Dogs, like humans, go through a number of rituals and routines in preparing for a walk or run. Making these preparations routine is very important to all dogs I know, and for me, it should be important for runners too. In fact, from my years of observation a good running routine goes a long way toward a successful run training period.
Of course, being a dog, I have noticed that I can get ready much faster than my human parents. I’ll admit that I use the same harness and leash every day as opposed to my parents who wear something different all the time. At least my dad just grabs whatever shirt and pair of shorts is atop his pile of running clothes. But regardless of the clothes runners wear and whether or not you need to have those clothes match, I believe that I have some valuable advice for runners who just can’t seem to get out the door in the morning.
Make getting ready to go for a run a routine. For humans, this can be easier said than done. For dogs, routines are easy to follow. Each day I know that I will go for a walk in the morning, followed by a treat when I get home. The treats are called training treats. My parents hand them out because they have been trained by me to do so. So I guess humans can learn routines.
If you run in the morning before getting your day underway, then prepare the night before for your run. Set out your running clothes if needed. Set your alarm. Determine where you will run even if the destination is within your neighborhood. Have a plan to get dressed and out the door. And whatever you do, do NOT let anything prevent you from sticking to your routine and going for the run you planned, or at least a portion of that run. This applies whether you run in the morning, afternoon or evening.
As most people go for a run before work, there is often an ending time limit to when you must finish your run. Even if you go in the evening you are pressed for time whether it be dinner (which by the way should never be late) or bedtime. This stopping time is often the routine-breaker. Quite often people will decide that due to their ending time limit their hoped-for run may not be able to be completed, and thus, will not even be attempted. For instance, if you planned a 30-minute run but only have 15 minutes before you need to be back home, there is a good chance you will skip your run. Don’t do it!
Even if you only have half the time for your planned workout, go. The most important part of creating a routine, is making sure you stick with it. It doesn’t matter how short your run, just get out the door and go. If you make a habit of getting ready for your run quickly and getting out the door quickly, you will find yourself less likely to find an excuse to skip your run altogether. Those times you go for a run when you only have time for 10 or 15 minutes will lead to more consistency in your training which will lead to more quality runs – even if they lack the quantity. And don’t forget to give yourself a treat when you finish your run.
I have had plenty of walks cut short by rain, and many walks I had to take in the rain. But even those short walks were productive. When you gotta go, you gotta go. And it looks like I gotta run right now (which I am ready to do). Squirrel in the backyard. Enough said.
Millie Sauvé Stark is the official mascot of Running Arizona and has been since she was found during a group run a few years back. Each day she reminds her human parents to enjoy the time you spend out for a walk – the more, the better.