The other week I took Sinner for a run while my daughter was attending Guides. It was a fine cool evening and on a nice hilly course the dog and I were just rolling along. We ended up running for an hour and a half, covering seventeen kilometres.
I must at this point emphasise that Sinner is four and has been running for three years with me. I started him running with a very similar program to the Pooch To 5 k. Thankfully, he’s never been unfit or obese so it has never been difficult to take him out for a slightly longer run than he’s used to. But that’s the key: The longer run has only ever been slightly longer than we’ve done previously. And where I’ve raised one criteria for the run, I’ve relaxed others.
- * If I’m taking him further, we’ll go slower.
- * We’ll break up the run with a walk and a drink / swim / relax.
- * I pay even more attention to how he’s doing.
- * There might be reduced running in the days before or after a big run.
- * I never increase the distance beyond his current training too much.
This might continue a couple of times, and then one by one I raise the other criteria back to the normal levels. So after we had done a seven km slow run with a walk break in an easy week, it was done without the walk break. Then it was done in a mostly regular week of running. Then it was done continuously. Finally it was done at our regular pace. So we had upgraded one run a week to a seven km run in our regular repertoire of five km runs.
This approach has kept both of our dogs enthusiastic and injury free and keeps it pleasant for them and us.
Thanks to Tim Miller from Dreamcoat Photography for the image.