If you have any pets, particularly dogs, you probably know that most of them love to run (maybe even more than you or I do). If you are looking to start running with your furry friend, here are some tips on how to get started.
In terms of supplies you will need, it’s important to have a leash that is meant for running. Many companies, such as Chewy, sell hands free leashes with shock absorbers to help your runs go smoothly. If you have never used this type of leash before, start off using it on a normal walk, and work your way up to using it on your runs. It’s also a great idea to bring waste bags to clean up after your dog. Chances are they will make a few pit stops during your run, and it’s always good to be prepared. Websites such as Chewy.com have eco-friendly pet waste pick up bags as well as dispensers that go with them.
You should always ease your dog (and yourself) into a running program.
Starting at a light and easy pace is good for conditioning and being able to communicate with your dog. Being able to stop and start again during runs is important, especially if you run in high traffic or busy areas. A ½ mile to 1 mile run is a good start in terms of distance. Dogs appreciate routine, so making running a daily, or almost daily routine will work well for you and your pet. Starting out, feel free to give yourself and your pet one to two days of rest in between runs.
As you begin to ease into a routine, feel free to slowly increase the distance of your runs. Testing out different lengths of runs will help you decide how much you and your dog can handle. Just like in humans, it is important to know your dog’s limits on what they can do. With these tips you will be off to a great start em”bark”ing on a new journey with your dog. Happy trails!
Alyse Johnson, BS, ACSM CPT is a personal trainer with the University of Michigan. She also works with a variety of clients throughout Southeast Michigan promoting, creating, and maintaining healthy lifestyles.