Runner's World SA
In a game of two halves always pace yourself Image Credit: Runner's World SA
In a game of two halves always pace yourself Image Credit: Runner's World SA

In A Game Of Two Halves, Always Pace Yourself

FOR ME, a big advantage of running when I was younger was that it blended into other sports.

Paul Tonkinson

It rendered you fit for purpose at, say, tennis or basketball – anything with an aerobic slant to it. Ten years ago I would mix football and running. I’d play in a midweek five-a-side, and then breezily run the next day. When I read that sentence now it makes me want to weep, and I would if I wasn’t so frightened of pulling a muscle in the process.

My old mate Monty’s stag night was a case in point. The day’s highlight was the Dads vs Sons five-a-side football match. A group of us used to play Sunday league football together in our early 20s; a quarter of a century later, the band was back together to take on our offspring, keen players aged 11-19. Divided by three decades but united by a love of the beautiful game, the two tribes gathered to wage generational war on a forgiving all-weather surface.

The Dads Allstars team was a mixed bag of fitness and recent footballing experience. Coops: ex-boxer, fit as a fiddle, plays football every week. Ben: occasional jogger, moderate fitness. Pops: never knowingly exercised, good left peg back in the day, fond of a cig. Did: somewhat overweight, historically a possessor of a ‘good engine’, but hasn’t played in years and was rubbish when he did. Monty: the stag, decent player in his prime, yoga practitioner, carrying a bit of timber. Me: fit, no football for years, can get a bit shouty.

The good news: it was brilliant fun to play football again. Within minutes, old re

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