You've just seen the training and conditioning video, and I thought you might like to know a little about how we keep track of it all for our dogs throughout the season.
Our "DogStats" database is crucial. It is where we record all the mileage each dog runs on which days, at what speeds, in what terrain and any comments. It also summarizes total miles, number of runs and average run length, both for each month and for the entire season. It includes all of their training and racing.
Each dog is listed individually and treated individually. We only group the dogs in "teams" just prior to a race. Any dog can run with any other dogs during training on any given day.
As I look through the DogStats each day, I look at who needs to train that day and develop a plan for speed, duration and terrain. The general goal for scheduling any dog's conditioning is that it will frequently have one day off between runs, sometimes no days off, and rarely two days off. The latter usually happening after a physically challenging run. But, once again, I look at each of the dogs individually. If any dog has any kind of soreness, strain or injury, I will make specific adjustments to his or her schedule. Sometimes this is an extra day off, other times a shorter or easier run. In every case, we do what is best for the individual dog on every given day.
Beyond the actual numbers and charts -- which are very helpful for looking at the dogs from an overall perspective -- the DogStats provide me with an invaluable "visual" tool. I can scan the current month's sheet and immediately see which dogs have "blanks" for off days and "numbers" for run days. This really helps me put together the daily training teams and make sure I never accidentally overlook a dog. I can also see what kind of miles, speed and terrain the dogs have recently run, then make a plan that provides the best overall conditioning opportunity for the Team.
Even more, I can always look back and see where a dog may have had several "blanks" then read both my notes and comments to remind myself why that was. Thus, the DogStats are a daily, monthly, seasonal and historical tool and record. I can't show you the entire DogStats database -- or tell you everything it includes and what all it does to help us develop our dogs -- but I hope this has given you some idea of the "science" we do to supplement the "art" of what we do.