After recovering from injury, I’m back in long-distance training for a couple of marathons this year. At the same time, I’m stepping up my writing, helping to tell great stories across all our digital channels, including social media.
Writing and running? More in common than you might think. Here are 10 reasons why. Go ahead and add your own in the comments below.
1. It takes 40 minutes to warm up. You can have a rotten first few miles, the introductory paragraphs may be torture. But you’ll get into your stride, if you’re lucky, shortly after the half hour mark.
2. Refuel regularly. Water and gels for running, coffee and, ah, coffee for writing. One strong hit about every hour should do it on the road or at your desk.
3. “Pain is normal, suffering is optional”. (Borrowing this one from Haruki Murakami). Difficult miles and stubborn lines – it’s the tough moments that steel you for the greater challenge ahead. However….
4. Go for the high. After about 10 miles (or about 1,000 words) you should hit a confident rhythm and the pleasure hormones will kick in. It’s when you feel that you can write or run forever that you get payback for all those years of training.
5. Focus, focus, focus. When things get tough the temptation is to let your mind wander, or your head dip. Look straight ahead, keep a steady rhythm and don’t let your hands off the keypad.
6. Take a break. Set yourself a target point when you can stretch your legs or turn off your mind. Good runners slow down at the water stops to make sure they rehydrate properly. Fresh air and a brisk walk, I find, is like water to writers. It clears the head and helps move you up another gear.
7. Find a partner. Writing and running can be lonely experiences. Nothing wrong in that, but don’t underestimate the usefulness of a training partner or a colleague to brainstorm an original idea, edit copy or challenge a headline.
8. Preparation is everything. Drink plenty of water, load your body with pasta. Clear your desk, put your notes in order and install a good reading lamp. Don’t expect to write or run well on a hangover.
9. You sow what you reap. Good copy or a fast run does not come through luck alone. Otherwise known as “you get out what you put in”.
10. Enjoy what you do. Seriously. Whether it’s a sense of achievement, the pay cheque, the feedback, the endorphins there’s no point pursuing a career or a hobby that doesn’t deliver the rewards.