How to Run With a Tornado

Even though the 5k is over, I am still trying to keep up with my running. I can’t say I am doing a very good job. The humidity of the summer is only one factor. Sure and I am also concerned about re-injuring my apparently delicate ankles, but the main reason I have slowed my pace is that it kind of sucks with run with a tornado.

Before the marathon, I had only really run with Shiva. I didn’t know how much easier it could be without Her Wackiness at the end of a leash. I suppose I didn’t know what I was missing. With the solo run of the 5K in my pocket, when I started to head out again with the dog, I noticed immediately how much more awkward things are with a leash and puppy.

1. With Shiva around I need to be sure I am wearing clothes with pockets. I need space for things like poop bags and kibble bits in case we encounter any other dogs on our journey. Yes, I could probably get one of those awful pouch things to tie around my waist but my vanity is only so lenient. I may have to get over this as on a warm day clothes with pockets are not a good idea.

2. Dogs don’t sweat. I find myself worrying a lot about keeping Shiva properly hydrated and preventing heat stroke. The second she starts to pant I feel like I should slow down or find a water source. I could avoid this by bringing water with us – smart – but then the above issues comes into play again. How do I carry a water bottle with me? Should I start running with a backpack?

3. It’s hard to move naturally with a leash. I am even starting to wonder if running with the dog was part of the cause of my ankle problem. During the 5K I had no pain at all. After half an hour with Shiva, I can feel the soreness returning. It’s hard to say. The crappy uneven sidewalks may be the larger culprit. Regardless, I don’t move the same way with the dog. Perhaps this come with practice?

4. Shiva really likes to sniff. Like, a lot. Many many times I find myself stopping  mid-stride to wait for her to finish reading her mail. It gets a little frustrating. Since I am still doing a run-walk-run sequence anyway she does get opportunities to get her sniff on during the walking sections. Unfortunately, Shiva’s favourite locations for snorting the daily news change up every day. It’s hard to predict where she will want to stop.

5. Shiva is just plain unpredictable. We’ll be moving at a steady pace, things will finally start to feel natural, and then out of nowhere she’ll lunge for a chunk of grass in the middle of the road, or decide to jump onto a five-foot wall. It’s disconcerting. I have had a few close calls with traffic and concrete. Situations like those are easy to control when walking. When I add a little speed or if I start to relax, it’s much harder.

6. With the dog, I can’t listen to music. I like to have all my senses fully functioning when I am out with the dog. It’s good to be able to hear someone approaching from behind. Being aware of our surroundings makes it really easy to prevent possible reactions. When I run, however, I find music really helps keep me in the zone. I am not thinking about the pain as much or how tired and sweaty I am. When I run with Shiva I can’t ever get to that head space.

I know if I decide to stop running with the dog, I will probably stop running entirely. There is no way I could gather up the motivation to walk her for two hours a day while also going out on my own. It won’t happen.

Perhaps like Pamela and Honey I just need to stop worrying about looking like a dork and wear an ugly pouch. Or maybe I can cross my fingers and hope our new house will be near a trail where Shiva can run off-leash. Wouldn’t it be loverly?


Because it is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month at, I am taking a minute every day in June to share a couple of the cats waiting for their forever homes.

 This black beauty is Lady Gaga. I chose her specifically because her friends at the SPCA of Tompkins County believe she will make the perfect family cat and gets along well with other animals. Potentially even golden retrievers. The Lady came from a hoarding situation where she was one of almost fifty other cats. While she was well-socialized, the lack of veterinary care she received during this time caused her to lose most of her teeth. Not to be deterred, she still enjoys her food and would make a super-friendly companion.



Arlo here is another friendly guy who sounds like he’d do well in a home with dogs. He’s been partying it up at the Vancouver Branch of the BC SPCA. His gorgeous grey fur has me smitten already. According to the shelter, he is more like a kitten than a cat. He is playful and happy and looking to brighten the life of his new family.

23 thoughts on “How to Run With a Tornado

  1. Hi Kristine, okay given everything you’ve detailed above about running with Shiva, we’d suggest that you either run by yourself (avoiding most or all of the issues above, but you might want to wear a “camel back” or carry water for hydration) and do a walk and play session with Shiva. I like to smell lots of things all the time and I can turn and stop suddenly causing my dad to either jump to the side or risk bumping into me. So to compound that with a super duper active kid (Shiva), well…..


  2. Do you think a quality hands free leash would help you? Sarah Kalnajs makes a really nice hands free leash system that may be of use for you. That way your arms can be free and you may be able to keep a more normal stride/ motion (this system fits low on your hips so it’s right around the center of your mass and makes it harder for you to be pulled over by Shiva). You could also try putting “go sniff” on cue–I did this with Rio for biking… I didn’t want him to suddenly stop to sniff while we were going on the bike because it would be dangerous for him… so I would give him opportunities to “go sniff” places I figured would be good sniffing spots and he figured out not to try and sniff while running, wait until i give him a chance to sniff on his own.

    Or… run safely without the Shiv-ster …or split the difference…run some days alone and others w/ Shiva.


  3. I agree 100% with you about the pouch. Ugh. I still maintain I will never ever ever have one of those around my waist. While I can see the advantages of them – they are just so hideous I cannot bring myself to do it. But I do use the hands-free leash method – I actually use a carabiner that attaches to my belt loop – but it’s great for having both hands free. It helps that Blueberry is not much of a puller.

    Maybe you could try hosing Shiva down before runs so she’ll at least maintain a cool temp for a little while. I’ve done that with my dogs before – here in Arizona during monsoon season when it is 90 degrees for our low (yes, at 5am it is that warm) and 75% humidity – it helps a lot.


  4. Bum bags are hideous! The Other Half sometimes wears one. I would rather die.

    I tie poop bags on the leash. Over here, you can buy them in small clip on containers as well. I tie money and keys in a bandanna and wrap it round my wrist which I can then also use to mop the sweat off my face. The mob of course goes into a back or side pocket. The Other Half sometimes walks/runs with the leash slung over a shoulder and across his body. It seems to work alright. Who would have thought walking or running with a dog could be such a production!


  5. I have seen joggers with the dogs lead attached to a strap on their waste. Not sure how you’d get on if Shiva is prone to stopping or vearing off, but it would leave your arms free.


  6. I have a few tips. The first one, which makes the biggest difference (I think) is getting a waist leash with a bungee in it. Basically, it is just a leash that will circle your waist and clip on, leaving your hands and arms free, then with the leash part of it having some bungee or shock cord in it, which both softens the force of random charges and stops by the dog and prevents the leash from getting tangled in her legs.

    The waist part of the leash would also give you a place to attach a treat container of some kind, and put the baggies.

    Also, I ended up making Koira a swimsuit, partly for when we do dock diving, but also to help keep her cool. The light weight, light colored reflective fabric keeps her much cooler than having her very short black fur in the direct sunlight. It also gives me a chance to dump some water on her and have it evaporate slowly, to keep her cool as well (her fur is too short for getting her wet to help much without some kind of clothing).


  7. I’m imagining a post written by Shiva in which she outlines the disadvantages of running with Kristine. Slow…far too slow. Doesn’t know where all the good smells are.
    Doesn’t understand the importance of the smell-messages. Vain. Delicate ankles. Predictably boring…


  8. Here’s a thought. We have backpacks for the dogs, and some of them run pretty lightweight. You could put one on Shiva and let her carry her own paraphernalia while you run without pockets. You could even put a collapsible water bowl in it and stop at one point to give her a drink.


  9. Oh my… I’m sort of the expert on running with dogs so I hope some of this advice can help! I have written a book about it, 5K Training Guide | Running with Dogs and get interviewed by magazines like Runner World, Women’s Health and others about it all the time. Not to mention I’ve run with my own dogs for years!

    If your run is not longer than 45 minutes here’s a big thing that will help…. you don’t need to take water with you!! Just make sure your dog has had ample water in the hour before running and make sure to get your dog water right afterward. As well, if it is warm, wet your dog down before going. It’s the wet with air flow that will keep your dog cool since they don’t have sweat glands. You can also do the same after the run should it be a warmer day.

    I life in Hawaii. It’s warm and it can be humid. Dogs do adapt. Your dog has been the same circumstances for a while now as far as weather goes. There is adaptation there. Just make sure to hydrate before and after. Same for yourself.

    There are all kinds of hands free leashes that work well. I tend to shorten them up so that they let about 4 feet out for the dog. That way they don’t tend to lag behind in distraction or have enough space to wander over in front of your feet. A waist belt will help with the number one rule, keep moving and so will your dog. When dogs get distracted we tend to unconsciously follow their lead and slow up or leave our intended path of forward motion. Keep your momentum going in the direction you want to go and don’t give your dog the chance to break through it. Your body weight and the waist belt can be very helpful with this way of running at a comfortable pace with your dog.

    I hope those tips help and if you’d like to talk personally please feel free to contact me!
    Aloha wags!


  10. Wow – those really are a lot of obstacles…especially wearing the fanny pack. That’s a biggie!! 😉 Fingers crossed that you find a nice trail near the new place….
    I’m still in awe that you ran five miles in the first place…with or without a dog! Walk five miles, yeah, sure…but run??? I’m exhausted just thinking about it.


  11. Cali never enjoyed running with me, so I had to do it without her. The waist leash sounds like a great idea and I love all of JT Clough’s suggestions! Good luck!!


  12. I feel like I could have written this post- I feel your pain! I finished the couch to 5k with Pearl but I haven’t run with her since. I am with you- if I don’t run with Pearl I won’t run because I am too lazy/tired/busy to run alone and THEN walk her our normal amount of time. Pearl pulls a ton to get to smells and I have found that a waist leash does solve the running lopsided problem but it doesn’t help so much with the pulling toward smells and I felt like I had less control if we came across something I didn’t want her to eat off the ground or lunge at. I sacrificed vanity for a pouch, but it sucked anyway because it bounced as I ran and if I unzipped it to get a poop bag or a piece of kibble, everything fell out of it. I kind of feel like a quitter and maybe I will go back to it again at some point, but for now we are fine with walking.


  13. Can I send Dexter over to you? He would *love* to go running every day. Check out Smoochy Poochy, they make hands free leashes that look really good and (I think) even have a little baggie attached to the leash for “stuff”


  14. Wowzie Woo Zoo, you got an running with your dog expert to weigh in. I guess I have nothing to say now! 🙂

    I used to run with Agatha and Christie. We started out with a regular walk so they could get their sniffies and poops in before we took off running.

    My biggest problem was that they always stopped to howl at sirens. And in Philadelphia, that was a pretty frequent occurrence.

    BTW, I’d worry that a waist leash would be dangerous. Are they made out of stretchy materials so Shiva wouldn’t pull you off your feet?


  15. I have never tried running with our pet dog. One of my greatest fear is when I encounter other dogs on my way while I have my dog with me, it’s going to be a huge disaster for the both of us!


  16. I heard about a website selling really cool supplies for people who run with dogs…I’ll have to see if I can find it and send it to you. Also, have you checked out the Pooch to 5k website? Audrey might have some great tips there. Hang in there.


  17. I was using a fanny pack for the longest time and while I don’t run with the dogs (most days) and if I do it’s only quick little bursts, I still find all the stuff I have to bring with me, plus one crazy done on a 15 foot leash a lot to juggle. Our walking area is very buggy so I usually wear long pants with deep pockets. I try and stuff as much as possible in there, I know that doesn’t help you with Shiva. I do hope your new place has a nice off-leash area, that would solve many of your problems. 🙂


  18. It is really advisable to walk or run your dog for their exercise.. But right after your walking, let them rest for awhile and give then water..
    Thanks for your tips and info here.


  19. Oh my gosh – it would be so great if you were able to run with Shiva off-leash. If she stopped to sniff she could just catch up with you when she was done. I’m hoping for a house for you near the trails.


  20. I hate that I can’t comment on your blog posts via my cell phone. I read this and wanted to shout “I have a possible solution!” There is a business called StuntPuppy here in MN that sells leashes for runners who run with their dogs. I see runners with them on all of the time. I left you a link on FB. Maybe after you move you can see if they would work for you.

    Of course, there is no way to prevent those sudden stops to sniff something. 🙂


  21. SO much of this sounds familiar. Le sigh…

    I’ve basically given up on becoming a runner because of Desmond. Now we just do random sprints for a block or we’ll jog for two blocks–or we’ll be running away from some dog. Good times.


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