Lockdown has been a pain in the arse for routine and particularly the routine of running.

Around this time last year, I went from training for Connemara marathon, to a few laps of our garden, to - basically - becoming a couch potato. With the kids and home (I have four, three of whom are autistic) opportunities to get out and about were few and far between. I went through a stage of getting up at 6am to get out for a 5 km here and there, but that’s no fun. The beautiful local park, Strokestown Park House - where I enjoy most of my exercise - closed due to the pandemic as the grounds are part of a museum and, before I knew it, I wasn’t going outside my house and garden at all.

The pounds piled on both for my dog, Leela, and I and neither of us were happy. I only started running a few years ago in 2017 at the age of 40 and Leela joined our family in 2019. I generally ran alone, I liked the solitude and mindfulness of being out with only my thoughts and daydreams for company. Lovely Leela loved her walks and guilt-tripped me, one planned run morning, into bringing her out. Using her lead and harness, we went out for a slow 5 km, and she absolutely loved it.

Reading a little more into it, I became aware of canicross and how running with your dog can increase your bond. I got a hands-free harness and, eventually, a proper canicross running belt and harness and off we went!

Anyway, I’ve all but given up on long distances, and we go out every day for a 5 km, running four of those. I wouldn’t really dream of going out for a run without her now, she’s my best friend and great company. 🐕🏃🏻 Best Friends. Buddies.