The Road to Fitville 7.24: it’s the dog’s fault

Today my training seemed like it was finally paying off (my monthly stats to prove it are at the end of this post).

My uphill swing into the park was marked with bounding and confident steps, rather than the heavy shuffling of a month ago. I ran swiftly and happily through the bark-chipped trails with their winding inclines and steep downhills. I leapt over 6-inch curbs that just last week felt like mountains I had to scale with crampons. The only trouble?

My sluggish dog.

Cheryl Harris, D.V.M., gives tips for running with your dog. Among them is the common tip of getting a doctor’s approval before beginning an exercise program. And she’s not talking about your doctor, but rather the dog’s. Dr. Harris echoes many experts around the web when she suggests that like humans dogs need to build up their exercise abilities over time, starting with easy short workouts. Several web articles give good dog running tips, including bringing along plenty of water, keeping footpads off of hot pavement or concrete, training your dog to heal and obey, and keeping pre-run meals to a minimum.

Dr. Harris says signs that your dog needs to rest include a stiff gait or reluctance to run. I’ve seen the reluctance thing firsthand. I had to talk Ellie home through the last block of our 30 minute run this week.

My dog — an Australian Shepherd — is a sprinter at heart. She’s built for herding and moves in graceful rocket bursts. When we used to do dog agility training she was a pro. But anything over 20 minutes of jogging turns into a four-footed forced march. When I have a long run to do I leave her at home. But after what I’ve read today, I’m going to redefine what “long run” means. She’s going to come with me only on 25-minute blasts through the extensive off-leash area of our park, which is shady and allows her to move at her own pace.

Once she’s in shape nobody loves running more than Ellie does, and it may be that by winter I’m the one who’s reluctant. In that case? We can always move to New York. There’s a service there that will do the human part of the running for me.

In the meantime, I’m getting a bit lighter and a bit faster. It’s been a good month, with a few ups and downs. Here are my July stats:

  • July 24
  • Today’s weight: 162.5 lbs.
  • Pounds lost since June: 3.5!
  • Minutes it took to run my fastest mile this week: 11:22
  • Minutes shaved off my mile since June: 1:03!

Author by Larissa Brown