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How Canicross Differs from Trail Running – Tips from a Seasoned Runner

An overview of Episode 11 of the Active Dog Podcast

We were joined in this episode by Chris Reade who told us about his experience of transitioning from trail running to canicrossing

A trail runners’ journey

  • Chris started running at the age of 9, initially just for fun.
  • His first competitive experience was at the age of 10, when he won a multi-activity event.
  • Chris is a competitive runner, always aiming to improve and win.

Transition into canicross

  • Chris was introduced to Canicross by his dad and participated in his first race in 2006.
  • Initially, there was no specific talk of training with the dogs; they ran with their Labradors on a collar and lead.
  • During the early days of canicross Chris noted the lack of proper gear and kit.

The main challenges running with dogs

  • Running with dogs changes your stride length and requires enhanced core strength.
  • The impact on feet, knees, hips, and core is intensified when running with dogs.
  • Proper technique and training are crucial to prevent injuries and improve performance.

Training Tips we discussed

  • Chris emphasised the importance of warm-ups and core-strengthening exercises.
  • He recommends incorporating speed work into all training routines.
  • And highlights the need for specific footwear with proper grips.
  • Also, Chris suggests mixing training with and without dogs to build overall fitness.

Advice for beginners

  • Avoid doing too much, too soon to avoid injuries.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of understanding and accommodating your dog’s behavior.
  • Work towards gradual progression in speed and intensity.
  • Consider your dog’s well-being at all times and ensure proper training.

Overall experience and benefits

  • There are challenges with canicross but overall there is more joy when running with dogs.
  • You can create a unique bond with your dog while running.
  • Look at prioritising both your own fitness and your dog’s well-being.


Trail running with dogs, particularly in Canicross, presents its own set of challenges and rewards. Chris Reade’s experience and advice provide valuable insights for both seasoned runners and those new to the sport. Aspiring Canicross participants can benefit from a combination of proper training, gear, and a mindful approach to enjoy this unique and fulfilling activity with their canine partners.

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