Running with Friends & Dogs

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 peacelovefoster@gmail.com or fill out an application on the Jasmine’s House website.


Running With Dogs

I’ve really gotten into running in the last four or so years, and have always dreamed of having a canine partner. Unfortunately, none of the dogs I’ve ever owned, sitted, or fostered have ever really been runners! Barley was too old by the time I picked it up, Zabora literally could not run in a straight line, and Baxter had his own agenda when it came to our exercise speeds. I would get us all geared up only to decide a quarter mile into our route that the effort I was putting into convincing each dog they wanted to run with me was far more than the actual run itself, and we would both give up and walk home. It was fine – each time it ended up giving me a good laugh and some quality time with my pooch.

This past weekend I ran the DC Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon. I love running these races in big cities because so many spectators bring their dogs out to watch. You’d be surprised how counting the pitties along the route can easily make the 13.1 miles go by quick! Or guessing the breed break down of the mutts I passed, or ooh-ing and aww-ing at the puppies. It adds another great element to the run for us dog lovers.

The best part came from a woman I was running behind for some of the route. She gave her dogs to her friends who came to watch the race. At every checkpoint, there were her dogs so excited to see her! She would run up, let them jump all over her in full blown “I can’t believe it’s really you, you’ve been gone for so long!” mode, then keep going on her way. Can you think of better motivation than being greeted by your favorite slobbery kissing, paw bouncing, tail wagging pups when you’re exhausted and trying to push through those last miles? It helps seeing my family, but I can only imagine how happy it would make me to see the smiling faces of my dogs along the route.

I’m really hoping one of my next fosters will be a runner. Of course I will love them either way, but I can’t wait to share my long evening runs with a jogging partner – someone I won’t have to worry about going too fast or too slow with!