When it comes to vigorous exercise, we don’t differ from our over energetic pooches as much as you may think - despite how unfit we feel we are. Everyone needs to stretch their muscles, warm up, warm down and gradually increase our strength and stamina over time. Even dogs don’t turn into Usain Bolt overnight.
A popular guideline amongst keen runners is the 10% rule – each week roughly increase the distance you run or the time you run for by 10%. This allows for gradual progress without “over doing it”. Some advise adding roughly 10 minutes a week to your running routine, but for you and your running mate this may prove too much or even too little so trial and error is key. Find what is best for you both and most importantly enjoy it!
Exercising with your dog can be huge fun and very beneficial for you both, physically and mentally, but it is best to be mindful of both of your limitations. Our dogs tend to push themselves too far so they don’t miss out on any fun which can end up doing more bad than good. Keep an eye out for signs such as lagging behind, tail dropping or louder panting – they are all signs to ease up, slow down and maybe even take a break.
Unfortunately, when it comes to running, injuries are all too familiar and easily missed. Just like us, our dogs may sustain injuries one day from strenuous exercise that may not surface until the following day. Watch for any change in your dog’s behaviour checking for lethargy from over exertion or even limping from some form of injury. Paws are often overlooked – always check for sores, and consider checking the pavement or ground with your hand to test the temperature is not too hot or too cold for them. Your dog is running barefoot after all! You could consider some dog boots to protect his paws if wished.
Unlike humans who burn carbohydrates when exercising dogs burn fat, lucky devils! Despite how much your dog shows those puppy eyes, it would be unwise to share your sports bar or sports drink with your dog. Although they will tell you how good it is for them, it can cause severe gastrointestinal problems.
Always wait at least an hour after they have eaten before exercise and don’t let them gulp down copious amounts of water before embarking, but always allow water breaks every 15 minutes or so whilst out and about. Our collapsible water bowl folds down to a neat pouch and can easily clip to your belt.
Running with your dog can be such an amazing experience for you both. Not only are you getting fitter and seeing improvements and progress but it will strengthen your bond and create so much fun for you both.
Just follow these tips and soon you’ll be running rings around Mo Farah is no time.