Woof It and Hoof It 5k Training Plan

Avocado and Lincoln
Hi Saltines! (mm that reminds me, I’m hungry…) Lincoln, the pup here!

I know I’m not the typical Salty contributor and you’re probably wondering how I got my paws on this post. But rest assured, the humans know I’m here. Avocado belongs to me and asked if I would be interested in guest posting to share my experiences and expertise on how to train for a 6-legged 5k.

Of course, I was excited. The humans rarely ask me for running feedback, which I can’t seem to make heads or tails of seeing as I’m twice as capable as them (double the legs, duh). Anywho, happy to share my take and offer a little guidance to any of our pup readers looking to take on this challenge with their human.

To begin, let’s talk about training, and not the kind that involves us fooling our humans into countless treats until we “learn” to stay. As a rescue, much of my early days were spent on the run so the cardio and endurance came naturally to me, as it does for many. If that’s the case for you, the most important thing in training is learning that there is, in fact, another speed besides “Go” or “squirrel.” It takes practice and patience to hone those skills. Personally, I think the most challenging part for us pups is teaching our humans to heel. In my experience, they have a tendency to want to keep a consistent speed. Humans, am I right? While it’s not in our nature, allow them to lead for the most part, but don’t be afraid to add that occasional fartlek training, especially in particularly wooded or squirrely areas.

If endurance isn’t your forte, it’s important to start by getting those miles on your paws. Morgan’s mom, Chicory, wrote about this here. Be consistent and try to get your human out with you at least a couple times a week. Pups, most of you know the basics on how to do this but a few effective tactics include: whining incessantly, destroying precious property, pooping in the house and the one I’ve found most effective, an uncontrollable bout of the zoomies. Get out and practice these 2-3 mile jogs a few times a week until you start to feel like that dash-out-the-door energy becomes more sustainable.

When it comes to race day, it’s up to you to help push (or in this case pull) them a little when they start to slow. Don’t be afraid to let that race day adrenaline take over and pick up the clip toward the end. Sniff some butts in front of you and work that tail. There are treats at the end so when your four dogs start barkin’, just remember, it will be worth it!

Most importantly, have fun! The majority of us pups are your average fur-to-5k type, so take off the pressure. The likelihood of you making it to the PuppyBowl is pretty slim so just enjoy it! Your humans will thank you and you’ll likely score an Insta feature (#goals). So buckle down that collar and get your furry butt in gear — it’s 5k season!

Reminder: Check with your vet before starting running with your dog. This post gives some guidance on the age and types of dogs suitable for running, but always get the go-ahead from your vet!

Any training tips from humans or pups on 6-legged 5ks?

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  1. Hi Lincoln! Your ears are stellar 🙂 I’m curious, how do you feel about trail running versus city running on the sidewalk? My pup, a 15 month old Border Collie, will happily run 6 miles on trails (in sub-8 minute miles if I let her) but thinks sidewalk running is stupid and barely breaks a 12 minute mile rolling her eyes the whole time. Do you run with other people/doggo company or do you stick to just Avocado for a training buddy?

    1. In the beginning with we found sometimes it helped to have someone else to chase so a third human runner helped on those sidewalk runs. It could be that it bother her legs running on the sidewalks too so maybe the trails are more desireable for her. Plus more squirrels!

  2. Hi Lincoln! My name is Koda. Great article and good work keeping your human on the run! I have been running with my mom for 8 years still going strong. My human used to exercise ride Grand Prix show horses and had to stretch their legs. She does those same stretches on me after our runs and I love it. In fact after my recent vet check up he was super impressed with my flexibility and that I am staying loose in my older age. I even stretch on my own more than my brother Ruger because I learned how good it makes me feel! You might enjoy it too! I am sure the internet has some great dog stretching videos or articles. Happy trails!