ChiRunning + Oliver the dog

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Yesterday morning I got an itch to go for a quick run, but also needed to get the dog exercised.

LIGHT BULB! Take the dog running with you! Well, he’s just now 6 mos old so I’ve been waiting until he gets a bit bigger. But I figured it couldn’t hurt and he certainly has plenty of energy to burn.

Oliver was looking at me very strangely when I did the Body Looseners, especially the Gumby arm-flinging one. He literally cocked his head sideways and watched me.

We went to Carrier Park, a loop he’s familiar with. I tied the leash around my waist and started off running very slowly, really trying to focus mostly on myself and my own running form, but having awareness around this 4-legged companion running alongside. [Note: Mei Ling, the Dreyer’s dog, is an amazing creature to watch when she’s running. While I am certain Oliver will be an excellent running companion for me, he’s no Mei-Ling, just like I’ll never be a Danny Dreyer!]

Since I had the leash around my waist, it brought extra attention to my core muscles, encouraging me to keep them engaged the whole time I was running. Since I was able to keep my arms moving, I focused on keeping them at 90 degrees with rearward momentum. I also thought about keeping my lower legs limp and loose. I didn’t want the dog’s presence or excitedness to transfer to tenseness in my legs.  The whole run felt really good. It was about a 1.5 mile run altogether with a little bit of walking on either end and, of course stretches. During a few low grade downhills I opened up my hips and sped up a bit. Oliver took it all in stride (pun intended) and switched from a canter to a gallop. He looked up at me as if to say, “Now we’re talkin’!”

My knee has been in really good shape lately. The shorter distances are suiting me well, and since I don’t have anything specific I am training for, it’s just about the process and experiment of running just for the sake of it.

For those of you with dogs, if they’re in good enough health to take running or walking, I highly encourage it. Danny and Mei go out running everyday together, and Katherine often takes Mei running and walking, too. She’s one of the happiest dogs I’ve ever met, and as you all know, the Dreyer’s are certainly happy and healthy.  What a model to follow!


Posted in Technique

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