Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More running dogwalk experiments

Finally had a chance to sneak in a dogwalk practice yesterday in between the rain storms and classes and Stuff I have to do.  I had a great suggestion for a training exercise from a reader and I've been eager to give it a shot.  The set-up was jump-dogwalk-jump.  You wrap the dog over the jump, do the dogwalk, wrap the dog over the other jump, etc.  If the dog hits the contact you reward profusely, if not you keep going.  The logical/trainer part of me doesn't like the idea of not marking the miss but it was more fun and felt better not to mark it and keep going.  In a sense the lack of treat is a no-reward marker but still it's getting a bit fuzzy.  Nonetheless I gave it a try.  Results weren't great, 3/7 or 43%.  I'm going to try a few more times though and see if I see improvement over time.  I like to give something new a chance before I dismiss it even if the initial results aren't great.  It's a tiring exercise for both human and dog so I didn't get a whole lot of reps in.  With warmer temps. Strum gets hot and slows down much sooner now and there's no point doing dogwalks when his tongue is hanging out.

I originally thought the point of the exercise was to get the dog to shorten its stride in anticipation of collecting on the flat for the jump wrap but according to the reader this is not correct.  And in reality it didn't work that way either. 

I also ran a course that was set up and had 1/3 (33%) hits on the dogwalk (I missed filming the first rep.).  I also managed to get an A-frame on tape and he missed it and I don't think I noticed.  I need to start paying better attention, that's probably why he's missing in trials, he's doing it in practice and I don't even notice.

The other interesting thing to notice about the video is that I'm striking heel first when I run.  The chiro/p.t. did a video gait analysis of me running on Monday and that was the first thing he pointed out.  Apparently this is a good way to strain your hamstrings.  He gave me an exercise to help me learn to run more flat-footed.  Imagine trying to learn how to run (and walk) a completely different way at age 46.  I'm glad to be able to learn better running form but it's sort of twisting my brain around.  Maybe this is good for me, it'll keep my brain from gathering too much dust.  He's going to take a closer look at the video and give me the results on Friday.  There are 20 different things he looks at.  Who knew running was so complicated?  I always joke it's so easy, any idiot can do it, there's no skill or technique involved at all.  I also realized after the fact that I wasn't supposed to be running but oh well.  I don't think that small amount of running did any damage but I'm going to lay off it until Friday.


  1. You can ruin hamstrings running heel-first? Who would have thought...

    Silvia says that it took Bu over 10 sessions to start hitting the contact zone (but Bu is a weird kind of genious - she tries lots of things that give no result, but once she finds the right one, she's on it).
    Ruby is having problems again after a really good session of this circuit thing... I guess it will take more than one good session to fix this.

  2. I was a terrible heel striker and hated running. Once I realized that it's a very inefficient way to run, I deliberately changed my stride by using a treadmill at the gym near a mirror. Really helps. Also, put on a pair of Vibram Five Fingers and you definitely won't heel strike in those! You only have to run a few yards to get the feel of the new way to stride. (I don't seriously run in Vibrams, in case you wondered, but have tried very short distances on grass with them.)

  3. Much as I don't care for treadmills or being inside I think that's a great idea. I have a pass to the Rec. Center for masters anyway so it doesn't cost me anything to give it a try. I think the treadmills face away from the mirrors though, I'll have to check it out.

    Those Five Fingers shoes make me nervous but maybe it's worth bringing it up with the chiro. He did a talk on them and I missed it but I guess the gist of it was that they can be good if you have good running form but if you don't you can get injured. He treats a lot of runners for injuries, does a lot of gait analysis type stuff too. I love my cushy running shoes though, I can't imagine running trails in those things though I see plenty of people doing it.

    As for the running contact exercise I'm for sure going to give it some more sessions but I sure hope it doesn't take 10! Silvia must have a LOT of patience.

  4. You do have to be careful with the Five Fingers. All I did to get the "feel" of not heel striking (without the support of a mirror on a treadmill) was run about 10-20 steps on grass--literally, that was all I needed to do. You could also do it barefoot. Trust me, your body won't let you heel strike without shoes on!

  5. Ah, barefoot for a few steps I can try. I'll have to find a good place though but I have some ideas.