How Your Dog can be Your Best Running Partner

Dogs are great companions and can also be some of the best running partners. A dog’s natural instinct is to run, and if you have a dog chances are they are full of energy that is just waiting to be released.

Here are some tips and suggestions to turn your dog into an amazing running buddy.

Practice

Depending on your dog’s level of energy, some practicing may be in order. Just because the dog is high energy, it doesn’t mean he has a high level of endurance. If you have access to a large area that the dog can run in, take advantage. Go out and get him running whether it be after a ball or with you. Once you see signs of the dog slowing down, or getting tired, take a break and play later. Activities like this will make the dog stronger and get him used to running for longer periods of time.

Teach Leash Manners

If you have taught your dog how to walk on a leash this part will be much easier than if not. If your dog runs every which way while going for an afternoon walk, it becomes dangerous for both of you if you start running together without fixing this issue. Teaching your dog to walk on one side of you only helps to eliminate them tripping you up while running, and take it from me, it’s not fun to skid down the sidewalk on your shoulder because your dog jolted in front of you. If you have a dog who pulls ridiculously I recommend getting a leader. When he pulls you during the run, the leader will force his head to turn to the side. Dogs don’t like this and they learn very quickly that the pulling action is what is goofing them up. After using this for a few runs the dog usually gets the picture.

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Rosco wearing the leader

Teaching your dog key words will also help them understand what it is that you want from them. Telling them to “Stop” or “Wait” means the obvious and can be used when approaching a stop sign or street.

Running Off Leash

If your dog follows commands and is not animal or people aggressive running off leash can be an option. I definitely would not recommend doing so in area of high traffic whether it be cars or humans with other animals. Just because your dog listens to you, doesn’t mean that other dogs listen to their owners. I don’t run with my dog off leash simply for the fact that I know he won’t listen to me if approached by another person or animal. I have encountered numerous dogs that are just running around and harassing my dog and I while trying to get our run in and their owners think it’s funny. If your dog does the same thing, keep the leash on.

Hydration

Having adequate amounts of water for both you and your dog is important. If you plan on going on a long run take a hydration pack with you with water for the dog also. The time of day will also play a factor in how much water you should bring. Dogs are unable to sweat so they cool themselves off by panting. Take breaks if your dog is panting excessively and remember to get fluid into them when they need it. Dogs can’t tell us if they are feeling bad, but with practice you will be able to assess their condition.

Have Fun

Most importantly, have fun! This should be a great bonding experience for you and your dog. Go on adventures with you dog, and I guarantee you he won’t complain. Dog’s love to be with you and this will certainly make them feel special and like they are doing their “job.”

Rosco and I

Running with your dog provides you with a level of protection, a great way for both of you to get exercise, and an opportunity to have fun together.

Happy Running!!

I’m not really crazy…

Earlier this year I made a goal for myself that I was going to run my first ultramarathon by the time I turned thirty. You’re probably thinking two things.

  1. Who in their right mind would make a goal to run 31 or more miles willingly?
  2. You’re almost thirty..

To answer these questions.

  1. Maybe I’m not in my right mind, but who really is?
  2. No I’m not almost thirty. 🙂

For you to understand where this crazy idea came from I think its important to know the background information.

It all started in the beginning of 2011. I was a member of active.com advantage due to the registration of my son’s baseball season. I had been on the active.com website a handful of times before, perusing the different races as well as articles they had to offer for runners. I received an email one day that in 15 minutes they were going to give away a free race entry to the Carlsbad 5000 taking place on April 2nd. So I thought, what the heck, I’ll try it and I probably won’t get it. Nothing to lose, right? Fifteen minutes were up and I clicked that mouse as fast as I could. To my surprise I had won a free race entry to the race!

Let’s go back. In 2006 I started running. I began with the blocks around where I lived to lose extra baby weight and enjoy time to myself. I had a pair of running shoes and an iPod downloaded with a podcast running program narrated by Bas Rutten. After building confidence and ability to run 1 mile straight through, I moved on to 2, and then 3. After 3 miles I was pretty proud of myself. People that I knew didn’t do stuff like that and I stuck with it. After almost 3 1/2  years of running 2 or 3 miles at a time, and nothing more, I figured that was as far as I could go. My feet would hurt, and blister everyday at about this point, and I knew I couldn’t run further with daily problems like that. I made myself think that I was content with that distance and called it a day. The problem was that I needed new shoes. My shoes did not fit me the right way and I was just beating up my feet every time I ran. Once I finally found a pair of shoes that worked for me, my world of possibilities opened up.

Fast forward to 2011. When I got that free race entry to the Carlsbad 5000, I was still running but the consistency as well as the distances were not all the same. Some weeks I might have run 1 time, and others maybe 4 times. It wasn’t consistent and honestly I wasn’t quite sure how to prepare for a race. I ran when I had extra time. I figured I just had to keep working hard and do my best on race day.

The day of the race was hot and I was amazed at the amount of people there. My race strategy was to do my best and actually try to run faster than I did at home. I knew I could do well. I ran the entire course and finished strong in the end.  I certainly did not come anywhere close to winning the race, but got a nice shiny medal that was handed out to the first two hundred and fifty finishers. YEA ! And then I got two free beers at the beer garten 🙂 DOUBLE YEA!!

So whats so important about this story? Well that day something happened to me.  I was emotionally tied to this race without knowing it, and it makes sense. This was my very first race with other people. It was a huge event. And here I was just this girl wearing a green shirt and new balance shoes. I came in faster than I had than ever during my best runs at home. Was it the race jitters that did it to me? Was it the fact that I knew their was beer at the end? Was it because my family was watching? I don’t know what it was, but the feeling of accomplishment was so overwhelming I almost started crying as I crossed the line. I was proud of myself. I did something that doesn’t seem so big, but the fact that I did it all by myself was amazing.

Days following this race I couldn’t wait to do another and signed up to run America’s Finest City 2011. Not only did I feel proud of myself for running and finishing a race, but I also developed (or maybe it was there all along) a competitive side. In my training runs I pushed myself to beat my times, and I made time to run instead of relying on extra time. And next I was going to rock a half marathon!!

So how does this relate to my goal of running an ultra before I turn thirty? So after completing my first half marathon in August of that year, (2011) I had dreams of going big. Years previous I had no idea I was capable of running a half marathon. That was 10 miles longer than I ever thought I could do, but I finished 3 half marathons after than. This only proved to me that I am going to be what I push myself to be. Running an ultra is a huge far-fetched goal and I made it mine. I have never run a marathon and I’m making a jump from a half to a 50k. Who knows how I’m going to feel after I run a marathon. I may absolutely hate it and never do it again. But how am I going to get to my ultra without running that distance over again. I’m not. So I decided to skip the marathon and go straight for the ultra!! I would much rather spend my time and experience running that distance on trails than on roads anyway 🙂

On October 28th, 2012 I will be running in my first 50k at Lake Hodges Trail Fest. http://lakehodgestrailfest.com/. It is going to be phenomenal. And what’s great about it is that I am going to be completing my goal a whole year before its due date!! I’m not really crazy, and their are a ton of people out there in the running community who do stuff like this, and now I’m going to be one of them. 🙂

Happy Running!!

Something New

Running is a huge part of my life. I am not great at it, and do not have the most experience, but the memories and feelings I get out of it are all mine. This blog will serve as a platform where I can document my experiences through running. People run for many different reasons, whether it be to lose weight, cure boredom, running from something or someone, and because they simply love it. I run for the pleasure of knowing that I can. I run for health benefits as well as feeling connected to a better me.

Here I will include all things that interest, inspire, and encourage me and I hope you will join me on my travels.