How writing is like running

This summer I’ve been coaching the freshman on my old high school’s cross country team, which has resulted in two things: 1. I’m running regularly for the first time in almost two years, and 2. I’ve been thinking a lot more about running. And with the revival of this blog, I’ve been thinking a lot more about writing. There are a lot of parallels between the two. The metaphorical potential excites me.

At first I was going to compare the pyramid training method to writing, but I didn’t want to bore anyone with the details, so…here’s a table.

Running

Writing

You’re not very fast when you start

You’re not that great when you start

You build up to longer runs, like 5k and 10k races before marathons

You write shorter works before you write novels

You figure out a training schedule in advance

You develop at least some part of an idea in advance

You run your guts out for hundreds of miles before you start training for races

You write your guts out for hundreds of thousands of words before writing for publication

You watch other people race and apply what you observe to your own running

You read what other people write and apply what you observe to your own writing

You do time trials and review courses in advance in order to run your fastest on race day

You write and rewrite several drafts to make sure your manuscript is at its full potential when you submit for publication

There are also some exact similarities:

  • Everyone has different abilities
  • You have to take care of yourself physically and mentally in order to do well
  • You don’t always want to do it, but you always feel awesome afterwards
  • At the end of the day, talent doesn’t matter—the people who stretch boundaries, put in the time, and give it their best effort will be successful

TL;DR: Running and writing are eerily similar.

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