DOG WALKING Competitor.com makes some points with dog lovers by posting an article, “Seven Ways My Dog Is a Better Runner Than Me”. Rachel Toor knows how much 4-legged buddies mean to runners and shares her thoughts about her partner, Helen. These observations are entertaining because they are well-known to those who have been accompanied by furry friends on runs.
Possibly many more people take WALKS, not runs, with their doggies and this is the preferred exercise for the older canine set. With walkers and less vigorous mature dogs and their ‘parents’ in mind I’m going to provide comments from that perspective. Let me be clear, my experience had been escorting a Newfoundland dog on her exercise rounds; this hip-swaying giant walked me, not the reverse.
Embracing Speed Work: we seemed to run more fartleks (“speed play” in Swedish) than regular sprint intervals. However, stopping dead still to fully explore an interesting scent or chasing down a startled squirrel were always more important than maintaining a consistent speed, and this form of run has yet to be named.
Accommodating Different Walk Partners: if more than one person was present on our walks there would be quite a bit of crisscrossing and diagonal maneuvering so that the exciting newcomer was kept in view at all time. My balance was regularly tested trying to trip over her.
Cross training enthusiasm: frequently this kind of workout was swapped out for a rest or active recovery day.
No Excuses, No Disappointments with Performance: ditto, except when it was very cold and unexpectedly there were big salt granules on the sidewalk that had not melted with the ice. No booties for this dog, so a bit of whining could be expected until a clear path around the nasty stuff was found.
Regular Stretching: much of this activity was performed while lying in a lateral position on a soft rug.
NEW COMMENT: Other Walker Pairs
Toor doesn’t comment on what happens in her runs with her dog Helen when another set of running partners comes along. Walkers with overly-enthusiastic dogs know to get to their ‘side’ of the path and wait to courteously allow the other pair to pass unmolested. Some sniffing is permitted but once leashes get tangled things tend to go downhill, so dog walkers work to prevent this complication. We were nearly always the pair that waited. Rory’s size could be intimidating and eagerness to make friends misinterpreted.
I miss not having my pooch to lead me on slow-paced workout walks. It was impossible to be a hard driving, not-stopping-to-smell-the-roses runner with her. I had sweet companionship and a large, soft and fluffy exercise partner, who loved snuffling her way through green dewy grass, crispy fallen leaves, and white crystalline snow. As we moved along she frequently looked back over her shoulder to be sure I was appreciating the sights, sounds, and textures of the morning or evening with her.
OUR WALKS did not help improve my physical performance as a runner, but trained me to mentally relax and savor time with my girlie-girl outdoors.
RUN AND WALK HAPPY!
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. In 1978 I began participating in 10K road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health and longevity.
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