Journalist Séamus O’Reilly’s sparkling Guardian article “I run to keep fit, but I hate it” zooms in on the dilemma posed by regular exercise: it’s tough to enjoy. Oh, we all swoon when reading about a famous athlete’s love of her sport, but for us hacks, exercise is mostly grind. As O’Reilly (pictured below, photo from the article) puts it, “the best part about running is when I stop.”
As someone who has jogged, more or less regularly, for half a century, I can attest to the raw reality of his findings. Not jogging, perhaps even growing fat, is far, far more pleasurable than pounding pavements. If I glance back at my blogs on the subject, what is most notable is that they’re tonally griping; it hurts too much, I hate going so slowly, why no improvement?
It won’t surprise, of course, to hear that I’m compelled to keep doing the damn thing because of the same reasons O’Reilly espouses: as a form of activity, running is efficient, cheap, and fundamentally effective. He also admits to some joy afterwards and yes, I concur. Indeed, at this difficult time in my jogging so-called career (a knee problem means I’m back down to 2 kms three times weekly), this seemingly negative article impels the opposite response: I can’t wait to lace up the joggers tomorrow.