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How Our Dog Helped Us Train For A Half-Marathon Posted on February 06, 2017

Half-Marathon DogIt was around this time last year that we decided to step up our fitness by training for a half-marathon. We’ve been around the block enough times to know that signing up and paying for an organized run increases the odds that we will get into the “new year’s resolution” kind of shape that we’ve envisioned. What we didn’t anticipate was how much our dog Zola was going to help with our training.

Our running partner was born to run.

We knew that Zola’s Border Collie genes make her take her "running job" very seriously, and that her Husky genes make her pull like a son-of-a-bitch (no pun intended).  Training with Zola for a half-marathon proved that she can easily run longer distances. She really wants to run and even pushed us to run faster. To keep her pulling in check and to ensure that we maintained proper running form, we ran with the Runner's Choice hands-free dog leash.

Building our dog's training base kept us from training too hard too early.

Nothing crushes your fitness goals quicker than an injury early in the season.  The best way to prevent this, and to ensure that you can handle the rigors of endurance training, is to start out easy and gradually build your distance. We reverse engineered our half-marathon training program from the planned race date. That told us the distances we should be able to run in the first weeks of the half-marathon training, and how many weeks we had to work up to that target distance. Here's the deceivingly easy training plan that we used for the half-marathon training.

Half-Marathon Training Plan For Dog

To prepare for this we first trained for a 5-K and then a 10-K during the Winter and early Spring. It was easy going, extremely doable, and by the time we started the half-marathon training we knew for certain that all three of us where in the right shape to start upping our miles.

Early morning runs kept our dog out of the heat and kept us from procrastinating.

One of our biggest concerns for Zola was that the summer heat in Colorado would prevent her from running with us. The dangers of heat exhaustion and dehydration are well known. The challenge when running with a dog is that they can't tell you when they are too hot or thirsty, so it's up to you to manage it. Our solution was to start our runs at 6 am, while the air and ground was still cool.

I thought that this would be a bit of a nightmare, getting up earlier than normal and running before consuming a full pot of coffee. It turned out to be just fine and to have a bit of a silver lining - by getting the runs finished first thing in the morning, life didn't get in the way of a single training run. We just got up and did it, procrastination be damned.

Tracking our dogs progress kept us motivated.

According to Wired Magazine, "fitness trackers use psychology to motivate couch potatoes". By using the Whistle Activity Monitor we got the benefits of a Jawbone, Fitbit, Misfit, etc. without having to wear our geekiness on our sleeve. Check out the day that we did our 2 hour and 15 minute training run with Zola. That dog sped up the entire run!

Throughout our training the focus was on Zola. Sure it was our half-marathon (the race we picked didn't allow us to run with our dog), but she trained for it with us every step of the way. After the race Carla gave Zola her medal, she was more proud of Zola's accomplishment than her own. So the next time we train for an endurance event, we'll be looking for dog-friendly race so that Zola can come along.

First Iron Doggy Selected Event of 2017 Posted on January 08, 2017

Iron Doggy Selected Event

The folks down in in Tempe, Arizona are wasting no time when it comes to racing with their dogs. On Saturday, January 28th the 2nd Annual Boxer Luv 10k/5k Run will be held at Kiwanis Park. Last year, Jeff Wruble and his dog finished the 5k in 20:35, and Amanda Ross was just about 1 minute behind them. This year prizes will be awarded to the top male and female finishers, but everyone will feel like a winner just for showing up to the starting line.

The 10k/5k run supports the Boxer Luv Rescue, an all-volunteer 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. This organization has saved the lives of more than 8300 abandoned, injured, ill and abused Boxers since 1998, and is one of the largest Boxer rescues in the USA. Iron Doggy is extremely happy to support such a great organization and awesome dog-friendly run. If you're in the area later this month, we highly recommend that you and your pooch get in on the action. If you want to just run your own race, you can still show them some Boxer Luv by donating to their worthy cause directly.


Neely Spence Gracey Let's Her Dog Do The Talking Posted on December 07, 2016

We checked in recently with our favorite local celebrity, Neely Spence Gracey. You know the one, she's the elite distance runner you saw last Spring with her dog Strider on the cover of Runner's World Magazine. We wanted to know how their training was going and because she is busy, Neely let Strider send us an update. It's an interesting read, not just because it is written by a Vizla but also because we can see that Neely takes all forms of training very seriously.

Here's what she had to say ...

Hi, My name is Strider Gracey, I am a 1.5yr old Vizsla from Boulder, CO. Last spring, I was on the cover of Runner’s World with my mom. We are professional athletes. (But she hasn’t let me race with her yet because I think so knows I would win!).

When I was little, I only got to do her 1 mile warm up a few days a week, but now I get to run longer! We trained for the NYC marathon this fall, and I did 3-4 miles with her at a time. I don’t know how she races so fast when all our runs are so slow. Sometimes I get bored and try to chase leaves, or say hi to other runners, or push the pace a little. Even though I run much faster and for much longer at the dog park, I love running with my mom.

Every time she gets my running leash out, I know what’s coming and I get so excited!  The Iron Doggy leash is what I was trained with from the time I was very little. I learned that when it is on, it means we focus on the task and it’s not a time to stop and smell all the bunny trails. Mom clicks it around her waist, and we are off! I always stay on the left side and can never put tension in the leash. If I start to get too antsy and push the pace, mom pulls the leash until I am back by her side. I used to get too excited, but now I follow the rules most of the time. I also learned my lefts and rights so that when we run, mom doesn’t trip over me when we turn! I go left when she says so, and then she always acts so happy and I feel good knowing I did it right!

I don’t like to be left at home, and now that it’s cooler I get to go running more often. Extra cookies after the run, a big drink of water, and then I curl up in my new bed while mom works. When dad gets home, we go to the dog park and I get to have a real workout! My favorite game is “catch me if you can”. I always win.

Until next time!

Strider Gracey

by Sue Foster under Neely Spence Gracey

Holiday Photo Contest Posted on November 28, 2016

We're giving away two Iron Doggy $100 Gift Cards to lucky winners on December 17th, just in time for your holiday order!

by Sue Foster under

Running Dog Holiday Gift Guide Posted on November 23, 2016

Iron Doggy Holiday Gift Guide

Here's Iron Doggy's take on the top items anyone who runs with their dog would love to find under the tree this holiday season ...

  • Boulder Dog Food Co. Bison Cubes & Chicken Bits - $10 - We carry a baggy of high-powered treats with us on a run to give our dog a little pick-me-up, and to use as a reward/distraction when we need her to focus. The folks who make these treats use great ingredients, and Zola loves them.
  • Large Kong Classic - $12 - These things are life savers, we keep a half-dozen or so in our freezer at all times. Our dog makes a ritual out of eating them in the evening, especially when it's stuffed with Zola's favorite Kong recipe.
  • Musher's Secret - $12 - You've heard it from us before. Running in the ice and snow is a complete drag when your dog is wearing those funky boots. Apply a little Musher's Secret to your doggy's paws, and you're good to go.
  • SpiBelt Solo Pocket - $14 - We each have one of these attached to our Iron Doggy Belts just so we never run out of poop bags. As we have shown, it is possible to stuff this little thing with all sorts of junk but we try to keep it light when we were going for a run. 
  • Runner's Cap - $20 - We think this is the perfect winter running hat because it is extremely lightweight, and easily tucks away in your pocket when you don't need it. It also has a really cool picture of a dog embroidered on the front.
  • Gentle Leader Head Collar - $20 - Yes our dog hates it but sometimes it's the only thing that slows her down. We always bring it on a run, just in case. As an added challenge, see if you can condition your dog to love it. 
  • Vintage Track Shirt - $25 - Beautifully designed and silk screened by hand, you've got to try it yourself to believe how amazingly great this shirt feels when you slip it on after a long run (we think it might be the rayon but that's just a wild guess). 
  • Iron Doggy Hands-Free Dog Leashes - $43 - $48 - What kind of list would this be if we didn't mention the Runner's Choice and SideKick Hands-Free Dog Leashes? We love them both, not just because they are the most cleverly designed, best built running leashes on the market, but also because they make running with our dog the highlight of our day.

A Dog-Friendly 5K You Won't Want To Miss Posted on October 24, 2016

Iron Doggy Selected Event

Does your dog love to run? So did Gulliver. In fact, this beautiful Hungarian Vizsla loved it so much, he continued his running routine throughout his treatment for canine lymphoma. For the fourth year in a row you have the opportunity to run in memory of this amazing dog, and to help raise money for the National Canine Cancer Foundation.

Gulliver's Run 5k will take place on November 6, 2016 at Gifford Pinchot State Park near Harrisburg, PA. The very civilized 10:30 AM race start time makes it easy to schedule into your day, you will want to stick around afterwards for food, music, and the awards ceremony. Who knows, you and your pup might just win a hands-free running leash

We are so happy to have designated this race as an Iron Doggy Selected Event. Do it because your dog loves to run, and for all of the dogs like Gulliver who never give up.

Photo Credit: Nathan Raupach
by Sue Foster under

Hit The Road With Citizen Advocacy of Chester County Posted on October 16, 2016

Phoenixville Rub

We've got the inside scoop that your well behaved pup is welcome to run by your side at the Phoenixville 10k and 5k Run. This is an event that is near and dear to Iron Doggy's hearts because we have had firsthand experience witnessing the magic of the work of Citizen Advocacy of Chester County. This organization helps people build relationships with and advocate for a person with disabilities in their community. It's a beautiful thing, and that's why we could not pass up the opportunity to designate this run as an Iron Doggy Selected Event.

The run takes place Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 8:30 AM in historic Phoenixville, PA. A few of you might be tempted by the $1,100 in cash prizes, others might just do it for the food and live music, but most of you will be there for the chance to win an Iron Doggy hands-free dog leash. Whatever your motivation, we think you and your dog will enjoy the 30th anniversary of this event - that's 210 in dog years!



by Sue Foster under

Go The Distance With Your Dog Posted on October 11, 2016

We are beside ourselves with excitement to see yet another dog-friendly half marathon taking place this season. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Angie Weiss and her dog Ghost, you have one more opportunity to put your distance skills to the test. Angie contacted us last month to give us the good news. After searching far and wide to find a distance race that she could run with Ghost, a task made far easier by looking at the Iron Doggy Race Page, Angie threw up her hands and decided to organize one herself.

The Mad City Canicross Tails n Trails Half Marathon takes place October 16, 2016 at Blue Mound State Park, WI. This means a whole host of good things for all of you folks out in the Madison - Dubuque region: 1) You can run an honest to goodness half marathon with your dog (or a 10k or a 5k, if that's more your cup of tea), 2) you can do it this weekend, 3) you can win yourself one of your very own, highly acclaimed, Runner's Choice or SideKick hands-free dog leashes, and 4) you can do all this while supporting the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine and OccuPaws Guide Dog Association.

We are super impressed by the hard work and dedication it took to make this event a reality, so we are pleased to designate the Tails n Trails Half Marathon as an Iron Doggy Selected Event. If you and you're dog in the neighborhood this weekend, go see what this half marathon is all about. While you're at it, give Angie and Ghost a high-five for making it happen.

Yes, You Can Run a Half-Marathon With Your Dog Posted on September 15, 2016

Canine Classic at The Resort at Paws Up

It's that time of year for the 8th Annual Canine Classic, where you can run a half-marathon with your dog through a beautiful 37,000 acre working ranch in North West Montana. Need we say more?

It wasn't that long ago that we trained for a half-marathon with our dog, and we were surprised at how well she performed. If you find yourself up in the Missoula area on the weekend of September 24th, then you can put your training to the test with this timed run.

If the half-marathon sounds like a bit much, there's also 5-mile and 2-mile version of the event. Afterwards, you'll be treated to live music and a delicious BBQ. You will also be in the running to win some super cool prizes, not the least of which will be one of our very own Iron Doggy leashes. Best of all, you'll be supporting the great work of the Humane Society of Western Montana

Need we say more?

by Sue Foster under

It’s Race Time In Arkansas Posted on September 01, 2016

The folks at Mountain Home 5K have grabbed the first weekend of Autumn to hold Jog With Your Dog, a benefit race for the local dog park and the Humane Society of North Central Arkansas. The event is split into two tracks - a 5k run for you industrious types, and a 1 mile walk for those of you who like to ease into your day. Show up at the Mountain Home Dog Park bright and early on Saturday, September 24th. The race starts at 8 AM, at 9:15 they’ll hold the official awards ceremony.

At Iron Doggy, we know that events where you can run with your dog are becoming increasingly popular. By the mid-point of this year we had documented on the Iron Doggy race page over 200 canine running events for 2016.  Even though it’s the first year for the Jog With Your Dog 5k, we can tell that these folks have thought of everything. That's why we chose them as an Iron Doggy Selected Event. Race organizers have even gone the extra mile by making the 5K a timed run (not every race does this but they should).

Don’t have a dog? They’ve worked that out. The Humane Society will have an adoptable dog at the race with your name on it. Don’t have a proper running leash? Well you could win a SideKick Hands-Free Leash just for signing up for the run. Can’t wait that long? Email a copy of your event registration and we’ll send you a coupon for 10% discount off either of our leashes (offer expires October 1st) .
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