Holly Provan saw a physical shift when she started running more with here 4-year-old goldendoodle, Banjo, but she also saw a mental change, as well. “Banjo started having seizures a little over a year ago, so I started to run with him more,” Provan says. “My husband will take him out for runs as well, and he just seems happier and healthier—like us all—when he’s running regularly. We’ve noticed he is so much calmer afterwards.”
But it’s not just for the dogs: The more you run with your four-legged friends, the calmer you may become yourself. With a 5-year-old pitbull/Labrador mix, Rambo, ultrarunner Jaime Reyes has to adjust to his dog’s own plans for the run. “I’ve learned to be more patient and not take training so seriously,” Reyes says. “On some runs I go out with the intent of having a solid, fast-paced workout, and Rambo is out there with the intent of peeing on every bush in the middle of a tempo run. It can be annoying at times, but that’s what dogs do.”
You need a run, and your dog needs exercise, so why not tick off miles and improve your health together?
Dogs Provide Motivation
To reap the benefits of running, though, you have to first get out the door.
Like running with a group, it’s a lot harder to make excuses when someone is waiting on you. All of the Fleet Feet Burbank runners who run with their dogs say they often run because their pet needs to—and loves to—log some miles. Bob Redpath says: “There are times when I don’t really feel like putting on the shoes, but I know the dogs need to get some exercise. They help me get out of the house.”
Training for the Nine Trails 35 Mile Endurance Run and Angeles Crest 100, Reyes knows he can’t do it alone. Fellow runners will always be a key support base, but Reyes also turns to Rambo. “It brings him joy,” Reyes says. “When I’m not motivated to run, I’ll do it for Rambo. It has made me a more consistent and happy runner.”
When a dog is well-suited for the sport, it can be an even more encouraging reason to get outside and go. Veteran runner Kevin O’Reilly found a great running partner in his beagle/border collie, Halle. “She loved being just about a body length in front. Didn’t care what speed. if you wanted to go fast, she’d go fast. If you wanted to run hills, she would run hills. If you wanted to take it slow, she would, too.”