In this article I cover a common canicross concern, which is the fear of falling over when running with dogs.
A number of people I have met who don’t canicross wonder how I manage not to fall over all the time, especially with a strong pulling dog such as my Ridgeback Cross.
I must admit, sometimes when we’re hurtling down a hill or racing hard in a canicross event, it could look pretty sketchy as we negotiate the winding, often bumpy, off-road terrain.
But actually, running with dogs is really safe. I’m not saying you will never fall over but I don’t think it’s any more likely than running off-road without a dog.
In fact, I might even go so far to say that it’s safer, since I am much more concentrated on where I am going and what I’m doing with a dog attached to me.
But, as with regular running there are some basic tips for running with dogs that will help make sure you don’t face plant on your first outing with your four legged buddy!
- Don’t constantly look at your feet – always look ahead, keep your shoulders relaxed and pre-empt any potential obstacles
- Use commands to keep your dog controlled and focused on what he/she is doing and to negotiate technical routes
- When running downhill, if it’s too much pressure having them pull in front, train your dog to run by your side – I use the command ‘with me’ but whatever you use make sure you are consistent and keep practising at every opportunity
- Invest in a pair of off road trainers. I personally love Inov8s – they do a range for different terrains but there are plenty of other suitable shoes out there
- Learn to anticipate what’s up ahead – just like you would if you were road running on your own, eg. if you see an obstacle ahead, such as a horse, you may want to take a diversion or stop in plenty of time to allow the horse to pass
- Invest in proper canicross kit – it seems obvious but you would be surprised how many people don’t do this. The right kit will help ensure you and you dog enjoy a comfortable and fun run