The majority of dogs can run 20-40 miles a week, and many owners are eager to train them to go running with them. A dog is a great work-out buddy, and as long as you build them up gradually to get them used to running the distance you usually go, there’s no reason your best friend shouldn’t also be your jogging buddy. If you are planning on going running with your dog, here are a few things to bear in mind about your kit.
Make sure hands-free running is comfortable
It is said that dog owners make better runners, so partnering up with your dog could be an excellent decision for your running goals. If you’re a seasoned runner, you probably already have your running clothes sorted. However, if you and your dog are to have the best experience, you probably want to go for a hands-free approach, and this means a running belt with a leash. If you’re used to an armband for carrying your phone, this means you’ll want to check that your running clothes are comfortable with the extra weight around your middle - particularly if your dog is liable to pull on the leash.
Soft joggers that mimic loungewear are a stylish and comfortable choice, and you’re unlikely to feel any discomfort from your belt. Most brands now make them in a diverse range of soft fabrics, including cotton and wool-based mixes, which will ensure you’re comfortable. As for the belt, look for something with pockets for your keys, phone and poop bags, and make sure it’s sturdy enough for the size and strength of your dog. Choose a flexible leash that will allow your dog to change speeds without affecting your pace.
Visibility is vital for both of you
Being visible in low light is important for any runner, but it’s especially important if you have a dog with you: any distraction could send your dog running towards the road, and it’s vital that drivers can see them. Make sure you have reflectors on your running shoes and belt, and consider wearing reflective armbands or a reflective jacket if you favor early morning or late evening runs. Your dog should wear a reflective harness, or a light-up harness or collar. Even on a quiet, car-free route, this is a helpful tool for you, allowing you to keep a close eye on them if they’re running ahead of you.
The right shoes for feet and paws
If you’re a new runner, a gait analysis is a good idea before choosing your running shoes. This allows you to understand your pronation patterns, which makes it easier to choose a shoe that you’re sure will protect your feet. Experts recommend replacing your shoes around every 500 to 750km — that’s about every six months if you run 20 miles a week.
Dog shoes aren’t essential for short, infrequent runs, but they’re a good idea if you’re going to run regularly with your dog in unpredictable environments. You can buy all-terrain dog shoes that are designed to prevent slips and protect your dog’s paws when they’re hitting the pavement hard. They’re also good in the summer, when concrete can absorb enough heat to burn your dog’s paws. If your dog isn’t into the idea of shoes, try applying a paw protection wax in hot weather.
Taking an enthusiastic but well-trained dog running with you is a great way to take your running to the next level. Before you start training your dog to handle the runner’s life, make sure your clothes are well-suited to your new regime, and be sure to kit your dog out too. Once you’re well equipped, you’re sure to have some great runs with your best friend.