How to Run a Marathon While Juggling

I just completed my first marathon – and I juggled the entire distance.  Here are a few tips for those of you considering this feat:

1. Read – This guy, Perry Romanowski, is a star joggler – and he keeps a consistent and informative blog on joggling (running and juggling at the same time).  He also beat me in the 5K joggling race back in ’07.

2. For me, juggling is like breathing and running is something I do because my wife does it.  That means I much more enjoy the juggling part rather than the running part.  So if you want to motivate someone like me to run, tell me to juggle while I do it.  It makes it a lot more interesting.

3. Nuts and bolts: The way to run and juggle at the same time is to throw and run in the same cadence but with opposite limbs.  This means that every time I step with my right foot, I’m throwing with my left hand, and vice versa.  Because of this steady beat, it is much easier to run and juggle rather than to walk and juggle (unless your throws are very high and lofty).

4. Endurance: Just keep going, and make sure to stop for sustenance.  Perry instructed me to make sure I stopped for water and bathroom when necessary (which I did).  The rule with joggling is to simply pick up where you left off in the event of a dropped ball or a bathroom/water/snack break.  In my marathon, I dropped 4 times and stopped for the toilet or food maybe 4 other times.  I had one “stall” in my juggle, which means I caught all three beanbags at once in an attempt to avoid a drop (which I did) and then I proceeded to pick up the juggling pattern again almost immediately.

5. Run, jog, walk as necessary.  I’m not a great runner, so I jogged the first half of the race and power-walked the second half.  The walking part did make it tougher on the juggling pattern (because the cadence was off-beat), but I had to in order to preserve my energy.  I finished in 5:48 hrs, which is about a 13-minute mile.

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Dr. Jesse Joyner travels nationwide as a speaker and entertainer. His primary role is that of a performing juggler spreading joy and the love of learning to family and kids events. H earned his PhD in Educational Studies at Trinity International University (Deerfield, IL). He enjoys playing the piano, bird watching, and old houses. He lives in Richmond, VA with his wife, Sarah, and their three kids - the perfect number for juggling children.

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