During the COVID-19 pandemic many of you decided to start running with your dog, either with dog pulling or running off leash. It is the perfect way to keep your dog in good shape outside of agility trainings and also great for your own health. Being more active will help you & your dog stay in a good shape! Why running? 1. Speed You might never get as fast as Usain Bolt, however you can definitely get faster than you are today! As a nice bonus, you will be in a good shape and might lose a few pounds. 2. Prevention of injury When you are in a good shape, you will not be desperately trying to catch your breath after each run, and you won’t need to use the colourful tapes. Of course, they might be useful. However, look around you at a competition: everyone is wearing a colourful tape and if you’re not, you’re not „in“. Why is everyone wearing it? Usually the reason is a pulled muscle, knee pain or similar „agility-related“ injuries. Dogs usually get luxurious care – proper warm-up before running, cool-down & stretching after. And let’s be honest, how many dog handlers do the same for themselves? Running 200 m at high intensity without proper preparation is very stressful for a body not used to regular training & performance. How to run? If you train agility 3-times a week, it is not enough, if you want to improve your shape & endurance. Running at training is as intense as running at a competition. No sprinter or marathon runner is running 5-times a week the same distance at similar intensity. Your shape will not improve, if you train the same, but more often. Do you know how to run? Sure, everybody can run! That might be true, but not everyone runs correctly. A good running technique enables you to run at your maximum speed and is beneficial for your health. Have a plan! Before you go shopping for running shoes, dog harness, etc., answer these questions: what do you expect from running? How much time can you invest in training? Ideally, you should be training at least 3-times a week, however if you only have time for 2 trainings per week, it is still better than nothing. In the next step, you need a plan how to achieve your goal. Typical mistake is to run 3-times a week the same distance at high intensity and wait for the day to come when you will be able to run it significantly faster. First of all, you need to train basic endurance and shape. Only then start improving your speed. Ready to train? Together with Marcela we have created several „training packages“ which are available in our online store. We have put these together based on your most common questions and goals when shopping for running equipment for your dog What is included in the training package? Each package is a 4-week training plan. At the beginning, you need to complete the initial test. Based on this, Marcela will evaluate your current fitness level. You will not receive some random training plan for x weeks in advance, but an online weekly training plan personalised for your goals and level. After each training you need to record time, distance, feelings during training, etc. Marcela evaluates your progress and you will always get feedback at the end of the week together with new training plan for the upcoming week. You will get access to instruction videos about warm-up, stretching, running technique, etc. The only thing you need is motivation and patience. You are not buying a magic pill which suddenly makes you run at light speed. In order to achieve your goals, you need to train hard! Types of „training packages“ Personal training plan for dog handlers in Agility focused on improving speed – for all, who want to run the course faster & improve their running technique – you train without dog; however, they can still be your running buddy 🙂 Personal training plan for Canicross – for all, who want to improve performance not only of themselves, but also of the dog – suitable for complete beginners as well as advanced athletes – you are training with your dog pulling as well as without your dog Personal training plan for Bike/Scooterjöring – for all, who prefer to train with bike or dog scooter – for all, who want to improve performance not only of themselves, but also of the dog Did you find the right plan for you? While waiting for your new training plan to arrive to your inbox, do not forget to check out our blog posts on warm-up or cool down for dog handlers. Motivation gets you started, discipline keeps you going! Have fun! Martina About Marcela Marcela is fitness and running couch. Together with her teammates & Amidala she won the HardDogRace CZ 2020. In 2017 she became the FMBB World Champion in canicross and in 2018 in bikejöring as well. In the past she was part of Czech national agility team at the European Open, IMCA, FMBB. During her athletic career she won several races, e.g. Slovak National Champion for 800 m run.