The Perfect Training Partner
So… you need a running partner. Friends don’t have the same work schedule as you, can’t run as far or as fast you, or aren’t even living in the same city as you. You are tired of running countless miles by yourself and want to know that someone is having as much fun as you (okay, sometimes you just want to know someone is suffering as much).
Your perfect training partner will, once mileage is built up, run right beside you, won’t leave you in their dust, and are always ready to go when you are. They are awake when you are awake and they watch your every move just hoping that you are getting ready to have some fun with them.
I’m here to introduce you to your future perfect training partner. They also happen to be nicknamed “Man’s Best Friend”, a fitting name for a training buddy.
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), most dog breeds thrive with more time they spend outdoors. Dogs need exercise and suffer from high obesity rates. Exercise also helps dog’s digestive systems maintain healthy function as well as helping the animal with a good sleeping schedule. Running with your pet can also help it become more social and friendly.
How You Can Benefit
Dogs rely on consistency. They build up a schedule and they become pretty good time tellers. Just like your pet knows that you get home everyday at 5:00 P.M., and is waiting for you just to say ‘Hi’, a dog will wait by the door when it’s time to go run. That’s the motivation factor number one.
During the run, dogs run with such ease and vigor that it helps bring a fire to your step that isn’t there when you run alone. Dogs are good at keeping consistent paces and can push you to go further and faster. Those are factors two through five.
If you don’t have a dog, but would still like to try running with one, call your local animal shelter. There is an abundance of animals that need more exercise than what is provided and shelters almost always have “run-buddy” programs. Just make sure to follow the training tips below.
- Age: It is not recommended to run with a puppy younger than 7-months old.
- Build-up: Start with a low amount of mileage, just like you would a friend that is new to running. A mile to get started is recommended by www.running.competitor.com, and monitor heart rate and breathing after the run.
Breed: Dog breeds have different specialties when it comes to running. Some dogs are better at short and fast, while some dogs are better in the long, slow run. http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/breed-apart has a great list of common running partners and what they generally excel at.
- Grooming: Just like you need more clothing in the winter to go run, and less in the summer, so does your dog. Proper grooming can make running much more fun for your dog.
- Hydration: Carrying water for your dog, no matter how long the run, is always a great idea. There are collapsible nylon dog bowls that are perfect for running with, or you can teach your dog to drink out of a water bottle. Either way, dogs need water.
- Have Fun: Your pet will run as long as you do, whether or not they are exhausted. Make sure it is quality bonding time, and it is heavily suggested to not take your dog for a marathon-training long run (at least not the whole run, circling back and picking your dog up for a cooldown is a great idea!)
Following these tips can help you find your perfect training partner, and make running solo less… ruff.