Running with your Dog! How to start a 5K plan.

On the Isle of Wight we have lots of lovely routes to begin a Couch to 5K (C25K) plan and one of our favourites for beginners wanting to run with their dog is in the West Wight along the old railway line running from Yarmouth to Freshwater. 

Starting at the very dog friendly Off the Rails Bistro and Restaurant in Yarmouth this cycle path is a flat route following the banks of the beautiful River Yar and the views are simply spectacular.


If your dog is well trained and will recall you can opt to run off the lead, but the path is wide enough to allow cyclists and walkers to pass for hands free leash running and training.

For our C25K plan we turn around halfway through each weekly run so it's a 'there and back again' route.

To get yourself going follow the plan below. We've got some Trotting Dog tips for beginner dog runners and advice from Personal Trainer Julie Dixon on running for the first time. Don't forget to download the C25K app for your phone to take out with you before you start!


5 minutes brisk walk to warm up followed by 20 minutes alternating between:

1 minute running

1 ½ minutes walking

5 minute walk to cool down

Trotting Dog tip: Start your leash training BEFORE you start running with your dog and invest in a harness and ideally a hands free leash. We don't recommend running with your dog using a collar as this places too much pressure on their necks. A hands free leash will also allow you to reward train on the go.

Julie's running tip: Get your mind prepared. The first run is always the hardest. It might be difficult, it may hurt or you may feel you won't get through it. So be prepared and you will complete it and will feel so proud of your accomplishment at the end!



5 minute brisk walk to warm up followed by 20 minutes alternating between:

1 ½ minutes running

2 minutes walking

5 minute walk to cool down 

Trotting Dog Tip: Take plenty of treats and work on your 'heel' or 'walk on' command, whichever you prefer to use. You are aiming for a loose leash when running so you are not being controlled by your dog. Periodically give treats when your dog is by your side to keep their attention and reward them for staying near to you.

Julie's running tip: Remember your posture. It's important not to slouch when running which is often what happens if we are tired or struggling. By staying upright with shoulders back and down you are opening up your lungs and diaphragm which means it is easier to breathe!



5 minute brisk walk warm up followed by:

1 ½ minutes running

1 ½ minutes minutes walking


3 minutes running

3 minutes walking


5 minute walk to cool down

Trotting Dog Tip: Whilst you are training your dog to run on a loose leash with you keep them on one side of you for consistency and familiarity.

Julie's running tip: Run at your own pace. If you are with a group then don't feel shy about running slowly or even being the speedy one. Most good C25K groups will switch around the runners from front to back during the session to give everyone a confidence boost. If you run at a pace for you then you will enjoy running much more.


In the next blog... share your photographs #5khoundbound & #myisleofwight

Weeks four to six! We love to see how you are getting on so remember to share your photographs using the hashtags #5khoundbound and #myisleofwight. If you don't have a hands free running leash and harness check out ours at

Marianne & Spike

27 February 2018

By Marianne Su-Yin in The locals' blogs