Running, by itself, is a lonesome venture. Requirements: you, your feet and a not-so-shoveled sidewalk that will soak your socks in seconds.
While a solo run can be liberating, a group jog is social therapeutic goodness.
I started seriously jogging (an oxymoron if I’ve ever seen one) around January 2013 with my friend, Beef. We ran enough for the outsides of my running shoes to melt away by spring.
Together, we mastered the art of “takkenjog” (pronounced TOK-an-YOG). Takkenjog is a Norwegian-ish word I just made up, which is defined as talking as much as you physically jog.
Conversations about jean jackets and clueless classmates fueled our training sessions and first Fargo half marathon.
While we found success with takkenjog, the running community is not sold on it.
You may have heard of the “talk test,” which asks exercisers if they can hold a conversation while they work out. Traditionally, gurus thought you were pushing yourself too hard if you couldn’t converse. Thus, takkenjog was healthy.
Newer studies and their fancy science-ese (“VO2 max” and “lactate thresholds”) suggest otherwise.
Hogwash. If you’re concerned about these terms, I’m sorry to inform you: You’re an athlete. Takkenjog is not for you, yet.
It can be for you; just slow down and find a friend to chit-chat to. Or get injured.
At last year’s half marathon, I ran with a hobbled athlete named Deniz. Deniz had broken his femur or something, so instead of five-minute miles, he ran more-than-five-minute miles with me. While he grimaced in pain, I talked. As an engineer, it was probably the most social interaction Deniz had all month. Takkenjog!
The tradition of takkenjog continues to bloom into 2016. Six people have asked to train or run the half marathon with me. Six. That’s twice as many girlfriends I’ve had.
How does a Millennial respond to this popularity? By creating a Facebook group, that’s how.
Since its conception earlier this month, over 50 of my closest friends have been added to the page JOG SQUAD. By me. Without their permission.
That’s the simple beauty of jogging with a crowd. I’ve gone on many more runs now that I have an online presence cheering and/or shaming me on.
JOG SQUAD’s “group type” on Facebook is labeled as support, and that’s something we could all use a little more of.