A blog by runners. For runners.

Marathon training with your dog: extra motivation

This is our guest blogger, Scott Cook’s second blog post highlighting his marathon training. You can learn more about Scott in his introduction post. Lately Scott has been running with his dogs. They enjoy getting outside for the fresh air- and it’s a great way for Scott to stay motivated to get out the door for his runs. Do you have any tips for Scott as he continues training for his first marathon? Share them in the comments below!

Man’s best friend indeed

The emotional lead up to my first meeting with Team in Training was fairly draining for a variety of reasons. First, while I was already running approximately 4 miles several times a week, I was definitely not ready to run more than that at one time. It was a welcomed relief then, to find out the training is incremental, with short 30 minutes runs in the first month or so, and eventually leading up to running for several hours at a time.

With that addressed, my attention was redirected to my other concern: setting aside time to train.

Working in real estate, or pretty much any industry, there are times when even the best scheduled days are turned upside down by a last minute appointment or an email requiring immediate attention. Other than running at off times (i.e. very early morning or late night), it’s pretty tough to regularly set aside an hour or more to run.

Up until signing up for the P.F. Chang’s Rock n Roll Arizona Marathon, my running was rarely scheduled. Instead, I would fit it in whenever my schedule allowed and when the mood struck. Realizing the distance I would be running was far beyond any of my previous jaunts, I knew this unstructured routine would never prepare me for a marathon.

Low and behold, the schedule I was looking for was at my feet in the form of my yellow Labrador Retriever, Sidney. Having not mastered the use of a human bathroom, Sidney still requires being taken for a stroll several times a day. Obviously, regardless of my work schedule I always make time to take him and his smaller brother, Chewie, out for a stroll around the neighborhood.

So now, I’ve tied my training sessions to one or more of my boys’ daily walks. If time allows, we’ll take one long run a day. Alternatively, for those days which are less forgiving and do not allow for one long uninterrupted run, I’ll break my training into segments and run twice a day, each of those times being accompanied by my boys.

Emotional and stress release

One thing I have found is that the first 20-30 minutes of each run is all about clearing my mind. Did I complete that email, did I call my client back, is business on track? Then magically, all of those cares and worries dissipate and I start to notice the beauty of my surroundings. It may sound crazy, but I feel as though I can actually think more clearly now and can actually concentrate better in my day to day dealings. Perhaps I am on to something and I think I will tackle this aspect of my running in a later post.

Destination of the week

In order to keep from becoming bored with any one particular running course, the boys and I will leave the familiarity of our neighborhood behind and run some of LA’s running/walking trails. This week’s spot of choice was Franklin Canyon Park.

Just south of Mulholland Drive and one of the lesser traveled areas, Franklin Canyon Park provides the breathtaking scenery and challenge without having to contend with the masses typically found at other trails, such as Runyon Canyon.

Whoever said southern California didn’t experience the changing of the seasons obviously did not visit Franklin Canyon. The golden leaves and the breathtaking vistas provided the inspiration to keep me on track.