Wednesday, July 1, 2015

My four-legged running buddy

A friend asked me yesterday if I run with my dogs. The answer is yes!

I don't run with my St. Bernard because Saints don't have good endurance and it's not great for their joints and bones, both of which can be problematic for the breed.  Plus he outweighs me and that scares me quite a bit.

I do run with Axe, our Border Sammy (border collie/samoyed) though.  Border collies have a lot of energy and Samoyeds are sled dogs, so this combination makes for a great running partner.  I started running with Axe just before his first birthday and he has taken to it well.  

I try to keep a few things in mind when Axe joins me for a run to keep him safe.  We always try to run where there is water for him to drink.  We are lucky to have plenty of parks with water faucets nearby as well as the river and town irrigation ditches.  Our favorite place to run is a little trail just outside of town where he has plenty of spots to not only drink a bit of water, but also hop in a bit to cool down.

I also try not to take Axe too far.  He has great endurance, but I don't want to overdo it.  The longest run we have done together is 14 miles, though I try to keep him under 10, and even less than that in the summer when it's warmer.  He definitely prefers to run when it's cold and snowy out.  He doesn't join me for tempo runs or speed work (I tried that once and thought I was going to have to carry him home).  I think a nice, relaxing pace is better for him.  

Here are a few other tips I keep in mind when running with Axe:

- carry poop bags - and use them
- in the summer, go during the coolest part of the day so he doesn't overheat or burn his foot pads
- always use a leash
- if I won't be passing a park or the river, bring water
- let him recover before feeding him
- enjoy!  Axe loves this time together, and so do I 

Today Axe and I did a nice, easy run after yesterday's speed session.

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