Channel your inner dog

For the past few weeks CM and I have been running 4 days a week. We're in the final week of a Couch to 5K type training plan (shhh…don't tell CM it's from Women's Health), so by Sunday we should be able to run 30 minutes at a time. It's been ages since I stuck to an exercise routine of any kind for this long, and I've surprised myself by how much I'm enjoying it.

In the past when I've spent any time running I've either done it on a treadmill while watching TV or outside while listening to some kind of upbeat iPod mix. My goal has always been to distract myself and to drown out the constant voice in my head telling me how easy it would be just to stop running. Not this time. CM and I run together, outside (there's an incredible path right around the corner from our house), without music. Aside from the occasional chitchat, we hear nothing but the soothing Nike+ updates every 5 minutes.

It's unexpectedly peaceful, actually. Turns out, running is easier for me without all those distractions. I feel much more in tune with my body and my breathing, and I find that my mind does some automatic problem-solving while I'm running.

Which is not to say that I'm finding it EASY, exactly. As of today, we're up to running 22 minutes without a break, and it's still definitely a challenge for me. Luckily, CM seems to always know exactly when I need a quick "Keep it up!" or "You're doing great!"—it's good to have my own personal cheerleader running next to me.

We're starting to get familiar with the neighborhood dog owners, who besides a few fellow joggers are generally the only other people out on the path at 7:30am. Some are simply walking their dogs, but we've seen several dogs running ahead of their jogging (and in one case rollerblading!) owners. Nobody in the world is as happy as a city-dwelling dog out for a run.

This morning during our warm-up walk, we saw one of these ecstatic running dogs, tongue out, ears flapping. "What we need to do," said CM, "is to channel our inner dog whenever we're feeling grumpy about being out here running."

So my new dog-inspired running mantra goes a little something like this:

I am so LUCKY to be RUNNING outside! I get to RUN today! RUNNING is my favorite thing! I love RUNNING! Look at me RUNNING!

This morning, whenever I felt my energy flagging, I thought of those dogs (or better yet, saw another one) and instantly felt better. Ask me again when I'm attempting longer distances, but for now, it's working. After our 22 minutes were up and we were cooling down with the walk home, CM turned to me and said, "Thank you for taking me on a run today."

I feel like we may have hit upon the meaning of life here. Channel your inner dog, people.

Photo via Pixdaus


  1. Hahahaa. Brilliant!

    I tried the Couch to 5K thing... and if I had had more free time (i wasn't working out in the mornings, but I might switch to that) I would've stuck with it. I was impressed at its ability to get me to run. I like that it doesn't want to know how fast you're running but just that you're not walking...

    Some day I'll get back to it...

    LOVE the idea... of channelling your inner dog... and as much as running with a partner is a good idea, I definitely need the music distraction to get me to not watch the 'stopwatch' in my hand...

  2. Yay! I'm so happy to hear that y'all are running, and enjoying it! I did Couch to 5K, and loved how it gave me a plan to follow while empowering me to feel confident and successful each day. Although I do remember, around the time I got to 20-minute intervals, thinking: "how do people run for an hour or more without stopping???" I also run much better without music. It's my meditation, my time to think or not think. Once you've finished the program, you might consider signing up for a race. Crossing a finish line is a special rush, and I didn't realize how much I loved it until I'd done it. Now I'm training for a half marathon. I love to run! I'm pretty sure I resembled one of those dogs when I ran eight miles on New Year's Day. :)

  3. Ava - I have JUST signed up for a race, a 5K in 2 weeks! I'm very excited (well, excited AND scared)! After your Couch to 5K, did you follow another training program? I'm wondering what the next step is, because I love the structure of a program.

  4. good for you! i hate running. i will never be a runner and that's fine with me. :) :)

    1. You don't need to run—you have rockin' dance moves instead!! :)

  5. Uh, so I just remembered that I commented on this, and checked back to see if you'd replied... So an answer! I did not follow any sort of program after I finished C25K. I just started running three miles regularly, and then once a week I'd add on another .5 or 1 mile. Once that felt easier, I'd tack another mile on. Basically, I'd do whatever my schedule and body felt like doing. I hurt my knee at one point, so I took it very easy for a while. I found that after I'd built up the stamina to run 3, adding on miles was pretty easy. The hardest miles in a long run are miles 1 and 3 -- sometimes 5 too, and then the rest pretty much just feel like you're a machine. ;) There are some "bridge to 10K" apps out there, and there are training plans to take you from 5K to 10K and beyond if you want some structure. I respond well to having a race as a goal (I signed up for a 5-mile race at Thanksgiving, and then a half-marathon in March). Good luck with your race! I hope you'll write about it here! xoxo

    1. You're an inspiration! Woohoo for your half-marathon!


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