If you struggle to find the motivation to keep fit then this could be just what you need.
What could be a better incentive for running around than the prospect of spending more quality time with your dog?
Canicross is an adorable twist on cross-country running, which involves bringing along a canine companion.
Not only will they be with you – they’ll actually be pulling you along with an elasticated rope. Imagine a husky/sleigh kind of situation, but you’re the sleigh.
So if you don’t keep up then you’ll end up with a face-full of mud.
So how, exactly, does it work?
Canicross can be run with one or two dogs, always attached to the runner. You strap on a waist belt, your dog wears a specifically designed harness, and you’re joined by a bungee cord or elastic line.
You act as the driver, directing the dog from behind with commands, so it’s a great way to train your dog’s behaviour as well as your own fitness.
And any dog can do it, big or small, they don’t actually have to be a trained arctic husky. All that matters is that they’re fit and healthy enough to run.
The plus sides of canicross are that you get to have fun with your dog and get super fit in the process. The down side is that you might look a bit of an idiot in your local park.
But the positive effects of canicross might make you think it’s worth the potential embarrassment.
The exercise has the obvious benefits that come with cardio – improved anaerobic endurance, muscle tone and heart health – but the added bonus is that it helps improve your bond with your dog.
It’s also a really time-efficient way to exercise because you get a high-intensity workout, and you won’t need to walk your dog afterwards.
If you run with your dog anyway, it’s worth investing in the equipment and trying canicross instead. Using a lead to keep your dog close to you when running or jogging is not ideal. The constant pulling can be uncomfortable for your arm and shoulder and can also cause strain to your dog’s neck.
If you need a bit of moral support you can join group canicross sessions, who meet regularly for rural runs. And there are sessions for beginners or more advanced runners, so all you have to do is find a group near you .
So what’s stopping you? Well, you do need to own a dog. But if canicross sounds like your vibe then it could be all the excuse you need to head to the animal shelter.