Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Running With Your Dog

By Christie Aschwanden
From the September 2010 issue of Runner's World

STEP 1: Get Fido Fit

You wouldn't drag an untrained spouse out for a five-mile run right off the couch—right? And you shouldn't throw your beloved goldendoodle into the fire, either. Though your dog was probably born to run fast, you need to start slow. Here's how to get rolling.

Don't start too young
Puppies shouldn't run with you until their bones stop growing, since their joints are prone to injury. This takes about nine months in small dogs, while large breeds may grow for up to 16 months.

Easy boy
Before you start, assess your dog's health and fitness status. If Bowser is overweight or severely out of shape, begin by walking. If you just adopted him from the pound, take him out for some easy strolls to assess his energy and fitness levels.

Don't go long...
You want to ramp up slowly, just like you did when you began running. "Start with three times per week for 15 or 20 minutes, and build up from there, adding five minutes each week," says JT Clough, a professional dog trainer and coauthor of 5K Training Guide: Running with Dogs.

...Or hard
"Just like us, dogs need a five-minute warmup before they run," says Clough. Look for signs of fatigue—flattened ears, tail down, heavy panting, and hind legs dragging. If the dog is exhausted, he may sit down and refuse to continue—a sure sign you've gone too far or too fast. And if he's really lethargic postrun, he might need a day or two off.

STEP 2: Teach Rex the Ropes

Runners may assume they can haul their dog along on a run, and the animal will just know what to do. If that works for you, thank your lucky stars, but dogs can be confused, crazy, even dangerous on a run if you can't control them. Here's how.

Use a leash
A gentle tug lets you guide Fifi's body and attention where you want it. "The dog needs to learn that it can't stop to pee every five yards," says Robert Gillette, D.V.M., director of Auburn University's Veterinary Sports Medicine program.

Play nice
You want the dog to be within three feet of you, to one side. Reinforce good behavior with a small treat or praise. Eventually the dog will see that the run is the real reward.

Be the pack leader
"The dog needs to understand that this isn't pure playtime, it's exercise time," says Gillette. Begin training sessions with laps of a short route—to reinforce behavior in a familiar environment and avoid getting stranded with a dog who's misbehaving.

Teach courtesy
If you encounter strangers on a trail, pull off to the side to let them pass without interacting with your dog. Remember, no one loves your dog as much as you, so don't assume others want your dog to greet them.

Pick it up
No one wants to step on poop during a run or hike. Have a plan and proper gear for disposal. (And, no, leaving a stinky bag under a bush doesn't count.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Girls Night Out

The Road Runner Sports in San Carlos is having a "Girls Night Out". It is planned for June 17, 2010 from 5pm-8pm. Treat yourself to a personalized answer-to-all-your-prayers sports bra fitting!

Kick off your heels and bring your friends! There will be delicious drinks and appetizers, relaxing massages, and fun raffle prizes. There is a free gift with purchase and VIPs save 20% off everything in the store for this one night only!

RSVP for the fitting 650 654 2603 or email Farina Young.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bay to Breakers 2010

Bay to Breakers, the world's wackiest foot race, is Sunday, May 16, and you can count on Caltrain to get you there – in record time!

Four northbound special express trains will be available to take you to the race. Please refer to the schedule (side) for exact time and station.

One-way tickets, Day passes or 8-ride tickets can be purchased at the ticket vending machines at the stations before boarding. Tickets must be purchased before boarding, and Caltrain fares vary by zone.

In addition to the Sunday regular service, two additional post-race express trains to San Carlos will depart from the San Francisco station at 2:10 p.m. and 3:10 p.m. Fare and schedule information is available here or by calling 1.800.660.4287.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm Trying to Be One

Inspired by a post on the Diabetes Outside Blog.

The hardest thing about being a "runner" is convincing yourself that you can be one. Or perhaps are one.

I still laugh, or snort, when I am referred to as a runner. Years ago had this vision of what a runner is and felt not only was I far from that, but that I wasn't genetically engineered to ever have a chance at being that. Runners have 0% body fat. Runners run miles upon miles in 4 minutes. Runners look forward to the time they can run. Runner's wear tiny shorty shorts.  Runners talk about the "Runner's High" they get while running. Runners eat whole grain breads, wheat pastas and grill their foods in only a light olive oil.

Last year, egged on by a friend, I ran a 1/2 marathon in Santa Cruz. He and I trained for it, planned for it and prepared for it as best we could. It was awful. Truly horrible. I thought for sure I was going to die or at least have my ride get tired of waiting for me to cross the finish line and just leave, muttering bitterly "she can find her own way back". Everything hurt and spasmed. Seriously, everything - even my ear buds caused an ache in my ears.

Then a strange thing happened. Another friend invited me to run a 1/2 marathon in Colorado. Yet another friend announced she would be running in her first marathon at the beginning of 2010. Same friend invited me to run a 1/2 marathon, but on a wooded trail near Santa Cruz. The strange thing is a hear myself saying "Sure, I'll do it." I found myself running long runs on weekends. I found myself running from San Carlos, to South Palo Alto and catching the train home. I found myself literally running errands as a stopped at the bank, the post office and the library on my runs.

What had happened? Had I become a runner without realizing it? Checking the list above... zero body fat, no, speedy, no, eager anticipation, no, shorts, god no, high, maybe but not in that way, good eating habits, certainly no... so I couldn't possibly be a runner.  Yet asking around, it appears many people think I am a runner.

So the time has come for a new definition of "runner" to work it's way into my vocabulary. A runner is someone who runs. A runner is fast or slow; runs for health, for fun, for social interaction. A runner eats all kinds of food and may or may not be aware of the calories, health benefits, or energy quotient nor care about them. A runner does not always look forward to running. A runner knows that sometimes running is awful, and you feel awful, but it is a better choice than sitting on the couch and maybe the next time it will feel better.

The next time someone asks me if I am a runner, I'll do be level best not to swallow my nose while stifling a giggle and reply "I'm trying to be one."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Run for Zimbabwe Orphans and Zimbabwean Fair, March 28, 2010

The 11th Annual Run for Zimbabwe Orphans and Zimbabwean Fair – an event for people of all ages-- is coming up on Sunday March 28, 2010 at St. Joseph School, 1120 Miramonte Ave. Mountain View, Ca. noon to 4 p.m. Our web site & e-mail & have all the info. you need! We’ve also listed the top ten questions people have about the run and fair.

#1. Who benefits from the 11th Annual Run for Zimbabwe Orphans and Fair? Makumbi Children’s Home—an orphanage in Zimbabwe that serves 100 AIDS orphans, ages newborn to 18.

#2. How can I best help? You may spread the news about this enjoyable event via our web site or word of mouth and encourage people to come! Last year, we had 400 participants in the run and countless others at the fair. We raised $33,000 for Makumbi. Call us at650.941.9206 if you need paper flyers.

#3. How do I sign up to run, volunteer, or contribute funds? Visit us on the web at: Download the registration form. People may also sign up on line via The entry fee is $5 but contributions of any amount are greatly appreciated. One may sponsor an orphan for $350. People may also sign up at the run on March 28 starting at noon. The race hot line number is: 650.941.9206 & the address for SLF is: 156 Marvin Ave. Los Altos, Ca. 94022.

#4. Where is St. Joseph School? See it on Google Maps
1120 Miramonte Ave. Mountain View California 94040. Next to McKelvey Ball Park. From 101 take Shoreline west toward El Camino. Cross El Camino. Shoreline becomes Miramonte. After McKelvey, the school is on the right hand side.

#5. What are the start times and divisions for the races? Are their prizes? There are 11 little races—220 yd., ½ mi. & 1 mile— pre-school to adult. Start of 1st race is 1:05 but allow 45 min. to sign-up or pick up your number. Pre-School 220 yd., “Zimers”, co-ed 1:05 Kindergarten, 1/2 mile, Lions, co-ed 1:15 1st & 2nd Girls Antelopes mile 1:30 1st & 2nd Boys Antelopes mile 1:45 3rd & 4th Girls Cheetahs mile 2:00 3rd & 4th Boys Cheetahs mile 2:15 5th & 6th Girls Zebras mile 2:30 5th & 6th Boys Zebras mile 2:45 7th & 8th Girls Leopards mile 3:00 7th & 8th boys Leopards mile 3:15 High School & Post HS Giraffes mile 3:30. The prizes include finisher ribbons for all runners and kids entering their art. Championship Cups are awarded to 1st, 2nd, 3rd in each division. There are lots of African Raffle prizes at each Awards Ceremony.

#6. Are there T-shirts? Yes! The T-shirts feature a cartoon drawing of Victoria Falls, Mosi Au Tunya or Smoke that Thunders. They sell for $10 and are sold on a first come first sold basis on March 28. All sizes from youth to adult.

#7. What will happen at the fair? The fair begins at noon and is free. There will be two traditional Zimbabwean bands—Chinyakare Ensemble and Sadza. The food is a Sadza buffet. Batsiranai will sell handicrafts made by Moms in Zimbabwe who have disabled children. The #1 runner from Zimbabwe, Gray Mavhera, will be in attendance to sign autographs for the children and race!

#8. Is there a Children’s Art Exhibit? Yes! Children-- pre-school to high school-- may enter their art in the Art Exhibit at the Fair. Rosette ribbons are awarded to the top individual and top team per division: Pre-school to Kinder; Grades 1-2; Gd. 3-4; Gd. 5-6; Gd. 7-8; High School. Details:

#9. Is there a shoe drive? Yes! Bring your “gently worn” rubber soled shoes to the run on March 28. Nick MacFalls “From our Feet” is chairing this wonderful event.

#10. What is the philosophy behind the Zimbabwe Run and Fair? What businesses & organizations are involved? S. L. F. Board Members are Bill and Ellen Clark, Will and Kristin Clark, Teresa Clark and Dave Ruminski and Dee Gibson. The Wakerly Family Foundation of Mtn. View has been a major “under writer” and contributor to the Zimbabwe Run since its inception. Without numerous businesses in the area—Hobbees, Le Boulanger, De Martini Fruit Stand—this meet would not be possible. The goal of this meet is to present Zimbabwe in a positive light and to engage children in two-way philanthropy—giving to Africa but also receiving the many gifts of Africa.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Month of 100 Miles

It's time to get back to running. I've considered it a weekend activity for the past 2 months and it's time to pick some races and start to focus in on what goals lie ahead.

March will be the month of 100(+) mile as it was last year. It's all written down, it just needs to be executed. In fact, as I have it written down, I'll be runnng 110, which builds in the inevitable rain day, mental health day, or can't get out of bed day.

Who's in?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Runner's World Marathon and Half Challenge

The Runner's World Challenge is an exclusive opportunity to be coached by Bart Yasso, RW's Chief Running Officer, train with the RW editors, and get advice from our experts on training, nutrition, and injury prevention.

Train with us for any marathon or half-marathon, or come run with us at four events in 2010.


A training plan designed by Bart Yasso
Weekly e-mails from Bart explaining the workouts for the week ahead
Access to a private website for runners taking the Challenge
A trial of RW's Personal Trainer online training tool
A copy of "The Runner's Rule Book" or the "RW Guide to Road Racing"
A technical t-shirt with the Runner's World Challenge logo

A race entry
Access to VIP areas near the start and finish lines (private bathrooms!)
Race-day packet pickup
Free postrace massage
A special baggage-check area
An opportunity to hang out with Bart Yasso, and the editors of Runner's World

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Tips for Running with Your Dog

By Claudia Kawczynska Editor in Chief of The Bark
Written for Runner's World

If you're looking for a perfect training partner, one who can motivate as well as entertain, who can keep up the pace no matter what, and who is always enthusiastic, look no further than a dog. Dogs have been our constant companions lo the millennia - running is in their Canis lupus familiaris genes.

Benefits for us
There are many reasons why dogs make ideal running partners. They have a natural athleticism and a joy of running that can be sources of inspiration for runners of every level. They have a work ethic that can't be beat. Their keen senses alert us to the unexpected. And as Sophia Yin, D.V.M., wryly admits, "they take your mind off the boredom" that can sometime develop during solo long-distance runs. Dr. Yin regularly runs 10 to 18 miles with her Jack Russell Terrier, Jonesy, who not only entertains her but livens up the time because he is having so much fun.

Benefits for Them
We have a responsibility to provide both mental and physical stimulation for our dogs. A well-exercised dog is not only a happy dog, but also a healthy one. Their endorphins, like ours, are activated during exercise and, as an added bonus, running is a great way for both species to drop of keep off the pounds. Dogs love doing things with us, and many come from lineages that were bred to work - hunters, herders, or guardians - and having a "job" adds purpose to their lives. Nicholas Dodman, D.V.M. has noted that most dogs required much more exercise than most people - even those who are dog-park habitues - can provide them with. They truly were born to run!

Choosing a Canine Running Partner
That being said, some breed types make better running companions than others, though it isn't simply breed that determines whether a dog would be an ideal running buddy. Temperament, socialization, and the strength of the bond with you, training, and certainly overall health are also factors. Since you are choosing a dog not simply as a running companion but as a family member, there are many considerations to keep in mind - most important, you must be committed to sharing your life with the dog. for the whole lifetime of the dog. There are wonderful purebred and mixed-breed dogs in shelters who can fill the bill perfectly; many are relinquished at about age 10 months to a year, which is also the perfect age for them to start running.

The breed type primarily depends on what type of runner you are. If you run just two to three miles at a 10- to 12- minute pace, you have a huge range of choices. If you run five to 10 miles at eight-minute pace or faster, you'll want a dog who's athletic, energetic, and built for speed. If your dog can keep up with you on a three-mile power walk and have plenty of energy to spare when you get home, then she can probably easily run the same distance at an eight- to nine-minute per mile pace. If she can do that distance and still be up for fetching and sprinting, then she can likely go faster and even farther.

The biggest issue is hear. Dr. Yin reminds us that dogs dissipate heat poorly compared with people. Dogs with long hair and/or those who are large or overweight dissipate heat poorly compared with shorthaired, smaller, and more slender dogs. Those with flat noses - Pugs and Bulldogs, for instance - have a more difficult time getting enough air as well as dissipating heat.

Dogs best suited for running, and probably easiest to run with, are those who are above your knee height. Dogs who are shorter are easier to trip over, even if they heel well. Sporting breeds such as German Shorthaired (and Wirehaired) Pointers, Vizslas, and Weimaraners make world-class runners. These dogs tend to be able to go long distances - over 10 miles - and get into the zone. They find that trot and just keep going straight ahead, oblivious of distractions. Standard Poodles and herding breeds who are 30 to 60 pounds (Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Kelpies) generally are athletic enough to run well, as are Cattle Dogs, Labs, America's most popular breed, also make good runners, but those with black coats can overheat quickly in warmer weather.

Ready, Set, Go
Your dog needs to be in good health and good physical shape. If you've never taken them running before, it's a good idea to have your vet check them out for any possible problems. Many feel that running (especially long-distance running) with a pup under a year old isn't advisable, but that, too, is a dog-by-dog consideration. They need to be trained, especially in basic heeling skills; a dog who pulls is not only not fun to run with, but also can be a source of discomfort or even injuries. It is best not to feed your dog right before or after a run, but small treats, like kibble, can be helpful enticements during the outing.

Basically, your dog needs your to pay attention to her. If he or she seems thirsty, stop for a water break; if their paws seem sore, slow down and let your dog run on grass or in the shade. Be mindful of your dog's condition as well as your own, and you'll both have a great experience.

Stick To It

These Four Principles should be part of your training plan throughout the year. Tailor them according to your goals, interests and needs.

You don't need to run every day, but be sure to run more days that you don't.

At least once a week inject speed into your routine. For example, perform four - to five-mile tempo runs or long intervals at 5-K race pace. Mix up repeats by running 4 x 1 mile one week, 5 x 1200 meters another, and 3 x 2000 meters another.

Follow hard workouts with at least one easy day and don't worry about how fast you're going. Let your energy level be your guide.

Once a week, run 1.5 time longer than your normal run.

From Runners World magazine, January 2010