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The Bath Half in March 2014 was my first international run. It was a difficult run, but I finished and it gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. It's hard to find that instant gratification in writing.

The Bath Half in March 2014 was my first international run. It was a difficult run, but I finished and it gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. It’s hard to find that instant gratification in writing.

Running and writing seem to go hand-in-hand. I know a lot of fellow writers who also are runners. Personally, I need to run in order to get a mental break. After sitting in front of my computer, my pent-up energy needs to go somewhere. Just the other day I read this article on what writing and running have in common. They do have a lot in common, but I personally I prefer running to writing. Here are 5 reasons why:

1) Easy acceptance.
There are very few barriers into the sport of running. If you have a few bucks to spend on a pair of running shoes, you’re in. If there’s a race that you want to run, you find the money and do it. (The exception is something like Boston Marathon, where you have to qualify by running a certain time). Generally, no one tells you that you can’t do it or that you suck. You don’t get a “rejection letter” when you try to sign up for a race.

2) Instant gratification.
You wake up and say to yourself, “I’m going to run 5 miles today.” You go out and do it. You’ve accomplished something in a short period of time. If you’re in a race situation, there’s nothing like the feeling of crossing the finish line. The goal is clearly defined.

3) Health benefits.
You may have seen the studies about how sitting increases the risk of cancer, and how you can’t even offset the risk if you go out for a lunchtime run. It’s almost impossible not to sit when you’re writing, unless you have one of those cool treadmill desks:

Is this what your writing desk looks like?

Is this what your writing desk looks like?

4) Running is hard, but writing is harder.
I don’t feel great every time I run. In fact, most of the time running is pretty hard for me, especially if I’m trying to improve my pace or if I’m running in the summer humidity. But writing is much, much harder. Most every day I sit down to write I feel like I’m writing crap. But I suffer through my runs because I know when I’m finished, I’ll start to feel great in a matter of minutes. The endorphins kick in. After a writing session, I rarely ever feel great.

5) I’m in control.
Running is something I can control. I decide what type of exercise to do each day. I set mini-goals and big goals, and I usually can meet them because it’s all up to me. What is a writer’s biggest goal? Generally the goal is to be published and to have other people read your work and like it. If that’s the goal, then you’ve totally given up control. Now it’s up to others to decide your worth. That’s not a good place to be in.

What if I spent as much time running as I do writing? I think I could definitely improve my times!

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