Thursday, 21 June 2012

Pacman game (in real life running form)

The photo on the left was taking during last night's coached running session with Jeff Grant.  You would be mistaken if you thought the person in the bright orange jacket was a roadside worker who decided to take on one of our group members in a head to head sprint.  He is in fact a fellow group member.

Whilst the jacket may not be a fashion accessory, it has a significance.  The guy (or lady) wearing it is Pacman (or Ms Pacman).

Jeff decided that last night's session would be a good chance to play a real life game of Pacman.  The rules are as follows:

1. You have a Pacman (or several Pacmans) and you have ghosts
2. Pacman wears the fluorescent orange jacket to identify himself/herself
3. The area of play is a square
4. Ghosts run hard back and forth along their allotted side of the square
5. Pacman runs one lap around the square as fast as he can
6. Ghosts may only take rests at the corners of the square
7. Pacman has one safe side of the square where there are no ghosts and he can go a bit slower (if he wants to)
8. When Pacman and ghosts are running in the same direction along one side of the square they race each other to the next corner of the square
9. If Pacman outsprints a ghost he is awarded 2 points
10. If a ghost outsprints Pacman he is awarded 1 point
11. After completing his one lap, Pacman nominates the next Pacman and he then becomes a ghost
12. The person with the highest number of points at the end of a fixed time period wins (although we lost track of the scores)

Basically Pacman is a hard intervals session, disguising itself as a fun game so that you don't even notice how hard you are working. This was exactly the point of the session - when you are really struggling mentally, find a way to distract your mind so that your body can get on with the task at hand unimpeded.  Anyone who has run a marathon or even more so an ultra knows that mental toughness plays a huge part in completing the race.  Physical strength alone is not enough.  So when you are really struggling, try to make the situation seem like fun, turn it into a game, imagine certain colours that work for you (see last week's post mental training with colours) or whatever else it may be.

Last night's session was rounded off with a core workout involving butterfly kicks and reverse crunches.  By that point it was raining (yes Jeff's consistent record of it raining at some point during every single one of his sessions that I have attended was indeed the case again last night), and we got rather wet and muddy.  I am sure Jeff does a rain dance before the session, and asks for rain so that he can increase our mental toughness to the point where none of us even batter an eyelid at a rainstorm anymore. 

What will next week bring?  Who knows, but another nice surprise and a fun session from Jeff I am sure.


  1. Hmm that's a pretty creative game Jeff had your group play. It reminds me of the zombie races or zombie running apps I've heard of. I like the thought of putting some fun into workouts like that; playing like kids can only be good for you.

  2. I have heard of those zombie running apps, but never tried them. I might try and download one from the app store and see how it is.

    Yes I have been very impressed so far with Jeff's sessions. I have never had coaching in running before or been part of a running club, and I had not imagined it would be so much fun. Also it is amazing how he manages to train a group of such mixed abilities successfully.