Bringing back the running mojo

The summer months have been a bit up and down in the K9 Trail Time household. The events we’ve attended have been awesome, we’ve met some fantastic people and have (hopefully) encouraged a number of new people to look into the sports of canicross, bikejor and scootering. The weather however has left us trailing in the fitness stakes, with the temperatures in the 30s and the humidity being constantly at 70% and above, we have struggled to get out training.

One of our summer stand displays at Kent County Show

One of our summer stand displays at Kent County Show

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the warm weather and the long days filled with sunshine. But I don’t enjoy the sticky evenings with no respite from the warmth and dogs who can’t even go for a walk without suffering the discomfort of being too hot. Training was impossible for at least 2 whole weeks in July and has been limited to very early mornings throughout June, July and August. I complained like crazy last year when all we had was rain but I actually got far more pleasure from being able to bike, scoot and run in the mud than I have from trying to find a way to manage the dogs’ exercise in the excessive heat.

The dogs have needed lots of water breaks on any runs we have done

The dogs have needed lots of water breaks on any runs we have done

So with this warm weather I seemed to have lost my running mojo and throughout June and July I struggled to even get out for half an hour at a time, this wasn’t helped by a grass seed which caused one of my running companions to be out of action for nearly 6 weeks. I got into a bit of a rut and I wondered how I was going to find the motivation to get out and get running again when the temperatures cooled down. The answer came through the events I have been attending where I had the K9 Trail Time stand.

As I was chatting to people about canicross, bikejor and scootering, the thing that I recommended most often to people looking for inspiration to start, was to find people in the local area who already train in the disciplines and join them. I realised that because of the temperatures and the time of day I was having to go out, I had been training totally on my own for nearly two months. What I needed to do was get back out in a group and this was what I did.

Running on our own was not nearly as much fun as training in a group

Running on our own was not nearly as much fun as training in a group

By getting in touch with the local (and not so local) groups of canicrossers who were still going out training and by making the effort to get the dogs out with them, I started to feel more positive again about my own fitness. On more than one occasion I have had to walk my dogs, rather than run, due to the warmth but the effect of meeting up again with like minded people has inspired me in so many ways, it has been well worth the effort. I have even set up a website for my local area group runs http://www.cotswoldcanicross.co.uk which has made me think again about new routes and ways to encourage new people into the sports.

So my advice to anyone who has lost their motivation to run with their dog/s over the summer months, is to get back out there and find some canicrossers in your local area who can help give you that boost back into training that you need. If there isn’t a group of people locally who arrange canicross runs, why not ask your local running club if you can bring your dog on their runs, or even better, set up your own group for people to come and join you on your canicross runs. It certainly brought my running mojo back and has paved the way for an autumn of fun activity with my dogs and my canicrossing friends.

The attendees of one the recent Cotswold Canicross runs, we ran early on a Sunday to avoid the heat and had a great time! - Photo courtesy of Colin Roberts

The attendees of one the recent Cotswold Canicross runs, we ran early on a Sunday to avoid the heat and had a great time! – Photo courtesy of Colin Roberts

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2 comments on “Bringing back the running mojo

  1. manicivy says:

    If I lived in the UK I would have LOVED to have raided that gear tent of yours! Canicrossing does not seem so popular here in NYC yet, but I’m constantly telling people about it so that one day I can start a group!

  2. Richard Sexton says:

    Excellent advice, if I may say so. I run every week in a running group and there is a lady who brings her dog too; she isn’t consciously a cani-crosser – she does it so the dog gets some exercise while she gets hers. Almost all the other runners make a big fuss of the dog before and after the run (which is very well-behaved, I must say).

    I might just suggest though that you warn folks to give a wide berth to you and the dog if you are joining a runners group – they will be used to running on someone’s shoulder or at least close beside or behind them, and won’t expect the occasional OOH LOOK – A RABBIT sideways darting by an over-excited doggy! Just to be boring for a moment, there may be an insurance or personal liability issue for the organiser of the run, so best clear it with them first.

    As soon as I can acquire my intended dog (and it approaches a year old) I shall be joining in in earnest. Thanks for the continued blog 🙂

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