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Car Etiquette Around Runners

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

You may wonder why I would write a post on car etiquette unless you’ve had some run-ins of your own with cars when running. I’ve had the unfortunate experiences of running and having cars (people in cars) doing stupid or dangerous things to me and around me while running. I guess it just comes with the territory if you’re running everyday on the roads in busy areas.

So here are my top 5 etiquette rules all automobile drivers should follow in order to make it a safer place for runners and drivers alike. And yes, I have actually experience each and everyone of these happening to me. So I have reality with why these rules should be followed.

  1. Don’t throw things out the window intentionally or unintentionally while you’re around people running on or near the road. Yes, I’ve actually had people throw things out the window intentionally at me while I was running - not fun.
  2. Do not swerve intentionally or unintentionally in the direction of someone running near or on the road. It’s just bad taste to swerve, even for fun at a runner. Think of it this way, how you would like it if you’re doing a working, concentrating on running at a certain speed and time and then all of a sudden someone pulls their car, swerving at you. It’s distracting and pulls your attention off what you’re trying to do. Besides the fact you could actually hit the person. So please do not do this.
  3. Understand runners may be running on the road and will be running facing you. This is the correct way by law to run on the road. That means runners will be on the left hand side of the road running towards your vehicle while your driving head-on towards them. This allows both parties to see each other thus in theory making it safer. I honestly have had people yell at me for running this correct way. I can’t understand how these people passed their driver’s test when they think I’m in the wrong for running facing them on the left hand side of the road.
  4. Before pulling out of any parking lot, place of business, side street or taking a left or right hand turn look not just for cars on the road but people running on sidewalks, people in crosswalks who may be in your path. Yield to these people. Sadly I have been hit twice by people pulling out of parking lots not looking if someone was running on the sidewalk to the left or right of their car. Drivers please be more aware!
  5. Don’t yell things out the window at runners. I don’t understand the fascination with yelling at runners while you pass them in your car. There is no need to be childish. We are not impressed with you since you can yell obscenities at me while I’m doing my workout. It just makes me think you are incapable of running and therefore jealous of me and have to lash out since you can’t run. It just makes you look stupid.
  6. Don’t puff cigarettes intentionally out your window in the direction of a runner or throw them at runners. There is no need for this. We know you are unhealthy and don’t want other to be healthy so you do this intentionally to make a point. It’s really childish and should just not be done.
  7. Don’t flash or reveal private parts to runners passing by in your car. Yes, again I have had this happen to me several times. Really I’m faltered that you would do that but please I don’t need to see that while I’m trying to do a workout. It actually does not produce the effect your looking for. I’m actually discussed with you when you do this.
  8. Don’t stop or slow your car down in a way as to make it look like you’re going to give us a ride. We don’t want a ride, we are doing a workout and wish to not be disturbed.
  9. If we are running fast, speed-workout or seem to be really concentrating on running please don’t pull you’re car up beside us and try to talk to us or ask for directions. I can understand if we look like we are just out for a jog or running and seem like we could talk but many times we are concentrating on running and you pulling your car up beside us is distracting and pulls us off our pace. Just use good judgment as to if it would be okay to talk to a runner.
  10. If there is a race going on, get your car out of the race way. It’s extremely rude to leave your car parked or be driving on the same part of the road which is blocked off for a race and it’s extremely dangerous. Just to drive this point home, I’ve even had a co-worker do this to me and others in a race once. Then at work he was bragging about how he did this until he found out I was in the race and was not happy about what happened. Then he realized what he had done. So don’t do it I know you would not do it to a friend.
  11. Don’t do anything you would not want done to you when you’re running - whether you are a runner or not.

What’s In Your Marathon Mind

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

I recently have been thinking about what goes into running a marathon, mentally. After just completing another marathon (Erie Marathon in PA) and going through the all to common battle of the mind to break free of that fabled “wall” we all dread at about around mile 20, I’ve realized that the marathon is really a mind race. Truly if your mentally in there fighting you will do good and come out on top.

It’s funny to look back and see how little things during such a stressful and long race can make a big impact. Myself I found that even though I might think I’m doing really bad during the race, sometimes I’m not running as slow as I might think. Has this ever happened to you?

If so I now know from experience you should ignore it and just run your race and pretend as if you’re running wonderfully and running the pace and time you want or at least never give up on the possibility you get reach that time or pace even if it seems almost impossible with what you have already run during that race. It’s never impossible!

One of the things we seem to forget is a marathon is really a long race and there is actually a lot of room for making up on mistakes and such you may have made during the way.

So as to not ramble on too much about this. I suggest really keeping strong mentally in a marathon, in fact I would say it’s one of the most important things. Its really funny, I’ve made that mistake… as I was so concentrated on other aspects of the race (my legs, food, water) and never really put the attention on being mentally strong. But I now see that it is more important than any of the other aspect.

In the end I’m really glad I’m a runner and that I’ve learned and realized the things I have from pushing myself through till the finish. These things help one not in just running but also in the living-ness of life.

How to Use Heart-rate Monitoring For Running

Monday, September 20th, 2010

I was recently reading some great resources on using and checking your heart-rate for training. Many of us know an increase hear-rate means our body is doing more work but how many of us know what our max heart-rate is. Well some of us do as we already are into monitoring our hear-rate. Knowing your rate can be a valuable tool in determining what is happening with your body. One of the key things I’ve found is to monitor your resting heart rate. If you begin noticing increases in your rate then you can suspect that your training might be too much and you are becoming susceptible to over training.

But don’t just take my word for it, check out all these great resources below for better training through monitoring your heart-rate.

What Do You Think About When You Run

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

Non-runners have often asked me what I think about when I run… and I’ve even heard some runners asking each other this question. My answer is always been that I try not to think about anything. But I’ve heard other runners state things like their work, family, life’s problems and issues or what they did in training.

My philosophy has been that if one can simple keep one’s “mind” in the here and now by not thinking about other times, times to be, or day dreaming then one can be focused on the run a hand which will make you run faster. Personally I’ve seen this work for myself over and over again. So I try to stick to that. But I have to admit it is tough at times.

Here are a tip you can use to pull this off. One is to look around while you’re running. Not necessarily moving your head all over the place looking although that does work but becomes a little distracting when running. But instead glaceing at objects, people and things as they come into your field of vision in front of you. I’ve found that keeping once attention on your surroundings seems to keep one’s mind in the here and now without having you have to think about anything else.

So give it a try… by the way, what do you think about when you run?

Quick Tips for Running in the Sun

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

With the summer upon us many of us are in climates where the sun is beating down on us pretty hard during our run. So here are some quick tips for dealing with the sun and heat on a run.

  1. Wear sun block/screen - I know it might not always be the popular thing to do or might take time to put it on but it’s well worth it. What’s better having a sun burn so bad you can’t go out and run or wearing sun screen?
  2. Stop for water - Stop for water every chance you get. When it’s hot you need more water. Also make sure you’re getting enough salt too - you don’t want to unbalance your water to salt ratio.
  3. Wear light clothing - If you wear clothing that weights less and will dry quicker this can not only keep you cooler but also prevent you from caring a lot of excess weight due to clothing being soaked from sweat.
  4. Place water stops - One thing I highly recommended is going out before your run, in your car or whatever, and setting up a water station for yourself. This can really help keep you hydrated.
  5. Don’t Over Do It - If you’re feeling light headed or any other signs of heat exhaustion then stop. It’s not worth pushing your body past it’s limits and have to pay for it for with several days of no running. Play it safe but run hard at the same time - if that makes sense :).

How to Stop Dog Attacks When Running

Sunday, June 13th, 2010
How to Stop Dog Attacks

One of my biggest nightmares when I run is having a dog or multiples dogs (yes that really bites!) attack me. I’ve had the unfortunate luck of being attacked by not one by two dogs at the same time. Not fun! So what have I learned and how can you prevent yourself from being attacked?

Over the years I’ve discovered that I must be a dog magnet. If there is a dog in the area and it’s lose it will come after me. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m running by fast or it’s just me but I have discovered what works and what does not work in a potential dog attack. In fact I’ve personally had the unfavorable luck of having tested out each of the following methods at various times.

What Does Not Work:

Running Away - this has never really worked for me. I have had dogs bite onto my legs as I’m running (yes, I was dragging the dogs, two of them, while trying to run away)! I mean I can run pretty fast but the dogs always seems to catch up and it seems like this makes dogs more likely to come after me. I guess they see it as a game. There are a few times I have gotten away by doing this but it was only by luck where I sprinted for such a long time the dog and myself were too far from it’s house so it turned back or cars were coming down the road and these stopped the dog enough for me to gain some good distance and it gave up.

Standing Still Like a Tree - this was suggested to me once, as I was told this would stop any dog from attacking me. Boy were they wrong… don’t do this! The dog just keeps charging at you and I’m sure it can smell or tell your fearful of it. You look weak in the dog’s eyes, which leaves you open for the dog to be more aggressive since it things it can easily over power you.

Yell For the Dog’s Owner - Now this is one of the most worthless things I’ve tried. Most of the time the owner will just yell back “it won’t bite” but in my mind I know “…yes, it won’t bite you since it knows you but it doesn’t know me”. Many dogs have been known to bite and you should not listen to the dog’s owner because it’s a dog is an animal and is not totally under the control of the owner or it would not be coming after you in the first place. I’ve sadly had many owners just stand and watch (not doing anything!) as their dogs ran out of their yard and began to bark and attack me.

Give Them A Dogie Treat - This is another one I heard from someone else as a suggestion through my trial. I’ve tried this with no luck. I’ve thrown out the treat for the dog put they always either completely ignore the treat to stop smell it or eat it and quickly chase back after me. Possibly a big steak or something that could take the dog some time to stop and eat might work, but who carries a steak in their back pocket when they run?

What Does Work

Don’t Run That Route - Yep, if you don’t run the route where the dog lives you’re not going to have to worry about being bite by it. I know that isn’t what you want to do sometimes but sacrificing a running route has saved me from getting into a unwanted situation when I know a dog will be waiting for me. Although I’d rather actually run my routes with what ever freedom I want so this is not always an option I prefer.

Pepper Spray & Kicking - Yes, I’ve had to pepper spray a dog or two in my times. I actually could include this in the non-working section of this blog post since I have done this on dogs before and it did NOT stop the dog! It has deterred some dogs but it seems to only make them stop for a few seconds and then come right back after you. In such cases or when the spray has no effect on the dog what so ever I’ve had to use a combination of spraying and kicking. Yes, you heard that right I had to kick the dog! I know, I know… that’s not the best thing but it was either the dog gets kicked or I get seriously mauled by a very vicious dog (as you can image it’s a pretty tough dog if pepper spray does nothing to it).

Battle Cry and Attack the Dog - Crazy enough this is actually worked the best for me! What you do is scream bloody-murder like you are really going to kill the dog (and you really have to feel, sounds and act like you are going to kill the dog) then run/charge directly at the dog. Yes, I know that sounds like suicide but this actual works and has worked every time I’ve done it properly. You much have no intention that you can’t do it or have any fear. You have to be fearless, scream really load (as load as you can) and the dog will stop and most of the time will run the other direction away from you. I will usually also put my arms out to make myself look bigger. This also adds to the effect. This works because the dog sees you as a bigger threat then it’s able to handle and will be surprised that you are willing to charge and attack it. I’d suggest starting off with using this technique on small dogs first and then working your way up to larger dogs since it does take some guts to do this and you want to make sure you do it right or the dog will still attack you.

Well I hope that helps you and your next dog encounter. These are my trials and notes from years of running and having to confront a large number of dogs sometimes on a daily bases.

Neat Running Calculators

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Recently I was looking around for some running calculators to help me determine what pace I should training at and what my mile splits should be for an up coming race.

In researching that I came across the concept of VDOT. Which is a term formulated by Jack Daniels (world famous coach, called “The World’s Best Coach” by Runner’s World magazine) that is a shortened form of the well known V̇O2max. VDOT is properly stated/short for “V-dot-O2max”. With this a runner can find his VDOT value which then can be used to determine an “equivalent performance” at a different race distance. Thus is can also be used to determine training paces for athletes.

It’s actually an interesting concept and I’ve spent some time researching it and playing around with the VDOT value and resultant training and race paces that can be calculated from it. I’ve found it to be pretty accurate. When I take my recent 5k time and use that to calculate my VDOT and then find my resultant Marathon pace according to my VDOT it actually gives me the time I normally finish my marathon in. I’ve also noticed my calculated training pace according to my VDOT is about the same pace I usually run in my workouts (including speed workouts).

Daniels' Running Formula book

So how do you calculate your VDOT and find out your equivalent performance for different distances and what pace you should be training at? Well luckly you don’t need to know the formula or make any calculations to get the answers. But you should take a read through coach Jack Daniels’ book Daniels’ Running Formula to get a better understanding of it.

But for those of us who would like a quick and simply way to get the answers take a look over this free calculator from the guys over at, VDOT Calculator.

VDOT Calculator by

It might not be the fanciest looking thing but it will definitely give you the answers you’re looking for. There site also has some great info on running and how to properly train for long distance running.

Next we have a pace calculator by Cool Running. It’s a simple and easy to use calculator that gives you your pace for what ever target/goal time and distance you put into it. So check out there pace calculator.

Cool Running Pace Calculator

Another great calculator is Rob Klima’s marathon pace calculator that calculates for fade. This is a great tool to give you a realistic pace per mile you should be running based on fading during the race, cause we all know when you hit the wall it hurts! So check out there marathon pace calculator.

Marathon Pace Calculator

Honorable mention: Running World’s pace and training calculator is also a pretty useful tool that I thought I’d better mention. There tool not only calculates your race pace but also gives you a workout plan for training based off the pace you enter in. Check out their training calculator to see what I mean.

Marathon Pace Calculator

Twitter Running Tips

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

We’re starting a new fad and now offering running tips via our Twitter account (@logthatrun). We’ll be posting tips about running each week on our Twitter account to make sure you sign up and follow us on Twitter.

Check out our running tips on Twitter, search for #runningtip on Twitter.

Don’t know what Twitter is? Twitter is a micro blogging service. AKA, you can write a sentence or two and most it to your account page and people can subscribe to you (called “following” you) where they can view your updates in real time.

Do you have any running tips? Message us on Twitter with them.

5 Running Myths You Should Know

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

As a runner I’m sure at one point or another you’ve heard one or more myths pertaining to running, racing, training or just exercise in general. The sad truth is that most of these myths are still unknown as myths to many athletes today. So below I’ve put together a quick list of 5 random running myths I’ve found quite common. Feel free to post your thought or comments on them.

  1. Running Mechanical Aren’t Important - Many runners don’t necessarily say that this is not important but what I find is that they lack in putting in the time to improve their running mechanics and form. As a distance runner especially, one should know that any extra movements you do will add up over time and slow your time down. Doing exercises like kick-butt, high-knees and other form running activities can help train your body to be a more efficient runner. The more efficient you are the more the less energy you’ll be wasting.
  2. Any Shoe Will Do - Now this is one that tops the list as one of the leading causes of running related injuries. The shoe you use to run in actually is very important. Most shoes sold at common shoe stores are manufactured for one foot type (a neutral foot or in other words a perfect foot). But the truth is that each of us has a different foot structure and no one’s foot is the perfect shape (unfortunate, I know :). There is more to our feet than length and width, which is what generally gives us our shoe size. Knowing what foot type you are and then getting a shoe that fits that type is half the battle to beating injury. Also we must realize that gate (the movement/motion of your our legs and body when running) can be as important as our foot structure or type.
  3. Higher Mileage is Always Better - This is not technically a full myth, more like a half myth. Higher mileage can be good if done correctly, although higher mileage is not always the best thing. Many runners think that putting in as much mileage as possible will make them the best runner. This is only true up to a certain point. And the sad truth is that the type of running you put in is more important than the mileage. How fast did you run it… what was your pace? Are all important questions you should be asking. It’s also been suggested that 70 miles a week is usually the max most runners will ever need to do. Now of course if you’re training at a higher level than the average runner you’re mileage might be higher.
  4. Long Slow Distance Runs Are Best - This is one of those half myths that if you don’t get it could cost you valuable training time. Running distance is great and is necessary fortraining for certain types of races. Although the downfall is the “slow” in long slow distance (LSD). Most slow paced running is not giving the body the workout needed to generate muscle strength and endurance. The reason is that you’re not working the body hard enough. A better approach is to run at a specific pace that is in some ratio or percent of your actual race pace. For example if my race pace is a 5:00 mile then Imight want to train on my distance runs at 70% of that pace which would be about 6:30 mile pace. Of course that is all relative to your race pace and distance you’re running.
  5. Runners Don’t Need Strength Training - Many coaches and runners today are holding on to the belief that strength training provides no benefits to runners. Although researchers, runners and coaches have proven this one wrong. In fact I knew this was a key to training as a college runner. So I started lifting regularly. I got looks from people all the time, wondering why a cross country runner was lifting so much. Later on that season I ended up running my fastest times! So strength training can improve your muscle elasticity and allow you to be more economic when running. As well as helping to keep you injury free.

Cold Weather Running Tips

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

With the cold and winter season fully upon us - hopefully ending soon - this week I’m going to provide you with some quick tips on running in cold weather. I’ve compiled a small list of tips from my years of training, running and coaching.

  1. Stay hydrated - Many runners don’t realize that in the cold weather it’s just as important as with hot weather to stay hydrated. In fact cold weather can actually increase your risk of dehydration, according to a study conducted by Robert Kenefick of the University of New Hampshire. Something I’ve done and seen work well for other runners is to carry some water with them through out the day and drink from that, whether it be to school or work during the summer or winter months.
  2. Stay Warm - Wearing the proper amount of clothing is also important in cold weather runs. Usually 2 layers, a hat and gloves works well in cold or frigid weather. Also make sure you keep you’re self dry during your runs. Share your thought in our forum on What winter Running clothing do you use?
  3. Warm Up, Cool Down, Stretch - Recently there has been a lot of debate between athletes, coaches and doctors as whether you should and how you should do a warm up, cool down or stretching. What I’ve found that’s work for me is doing a warm up, stretching very light and doing a cool down after the workout until I feel somewhat re-generated (when I feel like that it helps to indicate to me that the lactic acid build up in my muscles has been reduced). That is then followed with a more extensive stretching routine.
  4. Don’t push it if your injured - I’ve always found having a day off or tapered down due to an injury or when you’re starting to develop one is 10 times better then having an injury that lasts a month or more. This is specially true in the colder weather as it’s much easier to get injured. Staying injury free is one of the key steps to running competitively and staying fit. This starts with making sure you listen to your body.
  5. Plan your workouts for the week - I’ve found it’s much easier to stick with it when you have a schedule or plan for what your going to do for that week. Specially if you have a specific goal your reaching for, you should plan out how you’re going to get there. Use our running log as a tool, with our running log you can record a preset schedule of your workouts for the week or longer.

Well those are some quick tips for running in the cold and winter weather. If you have any suggestions or things you’ve found that worked well for you, let us know by posting your comments.