After jogging, with little flair or speed but with consistency, for half a century, I’m in a pit right now. I can do 3½ kilometers at a pace of 7¼ minutes/kilometer, feeling uncomfortable in terms of breathing the entire journey. At age 60, I could jog 10 kilometers four times a week, at a pace of 6¾ mins/km; I was sore and tired when finishing but in a much healthier way. I’ve never jogged such short distances. In the old days, I would do a 5 km Parkrun as easy variety, now it’s a mirage goal.

Part of the problem is weight. I hit 86 kgs a fortnight ago. A few years back, I weighed 77 kgs and during my recent jogging peak, I never breasted the 80 kilogram mark. This factor represents a disappointing spiral: I don’t run as far, so I put on weight, which makes running much harder.

But the most salient factor is motivation, call it willpower. Two injuries in recent years seem to have left me with a mind that hates effort. I’m sure I used to struggle as much as I do now, yet back then, the struggle was part of the run. Now I complain inwardly after the first minute.

Hope remains. I haven’t stopped jogging. In a couple of days, we start a road trip of over two months, during which time I won’t be able to do gym work and can perhaps run more regularly. I aim to try to restore a 5 km capability and then to see how much further I can extend that. Speed won’t be the issue (not that there ever has been any speed). A steady jogging habit, gently enforced, is the goal.

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