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Jun 202014

Asher 1

My apologies if this offends any canine readers or humans that disagree with my logic:

As an outdoor enthusiast and dog step-owner, I often find myself trying to train alongside a black lab/mutt named Asher. I wouldn’t say our training goals are entirely incongruent, just somewhat imbalanced. We both enjoy being outside on the run, we both strive to get faster, and we both enjoy coming home to eat and drink and lay in the sun. But while I’m a little more measured in my approach to training, Asher is basically ready to go all in at any moment in order to chase something small and furry. So what this means is, Asher is basically a one- (or 100) stepper for about 3 or 4 miles, and then just as I’m starting to get rolling, he’s starting to lag behind, or lose sight of me entirely, in his haste to check a scent or pee on that perfect tree.

The implications for you readers is that although Asher is no doubt a specimen of canine enthusiasm and athleticism, he’s not really doing himself many favors in prolonging his run or being able to keep up with me late in a run. When it’s hot, it just makes matters worse. His grit is commendable, but it doesn’t matter how much heart he has at that point. If we model his tactics, our results will most likely be similar.

Most people are obviously familiar with the idea of a goal pace strategy in workouts and races. This strategy is projected for best case scenarios, and often need revision or a more conservative start. Secondly, there is little need to be going maximally in training to the point of having to come home and lay on the floor for two hours, or being so incoherent in your pursuit that you run through a barbed wire fence. There are probably even less glaring clues that you have overreached in your workout, and I don’t care how many times you hear it – the best training is the type that you get faster from, not injured by.

If there is one area I can tip my hat to Asher on, it’s rest. Very few people I have encountered know how to rest and recover in training. A nap is not a bad thing. And I will guarantee that no matter the duration, it is a daily staple for that animal, allowing for his speedy return to obnoxious and over-exuberant behavior in no time.
Asher w/ shoes

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  2 Responses to “Don’t Train Like a Dog”

  1. I can relate to this Scott. Good lessons from these animals. I’ve learned to just leave mine in the dust about two miles from home, and he eventually drags himself home and plops on the floor.

    We can always learn from these great animals. Especially, their loyalty to us, and their genuine excitement for exercise.

  2. My what a handsome dog! ;)

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