Random Acts of Inspiration: Running
Look, let’s not beat around the bush: I’m pretty sure nobody loves running for the sake of running at the start and if they do maybe I don’t entirely understand the colour of their heart. The first five to a million minutes are agony, at least for me. First your ankles kind of hurt, then your calves, and then oh look your lungs are legitimately on fire and hotter than Mount Doom. Cool. Cool. Cool.
But, that said, I know that millions of people appreciate running just as much as a good walk. And I know when I’m running (I’m not sure I can pinpoint when, but yes I have become a when I’m running kind of person) suddenly my mind has this vast empty cavern to fill with things and thoughts and ideas. And, I love it and hate it in equal measures.
In many ways running feels like writing to me. Both lead you into a fierce and lengthy battle, buried inside the labyrinth of your mind.
Just like with writing, when I’m running I’m either flying by the seat of my pants — zen and entirely happy — or every moment feels like a part of some huge warfare that I’m raging in the open plains of my head through hazy smoke and painful moments.
That said, I know that when I’m walking or running I often find inspiration for writing and that’s part of why I run.
Why Running Is Inspiring for your creativity
People run for all kinds of reasons, often a million different shades of reasons all combined together into the sparkling and brilliant colour that is you. I think running, and even walking, helps me to feel a few things that are important.
Running gives you Time
Time is the one thing we can never escape and always need more of. It is the singularly most valuable commodity in the universe and yet it’s one we also let slip by. Like many others, running gives me the simple gift of time. Time to think. Time to exist. I like carving out time to do any and all sports these days, and running too, because I like to thing giving yourself the gift of time is the best present you can treat yourself to.
I know that a lot of people like the meditative value of running. The repetition of feet treading ground, and breathing, can kind of push you into a zen state. Some of us love yoga, but I know others find their peace in the speed and calm of running. Don’t believe everything society tells you! A calm writer is, most often, a good writer. Some people thrive under stress and uncertainty, but most of us are at our best when we’re feeling chill. Relaxed minds are open minds, clear and focused, and that makes for great plotting. When you’re feeling blocked sometimes the best thing you can do is give yourself time to destress.
Running shows you Strength
There’s no denying that because of the struggle, and because my lungs are on fire, running helps me feel stronger. Running shows you what you knew already, somewhere deep down inside of yourself — that you are strong enough to conquer anything you set your mind to.
Sometimes the mindsets you develop while running — to pace yourself not only according to distance but according to environment, mood, and your own mental capacity on the day in question — are super valuable when you’re writing too. Running not only strengthens your body but it can also strengthen your mind, showing you that you are quite capable of coaching yourself through moments during which you want to give up. Showing you that you are as strong as a mountain.
Running gives you Words
Words come to me in the quiet moments, in the time I carve out for myself in-between life, and so naturally running is a great source of inspiration for me! The natural endorphins that exercise releases are a stress reliever, and probably part of the reason I feel so open, free, and full of words after a run.
Running Teaches You Kindness
There is no harsher critic than yourself.
There is nobody more capable of destroying your self confidence, worth, and esteem, than you.
Running has taught me a kindness I try to practice on myself, and even on others, in every other area of life — especially writing. I’ve discovered the value of a positive mind, and hand at the tiller, calmly reassuring the inner demons in my mind that everything will work out good in the end and that even if it doesn’t, that’s okay too. Running has shown me that kindness does not result in a lack of drive. It has taught me that the two can exist together, and compliment one another, turning me into a formidable force. This kindness quietens my mind, and quells my niggling anxieties. At 27, I have come to trust myself wholly, truly, and without judgement.
That kind of kindness, for me, really helps me to enjoy writing.
Running Is Never Done, neither is writing
Much like with writing, running is something nobody ever really a masters. There’s always one more step, one more race, one more book, and one more thought. There’s something reassuring to me about practicing something that I can never hope to master, and can only continue to learn from. With these kinds of things the journey becomes so much more important than the destination and I love that.
You don’t climb a mountain to get to the top, you go up to to become a better climber. You don’t run to find the finish line, you do it to become a better runner.
I don’t write things to get to the end of a book. I’m writing things to become a better writer.
I like the sound of that a lot more than anything else.