Maureen Kauzlarich

Children's Author

The Similarities Between Writing and Running

The similarities between writing and running are interesting to dissect. How could two different activities have so much alike? Physically, they don't. Mentally, they do. Let's cut open this frog.


Mind over matter

Anybody who has ever run for the first time or for a longer distance than usual knows the feeling of the mind telling the body to stop. The difference between running and other exercises is that you think to yourself for a long time. Running outside, you may find yourself stranded somewhere with your thoughts. But tricking the mind into thinking you can run just a little bit more or that the distance isn't that long can be applied to writing. Telling yourself that you're only going to write X amount of words or write for X amount of time is so much like tricking your brain to get up and go for a jog. Most of the time, once you hit that X amount, you want to keep going further. Both writing and running exercises is a mind over matter game.


Can’t start running marathons

Like trying to run a marathon for your first run, it’s hard to write 10,000 words your first time. The brain and body will resist. It has no experience of how much energy is needed for this long haul. With both writing and running you got to start out small. When you haven't done either for a while, you should also build back up with short spurts. Both running and writing need experience over time to get faster, longer, and better.


Even if you had a bad day, you still ran


We may set out on a run determined to do it at a certain mileage or time, but sometimes we don’t have the strength or willpower. Maybe you ate some bad salami before your run and that’s to blame, but either way, you tried. It’s like with writing. You may set out to write 50,000 words in a month, but then life might throw some unseen curveballs. If you still wrote, you won. Everyone will have their bad days, even the most professional writers and runners. Remember that as long as you did it, you're only growing your experience.


Practice makes perfect


Writing something every day helps the same way running every day can keep your body in shape. Missing days may make it harder to start back up and leaving you to feel sluggish. Keep doing it anyway. Even if you don't have the time to run or write every single day, doing it every once in a while can still keep you in shape. It's the practice itself that will help you stay the course in achieving the goal of finishing something. Whether that be your first half-marathon or book, practice by doing, no matter how slow or inconsistent the days are.


Running long and short distances


If you do run or write each day, mixing things up will inevitably help either activity. If you tend to run long distances, running faster short distances can help you run longer. Same with writing. If you write long novels, writing something short on some days can help evolve your writing. You can learn something from each type of running and writing exercise. You build muscle in places you didn't realize you had including in your brain. It's an overall win-win to try other things.


Shoes and Pencils


It doesn't take much to get started with running and writing. You only need tennis shoes and the outside world to run. With writing, the classic pencil and paper will suffice. Basically, there are no fancy gadgets needed to carry on either event. There's something innocent about this simplicity. Going out on a happy run or writing a fun story can bring you back to your childhood. There’s not much money needed to start which means there’s not much holding you back. Nothing is stopping you from running or writing except yourself (or the lack of shoes and pencils).


Runner’s High and Flow State


When you do get into running, you may experience a phenomenon called "runner's high." It's when you're in the zone, your breathing is perfect, your body is numb to any pain, and you feel like you can run for miles. You feel really good in the moment and don't have the urge to stop. Everything in your mind and body is working together as one. This is something writers feel too. It's a type of workflow where you're in the zone, your breathing is perfect, your mind is numb to any other thoughts, and you feel like you can write for hours. You feel really good in the moment and don't have the urge to stop. Everything in your mind and hands are working together as one. The only way to get this high is to start in the first place. What are you waiting for?

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