Jogging? How about Jugging?

Anyone who has talked to me on the subject knows how much the term “jogging” annoys me. It is often said in a condescending manner, such as “Oh… you said you were a runner, but you’re just jogging” as thought somehow there’s a difference between the two things. Total crap.

However, today I went out and did a bit of “Jugging”, and let me tell you, it isn’t likely anyone will be saying “oh you’re just jugging” anytime soon.

What the heck is Jugging? Nope, it has nothing to do with makeup or the fans of a particular music band. Coulrophobics have nothing to fear.

Jugging is, basically, running while toting a kettlebell. Easy right? Well, no actually, it isn’t. This is quite different from the folks you see at the park with the 1/2lb dumbells strapped to each hand (or the weights strapped to their ankles). Quite different.

The biggest differences are ones of weight and how you are forced to hold it. Rule number one: no straps, packs or other methods of carrying the ‘bell. You must hold it in one or both hands at all times. You may rest it on your shoulder for a bit if you’d like (though that will get old quickly). You may wear gloves (in fact I recommend it, dropping this sucker on your foot would suck in a major way). The idea is to constantly move the weight around as you move forward.

So how do you do this weirdly named activity. Well, first put on your normal running gear (and probably a pair of weigh-lifting gloves). Then grab a kettlebell. I used a 25lb one. Find one that you feel comfortable doing 40 or 50 swings with in a row (but just barely). For me the ideal weight would be 20lbs, but I got a 25lb’er so that’s what I used.

OK, now find a place to run a mile. Ideally it is an easy, flat course, without obstacles or distractions. DO NOT USE A TREADMILL. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. In fact, let me throw this out here right now, this activity is not for the meek. The ‘bell is heavy and you’re running with it. The potential for getting hurt is fairly high. Don’t come running to me, lawyers in tow, if you throw out a shoulder, hurt your knee or whatever. At your own risk, yadda yadda.

Now that we’ve thrown some lawyers off a cliff, let’s get to jugging. Pick up the bell in one hand and start to run, slowly and as smoothly as possible, while trying to keep the ‘bell steady. Suddenly it becomes clear, the ‘bell wants to move, you’re keeping it in place. Wow, arm is burning? Switch to the other arm (carefully!). Keep running, keep holding it steady. You can hold it up, keep it waist level, whatever. Just keep holding it, keep running. Your pace should be whatever is safe and whatever lets you keep holding the ‘bell. The faster you go, the more that bastard is going to want to move. Also, since you’re activating a heck of a lot more of your body, you’ll find that your aerobic threshold will be reached a lot sooner.

Left arm burning? OK, grab the bell in both hands and hold it out in front of your chest. KEEP RUNNING. Once you tire in that position, move back to your right hand.

Keep switching it up, swapping burn spots while you run until you finish that mile. You can switch to walking (and you will probably have to at some point) but you absolutely cannot put the ‘bell down until you finish the distance you set forth for yourself. Even if you have to crawl, finish that mile (or 2, or 6 or whatever). I managed my first jugg mile in 13 minutes. Usually an easy mile for me is about 11 minutes, I can push to 10 for a few miles and if I really go hard I’ve managed to come in under 8. When I finished the mile I was breathing hard and felt like I’d just climbed up 40 flights of stairs, but it was just one mile.

So why is this a thing? More importantly, why is this better than just running with, say, a weight vest? First off, you’re going to get a full body workout from this. Seriously. There’s a reason you’re using a single kettlebell, and that is to introduce imbalance, which forces you to activate your core (or else you go flying off sideways). Your grip strength will go way up, holding that damn thing starts to get really tough after about 5 minutes. Obviously your legs are working, but they’re working as though you weigh however much more than normal. Imagine losing 25lbs and how much lighter you’d feel running? This is the opposite of that, you’re making life tougher because that’s how you improve! By holding and swapping the ‘bell constantly you’re also going to be working your shoulders, arms, chest, etc. Don’t just pop it up over your shoulder using your strong arm the entire time, you’re just cheating yourself.

Finally, the question that I am sure you’re all asking, why “jugging”? What a silly name, where did you come up with that? Well, as I ran all I could think of is that I looked like I was running along toting a jug of milk. A heavy, iron jug of milk.

And yes, I’ve gone out and looked at what the other, current, definitions of “jugging” are. Bah humbug. This is better. And an absolute bastard of a workout.

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