This morning I went for a short (hilly) run with my 1 yr old puppy Ebony (aka Moo or Moo Moo). It got me thinking about how I run when I take her with me and I also remembered reading about how Michelle Bridges tore her hamstring away from the bone when she tripped over her dog while going for a run. Do I change my style of running when I take her with me for short runs, and what were the chances she could trip me over?
Up until this point I have declined all offers to participate in any events that could increase my chance of injury, keeping my mindset focused on the marathon in July and wanting to be at my best for that run. So as I was running I pondered all of the above. I came to the conclusion that I should buy a longer lead so she can run way ahead of me, that way it gives me more time to react if I need to get out of her way. I’m not sure it would this eliminate the risk all together but surely it would help.
Then I thought about my running style, when i’m with her I have the lead in my right hand with my arm stretched out forward as she pulls me along. Sometimes I feel like my arms get more of a workout than my legs! She is a puppy so she has a lot of energy and for 80-90% of the run she’s up front. I felt like my body movement while running with her is a little lob-sided as only my left arm is free to move how it normally does. I’m sure that this is probably not ideal, but I love taking her with me and she needs the exercise so she doesn’t dig up the yard.
Google! That’s what I needed, i’m sure that i’m not the only person who has had this trouble. So when I got home I found it, the Handsfree Leash by Kyjen. It not only has a padded belt for my waist with a clip to attach the dog leash, but it also has a little pouch for me to put some poo bags and a gel (for when she gets older and I take her on longer runs). So I ordered it online and am very much looking forward to the day it arrives and I can test it out.
About 3 weeks ago I signed up for my first marathon, the M7 marathon which takes place in western Sydney during one of the cooler months of the year in July. The course travels mostly along a bike track that runs along a major highway from Liverpool to Blacktown, and you end up running into a stadium where you are joined by your cheer squad of family and friends. It’s one of the smaller Sydney marathons, but a running buddy of mine competed in this marathon last year so I knew I had somebody to go to for questions, inspiration and tips.
I setup a time with my running buddy and picked his brain with every question i could think of, and asked him to provide any tips that he thought might help. This was a very valuable meeting and i’m thankful to Todd for all his encouragement and assistance with my running, he has been a huge help not only in preparation for this new challenge but from my first days with the Nike run club.
I needed a plan, a training plan. So I set out googling and searching for the best (beginner) marathon plan I could find, as I wanted to know what sort of km’s and the type of training needed to make sure i was well prepared for the run come July. I found a very good Australian running site called Cool Runnings and I stumbled upon a Forum which had hundreds of comments from people who had competed in marathons sharing their advice and tips for beginners. I felt like I had hit the jackpot! It took me a few days to get through all of the comments but it was very valuable, i’ve learnt so much just from that one thread. Someone also suggested a free online training plan by Hal Higdon, who at the time I had never heard of. He’s a running legend and given the fact that he had come recommend from various people on the Cool Runnings site I was confident in trusting the source.
There is was, on paper. The distances looked scary but achievable, so I made a promise to myself that I would stick to the plan so I felt prepared when the day came along and it was time to run my marathon.
Here is the link to the Forum: http://www.coolrunning.com.au/forums/index.php?showtopic=6530
Here’s a link to the Training Plan: http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51138/Marathon-Novice-2-Training-Program