While I would consider myself a runner, I am probably about as slow as they come. I prefer distance over shorter, faster runs so I’ve gotten really used to relaxing long runs at my own pace. Whenever someone asks if I want to run with them, I usually come up with some excuse as to why I can’t. The thought of running with another person and the pressure to keep up with them, even if they say, “Don’t worry, we’ll go at your pace,” is totally daunting to me.
When I went to take Charlie for a run the other day, Mark asked if he could come along. Now, running with Fosterdad is a big NO THANKS for me because he’s about as fast as a gazelle and his “Juliana pace” is usually still entirely too quick for me. But this night I let him come along, and we discovered a good system that allowed us both to exercise with Charlie without the pressure of running at each other’s pace: sprints!
Speed training is phenomenal exercise. A high intensity sprint workout can be more beneficial for you than a longer, slower run because of how hard you work in those short bursts. There are all sorts of physiological benefits to it that I won’t get into, but just know that running as fast as you can for short periods (anywhere from 30 seconds to a quarter mile depending on the type of workout you’re doing) does the body some serious good.
What Mark and I did was start with a short jogging warm up with Charlie, then one of us would take him, pick a spot in the distance, and take off sprinting towards that spot and back. Charlie loved it! He immediately sprung into that speedy gallop you see dogs doing when they’re happily bounding around. When Mark and Charlie would return, we would swap and I would take off running while Mark walked and rested, then we’d switch again – which is the way interval speed exercises work: sprint, rest, sprint, rest. Before we knew it, all three of us were exhausted and exercised – check and check!
There’s no doubt that running with your dog is both fun and beneficial for the two of you. Now maybe you have a new way to enjoy exercising with your dog – and a friend!
If you’re interested in making Charlie your forever running buddy, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out an application on the Jasmine’s House website.