Running and Writing

It can be easy for me to forget how tightly all the little pieces of my life are tied together. Some of the connections are obvious. For example: working so I can pay for food, shelter, and clothes. The connection between my various hobbies, both to each other, and to my life in general isn’t as obvious.

Early last week I ran for the first time in a week. That run reminded me of how my running helps my writing. I usually run three days a week. I am a slow runner, and there are many times when I wonder why I run since I don’t have a great love for it. I started running as a preteen/teen because it was something I had to do. It was part of a larger training plan. We ran, and we hated it. We grumbled and complained, but because we had to we ran. I gave up running when I hit high school and moved to being a rec coach instead of an athlete. I remember the feeling of relief when I realized I would never have to run again.

In university I started running again. I felt the need to get some exercise, and I chose running because it was the easiest/cheapest solution. Since then the longest I have gone without a run is six months. Usually I can’t go more than two weeks without a run. I still grumble and complain about running, but I always come back to it. Running gives me something I need. It gives me something I haven’t found in anything else. It gives me self confidence, a sense of accomplishment, time for me, and a physical release for pent up anger or frustration.

The thing I had forgotten about running is that it also gives me time to think. When I run I tend to work through problems in my head. Lately the problems I’ve been working through are plot problems. It gives me a chance to picture more than one solution to a plot problem without interruption. When I run I often imagine how something might have been different. Sometimes those different versions of events slowly morph into great story ideas. On a really hard run sometimes letter my imagination have free rein is the only way to get through it. It keeps my imagination in top working order.

Do you have any hobbies that seem completely unrelated but that compliment each other perfectly? What do you do when you need to work out a problem?


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