Colleen and I have been having a blast this past week kicking a soccer ball along the jogging path. We run and walk as needed to keep the ball on the move, and before we know it we’ve gone a mile or more. She loves the passing and footwork; I like the way it works my ankles and the constant change in speed and direction.
It’s a good way to “go for a run” with a kid who doesn’t particularly enjoy running except in the context of a sport or game. I like to pretend what we’re doing is a version of the running games the Tarahumara Indian kids play in Christopher MacDougall’s Born to Run.
I find myself wondering if we would’ve ever stumbled on this idea if I hadn’t been talking to marathon maniac April Birts last week about establishing a sense of balance between your running and your life. After hearing that April – a busy working mom — stays in marathon shape simply by making sure she gets in one long run each week along with 3-4 others, I went for a 15-mile run one day last week and then didn’t fret so much about what I did the other days.
I wound up with a fairly quick 6-miler, a 4-mile speed workout, 4.5 miles of our “Tarahumara soccer game” spread out over 3-4 days and even, on Sunday, my first mini brick workout when Colleen and I rode bikes for the first time at the Ossian trail and I followed that up with a 1.25-mile jogging lap.
I wound up with my targeted 30 miles for the week without worrying about it too much or even trying that hard. I also had a lot of fun, without fretting about whether I was being selfish.