I like to run with my Jack Russell terrier. It helps him burn off energy and gives me the incentive to get out there in all kinds of weather. I am also trying to build a base to run the Cazenovia July 4 race around the lake. What advice do you have for me and my running buddy?
You could not have picked a better training partner than a Jack Russell Terrier. They are one of the best running breeds out there, very highly rated, and sure to keep your run training on schedule. In fact…if you don’t mind, since your dog is an equal in this relationship I would like to address my response to him/her.
Excellent job getting Mary to think running the Cazenovia race was her idea. Longer runs = more time spent with your beloved human. So you have a stake in keeping her healthy for this. Humans can be fragile and maybe it’s that whole walking upright thing-so allow her to adapt slowly to the longer distances. And because she is building a base, she does not have to run fast.
The best place to start is to figure out how many miles a week you and Mary are currently running. The general rule is not to add more than 10% total time or mileage per week, with about a 20% reduction every 4th week to allow recovery. I prefer total time because conditions can change so much, and it’s easy to calculate. And when you are done, you are done - no rounding off to the next mile, etc. It’s hard for humans to resist rounding off numbers...it's like that whole outdated “dog years” concept.
Next, get her to do the specific behaviors that benefit her in the race; i.e., you don’t get a treat for sitting, if what your master really wanted was for you to roll over. So in Mary’s case you need her to pick one day of the week where she is specifically running longer to get ready for that longer race at Cazenovia.
Start with your longest current run, and add the 10% to that day. On this day you need to run slowly to build endurance, (no chasing squirrels). And preferably do an easy workout on the days preceding and following the long run day. Another thing to consider is that Cazenovia is hilly. So at least once a week, take Mary to a hilly course. They do not have to be steep hills, in fact, gradual, long inclines will mimic some of the hills you will encounter in that race.
Because July is more than half a year away, at what point do you stop adding time/distance? If you are like my dogs you probably have exercise induced amnesia, where you play for three hours, then when we are back inside the house, you lunge every time I go near the front door like you have never been outside before. But Mary will have her limits. Let’s say she only has time for 20 miles a week. Then your priority would be one long run, a few shorter runs, and the one hill run. As to how the two of you go on your longest run? The longest I would suggest is 10-12 miles a few weeks out from the race.
Be patient during the winter, you will be a great motivator to make sure Mary gets outside, but take your time; especially on slippery surfaces. Make sure that you are visible to traffic and stay hydrated. And while being with her is your priority, make sure you take the time to sniff the roses, or whatever comes your way.
Best of luck to you and Mary,