Getting fit with your dog the Dog Trails NI way!
Emma and Oscar tell us of their canicross journey
I started running when I enrolled in a couch to 5k program 3 years ago. Before that I was convinced that I couldn’t run at all! Since then I’ve run on and off, but I’ve not had the motivation to keep running through the bad weather. I had run with my dogs before discovering Dog Trails NI and Canicross, but without the proper equipment dogs are more of a hindrance than help. Oscar, being a big, strong dog broke several cheap running belts!
I adopted Oscar from Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary almost 8 years ago. He was a challenging puppy who needed a lot of help to settle in, but we gradually built up a relationship. Over the years Oscar has become a great friend, willing to throw himself enthusiastically into whatever madcap scheme I came up with, so when I signed us up for a Dog Trails taster session, he rose to the challenge!
I find that it can be hard to stay motivated running alone, so it was often a chore to train. With Oscar I look forward to every run. He keeps my pace up when I’m flagging, and the sight of his ears flapping as he bounds joyfully along in front of me never fails to raise my spirits. I have been running with Dog Trails NI for around 18 months now. In that time my running has improved dramatically. I’m fitter, more confident, and my 5k time has improved by 6 minutes.
Another benefit of running with Dog Trails NI is the friendship and camaraderie that has developed between class members. Everyone is friendly and encouraging. While there are runners who are much faster than I am, I never feel left behind. Classes are inclusive and supportive, and everyone genuinely celebrates the achievements of other members. I have made good friends through Dog Trails NI, and we regularly meet up between classes. I have traveled the length of Ireland to run in canicross races and have always been welcomed. Aisling is a great instructor. She is always happy to give advice about dog training, kit, fitness and anything else canicross related. Somehow she can get me to sprint up a last hill, even when I think my legs can’t go any further!
If you want to get fitter, build a closer partnership with your dog, spend more time exercising outdoors, make new friends and share cake with us after classes – sign up! I always have bramble scratches, bruises and midgie bites now. There is always a wet pair or running shoes on my kitchen radiator and I love it!!