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mySASY - Interview with canicross runner Jan Hladký

Updated: Mar 14, 2022

Taken from the blog mySASY

„mySASY taught us to rest more and to use supercompensation more effectively“

  • How long have you been doing mushing and what has enchanted you so much?

I have been involved in mushing, specifically canicross and other individual disciplines such as cycling or scootering with a dog, since 2011. It definitely won me over by combining the sports performance of a man and his dog. If one of the team's dog or human is significantly weaker, you will never achieve good results as a team.

  • How long has the club been operating, what do you do within the JCC Musher Club and what was the first impulse for its establishment?

We founded the club as such almost right after I started active sports in 2012. Originally it was just an unofficial group of several enthusiasts. The first impulse was just to give our sport a deeper meaning and especially its own jerseys. In 2015, we have already established an official association. We soon became members of the Czech Sports Union and the Czech Sleddog Sports Association. Today we associate competitors and their dogs from all over the country, but also from Slovakia. As a club, we have quite a wide scope. Our members run trail runs, road runs, extreme endurance races, bike and scooter races and much more. However, we focus mainly on mushing, most of its disciplines. Canicross (running with a dog), Scooterjöring (scooter with one or two dogs), Bikejöring (bicycle with one dog), Skijöring (cross-country skiing with one or two dogs). We already have competitors in the categories of dog sleds, where they race on sledges in the winter or on carts outside the winter season with more dogs. That's where the real mushing starts :).

  • Can anyone become a member of the JCC Musher Club?

Yes, we do not oppose anyone. On the contrary, we are happy for every active member who expands our sports family. Club membership does not only mean the opportunity to wear our jersey and participate in big races. It also means becoming part of a party of people who meet outside races at training camps and other events. In fact, we do not even insist that potential applicants for membership make sports only in mushing. We are also open to other athletes who just want to belong somewhere.

  • What is the difference between classic trail running training and canicross? Is it mainly about technic?

The differences may be minimal at first glance. However, it all depends on the size of the dog that is pulling you. The bigger the dog, the more brutal this sport can be. Canicross runs at distances from 3 to 9 km and the average pace of the top men's easily attacks the border under 3 minutes per kilometer. From this it can be sensed that the dog plays a significant role in this performance. The main difference is the fact that in canicross you have to reckon with the great strength of the dog that pulls you. In canicross, unlike a trial run, you no longer run for yourself. It could be said that canicross runner have it easier on the hillside and straight sections. However, this predominance ends at the runs down hill, the ability to stay on your feet plays a major role here, and your running pace is often dictated by the dog, which is not a threat in a trail run.

  • How did you get to mySASY and what do you see as its biggest benefit?

I first got to mySASY as an individual athlete. I read an interesting article, I don't even know exactly what blog it was, sometime in 2017. As a fan of technology in sports, I started experimenting. Subsequently, I recruited a few friends from the club and we all "tested" how it actually works. I clearly see the fact that mySASY will warn us when to slow down as the biggest benefit. Especially amateur athletes, of whom the vast majority in canicross, tend to train unnecessarily hard. This causes injuries or just stagnation. Paradoxically, mySASY taught us to relax more and, on the other hand, to use supercompensation more effectively. Previously, we only "guessed" when the time was right for a demanding workout. Today, thanks to supercompensations and other mySASY metrics, we can manage our trainings effectively.

  • Is canicross suitable for every dog ​​breed, or does the dog have to meet some standards in order to compete?

Canicross, like mushing, generally does not regulate breed requirements, so it is possible to play sports with any dog. Of course, given his physical capabilities and abilities. We have different breeds in the club, from beagles, through various shepherd or cattle breeds.

  • Is there a breed in this sport that excels over others?

If you want to break through and get to the elite level, you can't do without special crossbreeds of so-called European sled dogs (ESD). It is a mixture of German Shorthair, Greyhound and English Pointer. These hybrids are purposefully bred to literally live for mushing. They reach high speeds, have great power and, moreover, are relatively easy to work with. They are docile and have already had a genetically related relationship. Today, there are more similar hybrids, such as the so-called Eurohounds, who also have Nordic breeds or their hybrids in their blood.

  • How is the training preparation of the dog and the competitor? What does the training mainly consist of?

Again, it depends on the discipline and the distance you are preparing for, from which the training volumes are based. However, dog and human training are separate for several reasons. The main thing is the fact that training 3-4 times a week canicross means that sooner or later you will get an unpleasant injury and you will soon tired of your dog with his declining condition and performance. Therefore, runners train independently, their training often does not interfere with the training of an elite athlete. We also train dogs independently, usually in the pull on a bike or scooter, we use the brakes to keep them at the required speeds. Even dog training does not interfere with athlete training.

  • Regeneration certainly belongs to the right training. How does such a dog racer regenerate, for example?

We also distinguish between short-term and long-term regeneration in dogs. The first is between training units within weeks in one season. These are free walks, swimming and other additional activities that act as active regeneration. It is long-term between seasons, it is very often all summer until autumn, when it stretches minimally and dogs tend to employ additional sports or train with physiotherapists and specialized fitness courses for dogs.

  • How long routes do they usually race?

Mushinng divides distances into Sprints, Midles and Longs, even on or off the snow. Canicross is often run mainly at distances from 3 to 6 km. Recently, mountain runs over 20 or 40 km have also been on the course.

  • We know that canicross has several offshoots. Can you introduce them to us?

Canicross as such is one of the disciplines of muhing. It is an individual mushing discipline. Individual because only one dog races here. Unofficially, they can now compete in canicross-like disciplines, such as dog biathlon, which combines canicross and shooting. Furthermore, an obstacle course with a dog in the form of a "spartan race" is also becoming known, where you overcome obstacles with your dog. As I wrote in the previous question, we often encounter long-distance runs beyond the rules of canicross. So Canicross as such is only one. However, its various mutations and new offspring are growing and changing every year.

  • Where is canicross the most popular and what popularity does it enjoy at home?

Canicross is very popular in France, England and Belgium. However, the world leader is currently also from the Czech Republic. Professional athletes are slowly penetrating the Czech canicross, performing incredible performances. Canicross is a very popular sport in the Czech Republic and brings together more and more competitors every year. In 2012, a maximum of 20-40 competitors met us at the races, and today you will easily see 400 or more names on the starting list.

  • What are the biggest successes of Czech competitors from abroad?

If I evaluate pure canicross, we have European and world champions. We have the winner of a very demanding stage race in the French Alps and every year we attack the highest places. We also have world and European titles in other disciplines such as scooter or dog bike. We also have titles on sledges and sleds in general! In short, the Czech teams at the world championships are usually among the most successful in terms of the number of medals won.

  • Is canicross suitable for everyone? And what would you advise someone who would like to start this sport?

Canicross is definitely suitable for anyone looking for sports for themselves and their dog. I would definitely recommend anyone who would like to start to contact one of the existing mushing clubs, which brings together registered canicrossars and other mushers. Many great competitors are often concentrated in these clubs, who will give you very valuable advice in the beginning. Thanks to the combination of training yourself and the dog, it is very important to have enough correct information so that you do not make unnecessary mistakes.

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