IFSS European Championship in Nybro, Sweden

It is taking me sometime to write this post. Why? Yes, ICF was amazing, but IFSS event was just outstanding and I refuse to accept it is over now. Last year IFSS WCh was amazing too, have look here. Right let’s begin by sharing our journey with you.

Road trip

This time it was proper road trip for us as over 30h drive. I am lucky that Ben and his Dad took me as a road trip buddy and we could share this experience together.

Firstly we went to them to have a bit of training with all the dogs that were going with us, to make them a bit tired. Fantastic loops with all 6 dogs. Some breaking speed too.

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A road trip began on Sunday evening, a long way to get to Sweden, however we have managed! Stopping every 3/4hours to walk, hydrate or feed the dogs was spot on. I was a bit worried after trip to Poland about my two, but it seems they were coping with the trip very well, surprisingly Laferra was very calm and chilled (she usually stresses). Good mood all around and I thought Robinsons will be fed up with my top chat 😀

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Road itself was smooth, as all around motorway, probably a bit boring for the drivers, but easy to get consistent speed and move on. We were doing really well! I discover that my German isnt bad either by ordering as solid wiener schnitzel.  I am so glad to my parents for forcing me to learn other languages. It is soo handy to be able to pick up even basics from others and be able to speak what you want.

I knew there will be very strong athletes in my category so I prepared myself to take this trip as an opportunity to train with my dgos and Nero.

Tuesday

We came to the race venue to check the trails. Absolutely love that start and finish were so close to each other that you could see both no problem. That was exciting for spectating during the week.

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Today I partnered with Nero and blast a solid run on 5.3km which wasnt the flatest. There was me thinking Laferra will love it as we train on similar trails (I discovered later I was right). I was buzzing as solid run with Nero of 16:20 on the trails. I was looking forward to compare this time to Thursday results 🙂 I think everyone was excited about racing.

Wednesday

Today vet check and chilling day. I went for a run with Roger, just short easy run, well at the end we ended up running it a bit faster than I planned. Roger was loving it and people were loving him on the trails. I love that any dog can do canicross really.

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Today in the evening we also had an opening ceremony. All teams walked through Nybro to city centre to hear anthems of each country. It was our turn and I only had one thought in my head: one day, one day it will be played for me……  It was time to rest. Always night before racing is stressing and I cant sleep well. Tonight I slept very well, maybe the idea no pressure and this is another training was just great?

Racing abroad

You ever wonder what is it like to go to another country and race?! Do you ever wonder how does it feel? I will tell you! It is bloody fantastic. You go to that event with your dogs, prepare them, look after them, cuddle them, feed them, train with them. You work hard all year for this. You arrive and you see others who are crazy as much as you about their dogs speaking different languages and having different habits. Walking around and watching all those amazing athletes is just priceless. And finally that time when you stand on start line with butterflies and your dog just knows it is time to go. No one can take that away from me and you will really know this feeling if you ever try. Running through trails having different countries cheering for you is just something that gives you wings. 

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Thursday

We all ran in a lucky draw in our categories. I knew I had some strong runners in front and behind me. But I knew I wanted a great positive experience for my girl. It was time, we went to start line…. unfortunately a person in front of us was DNS so a big gap for us to even be able to catch a person 2 min ahead. I knew Laferra can do well running on her own, as that how we train, we don’t need to chase anyone. She knows she is racing, she is raring to go! Jumping and barking at me. I feel jelly legs and butterflies, my head is spinning around. 5,4,3,2,1…. Goo… We are running and she is storming every steep hill and running amazing. I feel tears but trying to keep and hold myself together. Absolutely amazing 18:24. I love my wee girl as she did amazing, I never dreamed of running that time with her on those trails!

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Friday

Today was a whole canicross categories seeded by times, which meant I could watch my coach and friends storming and finishing their runs before me heading to start line. Absolutely amazing to watch all those strong athletes and seeing my coach to get to finish line winning a gold at the Europeans Championship. Yay!

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I felt more relaxed today as I smashed two runs already on those trails! Competition wise we couldn’t loose our 22nd position as way too big gaps. I think Laferra too as today we were running a bit easier and she wasn’t so keen to help me on couple hills but she still did amazing (maybe she was tired). I was super proud as we still finished in under 19 min. And those trails were demanding on your dog and your legs too.

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Saturday and Sunday

Since we finished our races and this year IFSS decided to be a 4 days competition, we were able to watch others mostly big teams competing. Ahh so much fun to see all our friends doing so well. Those events are just fantastic, you meet all those folks who are as crazy as you! Absolutely fantastic. However there was one more thing to be done after races.

We still needed to do the training! Nice and easy run with friends and all the dogs. Well It was bloody amazing run as Nero and I stormed to 17:14 for 5km 😀 I have never ran so fast or even dreamed it will happen so fast. I think everyone could hear me shouting in woods when we reached 5km 😀

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Another year another experience

Wow! Just wow! I always say those events are fantastic, but this one will stay in memory for long time. Absolutely amazing time training, eating, laughing, watching athletes/races and being in fabulous place with friends.  I loved every moment and I am ready for training even harder now. This trip made me believe in myself. I know I train hard and I am motivated, but that believes in myself are often missing. Bring on 2019 and our sub 16.

ICF World Championship in Lubieszów, Poland

I think it is time to write about totally different experience I had than IFSS World Championship last year in Poland. ICF focuses only on mono-sports, so it was great to see so many athletes dong canicross, bikejor or scooter.

Road trip

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I was super excited as the races where near my hometown so I knew I can spend some time with my family. Unfortunately my two dogs got very unwell first few days in Poland, and Laferra even lost her usual colour, wasnt eating. It was stressful and decision needed to be made. No go, no racing for my two at this ICF. Luckily I got an offer from my coach to run his dog Nero that I know well.

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ICF preparation

I was gutted I couldn’t run Laferra, as we trained a lot for this… a year… I felt it was right decision to let her rest and see what the future brings for her. It was worrying that she didn’t want to eat and so on.

Few days before actual races we went to our “Athletes accomodation” and I could see that Laferra is picking up being happy around the dogs that she knows from races, training and the UK.

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ICF races itself

Well not sure where to start here…

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Weather wasn’t help as it was very hot so on second day the course was shorten. However let’s start from the beginning. Trails were amazing, up and down, deep sand, twisty and exciting, very well signed.

Day 1

Lucky draw so there were a lot of fast people behind us, I was expecting to be overtaken and so on. However I didn’t expect so many people standing on side out there. Yes start and finish had a lot of people spectating, but when we were out on trails there were photographers almost on every corner and also a lot of people spectating there too (shouting and clapping).

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Nero and I went very well the first 2km, and unfortunately by the time of split (half way through the course) Nero didnt like photographers sitting almost on trails and those beeping machines. So we got breaks on and tried to pass it all in a positive way. Uff we passed and continue… But the struggle began. As there were only 15sec break between runners we got caught by few and unfortunately (maybe due to weather) dogs were loosing focus in running, I hold Nero to my left side and left the whole right trails for overtaking teams… He got attacked… not once but twice. It was very stressful. It happens tho, I tried to continue running but he was just trotting near me. I just wanted to have positive experience for him. So we continued. It was ok until we got caught by a group of 5 runners…. Dogs lunged towards Nero. Sad. Very sad! We finished but I was upset and frustrated (literally in tears).

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Ok lets forget what happened on Day 1 and move on. I took it as an experience and the biggest lesson of my life.

Day 2

I was dreading for the mass start. What if the dog will think it is ok to lunge after Day 1 experience?! A lot of thoughts were going through my head. It is our turn, I am standing behind everyone to make it safe for Nero and myself.

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3,2,1…. goo Oh gosh Nero is smashing it! We pass one, second, third person… in 100 m almost getting into trees and trails! Oh wow we are first into trails. Nero wasnt bother at all and just kept running. Mass start wasnt that bad. However if you don’t like to run in a group it is not the best as the whole round we ran with 3-4 other canicrossers and dogs were a bit looking at each other. We kept going and finish on a positive way.

What an experience

How did I feel then? Frustrated and upset as the plan was to run Laferra. How do I feel now? I am actually glad that she got unwell, she wouldnt cop well with everything what happened on trails. It was hectic and insane, very busy out there. Personally never experience so much in one race. Congestions on trails but also a lot of people on side. We just couldn’t prepare for that as there aren’t any races as busy as that here. It was great experience and I will defo be back to ICF, however I really need to think through how to prepare my little princess for all this chaos.

Personally (and I know people might not agree with me here) I feel like the mass start encourages zigzaging and lunging from dogs towards others. The first 500m is the most crazy when you start as dogs are very wind up for the running. Secondly 15 sec between not seeded runners…. hmm that’s to me the problems all around for us slow runners! Yes I kept under control my dog, but others?! not necessary!.

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Future

I am looking forward to next event which is Sweden, I feel that IFSS is a bit safer for me as a slow runner with my shy rescue. ICF was another great experience, maybe not the successful one, but I take it as a lesson. I have been there, I ran for my country Poland, I finished and Nero had fun. I spend time with my friends and looking forward to see them all again.

My experience is my lesson, I will defo try to go to totally different events here in the UK so my dogs can experience different environments, different dogs running around them, different trails. Bring on Sweden next week.

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Sport camp- canicross taken to another level

Coming from sport background, I was always used to pre-season sport camp, where our coaches made us do things to really make us stronger athletes. I remember very well early morning warm up short training very early morning, which I always hated. Usually it last week or two but you defo were coming back pretty tired. However body recovered quickly and we always were ready for September and our first volleyball games of the season. The older I get the more I miss team bonding and all the fun that was in connection with our sport camp (late night press up punishment for not sleeping! was one of them). Such a good memories. Anyway since I started training under “big eye” of Ben Robinson (current World, European and British Canicross Champion), I feel my canicross and whole running moved to new level. Due to some personal circumstances, I wasn’t able to go to France to compete at TDM, I thought I need to spend my holidays somehow different. With my crazy ideas Ben and I teamed up for a week of training camp.

Training plan

I like the idea that I don’t need to worry about what and where I need to do. Ben made sure me and dogs explored different trails, uphills, downhills and ran a lot of miles that week. Always remember when training with the Champ recovery run turns into massive elevation gain over pretty solid long distance.

Dogs training

It was all about training including dogs. It was great to make sure they run everyday. I also had an opportunity for really first time to canicross with beasts, in other word Champion’s dogs. Well Ben has nice variety of different dogs, but they are all superb with their heads for the running. I was really impressed with even his youngest dog that was super focused even when paired for the first time with my Laferra. If you ask me, yes I ran with Blakey boy- the Champion Dog and yes it was scary, but I felt my feet weren’t touching the ground!

For the first time I felt super strong dogs, but also my body wasn’t broke and I really enjoyed running at 3:21/km pace. Even the trees weren’t that annoying to hit my face 😀

The whole week I could try different dogs and try different thing with my girl. She ran as a single dog, she ran as a first time as a 2 dog team and finally she did a lot of free running while I was working hard. On the other hand Mr Rogerowski train a lot and work hard canicrossing with Ben (what a lucky dug right?). I am so happy he is back to harness as he loves it so much and really never gave up even when I ran big boy Nero and Ben’s Dad had Roger with Nova as 2 dog team 🙂

During the week I have learnt a lot about canicross resistance training for dogs, which is still new and I have never used it really.

Experience from pros

As I was staying with my close friends it was great to learn about their routine with dogs too. At the end of the day it isn’t just running, dogs like to be dogs. All that swimming, fetching and hiking is good for training too. Unfortunately my two still didn’t get the hint how to swim, but I can see Laferra is braver with going deeper to the water (oh and summer is gone LOL).

Athletic track

I know I used to say I will never go and run at the track, but Ben offered me to just experience it. No pressure at all right! First time ever I have been to that kind of place. So many people and I felt absolutely awful (so intimidating), but having my coach on the side explaining the rules and etiquette, I got a bit braver to run my first 400m on a track. I felt like a monkey in a zoo if I am honest. Also struggled when I could do my next time, as groups were running and running. On the other hand it was great to see some of those folks running. Oh they run soooo light! Maybe that gave me courage? I did it again and something broke inside me. Ah, I believed. I believed my dreams are possible to be reached. Maybe not tomorrow or within a month but they are closer to be reached than they were. Loved my experience on track and already looking for a local track availability.

Sport camp

Once again I felt like pro athlete who worked hard for the coming season. Every day training and excitement which dog I can run kept me going. My hard work was paid off in massive blisters and stiff calves, but at the end of the day the purpose of this camp was to experience and learn more. I learnt that a lot of hard work still needs to be done, but I am super excited for 2019.

 

My favourite running partner of my first canicross camp was Nero. We worked a lot together and we both felt same after 8 days of hard training. I am already looking forward to my next camp with these bunch of humans and dogs.

My 12 weeks adventure with running programme

Hopefully you had a look at my previous post including some insights into the programme I am doing with Ben Robinson. Why Ben’s programme? Well he is the best in the World, Europe and UK. I think that’s good enough answer. If it isnt enough well here you go more information about Ben:

– BTEC in Sport & Exercise Science.

– Degree in Sports Strength & Conditioning.

– Over 6 years working within the fitness Industry.

– Running at a high level for over 15 years (As well as Canicross since 2014).

– Multiple county titles on the Track, Road & Cross-Country during Junior & Senior years.

– Sub 02:00 800m, Sub 04:00 1500m, Sub 15:00 5km.

– Three-time British Champion of Canicross (2015, 2016, 2017).

– European Champion of Canicross (2017).

– World Champion of Canicross (2017).

– World Record Holder (Canicross 5km) of 12:24 (2017).

– Self-coached Athlete who also coaches Matthew Robinson (Robbo Snr/Ben’s Dad) & Elaine Sherwin (A previous British & European Canicross Champion & current World Record Holder for the Women’s “assisted” parkrun).

The adventure begun

I have never known what to do to improve my running skills. I always stick to good healthy food, which probably somehow helps, but nothing really changed much in the performance. There was maybe slow progress but nothing major. The 12 weeks programme changed the game for me. At the beginning it was to understand the different wording used in “athletics world” and the pacing terminology. Surprisingly I really struggled with it. I literally needed to learn from start. Week by week and it was getting easier to know the paces and what to do.

Firstly I have learnt that recovery runs are very important, and rest days not as much. It is all about different running, not just same session all the time just faster. Variety is the key! I probably don’t make it easy for myself choosing the terrains that aren’t the easiest but I really want to work hard, and push myself!

What has changed?

As I am planning to stay on Ben’s programme for some time (approx 2 years 😀 haha- he cant get rid of me now), it wasn’t all about results. I needed to build strength and my head around all that running. I don’t know how that happened but I felt super excited about every single training session. Half way through the programme I had a break down, but got an amazing support from Ben which really help me to pass that tough time. Back on track and week 9 and 11 proved that hard work pays off. I improved my times, but what is more important I really enjoyed racing with my girl! I felt like running, not trotting anymore. I felt strong and love every step out on trails!

Week 12 just finished and I can’t believe how much it changed. My body is stronger, my head is loving and buzzing for all the running (even hills) but also legs just goes themselves (it feels I started running lighter-not so heavy anymore), my strava keeps saying trending faster. Yeah I just love the running! I even managed to skip my healthy diet, and slipped to have some bad habits for a bit! It didnt affect it all. Everyone deserve a small treat from time to time, right? No more skipping it tho 🙂 and I have added some additional restrictions.

New thinking

I also discover that if I follow the same patterns for pre-race and post-race my body prepares and recovers much better. I felt I was always good, but Ben really changed my thinking on small things, for example to leave my chilli behind if I know I have races coming. I love my chilli and never thought it can affect my running.

I used to be dreading for hills training and my legs would be very tired. Now I understand that the hard work and the tiredness after training is worth, and eventually it will pay back. I also unexpected gain few kgs, but I blame all the muscles, as I see my legs getting stronger. Despite the extra kgs, my legs are feeling lighter and faster, my body looks stronger and tighter during running.

Time to start part two- next 12 weeks programme

I am so looking forward to next programme. Now we are just training, no more races as season finished. My next stop is Trophee des Montagnes in August in France. This event is more about holidays: fun and meeting friends. My next major stop is Canicross Midlands and ICF in Poland. It will be challenging, but I hope to enjoy it and tick it off my bucket list than race it as fast as I can. Keep smiling, keep training and results will come!

 

 

Bark + Ride event

What can be better than a nice 15 degrees and a sunny day? This weekend I have decided to make the dogs just to be dogs. Last year I did a bit MTB with Laferra off lead and she loved it, so since the weather is spot on we were back.

Bark and ride Buddies at Carron Valley

My dear friend organizes events for humans and their dogs. She promotes MTB with trail dogs. Here’s description:

Come and join us for a fun morning at Carron Valley mountain bike trails! Whether your used to taking your dog with you out on the bike or whether you’ve never taken them before this is the ride for you! Reasonable level of fitness required. This is a fun event not a competition and our aim is to grow a community of #barkandridebuddies to share the fun of mountain biking and the love of dogs together! We will be doing a mini loop of the flatter trails around the forest to get the dogs used to running alongside the bikes. After that we will be doing to 9km loop of the red trails around Carron Valley with the option of doing the adrenaline rushing Orange run at the end with lots of fun berms, table tops and little jumps. Everything is rideable and you are in control of your own ride. Adventures are for sharing so take some pics and share your photos with us here on the page to be in with a chance of winning some goodies!!
Bring your helmet, a lead some water for you and your dog and what you would normally take with you when out with your dog. A towel is advisable if it’s wet.
See you there!

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Ride itself

I did MTB with Laferra before but never in the group, as I am always worried she can get loose from me and start to panic. I prepared myself and had my whistle with me and make sure I was keeping an eye on her. I put a bell on her so I could hear her too. Totally didn’t know what to expect from the ride.

We have arrived at the Carron Valley, I like this place, as it is usually very quiet and trails are just great for my abilities. I saw some dogs at the car park already, so I let Laferra just go and say hi if she wanted. At first she wasn’t really sure.

However, eventually she went out there said hi and came back with a happy face. I knew it will be a good day and she will love it.

Mini loop

We are off for a short loop of 4-5km. Laferra loves it and keeps checking in to make sure we both know where we are. I am super chuffed and even managed to have relaxed chats with other riders. It is great to hear why people want to do this. Laferra was really good in a group, very aware of the bikes which make riders life easy and not worry that they will ride over her 😀

We are back from the mini loop as this one was just warm up for us, but for younger dogs, it was a great introduction to trails and bikes.

Longer loop

We are off again, time for a bit harder uphills and faster downhill. Laferra is just brilliant, she waits for me on uphills and sticks in front or behind on downhills. I am super chuffed with her, she is having a blast. She went off to woods for a wee adventures during stops, but she kept most of the time with the rest of the dogs. What a fantastic way to spend time with your dog.

Few pointers

If you are planning to attend these great events, please bare that in mind:

  • your dog is good with recall
  • your dog is aware of the bike (it is group ride so your dog cant just run into others riders wheels)
  • your dog is fit enough
  • you cant show off your fast mtb skills 🙂
  • be aware of other dogs too
  • be aware of other riders on the trails not with the group

I loved it, Laferra had blast with other dogs and she really proved she is great trails dog. We had awesome fun and I would defo recommend this kind of meet up group for you and your dog.

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Why am I so motivated to start my day so early in the morning?

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As you may know, I am not a big fan of running and in past, I really used to hate it. However recently things changed and I am more into it, even train every day. A few folks asked me how do I do it that I am so motivated to wake up early and just go out there in the dark and do my training. So here are my thoughts on that:

Why early morning

I am an individual that likes to be on her own, a lot of people make me tired 🙂 Recently also a lot of people started asking me how I trained my dogs that they are so well behaved. During training I don’t have time for chatting, I like to go out there and smash my training in 30min! Early morning it is usually me and the dogs, which means I can totally focus on training and don’t need to shout after Laferra to not approach other dogs and of course no people keen for chat. Easy life for everyone: I can run, dogs can run!

Stunning morning

Usually, in the morning I can see the sunrise, which in Scotland is just stunning.

Food fuel

In the morning I can also feel I can go quickly do the training without worrying about food, I can just fuel my body straight after the run and during the day at work. I am always worried to get a stitch if I run after work due to that when I finish work I am hungry for light dinner already. The only minus of this is that if you work hard (most of the time for me) you will get a headache after a good training session and you feel like you can eat the whole fridge 😀

Consistent morning and increases discipline

I am always up early in the morning even at the weekends, so keeping the consistency in waking up makes it easy for the whole week. Also, it means training is done and nothing interrupted it as it the is always the same time. If I decided to do it in the afternoon, my workout time frequently ends up at the bottom of my to-do list and by day’s end, I might not even do it. So I rather hit the trails first thing in the morning and I am able to enjoy it and be fully focused on training. This also means I have a free evening and can spend it on catching up on tv shows or reading books.

Metabolism

I have noticed that morning start helps keep metabolism elevated for hours. Why not get your engines running as soon as possible- the earliest the better hehe?! In this way, my increased metabolism will be working — and burning more calories — while I am, instead of when my body is at rest. If you are like many people who sit at a desk all day, you know that this is reason enough to train in the morning.

Clears your mind

We all know that training really helps clear our head and put us in a healthy mindset. According to literature training before your day officially begins allows you to start each day with a fresh perspective as you destroy the stresses of the previous day with a run on the trails. It would help you to decrease the chance to become stressed or upset during the day. Of course, it also depends on individuals but it defo works for me.

Energy for the day

Early morning… yes it is hard to move from nice and cozy bed when it rains outside. The weather and accumulated fatigue can make you feel a bit lazy, however, if I go out and do the training first thing in the morning I am buzzing for the day. Doing so will release endorphins and other hormones to give you a much-appreciated boost that often lasts all day. In other words, it’ll give you the required energy to work all day and party all night if you desire.

 Sleep better and increase mental awareness

I have noticed that I feel more alert and ready to take on whatever challenge or curveball life throws my way after a good workout. I am ready for the day. As my body learns the pattern I started to sleep very well too. My sleeping patterns are consistent and I feel like I am resting/recovering much better and quicker.

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So stay focused and disciplined yourself! Get your “ass” out of bed early morning and enjoy the rest of the day. Happy training.

 

 

 

Canine warm-up workshop- why bother with warming up our dogs.

No automatic alt text available.Another busy day for Laferra and I. This time we attended a canine warm-up workshop with Lisa Cleeton, who is known well in Edinburgh area as a Veterinary Physiotherapist. I was really looking forward to it, to learn a bit more for warm-up but also once again put Laferra in a new situation with other dogs and people around and make her only focus on me so I could focus on her muscles.

 

Muscles

When you think about warm-up for the dog, think about warm-up for yourself. It is an exactly same thing: your body needs to warm up too if you are planning to walk. In general it is good to start warm-up your dog with at least 10min walk on a lead. Depends what sport you are doing there are different things to do, but for us for canicross time to focus on every single muscle. Lisa talked us through every single muscle for running, and I didn’t even know that Laferra has so many muscles. Eventually, when we will become the pro it will take us around 5 minutes, to warm-up all the muscles. We started from the muscles on her head and neck, you would never think that dog uses his head a lot for running right? I was surprised as I rub my dogs muscles before runs, but never thought that the neck and head or even a spine muscles ones are important too. Interesteing point was about ribs muscles! Now I will be checking those muscles, as if they feel a bit harder, that means dog needs rest as it worked hard (for example: day after race or any competition).

Why do the warm- up?

Pretty much it helps to warm-up not just muscles but also ligaments, tendons and muscles.

  • Ligaments: if they lengthen- they are damaged!
  • Tendons are more prone to rupture if a muscle has a spasm in it.
  • Muscles in spasm are “trapped” in contraction.

Lisa talked us why we really should do warm-up, mainly to avoid:

  • muscle tears
  • tendon strains or ruptures
  • ligament sprains
  • lengthen stride length
  • improve performance

Sometime ago I started doing a walk before races around for dogs to be able to do the toilet and then just rub their muscles on front and back legs. Every time I did it, Laferra’s performed much better.

What’s the best warm-up

Better do something than nothing at all. Usually, at least 5-10 minutes walk on a lead, even if you are just planning to let your dog off lead in woods. As the dogs get mostly injured while on that silly walks, running around. In our case, after walk, it is good to rub their muscles. Lisa talked us through all the important muscles on the dogs, simple rub would take even just 5 min. Sometimes we just stand to wait for our start time around that time, it looks like perfect time, to start rub those muscles just before the start. Not just the legs ones, but also the one on the neck, spine or even ribs muscles. Lisa also showed us how to stretch the dogs, but I could probably do that during the training, just too much distraction and hyper dogs around during races. I would keep stretching after runs, as the muscles must be warm-up first for it.

What does warming up means?

  • It brings more blood into the muscles.
  • This preps them ready for action.
  • Ensures joints are ready to move throughout their full range.

Summary

Even a silly walk and running around could injury your dogs. I will definitely find at least 20 minutes before each training and race for making sure my dogs are ready to perform. It is the same idea as us humans getting warm-up for any activities, you need to make sure the blood is there!

If you wanna learn your dogs’ muscles, I would defo recommend go and see sports physio. Lisa showed a lot of muscles that I didn’t even think they are there! (that sausage muscles on front legs! :)) and it looks like Laferra has more muscles than I thought she had.

Overall another great experience for Lafie, to be around the dogs, and other people. She allowed Lisa to touch her and was a really good example of a dog. Once again I know she is great for going with me to any workshops to help me develop better knowledge. We will be back to Lisa in June for some checks before our big races at TDM in French Alps in August. For now, we are practising rubbing all the muscles! Both dogs love it.

Refrences: Lisa Cleeton.

 

Busy is a choice, stress is a choice, joy is a choice, choose well.

Weekends are meant to be full of fun and running, right? We were back to Callendar Country Park and Vogrie Country Park.

Saturday

I always look forward to the weekend, actually I live with the thought that soon there will be the weekend. I have always my weekends free so it means a lot of adventures. Saturday weather wasn’t nice, and my dogs aren’t a big fan of rain. Not the greatest choice of the country to live in.

Falkirk Parkrun is great and quite challenging with hills. People say only one heartbreak hill, but the whole route is up and down. Dog-friendly and when asking if we can start to the front they always allow us as they know it is for the best. I like that a lot, which means we can just fire away from everyone and then pace ourselves nicely with only a few overtaking us.

Laferra loves the starts, she is buzzing to go and really run clean. After not training much I thought this will be a massive challenge, but she ran really well, and not many could overtake us on the first mile. We have finished 12th overall, which means we are progressing and our time is more consistent now. It seems last few weeks we keep 5km easily under 21 min. Time to push a bit more now.

It is great to see photos after the event, as you can really see how much she enjoys it (me not so much!).

Cake and coffee time

Afterwards, we went for a nice walk with friends to Canada Woods, which I know quite well from MTB riding there. Canada Wood is a five-minute drive from the town centre situated in the rural countryside of Falkirk and boasts beautiful panoramic views towards the Ochil hills. Nice surroundings with woody paths, dogs just love it. You can do a short loop or longer loop. Therefore there are many paths to explore and you pass a lot of farmland, so if your dogs are like Roger The Chaser, I would keep them on leads. Luckily the sun came out so it was great to enjoy it. After a good walk, all the “humans” deserved the coffee right?! Canada Woods Kitchen serves anything you would want from nice breakfast up to great cakes and coffee. The great thing about this place is that it is dog-friendly so you can have furry baby with you inside. As it was sunny, we have decided to sit outside. Nice staff brought us our orders outside, which I like too as some places expect you to wait inside for taking your own order outside. I have checked the website and it doesn’t say it is dog-friendly, but it defo is. I think I had the best fruit scone ever.

Sunday fun

We were back to Vogrie Country Park. There are 11.5 miles of signed countryside paths through woodlands and the Tyne Valley.

After rainy and sunny Saturday, I didn’t expect a snow at all. We arrived there and there was at least an inch of snow. I had a great walk with Roger.

I think his feet were freezing as he was running around me on a lead. He is a funny boy!

Celebration

Two years ago I went to Vogrie Country Park and had a blast at my first canicross with Cani-Sports Edinburgh with Roger. I have decided to be back in February and celebrate my 2 years in the sport by running. Being a part of the Akobe TAM Marathon community, Laferra and I ran her first 6 miles, her longest run at only 19months old. Oh, Laferra pulled all the way around. We had a blast stopping talking to walkers, stopping for cuddles and talking to other runners. I had a blast on this sunny frozen Sunday! Great 1-2-1 with my girl to have just fun canicrossing, no pressure of racing (we did want she wanted and whenever she wanted)! We have collected our Titch medal  

Weekend

During one weekend we had any kind of weather, what a great fun! Love that kind of weekends, when we can do whatever we want. It is great to live in Edinburgh as within only 20-30min drive you get to very pretty places. After all that I had two very happy and tired dogs. In four days we are heading to Thetford Forest for 2nd round British National Championship. I am super excited.

 

 

 

The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle

Sometimes weather interrupts your training schedule, or at least it does mine at the minute with all that snow around. Walking dogs is a pain on those icy paths, so I am not even thinking of running.

Praying for weekend

Although it snows and it gets a bit icy, I am praying that for the weekend it all will melt. I love snow, don’t take me wrong, but it doesn’t really help us. Maybe I should consider buying a sledge?

Dogs are loving the free running, but it is time for some harness work. We haven’t done harness work since Sunday with Laferra. Roger still off harness due to his rubbed belly.

I miss running my wee buddy. Roger, soon you will be back in harness. I bet he will be super excited.

Anyway back to the topic, so due to weather I have plan A and plan B.

Plan A: working with dogs.

Plan B: parkrun on my own and dogs again running free.

Let’s hope for Plan A right?! Hah

BSSF round 2 (race 3 and 4)

Oh, how exciting I am about this. The entry is open and I decided to do two classes for a change. I will get warm-up on bikejor and than canicross later. Super excited!

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If you are looking for something different than just canicross event, this is a must. You can see big teams and mushers going out. I have learnt so much during those events that I really recommend it to everyone. The competition brings the best athletes in the UK to one venue to compete with each other.

Races schedule

Until February, we just train and have some fun with dogs. It looks like it is a bit quieter with races than it was last year. Probably my choice as I am more picky about the events too. However, already planning our trip to France in may. That’s us booked accommodation and hopefully soon looking at ferry prices. How exciting? We are going abroad again.

Exciting news

Hopefully next week I will be able to share fantastic news with you. Keep an eye on our blog and facebook page.

 

Bring on 2018

Ok so we had a look what we did in 2017 it is time to look what we will do in 2018. So far it doesn’t look that busy yet.

January

We are away to Wales this weekend for our first qualification for IFSS ECh in Sweden which will happen 24-26th October in Nybro, Sweden. Apparently Pembery is lovely, so hopefully, it is worth the drive. Roger is suffering from an allergy so rest for him.

A week after that we are away to Muiravonside Country Park for another Scottish Championship race. I think Roger might run this one, but it all depends on his allergy.

February

I am planning to attend D&A time trial in Tentsmuir and check how we progress in 4 months with Laferra. Lovely place for walks too.

The middle of a month is taking us to England for BSSF National Championship, which is a second part of the qualification for Sweden. Another long trip for some great races. We loved it last year.

Laferra was still a pup, but during that trip, she proved she is an easy dog to take on travels. That was when I knew if we managed for Poland, she is going (and as you know she was a great companion).

I am tempted to fly to Italy for races on snow at the end of February. Of course not to compete but just go and watch it.

March

I might go and do one of SDAS races in Ford (all depends timing).

As per our tradition, we always did Plean race, as that was our first race ever with Roger. This year we will miss it as we are away for third and last BSSF National Championship somewhere in Scotland.

Our Easter weekend this year we will hopefully spend at one of the Midlands Canicross Series. Four days of racing in different classes.

April

We still be at Midlands races but also we are away to CSS Strathallan Castle races. As last year plan is to do canicross and bikejor.

May

We are away to France for the weekend. Yay super excited about this.

 

Oh yes there might be more to come for sure! But that’s all that I have defo planned and put in our calendars. Actually it looks busier than I thought. Happy racing yay.