Since going freelance, I’ve really felt the sudden lack of exercise. No more for me the unlooked-for advantage of completing my daily hour of cardiovascular almost coincidentally, six and a bit miles there, six and a bit back. So I’ve taken up jogging of a morning.
This month’s first stab at a regime started reasonably well—three lots of three laps around the park in the first week—but then seemed to tail off, with two lots in the second week, and one in the third. I tried to pick up a bit for Christmas, and managed it yesterday too; but what do you expect in this season of goodfood I mean goodwill? I’ve no idea if I’ll maintain my resolve into the new year, especially when the mornings get less frosty and I can tootle around on the old two-wheeler instead. But one thing I do intend to keep up, is the practice of calling it jogging and not running.
In my lexicon, running is a physiological activity. One runs for a bus. One runs away from wolves, or, as the title to this post suggests, up a hill. Indeed, I’m happy to accept that one runs a race, or a marathon. But cheetahs run too; as do dogs, cats and panicked farmyard animals. It’s only when running becomes nonessential (in the basest sense of not a response to immediate dangers, hazards, or goals) that such a social, cultural activity might usefully be called jogging. Running gets you a bus; jogging gets you fit. Running gets you a medal; jogging gets you muscles to win it with.
When I write all this down, it seems uncontroversial to me, but I’m well aware that there are other joggersrunnersjoggers who with some vehemence propose other dichotomies. Mine is the only one I’ve found so far that isn’t in some way divisive or tribalist, but I’m worried that that’s the point of the others. When someone recently suggested that there ought to be a word to describe “serious cyclists, a bit like with runners and joggers”, then I knew what he meant; but it probably wasn’t what he meant to mean.
In that sense, I suppose, such a dichotomy speaks unintentional volumes, and is at least useful as a spectator rather than participatory sport. But if I ultimately turn my back on jogging, I do hope I’ll re-embrace my erstwhile hobby, as a frivolous cyclist.