It’s bitterly cold out there at the moment, and I’m having trouble getting the motivation to get out and get some miles in. So here’s a little reminder for me – and you! – why running can be great for the creative process.
1. It Gets Your Brain Going
Exercise gets the blood pumping, it wakes up the brain and the body. Yes, you’ll be a little fatigued, but after a long day at work, there’s nothing like going running to shake off the brain-ache and get your thoughts flowing again.
2. Running can be incredibly boring
And that’s a good thing! Unlike many sports, running really doesn’t require much concentration, and especially at this time of year, there isn’t much to look. Unless you like the view of car headlights. This is great, because it gives you free time when you aren’t doing anything else with your brain to think through your plot snarls and problem scenes.
3. It’s good for your health
On a non-creative expression related note, running, and exercise in general, is really good for your health. You probably spend a great deal of time sat at a desk, butt in chair as people like to say. When you’re largely sedentary in your work, it’s extra important to make sure you’re getting your weekly recommended exercise to counter risks of heart disease and other health issues.
4. Running can be a real confidence booster
Knowing you can run 5k, 10k, or even just to the corner of the road when you couldn’t do it before gives you such a confidence boost. It makes you feel capable of taking on anything. Writers, I think, are often introverted, lacking confidence, and we have to face a lot of nerve-wracking situations. Putting work out there, opening it to reader criticism, isn’t an easy thing. Feeling capable and confident in other areas might give you a boost when it comes to facing writing challenges.
5. Running Teaches you Mental discipline and endurance
When you’re running specific distances, trying to beat your personal best, you push yourself to the edge of your endurance. Running, my Fiancé likes to say, is a mind game. Your body is capable of achieving a lot more than it likes to think. But you have to beat your own head. If that sounds a lot like beating Writer’s Block, you’d be right. Slightly different circumstances, but it’s basically mental discipline and endurance. If you can do it when you’re sweating and aching, lungs gasping, you can do it in the comfort of your desk chair.