If you have never been a runner, this may be the perfect time of year to start, the perfect season to get a much needed physical and mental boost that running can provide. And why not bring along your best friend – your DOG!
Anandamide and the Runner’s High
Anandamide is an endocannabinoid the we naturally produce.
In Sanskrit, Ananda means bliss or joy and as rigorous exercise increases the level of anandamide in the body, there is an experience of bliss and that euphoric feeling that strenuous exercise brings. For runners, it is called a “runner’s high”.
It was once believed that a flood of endorphins to the brain created the high that we feel when we exercise. Not so, according to recent research out of Europe: credit goes to anandamide which, unlike endorphins, can go through the blood-brain barrier and bind with receptors in the brain and in the central nervous system.
CBD is thought to stop the degradation of anandamide, which may help to keep this feeling going. Not too much and not too little, but just the right amount to ensure a good mood and a sharp brain, little inflammation or pain, and a good appetite.
A few non-trivial factoids:
- No need to run by yourself – take your dog. Well, not your small dog who may be good for just a small sprint. Your larger dog can endure more, can go long distances – provided he or she likes running. Yup, just like people, some dogs do not like to run.
- If you have a puppy – wait a while. Puppies’ bones are still growing and will be for up to a year or so. You do not want to do any damage so be patient and work on training or short walks.
- If you have a choice, for all dogs, dirt trails will jolt joints less and be easier on paws than running on asphalt. If you are going to be running on asphalt, make sure to head out early in the morning before things have the chance to heat up.
- Before you run – make sure that you check with your veterinarian to make sure that your dog is in good health and okay to run.
Some things to think about before you begin running with your dog:
- If your dog has not been trained to walk on one side, start this practice on today’s walk. This ensures that a sudden shift to the other side does not become a tackle with you on the ground tangled in the leash.
Reinforce this practice by giving treats only when your dog is in the position that you want to reinforce. Want your dog on your left side? Only offer treats when he is by your left leg.
- Your dog should be loose leash trained. If you cannot control him on a loose leash when you take a walk, running may be dangerous. Beware of enticing, distracting squirrels!
The leash should hang so that it forms a J shape and your dog should be rewarded with treats and praise, again to reinforce the loose leash practice.
- Begin verbally cuing your dog about what is going to happen. Sure, your dog knows – and often lets you know – that it is time for a walk. Having the leash in hand may be his visual cue, but now also say, “let’s go.”
Later, you will want to add “let’s run” and “get going” or “faster” as cues that let your dog know that you will be picking up the pace.
- Before you run, you may want to have a harness, which is better for running than a collar, and a three to six-foot leash.
Ready to roll?
And by roll, we mean run, but like any good runner, you will want to warm up first so a brisk walk before running is in order.
At Resilience, we always say start low and go slow. While we are referring to taking Resilience CBD Oil, it translates for beginner runners – both human and canine. You will decide how you will move along, but we recommend that:
- You run only two or three days a week.
- You always start with a warm-up walk.
- In the beginning, you run for about 15 minutes, but that you switch from walking to running every couple of minutes.
- After a couple of weeks, you extend your run to 20—25 minutes and continue to break the run with 1 minute of walking.
- Increase your run again after a few more weeks to 30 minutes, continuing to break the run now and then with a one-minute walk.
Does your dog like running?
Now that you and your dog are seasoned runners, you should be able to judge whether or not your dog enjoys running. Is s/he eating and sleeping well? Eager to go out with you? If so,
- Now that you are in shape, every other day, run, run, run.
- Gradually increase your distance if you want a longer run.
- When you finish a run, cool down your dog by walking for a few minutes.
A word about hydration.
You sweat, your dog pants, and you both cool down. Except – you can deal with heat and humidity more easily than your dog. but if we are dehydrated, our bodies run out of moisture that will cool us.
When you run in warm weather:
- Take breaks and/or slow your pace.
- Try hosing your dog down BEFORE your run. This will keep them nice and cool.
- Look out for heat stroke. Your dog may:
- Pant heavily, even have a difficult time catching his breath
- Be lethargic and/or weak
- Be confused
- Exhibit red gums and tongue
- Drool or even vomit
- Do not let your dog drink too much during your run or after. Your dog may have the urge to drink because of thirst, but too much water is toxic and gulping in air along with the water can cause dangerous bloating.
After the run there are a few things that you need to do.
- Look for ticks – and we assume that your dog has had tick medication – and remove any you find. Check yourself as well!
- Do a paw check to make sure that there are no cuts or injuries, especially if you have run on a trail. If it is hot out, check for burns.
- Wait until your bodies are back to their normal, non-run selves before either your or your dog enjoys a treat.
- Do not hose your dog down after a long run, this can shock their body. Try getting just their feet wet. Let them lay down in a cool room until their breathing regulates and then offer water.
Health and well-being
Written by: Resilience Staff Writer, Runner, & Animal Lover