RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — A Ridgewood athlete is pairing her two loves while training for the Lake Placid Ironman: running and dogs.
Anne McDonnell launched Ruff Runners — a dog-running service program — in late January as a way to make the many miles she was logging a little less lonely.
"There's nothing like strapping up your running shoes and looking down to see a smiling, panting dog next you," said McDonnell, who often runs with her own dog. "It's just better, and the last few minutes cooling off with the dog is just the best."
McDonnell takes dogs out for 30 to 45-minute sessions daily or weekly. She starts with walk-run intervals to asses a new dog's pace, and typically completes 2.5 miles per session, she says.
"Running can be a valuable thing to incorporate into many dogs' weekly routines," McDonnell said. "Some dogs need to get their hearts pumping but their families don't have time to take them for runs — that's where I come in."
McDonnell wears a GPS watch on every run so that she can send a link tracking the dog's pace, route and distance to its owner after each session.
She can also strap on a Go-Pro camera and send clips of dogs running down the street in a client log-in section coming to her website soon, she said.
McDonnell offers a 6-week kickstart program and will run several times a week with any dog at varying rates.
Anyone who wants to run with their dog should "start slow," McDonnell said.
"The most important thing i just ensuring that your dog is of the appropriate health," she said. "Owners should speak with their veterinarians to make sure there's no concern about running with a dog."
CLICK HERE for more on Ruff Runners.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.