Be more dog

We can learn so much from dogs, I can’t think of one thing a dog does that isn’t filled with love or care towards anyone it meets. What about aggressive dogs I hear you cry, or those who don’t listen and do what they want? But think about it; were they like this when they were born? No, any behaviour you see, good or bad, is directly influenced by their owner and some breeds have an unfair reputation because of this.

I have a Rottweiler cross Staffordshire bull terrier, which if you believed what you read in the papers, would make him sound like one of the most aggressive dog combinations in the world. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth, he’s the biggest wimp and doesn’t even hurt flies – he likes following them round the room but doesn’t know what to do when one lands in front of him on the floor. Staffies were originally bred as nanny dogs to look after children, which explains why my one is so good around children and adapts his behaviour so well. Nothing like the image that’s portrayed online or in the news – brought about from a particular type of person who has previously acquired and adorned them with spiked collars to make them look menacing.

Why do we judge anything based on what we read in an article? Dogs don’t read so why do we base so much of our lives on what other people are doing? Be more dog – live your own life!

Dogs are awesome

Altruism is a word I would never put in the same sentence with the word human – I just don’t think it’s possible for a person to be truly altruistic. There will always be a reason why they are helping someone else, whether it’s to make the local paper for a bit of fame, or to make themselves feel good. However, dogs are the definition of altruism. They would do anything for anyone and can sense so much that us mere humans can’t, from fear to cancer – they are amazing. Be more dog, think of others!

When anyone arrives at the house my dog greets them with open arms, regardless of their age, looks, nationality, previous history – he doesn’t judge and accepts anyone. There’s just one simple rule to this statement and that is the person has to show just a bit of kindness to him. Something that us humans so easily forget about, but is one of the best things in the world to do. Be more dog – be kind.

Let it go

People are very good at holding on to grudges and resenting those around them who have caused them to make them feel like that. Think about what a dog does if someone shouts at them or pushes them to the side. They go straight back to how they were and don’t take offence in any way. They let it swoop over their heads as they don’t understand how to hold a grudge. My dog had a bad start to life, but we were lucky enough to rehome home him after he was rescued by a local charity. He should mistrust and hate humans but he doesn’t. Plus life’s way too short! Be more dog – forgive often.

Born again runner

This time last year I was training for my first marathon in awful conditions thanks to the ‘beast from the east’. Fast-forward 12 months and I’m putting my running shoes back on after an injury that lasted 7-months. Running has never been my forte but I enjoy the exhilarating post-run high you feel after getting your blood pumping and clearing your head. So taking a step back from 18-mile runs to follow a new couch to 5k programme is leaving me feeling excited rather than daunted.

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Regular walking intervals make the run easier

Back to basics

I had my first training session today and found the whole process of following the instructions from an app on my phone extremely easy and satisfying. Walking for 5 minutes to warm up before doing intervals of 60 second runs and 90 second walks felt great and left me feeling refreshed. The session got my blood pumping but didn’t leave me feeling breathless or deflated. I ran to my own pace but still pushed myself to run faster than I normally would as I knew each interval would only last for 60 seconds.

Country life

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Time flies when running through the forest

I’m lucky enough to live next to a forest so I chose to run through the trees and escape the mayhem of daily life. Running on soft ground is a lot easier on my joints and the silence helps clear my thoughts. Previously I have entered a number of road races but the ease of this run has made me consider trail running in the future. Swerving pathways, jumping over logs and running alongside streams and trees makes the time exercising pass by in a flash and means the experience is much more pleasant.

A set beginner programme is a great way to get back into running without putting extra pressure on your body. Motivation is finally crawling back into my life and I’m looking forward to my next run as I know what to expect, and if anything like this one, will leave me wanting more. I’m hoping this gives me a refreshing new approach and outlook to a sport that I’m not naturally good at but do enjoy.

Puppy love

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Dragging the dog along too!

A new plan I’ve made is to rope my dog into more running as ‘canicross’ looks like a great avenue to aim towards. I’m not sure how he’ll feel about that but we’ll soon find out. As well as spending more time with him it also gives me something to aim for, which really helps fuel my ambition to improve.