4 Steps to Creating a Running Schedule for Yourself and Your Dog

How fast should you run? Will you trip over your dog? Can you do a dog-friendly race together? Starting out on ,a new activity like running can bring a certain level of anxiety. Although some dogs can run faster and farther than others, running is a natural activity for all healthy dogs, regardless of age or breed.

In this article, we will explore why you shouldn’t start running with your dog without setting up a running schedule first.

creating running schedule

Find time to run

Whether it’s our career, our family, our body, or our friends, there is always something that seems to stop us from starting out on our running journey.

Do you have a free half-hour, that you spend just staring at the ceiling? If you are one of the lucky few, you can use this time for running. The rest of us will need to carefully review our current schedules and work out what time we can devote to training. Remember, in addition to running itself, you will need to free up enough time to squeeze in dressing up, warming up and cool-down exercises and shower afterwards.

It is likely that you already have some time set aside for a long dog walk. Make it a run! And don’t start procrastinating. Most runners have struggled with the same issues you are facing now.

Evaluate your fitness levels

Are you both ready for a new fitness routine? Do you know about any prohibitive conditions that your dog might have? This infographic will help you to decide.

Set up a trial run to find out where you’re at right now. Don’t expect to set a new world record on your first run. It is better to start at the bottom and progress fast.

More often than not, dog-owners are overwhelmed with the amount of energy and enthusiasm that their dogs demonstrate on the first run. If that is the case with you, don’t worry – both of you need to get used to each other’s running styles and speeds.

When you are certain of your own, and your dog’s, limits, it is time to set your running goals. Seek to improve your current level, but don’t plan to go from beginner to advanced too fast or too early. If you are uncertain about your ability to run a 5K race, don’t download a marathon-training schedule! It will just set a very high bar, which may well end up deterring you from running altogether.

Set goals

Now that you are familiar with your own and your dog’s abilities, define where you are headed and ensure you consistently make the right choice en route to your ideal result. You probably will have heard of the SMART set-up.

Your goals should be: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. “Running regularly” isn’t a very good goal, because it would not allow you to track your progress. For the same reason, “Make buddy lose some weight” isn’t very good either. Goals are set to be achieved, and you should feel proud when that day comes.

Some examples of good goals:

Run three times a week this month

Run a mile in 12 minutes or less, within 4 weeks

Run non-stop for 30 minutes, within 10 weeks

Map out your running schedule

Simply knowing what your goals are is the beginning of the process. The key to actually achieving them is setting the proper milestones to help guide your path towards them.

Break your big running goals into small, manageably sized segments, to map out your running schedule. If you have decided that you want to run for 30 minutes without stop, write down where you are now and go from there. Everything you do takes you closer to, or further away from, your goals.

Most runners and their dogs start training with one or two minute intervals of running and walking. It is a safe and easy way to train your dog to run with you without exhausting them right at the start. Create a table that shows a gradual increase from 1-2 minutes to 30 minutes of running within a 10-week timeframe, and you have your running schedule!


Here are two great techniques to keep running motivation high:

  1. Visualize your goals Do you see yourself finishing that 5K race? Picture it in your mind and think about it the next time you struggle.

  2. Share your goals with supporters and friends Share pictures from your runs on social media. Sometimes it is helpful to know that others believe in us.​ Running for Dogs have a very supportive community of runners on Facebook.

Is there something that I missed?

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