Activities For Runners With Dogs

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Introduction

Whether you like to pace yourself and jog slowly across long distances or whether you prefer to sprint at top speed during circuit training, running is one of the most effective ways for people to get and stay in shape. Running is classified as an Aerobic exercise (or an exercise that requires oxygen, as the word "aero" is Greek for air) as well as a Cardio exercise (which include any exercises that put your heart to the test) making running the preeminent exercise for burning fat and losing weight. Fortunately for all of you dog owning runners out there, canines are naturally gifted runners who'll be delighted to join you during a workout! So here are a number different activities that I know will give you and your dog a run your for money.

Run in the Sand

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0 Votes
Any Day
Free
Normal
30 min
Items needed
Dog Leash
Hands Free Dog Leash
Water
Sand Socks
Activity description
Going out for a run in the sand at your local beach may not sound too intense (in fact, it might even sound pleasant or outright serene,) but once you run a few paces in the sand, you and your dog will realize just how physically taxing, challenging, and rewarding this activity is. You see, no matter how physically active we might all respectively be, we're all used to exercising on solid, even surfaces. It's our familiarity with exercising this way that makes running on sand so challenging; sand is naturally loose and uneven, causing our muscles to work in new ways throughout the duration of the run. Without a doubt, running on the sand is an excellent way for you and your dog to burn calories, but there's a bit of a learning curve to the whole process - one that I hope the following steps will make that much smoother.
Step
1
Get the right gear
As mentioned before, the most challenging aspect of running in the sand lies in the loose composition of the terrain. The pads on your dog's feet will help them naturally adapt to the unique texture and composition of sand. You, on the other hand, will definitely want to get a hold of a reliable pair of running shoes in order to safely and effectively complete this activity. Special types of shoes and even sandals are available for purchase, both on line and at your local retailer, so be sure to get the right gear for this activity before you and your dog set foot on the sand.
Step
2
Start slow
Whether you're a veteran runner whose participated in an innumerable amounts of marathons and one hundred meter dashes or if you're just now getting your feet wet in the world of cardiovascular running, you'll want to start slow when you try your hand at this activity for he first time. Trying to run to quickly in the sand before your body has had time to adapt can lead to physical injury for yourself and possibly even for your dog, so take things slow and complete your first few sessions by briskly walking along the sand with your dog. After enough time has passed, try jogging across the sand with your dog. Jogging on sand is incredibly effective for burning fat and putting your heart to work. Indeed, Jogging on sand will likely meet the health and fitness needs of most people and will help you and your dog prepare for the last step of this exercise.
Step
3
On your mark, get set...
After you and your dog have clocked in enough hours walking and jogging across sand, you two may finally be ready to attempt running across sandy terrain. You see, all of that time spent walking across the sand will have helped your calve muscles (the bottom-most muscles that make up your legs and which are situated right behind your shins) while the time you've spent running will have helped your quadriceps (your upper leg muscles nearest to your pelvis) develop as well. With all of that in mind, remember to pace your self during this exercise. Running on sand and sprinting on sand are two totally different exercises; always remember to run at a speed that's comfortable and healthy for both you and your dog in order for the both of you to have a fun and safe workout.
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Incline Jogging

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Any Day
Free
Normal
20 min
Items needed
Dog Leash
Hands Free Dog Leash
Water
Terrain Appropriate Apparel
Slanted Terrain
Activity description
Here's another activity that may seem simple enough at first but will provide runners both experienced and inexperienced with a fairly physically demanding, yet satisfying workout. Just as the name implies, Incline Jogging involves ascending up the breadth of a hill, sand dune, mountain, sloped street, or any other appropriately slanted patch of terrain at brisk speeds. For those of you who incorporated bleachers or flights of stairs into your workouts, incline jogging sessions can be completed using bleachers and stairs as well. This activity can help you and your dog's muscles strengthen in ways that normally might not have, so I'm eager to show you how to go for an Incline Jogging session safely and effectively.
Step
1
Size up the slope
First and foremost, you'll want to decide what type of terrain you'd like to go Incline Jogging with your dog on. This first step is particularly crucial because different types of terrain demand different types of clothing and possibly even a few accessories that are unique to each environment; anyone looking to go for an Incline Jog in the snow would do well to bring thick clothes for themselves and possibly for their dogs as well, if they don't naturally have a particularly thick coat. Conversely, anyone who's looking to go Incline Jogging on in a particularly verdant area, such as a mountain or a hilltop, will want to wear on shoes that will help them keep their grip when crossing over patches of dirt and grass.
Step
2
Learn your route
After you've settled on the type of terrain you'd like to go Incline Jogging on with your dog, you'll want to figure out how far you'd like to go jogging and how long it will take you and your dog to complete a session going up and coming back down a slope. You'll also want to figure out which types of insects and animals are native to the area surrounding your route and pack accordingly. And, as always, it never hurts to know where the nearest hospitals and sheriff stations are, should you or your dog need any assistance.
Step
3
Climb to the top
At last, you and your dog are ready to scale the mountainside, hilltop, sand dune, or street sidewalk of your choice. One of the big keys to success for this exercise is to remember to pace yourself throughout your route; going too slow or too fast can make this exercise more difficult than meant to be, potentially for yourself and for your dog, so aim to move at an even pace that also won't tire you out too quickly during this activity.
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Dog Friendly Marathon

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Any Day
Cheap
Hard
1 - 3 hrs
Items needed
Dog Leash
Hands Free Dog Leash
Running Shoes
Activity description
This final activity may seem pretty intimidating to anyone who has never participated in a marathon before, but it's a really fun activity that also doubles as a great way for you and your dog to meet and possibly even forge friendships with other members of the dog owning community. At any given moment there are always a number of marathons that are likely taking place in your place of residence or, at least, a number of marathons that being held very near to you and your dog. Furthermore, most of these marathons that are being held have very low entrance fees and a number of these marathons are often being held to raise awareness for one cause or another. Overall, this activity is truly a great way for you and your dog to engage in your community while also getting a great workout.
Step
1
Steel your mind
Marathons test the endurance of a runner more than anything else, but they also test one's willpower just as thoroughly. If you're worried about coming in last at a marathon, clear your mind of that source of doubt. All that matters in a marathon is that you and your dog complete the course, not how soon or how long it takes you two to do so. As important as it is to get your body ready for a marathon, steeling your mind and adopting a "never give in" attitude can do wonders for you and your dog's morale throughout the course of a marathon.
Step
2
Pace yourself
Before you and your dog set foot on the marathon route, you'll want to go out and practice in the meantime with your pet; most dogs are naturally very gifted, athletically speaking, so going out and jogging around the block with your dog is really more for the sake of helping your pet get used to encountering other people and animals. Furthermore, training for a marathon will help you learn how to pace yourself during a run; you'll learn how to prevent yourself from getting too tired to soon and how gain a "second wind" while on the move.
Step
3
Finish strong
After all of the training and practicing, the time for the marathon has finally arrived. Continue to pace yourself, keep your dog motivated, and be sure to have fun while the both of you are running or jogging through the course. Most dog friendly marathons will ask dog owning runners to head to the back of the group, reinforcing the idea that a marathon isn't about competing with others. Conversely, it's about finishing the course strong and being encouraged by, or even encouraging, other runners to make it to the end.
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More Fun Ideas...

Treadmill Training

If you run quite often you likely own or have at least used, a treadmill. Just as these machines are great tools for helping humans burn calories, dogs can also benefit greatly from spending some time on a treadmill. Be sure to start your dog off slow, then increase the speed or incline settings of the treadmill over time.

Flyball

Flyball is relatively new sport that encourages teams of dogs to run an obstacle course of sorts in order to retrieve a ball and then bring it to a designated goal post. It's a great way for dogs who have found themselves addicted to running to challenge both their bodies and their brains.

Conclusion

Running on the Sand, Incline Jogging, and participating in Dog Friendly Marathons are just few of the ways dog owning runners can bond with their pets while simultaneously getting in a great workout for the day. The exercises I've listed can be modified to be more intense or less intense based on your own personal needs or preferences; for instance, someone looking to intensify an Incline Jogging session might want to consider jogging up a flight of stairs or a set of stadium bleachers while someone looking for a more scaled down version of an Incline Jogging Session would simply jog up and down a surface that's less steep. From personal experience, I can attest to the effectiveness of these experiences first hand. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that we all complete 30 minutes of Cardio three days a week to stay in tip top shape, so consider trying any of the exercises listed above during your next workout.