Running Buddy

I have taken to running with Silas. I’m a terrible runner. Terrible. I’m slow. I have short legs. But I like that feeling of smug virtuousness that comes from running, so from time to time I take it up.

In order to fit it into my schedule this time around, it’s just easier to do it with Silas. I’m at the park anyway. Two to-do items off the list at once, etc.

Finding the right park was tricky. I’m very lucky to have so many choices, but Silas is particular. Lots of them are too close to the road. Some allow horses, not dogs, on the trails. One doesn’t allow running (it sounds crazy, but it’s a good fit for that park). One of them closes the trails when they’re anything less than bone dry.

We’ve found a couple of reasonable options, though. The park that closes the trails too often is fantastic. Close to us, with a wide, flat loop of trail that stays out of sight of the parking lot the entire time. There’s also some more adventurous terrain, when/if we’re up to it. When it’s damper out, one of the “too close to the road” trails is workable, as long as I’m willing to go back and forth on one section.

I’ve learned some interesting things running with the dog. Or, I should probably say, jogging very slowly while he trots at slightly over his regular walking pace.

One: if I’m not walking he’s pretty sure I’m playing. It takes him a minute or two to establish that we’re still moving forward, rather than jumping around in a circle like a crazy.

Two: dogs who walk three inches from your left leg are annoying. I mentioned a few days ago that I’ve never done heel work with Silas. He has absolutely zero training for it. It just hasn’t been, and honestly isn’t like to be, a priority. Sometimes when I’m running, though, my pace is fast enough that we just naturally fall in side-by-side. I’ll get that classic dog position/attitude. Right next to my leg, attention on my face. And I’m constantly worried that I’m going to step on him. If he were fully trained to it, it might be okay. Since I can’t trust him to stay there without randomly crossing in front, it just makes me nervous. I’m much happier when he gets a burst of speed and goes on ahead.

How about you–do you run with your dog/s? Do you have any pro-tips for a beginner?

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8 thoughts on “Running Buddy

  1. I sometimes run with Blueberry – but only in the dark and when there aren’t any people close by. I usually have her on the 20 foot leash and the leash attached to my belt loop. When we do run she either a) thinks I’m chasing her and it’s a game and she’ll take off like a rocket that I cannot possibly keep up with or b) run nicely ahead for a while and then just decide she prefers walking and drop way behind. She has bad hips so I don’t push it.

    I was not helpful, was I? Sorry – hopefully someone else has better advice.

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    1. My run is basically the pace that Silas would prefer to go in the park anyway, which is why I think it works as well as it does.

      My husband (who is fast, for a human) has done some off-leash running with Silas, and he’s observed a similar thing to what Blueberry does. He also says that Silas will get over-excited and start nipping at his shoes. I think he’s hoping that *I* will train Silas to run with me, and then Silas will generalize that to running with him.

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  2. There are two reasons I don’t attempt to run with Delilah 1) she’s fast than me and 2) I’m afraid she’ll trip me! LOL Good for you for even attempting this.

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  3. My knees are trashed so I’m not much of a runner but sometimes when we walk I add in some “running” (very slow pace) segments ala the Couchto5K plan…Maybe building up your running slowly with a program like thatwould work for you and Silas

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    1. We do about five minute sections now. Five minutes of running, two of walking. I’d like to build up, but Silas and I both like a break at that five minute mark.

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  4. Elli’s a sprinter. Like I am. We can’t do the whole jog at a natural pace for a long time, and that’s fine with me. So, we hike A LOT. Still, I’ve heard bungee leashes are godsends for jogging with dogs, attached to a waist belt thingy for some hands-free action.

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  5. It’s great that you’re running with Silas. I think dogs and humans are built to run.

    This might not be an issue with Silas but I used to have trouble with Agatha and Christie stopping to sniff on a run. I ended up doing the route twice; once for them to sniff and once for us to run.

    Honey’s usually okay with that as long as we have a sniffing warm up to start. At least we don’t have to repeat the route.

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