by Jim Freim, Ph.D.
Copyright 2015 All rights reserved
Early in the morning, you’re looking for your running shirt. Fido, Rex, or Bowser, who was lounging in the corner, now has both eyes open. You find your shirt and start rummaging for running shoes. Fido raises his head. You find the shoes under the bed. Fido is now up and following you around the house.
You sit to lace the shoes. Fido’s tail is wagging hard.
“We’re going for a run,” you say.
The magic words Fido loves to hear. ‘Oh boy. Oh boy.’ he thinks.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’re going,” you say.
‘Hurry up,’ he yips.
You admire his enthusiasm and wish you had the same feeling towards your daily penance, a run.
As you grab your windbreaker off the hall tree, Fido is doing circles and jumping.
Yet, Fido, is clueless.
Where you are going? Trail or road?
How long will you run? 2 or 20 miles?
How fast will you run? Walk 15 minutes per mile (mpm) or run 8 mpm.?
Fido doesn’t care. Happy. Excited. Ready to go. Eager to run.
By the time you get your glasses and hat, he’s barking, ‘Let’s go. Let’s go. Let’s go.’
When you grab the leash, he’s so excited you can barely get the leash on him.
Contrast Fido’s attitude to yours. Are you are running because its something you feel you have to do? Part of your dreaded weight loss program? You just want to get it over. Too many things to do. An early meeting with the boss. Kids to take to soccer. Groceries to get. So you shorten your run from 5 to 3 miles. ‘I’ll go longer tomorrow.’
How many times have you felt like Fido before a run? Once? Ever? Never?
How many times have you left your watch at home?
How many times have you run how you felt?
When my dogs are running with me, they are off leash. They have passed a special test and have a yellow tag that indicates they are excellent under voice command, so they are permitted to run free.
They race ahead (like fartlek training). They slow up to allow the old man to catch up to them (like recovery). They chase rabbits (like intervals of various distances). (Don’t worry – they are inept hunters and have never caught anything. The ones that Elvis sang about!) On longer runs after they have burned off excess energy, they stay beside me and match my pace (like LSD Long Slow Distance). If I slow, they slow. If I speed up, they oblige. I don’t know their limits; I get tired before they do.
I recommend to all trainees ‘Run Like A Dog.’ Once a week. Once a month. LEAVE YOUR WATCH AT HOME. Enjoy the day. Don’t worry about the pace. Run how you feel that day. Feeling poopy? Run a little slower. Feeling on top of the world? Pick up the pace. Stop to smell the roses. Admire the scenery. Of course, living in Colorado may be an advantage! 🙂
Take a camera or cell phone. Run, jog, slog, walk between pics.
Explore new places. Go to a that new trail you’ve dying to try.
Pick a new route.
Reverse on existing route.
Take a pack and hike.
No goals, no time to meet, no distance to achieve.
No worries, No cares.
Running / Walking should be fun. Make it fun.
Suppose Fido got to choose and you were on the leash. Where would you go? How fast would you run? What distance would you cover? You don’t know. You just go.
So the next time Fido starts lacing up his shoes, look excited, do a dance, and cheer. You don’t have to wag your tail unless you feel the urge!!
Enjoy, enjoy, and enjoy