Dad, can I come for a run with you? Long running and watching the London Marathon


Sunday’s long run was to be a repeat of last week’s – up to Marriotts Way to Drayton and back, a chance to measure if I had got any better since last week – and use the useful Strava tool for the first time, where you can benchmark yourself against previous runs.

And then I was going to watch the London Marathon.

But my 10 year old daughter Josephine had other ideas.

“Dad, can I come for a run with you..?”

“Eh..? I was planning to go for a longer run today down Marriotts Way… if you want to come…or you could cycle alongside me..?”

“I can’t take my bike as the tyres are flat,” Jo said (memo to self that’s another job to do).

Then my wife had her turn..

“Where are you going – you’re not going to be long are you..?”

That sounded ominous.

My plan  was starting to wobble. I thought for a bit and weighed up the diplomatic options:

  1. Leave wife and children for more than an hour and do run
  2. Take said daughter, leave younger one, Nyle, at home with mum and may be earn some brownie points in the process – and then watch the marathon

“Ok, how about we drive down to Catton Park and run round there?”

After all I could get some fartlek running in…


“Right,” I explained. “We’ll do some circuits, you can do run-walk-run, that’s a good way to get started.”

That’s the running mantra of Jeff Galloway, I thought to myself, maybe I could teach her something useful to help her get into running. I used it when starting out and it’s a good way to get going when you are just starting out. He’s written books and has blogs and all sorts, well worth checking out.

Jo nodded.

“And if I can’t talk then I’m running too fast,” she said.

“You got it,” I said thinking  to myself, may be she will a chip of the old block after all. And after some stretches, off we went.

“One of things you can do by the way is pick two points and run fast between them,” I intoned warming to my theme. “Helps you vary your speed. It’s called fartlek running.”

“What did you say?”

“Yes, you’re right I did say fart, it’s Swedish”

“I thought you said lick.”

“Anyway, shall we give it a go?”

“Do I have to?”

“No, you don’t have to do anything, but you did say you wanted to go for a run, and you’re here running with me, so why not have a go?”

“I’ll do it in a minute. Can I walk now?”

“Yes, but we’ve only just started and you can’t just walk around the park.”

“I’m useless at running.”

“Well you have got to start somewhere, you can’t just expect to be brilliant at it. Come on let’s run for a bit. Don’t stop, keep moving.”

“Why do I have to do this?”

“Look, I’m at the park out for a run, that’s what I came out here for. You asked to come for a run, so that’s what we’re doing.”

Hmm…I thought to myself. “May be I should take you to the junior park run?

“Can we? That’s on a Sunday.”

“Ok, next time you’re with us, we’ll take a look. Right let’s start running, and when you get to the bench you can wait for me there and I’ll just do a couple of circuits.”

And so I managed to get three laps of Catton Park in – according to my Polar watch I ran for 30 mins 29 – not an accurate estimate, and certainly no long run, but not bad, and got a couple of fartleks in too.

I know, I’ll write a blog about this.

“Jo, I just need to get a picture of you on this bench, make sure we can see Catton Park, and can you look fed up?”




Actually, even though I was only running for 30 minutes, in total I’d been out for about 30 minutes more than I would have done if I had simply done my original long run to Drayton as planned.

And so it was the door chain was on when I tried to get in.

“Oh, here you are, you were gone a while…”

Here we go, I thought…

“Hello my loveliness! Now don’t be like that…. We had to drive to Catton Park, and then run, and I did three laps. Anyway, I’m just going to have a quick shower, and then I’ll watch a bit of the marathon.”

“Too late. Nyle wants to watch Peppa Pig.”



  1. Love this! Haha 🙂 I’m sure you really wanted to watch Peppa Pig 🙂 I LOVED and remember all of the runs I went on with my dad when I was younger – I think that’s why I still love running as an adult. Like father, like daughter! This reminded me of us. He bikes now because his knees are bad so no more dad-daughter runs, but love looking back! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Jenna – glad you liked the piece. I don’t mind watching Peppa really! I’m hoping my daughter will get the running bug, though funnily enough my son seems to like running two even though he’s not yet three. Anyway, enjoying your blog too. Shaun

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