A year ago I’d made the resolution to never run alone.
If I was going to run, I would run with a shelter dog.
Worst thing I could have done.
My intentions were good! I figured if I was out there running, I may as well have a dog with me. Why deny the puppers, right?
Well…I am here to tell you, I did them no favors!
Sure, maybe the dogs that I actually did run benefited, but by month 6 I ended up being a crappy dog runner. And basically a crappy runner altogether.
At first though, I was on FIRE! Running several dogs a day, every day of the week, only resting on the weekends. And by resting I mean attending promotional events and building a non profit business. Yeah. Quite “restful”.
Here’s what happened:
Totally Wrecked Body
Also known as “Everything Hurts and Recovery is for People with Spare Time”
My body hurt every day. It took a half an hour in the morning before I could walk without wincing.
I suppose I wasn’t prepared for the dogs at the local pound. Sometimes these dogs don’t go outside for days on end. Literally pooping where they eat. (Imagine that, if you will. But don’t think on it too hard…it could cause you to lose sleep.)
When you run with very strong, very pent up dogs a few things happen.
They pull with tremendous force which is added punishment for your feet. Not only are you striking the ground with your body weight, but with the added force that the dog is applying to the leash.
They also pull with tremendous force in “surprise” directions. As in “Surprise knees! We are going to do a 90 degree turn mid-stride!” Those squirrels can’t go un-chased.
Doing this several times a day, every day becomes exhausting. It leaves no energy left for the strength training that every runner needs. I was handling stronger dogs, but getting weaker the more that I did it.
What I should have done is *truly* rested and slowed my roll. Two dogs a day, every other day would have been much more prudent!
Totally Compromised Motivation
Also known as “Give the Inner Couch Potato an Excuse, I Dare You”.
Did you know that we don’t take the dogs out if it’s under 20 degrees? My inner couch potato wasn’t really mad about that.
Did you know that we also don’t take dogs out if it’s over 85 degrees? Again, inner couch potato saw no problem with that.
And while we’re at it, do dogs like to go out in the rain? “Maybe not. Probably not. Definitely not.” whispers inner couch potato.
And dogs like to hike too, right?? I can’t expect the dogs to always want to run can I? I mean, sniffing dead things and other dog’s poop and peeing on stuff are all important activities too, right? (One guess as to how inner couch potato responded to that.)
Totally Facked Conditioning
Also known as “I’m Running Intervals for the Dog’s sake.”
In order to keep up with cardio conditioning, you need to at least maintain what your body has become accustomed to. Anything less and you lose that conditioning. Fast.
So now that I had decided that I was ONLY running with dogs, I just had to follow their lead. I made a RES-O-LU-TION for cryin out loud! So what if we stopped every 5 minutes to sniff or pee or dig?
And remember those puller dogs I talked about? Well, if you find just the right one who pulls just enough, shit…you don’t even need to run. Just move your legs enough to stay upright and you’re running without having to run.
Needless to say, this nearly 50 yr old woman who just a year ago could pull off a 10 miler and had a respectable 10 minute mile, now struggles with 4 miles at a 13 minute mile.
Also known as “I Want You to Run Dogs with Me so I’m Going to Stop Disparaging My Own Program.”
Running with dogs is not bad for you.
ONLY running with dogs IS bad for you.
So come and help me bust some canines out of dog jail. Just don’t do it every day. Twice a week tops. Well…3 times a week isn’t bad….or 4 if you’re in good shape. Ok, 5 days a week would work, just not on weekends. Unless there’s a race then you gotta take a dog. So every day except for Sunday. (Don’t do that…that’s the inner she-devil…ignore her.)