Ten days ago, I ran my first 10k race. This was quite a feat since six months ago I hadn’t run in nearly 20 years. In November 2009, I discovered PodRunner, an online series where you follow a running program from the couch to 5k. To my surprise, I finished it in 8 weeks. I followed up with their Freeway to 10k program and finished it at the end of January. I had gone from the couch to running a 10k in four months!
Then I injured myself—five days before my first 10k race. Because I didn’t stretch properly, I got Achilles Tendonitis—a very common running injury. It took me several weeks to heal up and I missed the race. But I didn’t let it keep me down! I signed up for another race and on April 17, 2010, I completed the 13th Annual Fort Worth Zoo Run in 1 hour and 43 seconds—that’s 9:47/mile! Much better than I’d anticipated.
So what does this have to do with writing? Everything. Here are some of the truths that the two hobbies share:
- Set a Goal and a Plan. My first goal was to complete a 5k. I used the PodRunner series as my plan. When I completed that, I created a new goal: Complete a 10k run. I used PodRunner again as my plan. Then I set a goal for a 10k race. I stayed on target. Now I’ve set another goal: a half marathon. It never ends!
- Be Consistent. During the past six months since I started running, I’ve worked out three days a week and I’ve never missed a workout. That’s right—never. Even when I injured myself, I made sure I did an upper body workout, just so I wouldn’t get “out of the habit.” When it comes to writing, you must do the same thing. Write consistently. Even if it’s only a paragraph some days. Force yourself to write something.
- Enjoy the Run. Too many people turn running into exercise. Too many people turn writing into business. Sure, running is exercise and writing can be business. But first and foremost, it should be fun. It should be something you want to do. Something you enjoy doing. If you lose your joy, that couch will look awfully tempting again.
So don’t give up! Set a goal and a plan, be consistent and enjoy the run. When you do, finishing your race…or your novel…is just a short distance away!
PS: Here I am crossing that finish line, with my own cheerleading squad: