Trail Joggling

I like to juggle while I run.

It started when I first heard of “Joggling”. I immediately wanted to try it out. The first times were terrible. It was an endless charade of dropping balls and chasing after them. After some initial frustration, it slowly started to click.

And it became so much fun. I love it because there’s an endless number of progressions. Once you get the hang of it, you can add advanced juggling tricks to the mix. Or throw balls across tree branches and catch them on the other side. Or juggle clubs instead of balls. Or four or five balls instead of three. Or go longer and longer distances.

It never gets boring!

Joggling a marathon.
Juggling a marathon.

I also wanted to try it while running trails. This was on another level completely—no comparison to road running. Coordinating footsteps on varied, uneven terrain going up and down hills is difficult already. Keeping balls in the air adds another dimension.

Trail running while juggling.
Trail running while juggling.

Juggling is easiest when you sync the beat of your throws to the beat of your footsteps. That’s easy on the road. On the trail, you’re constantly adjusting your footsteps having to constantly re-adjust your throws as well.

And when you drop: you’re chasing balls down the hill like a clown.

But it’s so fun!

I’ve also done races. Starting from 5k to a road marathon and most recently the Harzquerung, a 50k trail ultra marathon.

Trail running with clubs.
Trail running with clubs.

My next progression was clubs.

This is a full-body workout. Clubs are much heavier than balls adding significant stress to arms and shoulders. Also, arm movements are restricted reducing balance on the trail. This is an extremely slow and draining type of running. And also risky.

But I was not ready to give up. I wanted to reach my local peak and back juggling clubs: 15k with 600 m elevation gain. Completely exhausted, I made it.

There’s no end in sight for things I want to try. It adds so much variety to the repetitiveness of running.

My next goals: Run a road 10k with four balls. Then, start doing four balls on trails. And always: improve the level of difficulty of trails that I can juggle.