seems totally pisses off some people. Unfortunately I have been getting this response, a lot more lately than I used to? They get their knickers all in a knot and become very curt and glare at you like you are being completely unreasonable by asking that they leash or restrain their dog, until you have gone by.
I don’t understand why, maybe it is the way I am asking or my voice tone is curt, or could it be that I am inconveniencing them by my being on the trail too or they have other issues and are taking out their anger on me, it doesn’t really matter to me – that is their problem not mine. 
However, when I request for someone to leash or restrain their dog I am doing it for my safety, not to inconvenience them or judge their dog as being violent. I have had to many bad experiences with dogs and do not want to be bitten again.

The reality is that

being attacked by a dog wandering on the trail probably won’t happen, but at the same time aggressive dogs can really ruin your day out on the trail. They get the old adrenaline pumping and when the owners are unresponsive to your need to be safe, it pisses you off. It only takes a couple of seconds to snap a leash back on or hold your dog until someone goes by, that way we can all enjoy the trail together safely.

No dog owners if you see a runner or hiker/walker coming up and you have let your dogs run on the trail, as a courtesy to others, please call your dog back and either leash or hold them until the runner/hiker/walker has gone by. That way we all can be civil to each other and enjoy being outside on the trails together.

It comes down to showing respect to others who share the trail with you.

I think what I said yesterday pretty much sums up my feelings on this issue:

I am a dog owner and I don’t mind people having their dogs with them on trails, but just because a dog is friendly to people it knows, doesn’t mean it will be to strangers it is meeting on a trail somewhere. Dogs are territorial and protective of their people. If they are on a public trail they either need to respond well to voice command or be on a leash. I hate it when I feel threatened by a dog especially one that is well overa 100 pounds and could put a bad hurtin on you if it decided to attack.

What are your experiences when meeting un-leashed dogs on trails?  Any words of wisdsom or helpful hints that I missed that o.

Next post will be about obnoxious runners, hikers or walkers when I am walking my dogs on trails.

Originally written by Harold Shaw or Mary Shaw and published at One Foot In Reality, © 2011 – All Rights Reserved. 

Related articles

Enhanced by Zemanta


RunLog 11/27/11 – Dogs on the UMA Trails

I try to find a trail run someplace on Sundays and today I figured it would be a good day to go to the University of Maine @ Augusta and run the trails back there. With the snow storm on Wednesday, I didn’t want to beat myself too bad with roots and stuff underneath the snow that I couldn’t see. Plus the snow has melted a lot since that day.

The UMA trail system is where a lot of the State High School Cross Country Championships are run, so the trails are pretty smooth, but the course isn’t really a cake walk either because of the hills that are in there.

The trail had 3-5 inches of snow on the sides and wet slush/ice where people had been walking. I found it a lot safer to run in the snow.

The trail head

As you can see it has some variation of terrain

The Trouble With Dogs

At the top of this hill is where I met the dogs

While out running I got to the top of one of the steeper hills, out of breath and spotted 3 dogs heading for me. Two Black Labs and a Boxer, not on leashes and their owners not in sight.

Not good – I immediately thought and yelled to let the owners know someone else was on the trails. They were about 50 yards down a different trail and warned me not to keep running or the Boxer might come after me. Both of them were calling the dogs back, but the Boxer was hanging around in front of me sniffing and looking directly at me.

I stood still and yelled for them to come get their damn dog, I was both pissed and more than a little concerned, the Boxer was eyeing me like I was going to be dinner – skinny legs and all. Finally, it obeyed the owners commands and they attempted to leash their dogs, somehow the Boxer got away again and started coming at me. I hadn’t moved very much at at all during this time and this time I turned sideways and was prepared to do whatever I needed to.

At the last minute it responded to the owner and went back to them and they finally got him leashed.

They were all apologetic and said they had let them run free because they didn’t thing anyone else would be out there today – I didn’t state the obvious that there are other people that use this area all the time and it is a popular place for crazy runners to go run.  By this time the guy’s cigarette smoke was giving me a bad headache and his dog was raising my blood pressure, both are not the reasons that I run outside on a trail.

I just said if you can’t control the dog with voice commands it needs to be on a leash, they could tell I was rather pissed and walked off. I let them get about 50 yards down the other path and started running again, this had taken about 5:00 minutes to resolve and my feet had gotten a little cold, but I had some extra adrenaline, I needed to burn off and did, the next half mile was done a good pace until I started to splash around in the field and it got a little wet and slippery.

Leash your dogs on trails, if they don’t mind.  Arrrggghhhh that was frustrating.

Nice look at the amount of snow

If you get into the walking part of the trail, it was icy and slippery – I ran to the side of the trail

Then while running a mile or so later, I was going to take a picture and the camera wasn’t in my pocket, this meant I had to go back over my trail from where I took the last picture and try to find the camera.

I went over the trail once and didn’t find and then went back the opposite way and finally found it here. That added almost 20 minutes onto the run, because I was running/walking trying to find the damn camera.

 But I found it.

Looking  down one of the hills
Last hill before coming out to the balls fields.

Today was not the best day of running, but like they say a bad day of running beats a day in the office. 🙂

It was a tough, tough run between the hills, the footing, wet feet, the snow, the dogs and the camera, it did make for an interesting run.  I did a lot more walking than I have for a long time, I would get my heart rate up pretty high and decide it would be a good idea to bring it back down a little bit.

This kind of runs humble you and remind you that you are not in as good a shape as you think you are. However, the Peregrines are still impressive as hell and gave me great traction in this snow and sloppy slush that I was running in. They do let your feet get wet, but this is why I wore my Merino Wool socks, my feet stayed warm all the way, except when I was motionless for the dog fiasco.

I have put down that this was only a 3.0 mile run, but it was longer than this, but I didn’t include the camera search into the total, even though I didn’t stop the timer during this time.

Quality of run: Extremely Challenging
Time of Day:  11:00 A.M.
Weight: 178
Temp: 43F
Weather: Overcast

I am a dog owner and I don’t mind people having their dogs with them on trails, but just because a dog is friendly to people it knows, doesn’t mean it will be to strangers it is meeting on a trail somewhere. Dogs are territorial and protective of their people. If they are on a public trail they either need to respond well to voice command or be on a leash. I hate it when I feel threatened by a dog especially one that is well overa 100 pounds and could put a bad hurtin on you if it decided to attack.

Oh well enough venting, but this is not the first time I have had problems with dogs on trails and owners who don’t have them under control.  One of my soapbox issues.

I am glad that I did this run, even though it had its share of misadventures, next time I will remember to zip up my pocket and maybe I need something to slow down a critter if they decide my legs need some chewing.

Originally written by Harold Shaw or Mary Shaw and published at One Foot In Reality, © 2011 – All Rights Reserved. 

RunLog 11/26/11 – Run With TheWife

Wow, things got a little crazy and I almost forgot to post my RunLog entry for today.

Today, I ran with Mary for the first time since before I hurt my knee back in February 2010. It was great to run with her again. Running together is something that we did from the time we met until I got hurt, it was an important and positive part of our relationship.

It was overcast and cloudy, but it was crazy 51F and I was wearing only shorts, double layer on top, with a fleece, gloves (my hands are always cold – just ask Mary) and ball cap.

Today we ran the first lap together, both of us were a little out of sorts and took most of the first lap to find our rhythm and then Mary did her course and I went down and around Howard Circle. This meant she was quite a ways ahead of me when I got off the Circle. I really tried to push and catch her, but she is too fast for that. I did close the distance to less than 15 seconds at the finish and believe that my final mile was well under an 8:00 minute pace, which was very encouraging.

It only took about a half hour to get my breath back (exaggeration alert), actually a couple of minutes and the knee didn’t feel bad at all – all good signs. Now to just keep getting rid of the flubber and not get too encouraged by my progress and do something really stupid to get injured. No roofs and no racquetball.

Overall run: Very encouraging
Time of Run: 3:30 P.M.
Weight 177
Temp: 51F
Weather: Overcast, no wind

I can’t wait to start running more often with Mary, even though she says she never runs very good with me. It seems that I want to be a step in front and yak too much ;-).

Originally written by Harold Shaw or Mary Shaw and published at One Foot In Reality, © 2011 – All Rights Reserved. 

By Harold L. Shaw Posted in RunLog

What are Your Winter Training Plans?

What are your running goals for December to the end of March?  What are you going to do to achieve those goals?  Are you going to find one of those “canned” programs and follow that, get a coach or just wing-it?   

I really believe that these are questions we all struggle with as runners – how we create a training plan to meet those goals. We all have different goals, wants, needs, abilities and how we attain them is often a journey full of highs/lows, and injuries that we work through to get where we want to be.

  • How do you go about planning and implementing your running program?

Here are some of my views:

Running Coach 

The best way in my opinion is to have a running coach who works with you daily to tweak and adjust your running plan as necessary based on your current condition, injuries, weather forecasts and other factors that a coach can factor into a training plan, would be a good great thing. However, unless you are with some kind of a track club or in school, coaching of this sort is difficult to find and/or expensive. It would be the best way to go, but is not available to most of us.

  • Does it matter whether the coach is an online coach and someone who coaches you face to face? 

I don’t know the answer to that question because I have not had experience with either one (since I left high school). What do you think?

Canned Running Program

We have all started one of the canned race prep schedules that are in our apps, in running how-to books, running magazines, or the ones that you find online. You know those ones which promise to help you finish or improve your times in a race from 5K to Marathons and beyond.

  • Have you wondered if they really do work?

I really don’t know because I have never, ever finished a canned running program since I began running so many years ago. I start off with all these great intentions to go through X program, because it seems to fit the direction I am trying to go with my running and “by gum and tarnation” I do want to get better and not be injured while getting to X and buy into the hype.

  • These program probably work better for newer or runners who need the added structure to their running, but as runners mature in running, do they continue to need those levels of structure?

Many of these running programs are very nicely laid out in great detail and can become rather complicated. On this day you will run this amount of miles, at this pace and your weekly total should be X, if you don’t do X, then do Y or Z, and then A.

What happens when life gets in the way of the training plan for that day or week and it throws off the entire schedule. After all – as important as running is to us, there are other things that do come before putting on your running shoes and going for that 20 miler or the 2 hour track workout every Tuesday.

These programs are not known for their flexibility and that is where I really dislike a canned running program.  If I want to do speedwork on Friday instead Tuesday and my long run on Wednesday instead of Friday, it really messes up trying to stay up with a canned running program and making all the changes to ensure that you are still following that running plan.

I guess I am just not very good at following the rules all the time.

I know many of them say don’t sweat it if you miss or change something here or there, but we do, it is in many of our natures to sweat it and it is also a confidence thing. If the “expert” who designed your running program says you are supposed to be here doing X on week 6 of the program and you are not because life got in the way, you get stressed. Then many runners try to “catch-up” and end up injured and don’t meet their goals.  

Problems with Canned Programs

I have problems with the canned running programs, mainly because I am an ornery old fart who just wants to do it his way, instead of the way that someone else thinks. Yes I have a good idea of what I want out of running and have a pretty good what I have to do to get there. I am pretty sure that I can figure this out without some damned “expert’s” idea of how fast or far I should be running on next Tuesday, based on how my body is really feeling, not an artificial number based upon what?

  • Does anyone else feel that way too?

Maybe those people who are putting together these preplanned running programs are a hell of a lot smarter than I am, ran more, ran faster, have more experience running injury free, but they do not know me or you, our strengths, weaknesses, current fitness level, preferences, provide appropriate feedback and all those other factors that go into an individual training plan – they can’t.

So what do we do?


I have a feeling that this is what many of us do – just wing-it. Yes we have a pretty good idea of what we need to do in order to run or run a faster 5k, 10K half/full marathon or whatever your running goal is. Then we just go run enough to get to where we want to go.  We log what we do, think about how  we are doing, look at how/why we are getting injured, buy a new pair of shoes, even when the old ones were fine, tweak here or there as necessary and just keep running.

Not very scientific, but pretty uncomplicated, very flexible and tends to work for more experienced runners, but not so good for new runners or those who need specific training guidelines to help them through their training regimen.

My Experience

In my experience, canned running program (paper or computer) do help by giving pretty consistent guidelines – most of the canned training programs have many similarities (long runs, tempo runs, recovery days, a day of rest and speed work, etc.), the biggest difference often being the recommended miles/pace on a given day.

From what I have seen is that most runners eventually put together a program for themselves that is flexible and can:

  • accommodate last minute changes that happen in real life; 
  • the bain of all runners – injuries; or 
  • when you just feel like something different 
  • listen to what your body needs

Is this how you set up your training program? You have it in your head what you need to do and then adjust your actual running based upon life, how the training is actually going and how your body feels. This is how I have trained for several years and varying degrees of success.

My Training Plan

This year I want to do it a little differently, instead of just having my training plan only in my head I am writing it down. So here is my training program for December through the end of March.

  • HAVE FUN WITH MY RUNNING – that is the most important thing
  • Run 15-30 miles per week – closer to 30 as we get to March. 
  • No more than 2 hard runs per week – one tempo and one fartlek or speed workout
  • Have a long run every week that is more than 5 miles, but no more than 8 miles at an easy pace
  • Run no more than 13 days in a row before a rest day
  • Once every two weeks run without a timing device
  • Run on trails/dirt when possible 
  • Find 1 or 2 races and see how you do
  • If injured figure out why you got injured and do something different
  • When really sick don’t run, slightly sick give it a try
  • Walk at least 2.0 miles every day in addition to any running
  • Cross-train if you feel like it (snow shoeing, cross country skiing, ice skating, etc.)
  • Lift weights  2x per week (even though they suck – it helps)
  • Weigh self every day when I get up
  • Eat mostly organic food and cut back on chips to once per week. Limit sweets to reasonable amount daily.
  • Sleep around 8 hours a day

The biggest thing is to just run without getting injured. 

This is my training program for the next 5 months or so. Yes it is a winter maintenance running program meant to get my baseline running back, loose about 20 more pounds and get me ready for Spring and running 5K to 10K races through June.

Running faster and further will come if I follow those things and listen to what my body is trying to tell me (which has always been a problem – I usually just run through pain or discomfort until it becomes an injury).

In March I will re-evaluate everything and see where my fitness and running really is and start a program to focus on improving my 5K times to my long-term goal of under 20:00 minutes.  I have purposely set my 5K goal very high, but in my opinion an attainable goal if everything goes right over the next year.

What is Your Running Plan?

To me unless you have a coach (online or F2F) and if you do I am jealous, using canned programs are a great way to give you ideas on how to get where you want to go, but you are the one that has to implement your own running program.

  • What is your training training program going to look like for December through March – have you thought about it or are you just going to wing-it?  

Let me know, I am interested in what other runners are going to do this winter and how you are planning your training.

The reality is that

right now I just want to have fun with my running and enjoy the fact that I am running again. Gotta remember slow and steady, slow and steady will keep me running, until I build up the base I need and loose the flubber that needs to go away.

I wish you all the best in developing your personal running plan, I know that I am really anxious to see how well mine works over the winter.

Now to go out for a run.

Originally written by Harold Shaw or Mary Shaw and published at One Foot In Reality, © 2011 – All Rights Reserved.