I’ve Created a Fit Four-Legged Beast (And a Super Reliable Running Buddy)
You know how we always say that there’s nothing like having a good workout buddy to keep you accountable? Well, while writing about my fitness endeavors here and being friends with the other FBGs does keep me in check, I have to give my recent 10K training credit to my pup Siena. Sure, she’s not a very good conversationalist—and she may lunge and try to trip me to catch a squirrel—but dammit if she isn’t committed, excited and always ready to run. And she’s been a godsend to my 10K training.
Back when I trained for the full marathon, I rarely ran with Siena. Since so much of my training was in the winter, I did my shorter weekday runs on the treadmill, and then, when my long runs rolled around on Saturday, it was just too far for her to join. Sometimes she and my husband would meet me for the last two miles of a long run so that I had company during those hard, final miles. (Seriously, how sweet is that?! Meant the world to me and always gave me something to look forward to.) But she wasn’t regularly training with me.
But now that my butt is all better and I’ve been adding more mileage—nothing longer than an hour of running though—to my weekly workout schedule, I’ve been taking Siena on almost all of my training runs. First, our runs started as a way to tire her out, as girlfriend gets serious energy this time of year when the temps drop and the critters are out (tip for the squirrels reading: bury those nuts in the front yard), and as a way to, obviously, keep her healthy. But then, week-by-week as we went from two to three to four miles, she kept up with me. No signs of soreness or being overly tired, I kept having her run with me. And last week, I’m happy to report that we did 4.5 easy miles together.
I’ll probably keep her at about that mileage—maybe five—as I don’t want to push her too much, and, you know, it’s kind of hard for a dog to actually say “Hey, maybe this is too much!” And because I’m pretty sure that if I asked her to run 10 miles with me, she would. She’s just that kind of workhorse, for better or worse on her longevity.
But here’s the rub. While I started running with her to wear her out a bit, the joke has fully been on me. If anything, I’ve made her a fit beast. She smiles more. Her coat seems shinier (is that possible from exercise?!). She naps harder, but she also is more ready to GO. And go, and go, and go. So I kind of created a monster—but a really happy one who won’t let me miss a run. I guess we both win.
Do you run with your pup? Have you seen your dog’s fitness increase along with yours? Pretty cool, isn’t it?! —Jenn