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I’m A Competitor: Cobi Jones

We caught up with the former World Cup soccer star.

Cobi Jones is best known for his midfielder skills on the soccer field where he’s touted as one of the greatest legends in the sport, having been an all-time leader in games played  for the U.S. national team, as well as a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. The former FIFA World Cup shares his baby jogger experiences with his 1-year-old son, Cayden.

Does your previous soccer training benefit you as a runner?

It absolutely does because of the level of endurance you need to play soccer. But if I were to run a race, after 45 minutes I’m going to be looking for my 15-minute halftime break, sliced oranges and Gatorade!

What’s the farthest distance you’ve ever run?

The farthest I’ve ever run continuously is 10 miles, but the focus required is different than running up and down a soccer field, even though as a midfielder or forward, we average about seven to nine miles per game. Running feels different for every player. Midfielders and forwards are typically sprinters, so long-distance running is a foreign concept until you put the time in to become that kind of runner.

When do you find time to run with Cayden?

Unfortunately my fitness routine isn’t as consistent with all the traveling I’m doing, so I try to squeeze workouts in when I have the time. Spending time with my family is always a priority, and a great way to entertain Cayden is taking him for a run in the baby jogger. I value that bonding time and seeing his face light up and how he reacts to new things because everything is so adventurous to him. We travel to different jogging paths, to keep if fresh and adventurous for him. I love seeing that look of wonder on his face.

Where do you like to run most often?

I enjoy a variety of terrains, but since I’m a SoCal guy, it’s always about the beach. Whenever I’m out for a run and think, “Oh man, should I keep going?” I just look at the ocean, settle in to my pace and keep going.

What are some other physical activities you enjoy outside of soccer?

I love to focus on the cross-strengthening aspect of activities, like biking, weightlifting—anything to keep and build muscle. I’ve also done a little bit of boxing.

Will you ever run a marathon?

I’ve never run a marathon, but that doesn’t mean I won’t. Over the course of my playing career with the LA Galaxy and the U.S. National Team, I never really was able to do it because of my constant soccer training, games and travel. But I love to run, and now, that I’m on the broadcast side of things, it’s a possibility. But I have to admit, 26.2 miles seems a bit intimidating.

This piece first appeared in the January 2013 issue of Competitor magazine.