Well it's that time of year again here in Sydney, the weather is cooling down and the emails are starting to pile in reminding me to sign up for the series of running events coming up in the Autumn and Winter.
This year I'm feeling a little less motivated as I won't have my training buddy to run along beside me. At his last vet check up we were told Wilbur's half marathon training days are over. Sadly, he's moving into his senior years and is developing arthritis in his back legs.
It made me realise how much I enjoyed having him by my side on a run, building our fitness up slowly together and sharing the lovely crisp mornings pounding the pavement with his little claws clicking along beside me. He just loved his long runs, even once running 20ks with my husband Jamie who was training for a full marathon. Pretty impressive for a little pug x with short legs!
Dogs do make great running partners but there are a few things you need to know about long distance training with your pet before you get started.
Not all dogs are cut out for long distance running - Dogs that are too old (like Wilbur) or too young might not be able to handle a long distance training program. The safest way to know for sure is to always get your vets approval before you start out. I have been told the best breeds to keep up with you on a long distance run are those who are bred for long periods of steady work such as border collies and working dogs. (Wilbur was an exception to this rule being a pug x but we got vet approval first and started him slowly to make sure he was ready).
Buy a really good pair of sneakers - Before you set out to train long distance make sure you invest in a really good pair of sneakers to avoid getting back/ankle injuries. I always get my running shoes fitted by a professional and try to buy a new pair each year just to make sure my body is supported when I run.
Dogs must be well trained on a leash - There is nothing more distracting and bad for your body than having a dog constantly crossing in front of you and jolting you in every direction when you are trying to focus on a run. Also make sure your leash is comfy to hold - You can't go past our DOOG neoprene leashes for this as they are soft to hold and so lightweight.
Never run with your dog when it's too hot - Start out on long distance runs really early in the morning on summer days or wait and train in the cooler months so your dog doesn't overheat. Try to carry a portable water bowl in your pocket to give your dog a drink on a break.
Don't forget your pick up bags - Because even when you are running you still have to pick up your poop! Try our DOOG Mini running belt to hold your bags compactly around your waist. They also carry your phone and a house key and hold it all neatly and tightly around your waist while you run.
So as I set out to get fit without my little running buddy by my side this year, I need to try and stay motivated to get out the door. Maybe a new playlist will do the trick, or maybe it's time to get new friend for Wilbur and a new training buddy for me? Watch this space...