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6 Running Strategies I Have Successfully Applied to Writing

Simplicity and consistency are key

By Rejoice DenherePublished 2 years ago 6 min read
6 Running Strategies I Have Successfully Applied to Writing
Photo by Nicolas Hoizey on Unsplash

I’m in love with running. If you’d told me a decade ago that this is how I’d feel, I would have laughed. Yet here I am, totally in love with this energising sport.

Running, as a hobby, is uncomplicated and affordable. All you need is good pair of running shoes and comfortable clothes to run in. Apart from walking, few activity-based hobbies are as easy, and low-cost, to start. I am not fond of complicated things, especially when it comes to hobbies. I don’t mind being challenged and stretched though. Running offers me both in moderation. I find the same applies to my writing.

Here I share six running strategies I have successfully applied to writing.

1. Keep It Simple

The first thing I learnt when I started running was that I needed to keep it simple. I remember my first run, before I had learnt this valuable lesson. I enrolled on a programme that promised to take me from couch to running 5km in less than 12 weeks.

I enthusiastically downloaded the app but didn’t bother to familiarise myself with it. I mean, what did I even need the app for, I reflected. I knew how to run. I’d been running for trains and buses for years. Just put one foot infront of another — only faster, and stop when you get tired. Easy.

I could not have been more wrong. After that first run, every single part of my body hurt, including my eyes, teeth and gums. I wished I’d strapped an extra pair of lungs on my back.

Shamed-faced I went back to the app and followed the instructions. My running sessions improved after that. The app provided structure, runs were timed, and there were different levels for each stage. I learnt very quickly that skipping levels was not a good idea. The body and muscles need to adjust to the new routine.

The second thing I learnt was the importance of being consistent. It’s the flip-side of keeping things simple. There is an unwritten law in running which is that, when you take extended breaks from running, you have to start from the lowest level when you resume. This law is dictated by your boss — aka your body. Disobey orders and you will pay.

How I Apply this to Writing

My writing is simple. I write about topics in which I have knowledge and/or personal experience. It makes articles more relatable. I read and write consistently. This has helped me develop discipline, which helps creative ideas flow more easily. Have you noticed how hard it is to be creative when you’re neither reading nor writing consistently?

2. You Need a Coach

One of my acquiantances doesn’t use an app when he runs. He just gets on the road. I once asked him what his running distance and speed were. “I don’t know,” was his response. “I run until I’m tired.”

I thought it was a shame that he doesn’t even know if he is getting better or not. I couldn’t do that. I almost killed myself trying to do things without proper guidance.

My running coach is Michael Johnson’s voice on the app. On days when my body doesn’t want to move, his encouraging prompts keep me going.

How I Apply this to Writing

When I started writing I looked for top writers who I could learn from. They were my greatest inspirers. I’m still learning from them and grateful for the wisdom they share. I would not be making the same progress without them.

3. You Need a Supportive Community

“I found a running group near you!” my friend, who is also interested in running, texted. I was still new to running at the time and wasn’t sure about running with a whole bunch of strangers. I was aware, however, that I needed community support.

Fortunately the app I use has a wonderful support network. I joined in the conversations. I found motivation and encouragement, especially during the first days. It was a safe place to ask questions without feeling stupid. As I progressed through the levels, I started encouraging newcomers. I loved it, and still do.

Being in a community or belonging to a group speeds up your learning time.

You learn you’re not alone in whatever you’re feeling or going through. It’s a great motivator to keep going.

How I Apply this to Writing

When I started taking writing seriously I joined several writing groups on LinkedIn. I participated in monthly writing challenges. Members of the groups would provide feedback on stories submitted. The feedback helped me improve my writing skills.

I now belong to a number of writing groups across platforms such as Facebook, Goodreads, and LinkedIn. Some are good for feedback, others challenge me to up my game whilst others are for support as they read my articles.

4. Find Your Rhythm

Six weeks after my first running session I had found my rhythm. This is what helped me run my first 5km without stopping. It was the most satisfying feeling. I would watch faster runners whizz past me and not feel like I wasn’t going fast enough.

How I Apply this to Writing

Strategies that work well for some writers don’t always work for me. I don’t allow this to get in the way of my progress. I learn the lessons, work with what resonates with me and leave the rest.

5. Stay Fit Between Runs

I don’t run every single day so I make an effort to stay fit between runs. On non-run days I do stretching exercises, or go for a walk.

How I Apply this to Writing

On days when I don’t write I read. If I don’t read I seek out interesting experiences or engage in conversations that breed ideas. It’s my way of staying mentally fit between writing articles. When I return to my desk it’s easy to achieve the flow state as I have tonnes of ideas. I only struggle with writing when I let myself mindlessly drift through life.

6. Be in It to Win It

My running sessions last 30 to 40 minutes. Following the app instructions I know I am expected to run the full course. Completing a session is a win for me. I set off with the intention of winning.

How I Apply this to Writing

In writing winning comes in different forms. The biggest win is knowing I have shared helpful information that will change someone’s life for better. Sometimes the win is the financial return, other times it’s increased followers, or likes. I am clear about what I am aiming for and pursue it without wavering.

Final Thoughts

  • Keep it simple
  • You need a coach
  • You need a supportive community
  • Find Your Rhythm
  • Stay fit between runs
  • Be in it to win it.


About the Creator

Rejoice Denhere

Lover of the written word, mother, and business owner.

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