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How Joggling Can Make You a Better Runner

While joggling can slow some people down (Michal gives a nice breakdown of how much), it can also help you focus. This makes running easier and for me, it seems to speed me up. I’m often asked how fast I would be if I didn’t joggle. Since I only joggle I don’t really know. But it’s certainly a little faster. If I wasn’t joggling I wouldn’t have to stop completely at the water stations. In a marathon, I lose about 5-8 minutes because of these stops.

Beginning runners wonder about the timing of their joggling and foot pacing. Here is how joggling can help.

Running Pace Right?

People who don’t regularly run have the misconception that the best runners are the ones with the longest legs. They figure that a longer stride allows you to cover more ground with less effort. This is mostly wrong unless you’re comparing the stride difference between Herve Villechaize and Shaquille O’Neal. For elite runners, leg turn-over is much more important that stride length.

The less time you spend in the air, the better

According to the experts, the best running pace is 180 steps per minute. You can test your current pacing by counting each step you take with one foot during a minute and multiplying it by two. If you’re joggling, it’s easier to count the number of catches you make in one of your hands. It turns out, the natural timing for joggling is that each time you catch a ball in one hand, your opposite foot should touch the ground.

My pacing is naturally about 85 steps for one foot or 170 steps per minute. By concentrating, I can push that past 180 SPM. It’s just hard to concentrate.

The way joggling can help your pacing is this. Your juggling throws and catches will naturally sync up with your running strides. So if you want to increase your stride count, you can speed up your juggling pattern. Your legs will naturally adjust and viola, your pace is regulated.

Well, the plane is landing so I’ve gotta split. London, here I come.

Joggle on.

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Hi Perry
    I’m just back from ski-ing in the French Alps today, and by now your London Marathon campaign will be well into its critical carbo-loading and visualisation phases, always assuming that you haven’t hit the London Pride and Guinness just a day too early.

    There’s just time, then, to wish you all the best for tomorrow’s race.

    I hope (and know) that you’ll have a wonderful run.

    A few tips from someone who has run and loved this race, three times, and applied to run it half a dozen more:

    Get on the train at Charing Cross tomorrow. There’s supposed to be room to step on at Waterloo East and London Bridge, but it’s crowded by then and you’ll likely have to stand. Best sit down, if you can.

    Enjoy the first three miles. Let your legs flow, since it’s all downhill and you can pick up a little time. No need to slow down if you’re a little ahead of pace just here.

    Enjoy the Caribbean crowds in South London. It’ll be hard to high-five too many screaming school kids whilst joggling, but it’s got to be worth a try.

    At Bermondsey, mile 11, run down the right of the High Street, and look out for a tall, balding and distinguished gentleman calling out your name in encouragement – most likely it’ll be Simon Hughes, the prominent politician and MP for Bermondsey.

    Turn right at 12 miles, just up ahead, and you can see Tower Bridge. Listen to the roar and try to catch the sound of all those running shoes as they bounce across the bridge deck. On your left is the Tower of London, and you can pick out the Gherkin, too.

    Canary Wharf – you snake towards the tower from miles 14 to 19 – around the Isle of Dogs. It’s supposed to be the longest part of the race, but the local support is enthusiastic and fantastic. Look out for the Peruvian drum booming out just before the Canary Wharf tower at mile 19.

    Poplar High Street – mile 20. A real East London community. Listen out for ‘Gorblimey’ Cockney accents and shout ‘Up the Irons’ to any locals wearing claret and blue West Ham United football shirts (my team – the Hammers!).

    Miles 22 to 23 – slow uphill to pass the Tower of London (it’s on your left) and then down into Thames Street – a solid wall of noise with crowds on both sides. The column of The Monument is on your right, marking Pudding Lane, where the Great Fire of London started in 1666.

    St Paul’s Cathedral will be ahead on your right, and the Millennium Bridge across the river to Tate Modern just on your left … but you’ll never see them amongst all these people.

    Down into the Blackfriars and Cannon Street underpasses at mile 24 and the darkness now seems like the end of the world.

    But stick with it, up the ramp and emerge onto The Embankment at last. My spiritual running home. The best place to run, in all the world.

    Enjoy these next few minutes. The London Eye is circling high just across the Thames, and Big Ben is looming ahead of you now, around the curve in the river to your left. It’s a mile and a quarter away, so take your time.

    Turn right at Big Ben and there’s just a mile to go. It seems to take for ever to reach Buckingham Palace along Birdcage Walk, but once you reach it, there’s only 250m to go.

    Surge as fast as you can down The Mall now, and smile – you’ve just completed the greatest running race that you can run, or joggle, anywhere.

    Or so I say. Even if I might just be a little biased, in placing Chicago at lowly #2…

    Enjoy your day – and I’m sure you will.

    All best wishes for a wonderful race,
    – Roads

  2. 3:35:36 !

    Great time, and an excellent race, Perry, so congratulations to you.

    I wondered if you might have been caught by a short burst of torrential rain near the end of your run, and I hope that the weather wasn’t too much of a problem. April in England is very much a case of four seasons in one day.

    Enjoy that London Pride – you’ve earned it…

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