I run quite a bit (shocker). I run solo, with a group, with another group, with the hubs, and with my pups. I’m almost always training for some race or another, so I have a training schedule that I stick to. But this past weekend I took the three fur babies and Zack out for a run just for the hell of it. No worries about how far we’d go or how fast we’d do it. We just ran.
It certainly isn’t easy to run with three dogs. The first few tenths of a mile are all about freedom—sniffing, peeing, prancing. Then they settle down and fall in step with me for a mile or so. Give it another half mile and they get tired and start to lag. By the end of the run, they are a full leash length behind me, begging for mercy. But it always makes for an entertaining time.
And it got me thinking. Runners can learn a lot from their four- or three-legged running partners.
1. Every run is a good run – Running is a gift, yet we rarely treat it that way. We whine, procrastinate, second guess leaving the warmth of our bed to log some miles. Not so for pups. They hear the beep of my Garmin and go bonkers. They can go from being comatose in bed to waiting impatiently by the door in .2 seconds. No hesitation. They love every run—rain or shine. We need to bring that enthusiasm to every one of our runs.
2. Chase the geese – We usually run with a goal in mind—what route, pace, distance. Our lives are structured, and our runs reflect that. It’s good when you’re training, but sometimes you need to just let loose.
One of my favorite runs with the pups was in my parents’ neighborhood in Jersey. Their house backs up to a retention pond, and on that particular morning it was full of geese. A tug of the leash was all it took. The pups, Zack, and I ran full speed toward the pond and the geese, tails wagging and tongues flapping in the wind. It was a blast—for everyone but the geese.
3. Kill your watch – Ok, not literally like Sasha did to mine. Some runners are glued to their watches. They know the pace they have to run, and by God they will hit it. They may appear to have a tic at first glance, but that’s just them glancing at their watch every second.
Puppies don’t focus on pace. They run fast when they want, dial it back for longer distances, and walk when tired. Simple. Try it sometime, and see how free and happy you feel.
4. Run til you drop – They say that you should finish runs with a little left in the tank. Try telling that to Huskies. They will put their heart into every run (see #1), and the perfect run ends with “dead dogs”—collapsed puppies lying in a pool of their own slobber.
Every now and then, give your run 110% and fall onto your lawn feeling exhausted and accomplished.
5. Excuses are for pussy cats – Meet Archie, the three-legged heart wrapped in fur. Tell Archie that he’s disabled, and he will grab your sock and dash away happily, ears flopping with every hop. Archie may not be able to run far, but he sure as hell can run fast. And so what if he faceplants every now and then? The grass stains on his snout are endearing. Now, what was your excuse for skipping your run today?
For your viewing pleasure, here are some more puppy run pics: