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Canicross Couch to 5K training program - Week 1

Canicross Couch to 5K training program - Week 1

This canicross training program has been designed to help you build from a complete beginner to being able to take on a 5km together with your dog.

The program is made by multiple World-, European- and British champion in canicross, Ben Robinson. Get to know him better in this video;

The schedule will build in duration as the weeks go on and become a little harder too as your fitness improves.

It is entirely optional whether you prefer to run the sessions alone (without the dog) and have them accompany you free running if it is safe to do so, or if you prefer you can of course work together throughout.

Either way, it is encouraged that you remain as active as possible and therefore you can include additional walking, biking or swimming together on other days as a form of general fitness or cross training.

The sessions are suggested as Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday/Sunday. Again, this is optional, but try to give consideration to spreading out the runs to allow the body time to recover adequately. Remember pace is all relative to yourself so even as suggested time or effort increases you should choose a suitable pace that challenges you but allows you the chance to complete the sessions.

canicross training

It’s important to note with an increase in physical activity you should ensure you are eating a healthy balanced diet and drinking plenty of fluids to remain hydrated.

I personally would advise eating 3-4 hours prior to run sessions, although a small snack 2+ hours before should be OK. I would not drink large quantities of water within the last hour or two but try to ensure you are hydrated before this point if at all possible.

After sessions ensure you both eat and drink to refuel and aid recovery as soon as you feel able to do so.

Some optional basic strength and core exercises are included which can help improve running performance and reduce the risk of injuries. These are optional but can be performed 1-2 times per week (spaced out with at least three days between).

Good luck/Ben

Training plan, week 1

Session 1

  • 3-min brisk walking as warm up.
  • 6 * (30s jog/1:30 walk). Alternate 30s jogging with 1:30 walking continuously (this can be as fast or slow as you feel you need) six times for a total duration of 12 minutes.
  • 3-min brisk walking as cool down.

Session 2

  • 3-min brisk walking as warm up.
  • 6 * (1 minute jog/1 minute walk) As with session 1, alternate for 6 rounds of jog/walk for a total duration of 12 minutes.
  • 3-min brisk walking as cool down.

Session 3

  • Canicross, 500m.Try to choose a well-defined trail with a clear route to follow, that is good underfoot. It would be best for it to be flat or mildly undulating only. Allow at least 5 minutes either side to warm up & cool down. This can include brisk walking or some light jogging, if safe to do so the dog can accompany free or alternatively add on a few minutes of lead walking to the warm up routine.

running with dog

Click here if you want to learn more about warming up and cooling down.

Session 4

  • 12-min brisk walking/jogging. Treat this as a recovery session which is completed to "feel", if you are particularly tired then take this as an opportunity to walk only, if you feel motivated to add a little more to the week then can add some jogging (as much or as little as required) across the duration.

Strength exercises

To be performed twice per week (spread out with at least two full days of rest between sessions).

2-3 sets of each exercise aiming for around 12-15 repetitions.

1. Glute bridge

Lie face up on the floor, feet flat on ground with knees bent.

Engage glutes to lift hips off the ground until knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line.

Hold for a brief pause before easing back to start position.

2. Sit to stand

Start seated in a chair with arms by your side.

Without using your arms, engage lower body, push weight through heels to stand up.

After a brief pause return to starting position in controlled movement.

3. Step up

Start with feet shoulder width apart, take a step forward with a lead leg and place it onto a raised step.

Pushing your weight through your heel, lift your body weight and bring your feet back together.

Starting with the same lead leg, reverse the movement back to starting position before repeating with the opposite leg.

4. Calf raise

Start with feet flat on the ground and arms supporting for balance if required. Rise up onto toes by pushing weight into the ground. After a brief pause, return slowly to the starting position.

Continue to week 2.

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