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Coaches Blog

How Getting a Dog Motivated Me to Take Up Ultra-Running

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

Back in the day, when I was fully able-bodied and before I started coaching, I was an ultra-runner. I was never fast, but I could run for a very long time - my record was 34 miles! But that was 10 years and half a body ago…

In January 2020, Sam (my husband) and I decided to adopt an old dog from an acquaintance who would otherwise turn him over to the shelter. Little did we know what a huge blessing this would turn out to be!

When Covid hit in March of 2020, we had to suddenly stay home. This old, slow dog suddenly got more and more walks from us - and quickly, we noticed he was able to walk farther, was more curious, and started jumping all around. When he began walking farther and faster, I did too, which rekindled my goal to run another ultra - this time, one-sided.

You're probably thinking, "That's great, but what does that have to do with me?"

Motivation can come in all different forms. Your motivation may come from a desire to be healthy. Perhaps it's to get shiny medals. Or maybe it comes from your desire to be faster than you were last year. The process of finding your motivation is critical.

The core of your training begins with discovering "why you do what you do." As the new year approaches, now is a great time to go through the following steps to discover your motivation:

  1. What is the first thing you picture when training is mentioned?

  2. When training gets hard, what gets you through?

  3. If you were to focus on improving one thing, what would that be?

  4. What are your performance objectives?

  5. What do you WANT to do?

Answering these questions will start you out successfully in 2022.


Coach Becky Piper is a USA Triathlon Certified Level 1 Triathlon Coach, Paratriathlon Coach, and Cycling Coach. She is currently on her way to Michigan but has made a little stopover in Wisconsin to see friends and family while her husband Sam is serving in the military. Her dog, Gunner, is with her on the long adventure across the country. She is the reigning national champion in the Time Trial and Road Race in women’s C2 Paracycling and is preparing for her debut in the Paralympic Trials, but her true passion is coaching. Coach Becky can be reached at


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