Running Buddy.

Dogs remind us running (and life) can be fun. / photo: J. Booth

Running partners motivate us to get out the door and on the road — but they don’t always have to be of the human, biped variety. Your most enthusiastic running partner might be resting his or her four legs on the couch: your dog.

A pack of two
Most dogs look forward to going outside and need to be walked at least twice a day. Developing a running routine with your dog:
– makes the run fun and playful instead of another trudge to fulfill weekly mileage goals
– keeps both of you in shape
– provides loyal company without chatter

Dogs need training, too
Just like you can’t finish a 5k your first time on the road, your dog can’t crank out the miles instantly, either. Your four-legged companion’s endurance needs to be built up slowly, perhaps with a walk/jog combo for a determined distance or time to be increased appropriately and gradually. A January 21, 2010 New York Times article provides good guidance on training and other tips such as breeds better suited for running.

Pack running in Jersey City
A soft running surface such as dirt is kinder to human and canine joints; however, surface options are limited in Jersey City. The times during the week when you do run with your dog, make it a treat for both of you, e.g., by running in Liberty State Park on the worn dirt path that runs parallel along Freedom Way. And while running tracks provide a nice, springy surface, dogs are not allowed. Wherever you run with your dog, keep him or her on a leash at all times as the city provides too many distractions that could tempt your buddy onto a busy roadway.

Enjoy the run and remember: humans deserve a treat for good behavior, too.

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