Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
14 Jul

Persistence Hunting in the Park

preyUPDATE: Wow! Quite the response to this post! I had a good chuckle at many of the comments at first, but things have spiraled out of control a bit. First, let’s please keep things nice and civil in the comment boards. Heated arguments are one thing. Nasty ad hominem attacks are another, and they’ll be removed. Second, the reality is that if you never get within 40 yards of your target they’ll never be aware of your existence. I thought it went without saying, but don’t invade anyone’s personal space and don’t do anything else that common sense tells you not to do. I took out the line “Hide behind a tree for a second or two.” just so no one gets the wrong idea.

In most locales, summer is upon us. The sun acts as powerful beacon, a call to action for even the habitually sedentary to venture out and frolic in its rays. Hopeful mothers and fathers nudge chubby kids with creaky Xbox fingers, barely able to grasp the brand new football with which they’ve been tasked, out the door to partake in a mysterious, archaic activity known as “play.” Running shoes are finally removed from shoeboxes and attached to feet. Excuses to avoid going outside grow exceedingly pathetic and totally unconvincing, even to the skilled self-deceivers, who can no longer deny the basic awesomeness of a summer day. Squinting into this wonderful, terrible new light, they all gather in public areas – parks, hiking trails, outdoor malls, beaches – each in turn making personal pledges (or fulfilling imposed ones) that this will be the summer they finally take advantage of the great outdoors.

They are also weak and defenseless and, especially as they try to right the metabolic ship with outdoor Chronic Cardio through the park/sidewalk/trail/track, thrown into a state of confusion by all the sights, smells, and fresh air accosting them. Stale air-conditioning this is not. They are unprepared for what awaits them.

You, however, have been preparing for this moment for months, if not years. You’ve been eating meat, vegetables, roots, and fruit, molding your body and stoking your furnace with healthy fat, appropriate amounts of glucose, and measured bouts of intense lifting, sprinting, and steady movement. Even if you’re just beginning your Primal journey, even if you’re still adjusting – you’re still way ahead of the rest of ‘em.

It is a good time to be a persistence hunter.

Next time your stomach rumbles for a little physical exertion, venture out to the local park or track. Any spot where people will be jogging will work. You could even hit up a trail, as long as you’re sure there’ll be joggers. (I did this once in the back of a 10k race). Strap on your shoes (or don’t), wear something comfortable (or wear as little as possible), and survey the area. It’s now sacred hunting ground. You are the hunter; you can have your pick of the lot.

Regard your prey. Pick a jogger, any jogger, and let him or her gain some distance on you. A few dozen yards, perhaps. Now, walk after your target.

Keep your eye on the target, but let it gain ground on you. This isn’t a race, remember. It’s a battle of wits, of picking and choosing your spots.

When your target is a few hundred yards ahead, start to jog. Don’t let it range too far ahead, but don’t over exert yourself. Kiss the ground with a soft stride, making as little noise as possible. If you’re not barefoot, run like you are. You wouldn’t want to tire early and come home empty-handed; you can only subsist on foraged bitter nuts for so long.

Keep that pace for a couple minutes. Now speed up a bit. If you begin to gain ground, stop before you catch up completely.

Now sprint! Sprint for thirty seconds, and really push it – you might even be licking at their heels, but do not pass your prey. You’re not ready to finish just yet.

Stop. Let them continue on. Once they’ve turned a corner, passed behind a bend, or otherwise disappeared from sight, continue on. Jog, but jog in fractals. Start, stop, and run in spurts. For this portion, you aren’t breaking up the hunt into jog/sprint/walk sections; you’re melding them all together on the fly. Sprint for two seconds, stop for three, then jog for ten. Leap over branches, vault over bushes. You can even drop to all fours and crawl along the trail for a bit. Get creative.

(By now, it’s obvious that you’re a bit of a nut. You’re going to look a little strange. Are you okay with that? You should be used to it by now.)

Once you catch sight of your target, catch up by any and all means. Sprint if you have to. Just pass them up (no actual hunting, of course) and take a breather. You’ll probably need it. Flop down on the ground, stretch out, because you deserve it. Keep your wits about you, though, for there’s more prey afoot.

Even as you rest up, start the process of selecting your next target. After all, it’s open season and your tribe is hungry.

If there are multiple joggers zigzagging all over the place in all directions, you might try switching to a new target every time a new one passes in the other direction. Follow one for a couple minutes, then switch to another going the opposite way. Sprint after that one, then jog/crawl back in the other direction. How close can you get and for how many times without any of them knowing you’re there? The possibilities are endless.

Why the mind games?

The success of a workout. Whether you actually motivate yourself enough to begin and complete it, your performance throughout, and your intensity hinges largely on your state of mind. Persistence hunting in the park (yeah, I know, I thought about calling it “stalking” in the park, but somehow that sounded wrong) is a fantastic way to visualize and compel you to workout without “working out.” You’re in the moment, but that moment doesn’t occur on a treadmill while zoning out to the TV; you stay engaged in the act of movement itself. You’re aware of your muscles contracting and extending. You feel each footfall, every tiny pebble, every expansion of your lungs. You can’t ignore your physicality, nor should you want to, because we are physical creatures whose physicality must be nurtured and stimulated for us to be whole and healthy.

Give persistence hunting a try and report back with your experience. Grok on!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Love the concept, Mark.

    How about actual hunting? That would be so proto-paleo.. you can get hunting licenses in most states for small game, year ’round in some cases.

    Get a compound bow & start practicin’. Or even an inexpensive “sling-bow.” Google slingbow & Dave Canturbury. So then your workout jibes very well with your meal plan…and you’re that much more prepared if SHTF.

    BTW, one more unneeded comment on Russell’s original incendiary post on the tired old phrase that all men are rapists:

    “When all you have left is a dry, dusty muff, the whole world looks like an unwelcome phallus.” -CR

    LukeOZ wrote on July 19th, 2010
    • LukeOZ: do you hate women or does it just seem that way?

      shannon wrote on July 19th, 2010
  2. Come on – give it a rest. Why does everything have to be “politically correct”?
    We do this ALL THE TIME. It’s a version of the “Foxes and Hounds”, and is carried on world-wide under the name “Hash House Harriers”.
    We don’t normally “chase the fox”, rather follow it’s trail. Occasionally, we catch sight of the bugger as he/she/they move across the countryside (actual or through city streets)laying a trail and giving a great workout, plus engendering a feeling of primitive friendship.
    (We’re also a “Drinking Club with a Running Problem” (normally beer), and we’re a little raunchy (but so were our hunter-gatherer ancestors).
    It CAN BE done, safely, but like our fore-bearers, in a group.
    Grok On

    Dr. Rod McDonald wrote on July 19th, 2010
  3. Shannon –

    I’m amazed at the length women go to to convince themselves that men think they are better than them :)

    Seriously though, I know few guys who ACTUALLY think men are “better” than women (whatever that means).. I actually don’t think I know any. If you are talking physical strength, then well, men ARE on the aggregate stronger. That really isn’t a big deal. Most girls I know would be outmatched by almost every guy I know in a fight, and THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. No one said being stronger makes you “better” than someone else. Who honestly believes THAT? If that were the case then Arnold should be everyone’s life coach! That would be very entertaining to say the least..

    Vince wrote on July 20th, 2010
    • I suspect that men are secretly afraid they are NOT better than women.

      In truth I was just objecting to the idea that one can assume that any given woman will be weaker physically than you are, just because she’s a woman. She may actually be faster, in better shape, and a more trained fighter.

      Just sayin’.

      shannon wrote on July 20th, 2010
    • Hi Vince, I guess it depends on where you are and the circle of friends you have or work with. Where I am, most of the women I know can outmatch a guy in a fight even though the men are twice their size and apparently ‘stronger’. But then I am surrounded by people who do martial arts. I think that for women it depends on who they are and what they want to do with their lives, and what they believe. If a woman chooses to believe that she is weaker than a male and does nothing to change that, then she will most likely be weaker. I have also seen the situation you describe. Many people are happy that way. And yes there is more to life that just beating someone in a fight. Where one is stronger physically, another may be stronger intellectually, no matter what sex you are.
      I agree with your first comment as well. I know women who think this way (my mother is one :)) and I also know men that think that women are better than them!
      People are all so different in so many ways. It makes the world an interesting place :)

      Angelina wrote on July 20th, 2010
  4. I don’t think that Grok had to deal with all of this political correctness and gender sensitivity – on both sides. I think some people on this blog need drink some fermented Grok-berries and just chill. :-)

    Bob Mass wrote on July 20th, 2010
    • Back in Grok’s day, according to some anthropologists, patriarchy was not as entrenched as it has been for the last 5,000 years.

      shannon wrote on July 20th, 2010
      • Wasn’t it? Was it? One can speculate more or less. The point is that they were much closer to the cusp between survival and death. Academic disagreements such as these were frivolous and unnecessary. Those with more power, speed, and stealth, did the hunting. If not, they starved and that tribe is no longer part of our modern gene pool.

        Bob Mass wrote on July 20th, 2010
    • “I don’t think that Grok had to deal with all of this political correctness and gender sensitivity”

      Thanks for the laugh! Will you pass me the Grok-berry grog, please?

      Anonymous wrote on July 29th, 2010
  5. Shannon, it just seems that way–the juxtaposition of two strange concepts–one, hunting (I meant stuff like deer, elk, game birds & squirrels), is a very masculine concept.
    Secondly, the rather humorous jab at Andrea Dworkin’s quote was meant as just that, satire. Maybe Dworkin was just joking when she said that all men are rapists, and the quote is in direct response to that.
    Me, I love women. I just don’t bow down to them like so many of them seem to think they want.
    Over many years, I have observed that what women think they way, what they say they want, and what they are biologically driven to want, are often three different things.
    I’m just sayin’..

    LukeOZ wrote on July 20th, 2010
    • What part of your post was a humorous jab at Andrea Dworkin? Did she really say that all men are rapists?

      I searched for that quote on the web and found the following site:
      http://www.snopes.com/quotes/mackinnon.asp

      The last part of your post, I take it, alludes to the fact that evolution has selected traits in human females that make them “want” to get pregnant on one level. But sometimes it’s not the best time, and on another level, she doesn’t want to get pregnant. Is that what you mean? No argument there, and I’m not sure how this observation relates to the rest of the discussion.

      shannon wrote on July 20th, 2010
  6. LukeOZ, You know that you are going to get in trouble for that comment. Way too honest – and potent – for most 21st Century post-Industrial readers. On the other hand, you are grappling with a question that has puzzled man from Grok’s time til now. It is an eternal question like the meaning of life or the infinity of the universe.

    Bob Mass wrote on July 20th, 2010
  7. JUST GO OUT TO EAT..
    AND BE THE HUNTER TRYING TO FIND WHATS ON THE MENU THAT FITS INTO THE PRIMAL DIET!!…LOLOL
    THATS PERSISTENCE HUNTING!!

    DAVE PARSONS wrote on July 20th, 2010
  8. Back on topic.. Just in case you all don’t know what is meant by a “persistence hunt”..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUpo_mA5RP8

    Doug wrote on July 21st, 2010
  9. Great. Another clueless privileged dude who walks through life in a bubble making light of what is a constant danger in many women’s lives. And he’s shocked – SHOCKED! – that people didn’t just automatically know he didn’t mean it “that way”. Great. Note to men dumb enough to take this wanker’s advice – don’t be surprised when it’s the cops that respond.

    Excellent wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  10. Just so we’re all clear, LukeOz – you pulled a bunch of sexist stereotypes out of your butt and close it up with the cowardly passive-aggressive “im just sayin'” which is ALWAYS shorthand for “I’m just totally full of shit”, and we’re supposed to be . . . what? Thankful? Grateful? Wake me when you’ve got something mildly relevant to reality to say.

    Shannon – you are totally right. This “hey it’s all in fun” bull is part and parcel for male gaslighting of female experience. Men are going to make themselves obsolete due to their terminal stupidity.

    Excellent wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  11. This is not cute, it’s not harmless – it is specifically threatening. If you think we don’t notice it, you’re completely wrong. You are encouraging the dehumanization of other human beings (I mean, seriously “It”?!?), encouraging stalking, and then you’re confused why people are objecting? Try jogging a mile in a woman’s shoes.

    I have had to change the parks in which I go for jogs twice now, specifically because of behavior like this from guys. It’s now happened at the third place, and I’m out of local parks to jog in.

    Thank you, Mr. Douchenozzle, for encouraging the behavior which has robbed me of the right to jog outside.

    GypsyLee wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  12. After more than 300 posts surely everyone has had a chance to say their bit. This was a light-hearted piece which has subsequently been followed up and clarified by Mark in another post.

    Please give us all a break and stop this global slanging match which is in danger of putting off would-be Grokkers. If you are that intent on continuing why not exchange email addresses and do it in private.

    Kelda wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  13. This is a phenomenally stupid idea. If you don’t understand that this kind of behavior would scare the crap out of a woman, and some men, then you do not have a freakin’ clue.

    I’m a guy, and it’s pretty easy for us to blithely cruise through life not worrying about our safety. But I had a friend who was raped while walking in the park, in broad daylight.

    Some dumbass commenter said “ah, yes, the all men are rapists phenomenon.” No, you idiot, not all men. But some men. And if some guy is following you down the trail acting weird, it’s much more likely that he’s one of those men.

    General rule of thumb: don’t follow women around. Ever. Even if you know you mean no harm, you have to be a total moron not to know that you are probably scaring them. And there’s a word for somebody who scares people on purpose:

    Asshole.

    dude wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  14. Primal play is fun and good. Involving strangers in your play without their consent is not. How hard is that to understand, folks?

    And when the unwilling partner is female, and the primal player is male, it’s more than unacceptable – it’s threatening, even if the man is only playing.

    Try this, if you doubt what the women on this thread have been telling you. Read this thread.

    Read it, honestly, and openly. Listen to what these women are saying.

    And ask yourself: Do I want to contribute to that, even unintentionally? Is my play so important that it’s no big deal if I contribute to women’s fear in the process?

    And, yeah, it’s not fair that men can’t innocently play at persistence hunting without taking these things into account. But, you know what? It’s not like it’s exactly fair that women have to live in a world like this either.

    Rana wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  15. What an incredibly horrible thing to do to someone. You comment about “40 feet away” shows how very clueless and lucky you are. That kind of behaviour would drive a lot of people to tears.

    Maybe you aren’t a “real” stalker or a rapist, but how the hell are we supposed to know that. Being stalked by a “fake” stalker who’s “just doing it for laughs” will have the same effect on us.

    We don’t think all men are evil rapists! BUT WE CAN’T TELL THE DIFFERENCE. And lets face it, if a guy exhibits stalking behaviour like you, then what exactly are we going to assume?

    Sorry to spoil your fun. It makes my heart bleed for you. Truely. I’d pass you a tissue, but unfortunately I’ve already given all my tissues away to the 1 in 4 women who experience sexual assaults! What a bunch of whingers they are, eh?

    Rachel wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  16. Downright creepy stuff!

    The Bogeyman wrote on October 13th, 2010
  17. I know this conversation is old by now, but I just came upon it and feel compelled to say to Brandon:

    Whether or not to report a rape is not as simple as it might seem on Law & Order SVU, where you know you’ll have a team of tireless [actors] doing everything under the sun to keep you safe and ‘catch the perp’.

    In real life, depending on one’s ethnicity/social class/profession/location, going to the police may only get you slapped with indifference and victim blaming. Or,

    depending on who your attacker is, it could put you and your whole family in a world of danger. Just getting one guy locked up isn’t gonna stop him from getting his homies to take revenge. And if he wasn’t a violent rapist before, he certainly might be after a few years in prison.

    So please, reconsider telling a woman she’s made a mistake by not reporting it. The real mistake is that he chose to rape her in the first place.

    BTW, I think this sounds like a fun game, but definitely choose your ‘targets’ carefully and consider other peoples’ feelings. It’s funny, I used to actually do something similar in high school on the cross country team. Choose a faster runner and make it my goal to outrun her, worked every time!

    Kelly wrote on November 23rd, 2010
  18. Haha, I’m a white lady living in Africa – often feared (or taken as a witch) for the mere shade of my skin. Now, if I started to hunt the poor locals during my morning runs in the beach, what would the outcome be..? I’ll let you know after having tried it out tomorrow!

    Lennon wrote on January 31st, 2011
  19. I suggest a modification that will lead to fewer assault or harrassment charges: chase animals. My town has a bumper crop of jackrabbits and they love hanging around parks. They are also pretty used to people because of this and won’t bolt until you’re within 10 feet. Once you get that close they’ll run just ahead of you in brief spurts and pause when you start to fall behind.

    Jasmine wrote on July 18th, 2011
  20. I’ve never been so disappointed in some of the comments on a forum, in a group I had come to like and respect. I’m profoundly horrified. Let me quote Gavin de Becker, who was mentioned earlier:

    “Whether or not men can relate to it or believe it or accept it, that is the way it [violence against women] is. Women, particularly in big cities, live with a constant wariness. Their lives are literally on the line in ways men just don’t experience. Ask some man you know, “When is the last time you were afraid that another person would harm you?” Many men cannot recall an incident within years. Ask a woman the same question and most will give you a recent example or say “Last night,” or “Today.”

    “Still women’s concerns about safety are frequently the subject of critical comments from the men in their lives. I have a message for women who feel forced to defend their safety concerns: tell Mister I-Know-Everything that he has nothing to contribute to the topic of your personal security. Tell him that your survival instinct is a gift from nature that knows a lot more about your safety than he does. And tell him that nature does not require his approval.”

    And I say: if you as a man cannot understand the threat of harm women live under from some men, who do not exactly go around wearing signs announcing “I am a rapist,” to the point that you are denying these threats to women’s safety even exist, **you are part of the problem.**

    Mayya wrote on July 18th, 2011
  21. And I will follow that up with THIS Gavin de Becker quote:

    “It is understandable that the perspectives of men and women on safety are so different–men and women live in different worlds…at core, men are afraid women will laugh at them, while at core, women are afraid men will kill them.”
    — Gavin de Becker (The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence)

    Now, having read most of this thread, this means that all men want to kill all women all of the time.

    Yes, I understand that I am a man. Yes I understand that all women therefor are afraid that I will kill them. Yes I know that the majority of violence is perpetrated by….and yes I know that the majority of rapists are….and yes I know that most of the world’s ills are caused by…and yes I know that I personally am a MAN.

    All men may want to kill all women all the time but -I- have never wanted to kill a woman, or rape a woman, or hurt a woman. And I think some of the men who have never though of harming a woman don’t want to be lumped in with those who would. I think THAT is a big part of this.

    But I do have this to say about Mark’s suggestion:

    This sounds like a fun time to be had. You are supposed to be the hunter, the predator. So HUNT! Pick your prey – and DON’T GET CAUGHT. I -am- a predator. And I will hunt who I will. Man, woman or child.

    Women will be harder to hunt. They already fear that a man might kill them, so they will be wary of me, a man, who might hunt them. Women are harder to hunt.

    Men are easier to hunt. They hum through life never having to worry about being the victim. So be it.

    Kids are curious but can be a challenge.

    But the rules are “DON’T GET CAUGHT!” If you get caught, noticed, or otherwise spotted, the game is up.

    OH…a quick rule bender. ‘Don’t get caught’ refers to the rest of the herd too! DON’T GET CAUGHT.

    If you are following that rule, then the hunt gets WAY harder. Try being invisible. If another member of the herd you are hunting looks at you–FREEZE. Don’t spook the herd!

    I am a predator. Get out there and hunt! I am a man, a hunter!

    Women, think what you want of men. I will never relate, I am a man. Protect yourselves. Fear what you will. You are a woman and entitled to think however you would like. I would like it said that there might be men out there who don’t want to hurt you. But I cannot convince you of this.

    Men–be smart. Outwit your prey! Don’t get caught! Have fun! Live the way you are going to live. Do what you are going to do!

    And ultimately remember: “Don’t be that guy…be a MAN!” I speak to the male condition because I am one. I have to let women do as they will because I am not one.

    I would only ask this: Women, please do not laugh…it is my worst fear.

    Have fun people. It is SO much better than the alternative….

    Scott ‘Big Daddy T’ Odirom

    Big Daddy T wrote on July 25th, 2011
  22. Fantastic blog! Great!

    vestax pdx wrote on February 13th, 2012
  23. I thought it would be fun persistent hunting my brother at the park a few years ago. However, I thought it would be more interesting to do so in a Ninja suit… NOT A GOOD IDEA.

    MattMurrayPRCF wrote on May 14th, 2012
  24. How about everyone just stops with the sexist comments.
    This is meant to be fun.
    Dont pick a lone runner.
    Dont pick a woman if youre worried shell think youre a rapist.
    Even better yet. How about men pick men, and women pick women.
    Dont do it at night. Or early in the morning.
    And if you think it might still worry someone, do it with friends.
    You dont just randomly do this to someone.
    If youre doing it to a stranger, make sure they wont whip out a gun and shoot you or pepper spray you. Maybe even go up to them and ask their permission.
    It. Is Meant. To. Be. Fun.
    Stop making it into a gender inequality argument. Yes some men rape women. But not all. Yes some, if not most, women would be worried if they caught you doing this. So dont do it to them then. Or even modify it so you arent crawling around. Just jog. Dont get noticably close. Dont act suspicous. Just see if you can follow them along a popular jogging trail for a bit without them turning and looking at you.
    If i saw someone doing this to me i would be a tad worried (and im a guy), but use common sense. Youre in a puplic place, with heaps of people with you. If you arent and you see this, be worried. If theres heaps of people around, keep an eye out but dont call the cops.
    You would also be able to see if theyre going to rape you when you see them. If they laugh and mutter damn, then youre probably safe. If they stare at you murderously and reach into their pocket for something, f*cking run you heart out.
    This is just a bit of fun, stop ruining it with your gender inequality arguments. Yes i know most women have it worse than most dudes.
    But please dont attribute rapist or murderer to men who are obviously not, or anyone who doesnt give you good reason. Turning and seeing someone running behind you in a public running area where there are people running all around you isnt reason to be scared. Be scared if youre along and theyre following you.

    Isaac wrote on February 15th, 2014

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