26. Run around the block

This is very energizing and although it is hard to motivate oneself to do it, after a hard day at work/school it is very worthwhile. It is harder to motivate an adult to run round the block than a child, in our experience. It is exceptionally hard to motivate an adult who has been working in a physical job all day and just wants to collapse on the sofa in the evening. However an office worker should be easier to convince.

One tactic I have discovered with adult motivation i.e. persuading my partner to play games, is to talk about the night’s family time plans in advance and agree to carry them out. It normally starts by me saying in a wheedling tone

“I was going to ask you if there was any possibility of playing Run Around the Block at family time tomorrow” (note, not tonight as this sound scarily imminent.)

“Do we have to?”

“Please! Because I do really love this game, and I never get enough exercise, it is a good one for Lockdown. Always good for us to do something like that is a bit different and active. Please can we play it?”

If that doesn’t work I normally go for the “You don’t even have to run, just walk” tactic. The kids and I can run. One final point on the motivation is this is an activity best reserved for high summer and warm nights if you find you are struggling to motivate your partner if you have one. Or yourself.

Run Around the Block is not really a game but a very simple activity, but only suitable for people who have a convenient ‘block’ near their house. Also this needs to be safe, and not involve crossing any roads. If you have a park nearby Run around the Park is just as good. Luckily for us we have a parallel street of 100 yards which can be accessed directly from our street /house by a 20 yard alley and the two streets are again joined by another lane at the bottom of our road. It takes approximately five minutes to run around this ‘block’.

The first race is everyone running together as fast as they can. Obviously this is only suitable for slightly bigger children, maybe age 5 up. This first race (tell them) is to establish the leg penalty- people with longer legs or who are less fit are given time handicaps and advantages. After you have your breath back, list the order of arrivals back at the base and make a mental note of the rough timing between each arrival.

The fastest person acts as the starter in the second race which will determine who wins. The people who were slowest in the previous round are given an appropriate head start, so basically it is a staggered start according to running ability. You are trying to fix the timings so the runners all exactly co-coincide at the final 10 yards which makes this really exciting.

So the slowest runner starts first with a suitable number of seconds advantage, then the next slowest etc. Sometimes we have been known to run several races to ensure we get this right. Grumpy fathers can be relegated to starters- starting the races by shouting “Ready Steady Go!” if they really don’t want to play. If you run several races, it is worth fixing it so most people get a shot at winning especially if you have tantrum prone children.

This game (or rather activity) never fails to make participants feel good. However it suffers from a big barrier to playing it called ‘motivation’, the inert previously mentioned. Inertia Creeps, as Massive Attack once said. Definitely worth a try if you have the time, situation and energy. Recommended.

Note to self- try and get fit enough to run round the entire block and not stop and pant half way round.