Not for the first time in my week away from work I wake and think: Shall I try and start jogging today? Nah.
From about March/April to September/October I cycle a lot - often on a Sunday morning or as a less stressful way of getting to and from work than public transport - but once the nights draw in it becomes far to dangerous: most car drivers will happily kill a cyclist to shave thirty seconds off their journey as it is, so the danger of the darkness is just too much for this frail Pixie to risk.
I try and walk at lunch times, or sometimes I walk the three miles or so from my house to the minibus for work - but the truth is that it's during the winter that I miss Gym membership the most. The grim feeling of wanting to be anywhere else when you go in slowly being replaced by a feeling of achievement, the regularity of exercise, the amusement of not being able to get on a machine during January-February whilst the New Years Resolutioners slowly fade away: the whole man thing of never, under any circumstances, meeting the eyes of anyone else in there (in much the same way as we would never start a conversation at a urinal)
And yet every morning I have woken and thought "nope, not today" when it comes to running - and the only reason I can give you is the embarrassment factor.
The truth is that I'm just too self conscious to run in public. In the gym there are lots of other flabby blokes desperately trying to persuade themselves that an hour in the gym once a week will miraculously rid them of their food baby. Out in public - well, that's a different thing.
For one thing: anyone who has ever run on a treadmill and then run on the street will be able to tell you that it is an entirely different thing - the impact of the street is much harder for one.
Secondly there is the issue of the local wildlife: the Greater Spotted Pillock (latin name Moronicus Stupidicus), known to all runners by its mating call of "Oi mate, don't have a heart attack" - that person who has never done a day's exercise in their life and yet still feels able to comment on your fatigue when you return from a forty mile bike rid covered in sweat. As anyone will know it is completely impossible to stop running in front of one of these creatures, and equally one will always manage to appear at the moment where you most need to stop for fear of puking up your lower intestine (IE forty yards outside your front door in my case)
Running in a group or with someone else might be a solution - but the only person I know that might be interested lives too far away to be practical and then there comes the problem of what happens when they are able to keep up running and you are not.
Also my experience of cycling with others has not enamoured me towards group participation. Some years ago I joined a group that I still affectionately refer to as The Nutters - who would think of nothing more than cycling a round trip of sixty miles every Sunday morning to a grim tea shop that served scum laced hot beverages before cycling back at a steady pace just faster than most people find comfortable. Don't get me wrong: it was good training and I got very fit as a result, but it wasn't my idea of fun.
So I guess my options are to get over my feeling of self-awareness or take up some other kind of exercise where I am able to feel less self aware.
Rock climbing anyone?