Oakley and I ran 3 miles and actually did a couple pick-ups or fartleks (spurts of speed) in the middle, and from that, I learned a few more running lessons from my dog.

Dogs are the best partners for pick-ups and a great reminder on how pick-ups should be handled.

Running Lessons from my dog

Ready to go

Running Lessons from my Dog

Fartleks or pick-ups are unstructured periods of faster running during a general aerobic run. Oakley, my Australian Cattle Dog, loves them. And he’s teaching me how to love them as well.

1. Dogs get so dang excited


Pick-ups should be fun, not super taxing — so you can do them again.

2. Dogs aren’t self-conscious

They don’t care how they look when they’re running fast.

They just love the wind in their ears, especially Oakley since he is deaf and thinks his ears are solely for scratching and catching wind.

Watch your form, but don’t get self-conscious. No one is worried about you speeding up then slowing down.

3. Dogs don’t wonder if they’re actually going “fast”

Pick-ups are for running a bit harder or faster than what you were previously doing.

Don’t let your thoughts about what is fast or slow get in the way of your training.

4. Dogs don’t care about time or distance

They just run fast until they get tired and then they slow down or stop.

They don’t beat themselves up because they didn’t make it to the light post or the corner.

Play around and experiment. And don’t get down on yourself.

Dog Attitude

I’m going to incorporate some more dog-attitude in my pick-ups, and some more pick-ups in my runs.

Further Reading: