Finding out my perfect fitness buddy has 4 legs and a tail
Steph shares how her dog is her perfect exercise buddy.
Date: 2 December 2023 Author: Energise Me
Like most people, I question whether those who run really like running. At first thought, my quick answer was no, I don’t. However, upon reflection, I realise that my true answer is yes. And here's why.
I consider myself fortunate because I don’t run alone. A significant part of my running motivation is the fact that someone else relies on me to stay active. My running buddy, Rocket is my 3-year-old rescue dog. He’s not just a companion; he’s the force that pulls me out for a run (figuratively and literally!). Regardless of the weather or my feelings, Rocket needs to go out, and I am grateful for that. On days when I lack energy, time, or motivation, I am accountable to him. Surprisingly, I always feel better afterwards. The physical aspect of running aside, the fresh air, being outdoors, witnessing Rocket’s enjoyment, and the sense of achievement all make me feel great!
I’m privileged to be able to access the forest and run beautiful trails not just locally but across Hampshire. Running the same route brings a sense of familiarity and safety but trying a new location with Rocket builds our trust in each other and makes me more adventurous.
Kelly and Rocket pausing for a photo during one of their runs
I am incredibly lucky to have friends and family who want to stay active. The people around me are another bit of motivation. And not only do I get to run with them, sometimes Rocket and I get to run with the humans and their dogs!
Whether catching up, laughing, talking about things that matter, or encouraging each other, running with friends creates memorable experiences. We explore the local area, join in local events, and even plan runs for special occasions, like celebrating a friend’s birthday. (Yes, we became those people that went to Swanage and planned a group run before brunch, don’t judge!)
Recently, Rocket and I got to share our love of canicrossing (running with your dog, connected by a harness and bungee line) with my friend Sammii and her pup, Frank. We set out early in the morning and got to witness the beautiful frost in our local woods. This was their first try together and we were so excited to support them. Starting with a walk, Samii and I chatted, then gradually transitioned into a jog. Both dogs loved running side by side, and we massively appreciated their support running up hills!
understanding your "why" is a really important motivator for the days when you'd really rather not move.
Not only is running my therapy, but it’s now a key part of my fitness routine as I do see the benefits physically. I love a challenge and running is that for me. It isn’t something that I naturally find easy and so building it into my routine feels important to me. I love running with people, but sometimes pushing myself and creating my own head space gives me a different sense of satisfaction.
I don’t believe everyone has to give running a try, but whatever your chosen activity is, understanding your “why” is a really important motivator for the days when you’d really rather not move. Whether it’s the companionship of a four-legged friend, the joy of socialising, or the satisfaction of personal challenges, finding your motivation is something I’d really recommend.
If Kelly’s story has sparked an interest, you can find running groups near you on the Hampshire and Isle of Wight activity finders.