Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Playing catchers with running loops

About 11 years ago I had a running buddy who was faster than me; lots faster. We had a few running 'games'. In the first, we'd battle with each others' pace for the first part. I'd then turn around while he ran a distance further. My objective was to get back to the start before getting caught. The second game was when we'd run routes that linked up at a mid-point; my route was a bit shorter. The first part of the challenge would be to get to the mid-point before the other; and then the race was on to get to the finish before the other.

The fun of these games is that you can run with someone else without running with them, if you follow.

My mom, Liz, is preparing for her first walking adventure in September. She's doing El Camino in Spain; all 790km. She got her backpack last week and so she's been walking with it most nights. Sometimes I walk with her but as her walking pace is far slower than mine, I often find it frustrating and unless I load on layers of clothes, I get really cold because the walk doesn't warm me enough.

I do enjoy going out with her and together we motivate each other, especially on evenings like tonight where the cold front and icy wind from the snow-covered Drakensberg has settled on Jo'burg.

Sometimes we play 'the loop game' where I run bigger loops, meeting her at various points along the way. This evening we had our best loop game yet. Liz's walking distance has increased beautifully as she is steadily getting walking fit - plus backpack conditioned. On today's loop run I got in 11.2km; she did 6.9km. There were  three meeting points, plus finish. For me the fun is catching her before she gets to the meeting point - she nearly got me on one of them!

So, if someone slower than you wants you to get out on the road with them (support, encouragement, company), go for it. But suggest this loop game, which is fun for both of you.

I'm the pink track; Liz is the green track. Stars are meeting points.
When we meet up I sometimes walk with her for a bit before splitting off again.