If one of your resolutions for 2016 was to be more active, we have just the thing for you. Along with staying healthy together, tandem running with your dog can be a fulfilling way to spend time together and grow closer. Harness the power within with the following tips for getting fit with your dog in the new year.
Make a Healthy Start
Make sure your dog is healthy enough to be running with you. It’s always a good idea to consult with your vet on this. You don’t want to be toting your dog along on runs if there is an underlying medical issue (certain breeds are not meant for this kind of physical exertion) or your dog is too old or too young.
Competitor.com says that you’ll want to ensure your dog is past the puppy stage, for instance. In large breeds, that can mean almost two years of age.
The most important consideration? Be visible. You and your buddy will be on the go, which means it’s important to be mindful of obstacles like cars and bikers. Also, the right tools will make your runs safer and easier. Check out this helpful guide to running goodies from Runners’ World. From booties and power bones (because, duh, power), to travel bowls, you’ll find what you need for staying hydrated and more.
A good starting place for running with your dog is simply walking. Getting down the basics of safe walking with a leash is important before trying more serious running. Once you’re confident about your walks together, you’re ready for action.
Increments are Key
Active suggests starting with a ten minute run and then adding 10 minutes weekly until you’ve attained your ideal distance and time goals. This will allow your dog the latitude to adapt to your pace gradually, which is the goal.
It may be tedious in the beginning, but once you and your dog hit your stride together, you’ll be as golden as a retriever.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Competitor.com notes that you should not feed your dog an hour before and after runs. This is because just like in humans, food may make your dog susceptible to things like gastric torsion and bloat. Additionally, be sure to consider the following:
- Try to pick shadier routes and run during cooler parts of the day
- Take water breaks while running to stay hydrated
- Maintain a diet high in calcium and protein to keep your pal going
- Start with a potty break to make sure your dog won’t need to relieve himself during the run
- Use a 4 – 6 foot leash
- Keep an eye on your dog’s paws (a little more on that here)
The Bottom Line
Be sure to give your dog days off. Runner’s World has a detailed regimen available here. Once you’ve established a good running foundation with your dog, you’ll both feel happier and healthier. Congratulations!
Top image via Flickr