Monday, January 30, 2012

To Run Further, Fill the Tank First

I've been doing treadmill running for over a year now.  I've been slowly getting better at it, but my progress has been glacial.  I see these sofa-to-marathon training plans and I just laugh.  That may be for other people, but not me.  My feet will start to drag or my pulse used to go way high and I would have to stop.

Once in a while I would be able to go further that I normally could do and was thinking that it was because of the time of day.  Usually I run after work, but once in a while I would do it on a weekend mid-morning and I would do better then.  Finally, finally I realized it was because I had eaten beforehand and not just a handful of skittles, but an actual light meal about an hour before like one of those mini burritos or similar.

I feel so silly that it took me this long to figure it out.  Fill the tank first before you exercise, and give the food time to get into your system.   Obviously, carbs help a lot, but I'm not entirely sure it has to be that specific though I haven't tried not eating carbs.

Anyway, if I eat beforehand I can run around 50% further which is a nice non-glacial result.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Coordinating Schedules and Matching Talents - The Trouble with Dog Sports

Dog sports are a great way for you and your dog to spend time together and work on something that requires teamwork.  When it works it is very rewarding.

The trouble with dog sports is that there are two of you and each of you bring different talents to the table.  While we as dog handlers think that if we choose our canine companion well we can train them to do whatever we wish barring injury, but it doesn't always work out that way.

My chosen dog sport is agility.  I love it and have spent enough time on it that I'm pretty good at it and I'm confident teaching my dogs the skills they need to be successful at it.  The trick is that it's not either of my dogs' favorite activity.  They love doing it, but the reality of an agility trial compromises their ability to do well in it despite years of training and conditioning.  (One doesn't like all the other  dogs, the other doesn't like the noise).

Their favorites?  Herding and Obedience (and Rally).  I am fortunately already comfortable teaching my dogs obedience and rally and belong to an obedience club to consult for the more difficult to train issues.  I have a herding instructor, and had to learn how to a herding handler which is a brain bending experience that was very good for me to learn.

This is all well and good, but I miss doing agility terribly.  One dog and I still train in it and compete from time to time, but things are not looking good for the higher levels which is terribly disappointing.  I feel like the parent who has aspirations for their kid that their child doesn't share.

I'm ready, why aren't they?  Another dog?  My household is very stable with two dogs and I really don't have the time for a 3rd one (plus three dogs is not a very steady combination).  So I am either going to have to borrow a dog (but there's that time issue) or wait till I lose one of my dogs.  The trick is that could be years down the road and then I am that much older.  I keep reminding myself I do this for fun.  Really.