Ginger Jogging is Back!!!

That’s right!  America’s favorite exercise craze since Prancercize is making a come back!  

What is ginger jogging, you ask?  Well it’s jogging… with a ginger!  What’s not to love?!

Unsure if you have the right equipment? Minimal equipment is required.  Generally you just need a ginger, and then whatever you wear to jog.  

For example, here you can see my Ginger Jogging supplies.  I have a ginger (the four-legged variety) and some shoes and bam! I’m ready to get on with my Ginger Jog.

Now, if you are short a ginger there is no reason to get discouraged.  Gingers can be found in almost any environment if you look hard enough.  Do you have a particularly frisky ginger cat? Good enough! Have a goldfish? Throw that bad boy in your camelpack and take him with you! Red Angus cow? A perfect jogging buddy! Human gingers also work particularly well as they are generally very friendly, just be sure to introduce yourself appropriately otherwise things can get wierd quickly. 

Pepper and I are going to be posting our Ginger Jogging updates as we go along, so feel free to share yours as well.  Happy Running!

Dog- Friendly Races

When Rupert was still alive I had grand plans that him and I would run some races together one day once he was older.  Unfortunately, Rupert isn’t going to get the chance to run a race with me, but Pepper has also taken an interest in running so I restarted my search for dog-friendly races.

Active.com has a really good section that allows you to search for dog-friendly races.  So far here is their list for races in 2014.  Unfortunately for me it looks like Pepper and I would need to do some traveling to get to a race, as none of them are anywhere close to New Orleans..  I’m particularly interested in the Dog Gone Cold 5K run/walk in Georgia.  It is co-hosted by Hopeful Hounds, Inc. and the American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue (ABTCR) which is the organization we used to adopt Pepper. It will be too soon for us to run it this year, but I think Pepper and I will make that our goal for next January.

Until then we’ll stick to our short training jogs that are just enough to get her used to running before we play on the levee in the fog.

Foggy Pepper

 

I know there are a lot of you that jog with your dogs, but have any of you ever done an official race with them?  If so, how was it?

My Dog is an Addict

I’ve come to realize that I’m terrible at splitting time between my two dogs.  Or at least I think I am.  I wrote last week about feeling guilty about leaving Oswald at home when I take Rupert running (catch up here if you missed it), so I think I’ve subconsciously given Oswald more “blog time” than I have to Rupert recently.  But don’t worry, Rupert is still very much around and he’s still taking me for runs almost every day.

He’s not quite a year old yet, so we aren’t running super long distances, but my vet told me that as long as he was dictating the pace and the distances that taking him for jogs was fine.  He also usually runs off leash so he really spends more time frolicking in the grass and swimming in various ditches than he does hard core pavement pounding.

So I thought, “Great!  A way to burn off a little energy and get some training in at the same time.”

I thought wrong.

I have created a monster in my sweet, little running buddy- I’ve created a running addict.

Most runners have a running friend that is obsessed with running.  Like really obsessed. The friend that won’t go for beers on Friday night because they need to log a casual 17 miles on Saturday morning, even when they aren’t training. Or the friend that runs 8 miles before they come to work at 8 am “just to get the day started”.  Don’t get me wrong, I wish I was a running addict.  Instead, I’m the person that goes for beers on Friday night and then bails on her long run the next day, but not Rupert.  Rupert is a fool for running.

I guess it makes sense that he likes to run based on his breeding.  As I wrote about it an earlier post, hounds are natural run dogs that were bred for trailing.  Running is in his genes.  And really, I glad am that Rupert is starting to find healthy ways to channel his energy, because otherwise he defaults to his second favorite hobby- destruction.

Rupert destruction

Thankfully he generally only destroys his own toys (which, according the photo above, have money inside of them?), but sometimes he moves on to other things.

rupert stick

Like chewing really, really big sticks that he insists on dragging home from the levee.

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Or destroying indestructible dogs beds.

So I’ve resigned myself to supporting this running habit he seems to have developed if it means the destruction habit gets put on the back burner.  And I suppose it keeps me in shape, and it is nice to have a coach that pushes me to keep pace with him.  Plus, he has a really nice way of telling me “good job” when we’re finished.

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So I’ll keep going for as long as I can keep up with him, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever be up for a casual 17 miles on Saturday morning.

Hounds like us, Baby we were born to run!

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Mid-run cool off swim

Rupert was apparently quite jealous that Oswald had his own blog section, so I relented and included a section for Rupert-themed blogs as well.  There will be many blogs about Rupert in general, mostly concerning training, but this particular section is dedicated to something both Rupert and I love- running.

Now, I feel as though I should preface this blog post by stating that you should check with your vet before beginning a running regimen with your dog, especially younger dogs.  It is generally recommended that young dogs do not partake in a specific running regimen with their owners, as they need to wait for their bones to fully develop and their growth plates to ossify.  Bones in larger breed dogs usually take longer to ossify, so it is usually good to wait until your dog is at least 1- 1 1/2 years old before you start a running program with them.

Based on (our best estimations of) Rupert’s breeding, he is a Black-and-Tan Coonhound or Beagle/Hound mix.  Both Coonhounds and Beagles were originally bred to run after various furry creatures that their owners were hunting, such as rabbits, foxes, coons, deer, etc.  These dogs are able to run for miles and miles while tracking an animal, so running is certainly in their genetics.  This running-based breeding can actually cause behavioral issues for them when they are in a family home environment and are not exercised enough (but that’s for another post).  These breeds can be great running partners for owners, if done properly.

Rupert is currently almost 6 months old, which most people would agree is too young to start a specific running program with him.  However, if given the freedom to run at his own pace, light runs can be used to burn some excess puppy energy and provide good training opportunities.  Until Rupert reaches full size, he won’t be accompanying be on runs more than about 1.5 miles, but until them I will take him on my shorter runs.  This is a typical run for him and I:

  • Walk to the levee (bike path by the Mississippi River) on leash.
  • Once we reach the levee, I make Rupert sit,  let him off leash, and make him wait for my command to continue on.
  • I carry his leash with me and tell him to “come” as I start at a light jog down the path.
  • Rupert is happy to trot along side me, but is also able to stop and sniff patches of grass or chase a bird or two as he sees fit.  This also allows him to vary his pace and have moments of stopping and sprinting which he naturally does when he plays/runs off leash anyway.
  • Once we reach the bridge, we stop, have a swim (him, not I), and then jog back the same way.

I consider these runs our training runs.  It is a great way to re-enforce the off-leash training that I have been doing with Rupert, but also get him accustomed to running with me. Many times during the run I will call him back to me, give him a treat, and then send him off again.  Other times, I will call him back to me and then just stop without warning, at which point he is also to stop and sit down.  This not only keeps him on his toes and focused on me while he’s having fun, but is also necessary for times when we encounter the occasional cyclist and I need to move him off to the side.  I do not consider this a stressful running regimen for him, as he runs at the pace he would normally run at when he is left off-leash and we are not covering a longer distance than our normal walks.  This length also gives us just enough time for a good training session, but then we finish before it gets redundant for him.

Once he is fully grown, I will take him on longer runs (luckily the levee path follows the river for miles!), but for now I/ we are enjoying our short training runs.   It’s a good training session that wears him out and gets me moving also.  I have begun training for a half marathon in October, but unfortunately most of my training runs will be far too long for Rupert.  However, I think by this time next year he will probably be my #1 training partner.

Do you run with your dog?  Have you ever completed a race with you dog?  I’d love to hear your stories and tips!