Pretty much everyone knows that running, if done properly, can be very good exercise and provide a lot of great health benefits. However, since I’ve taken up running in the past year, getting more serious in the last 4 months. I’ve noticed that the physical benefits are only a small part of the rewards.
Running, in particular endurance running, is a mindset more than anything and thinking like a runner, even if you aren’t one, has a lot of great benefits in your life and in your blogging.
So even if you’re not the type to get off the couch or wear running gear, getting into the mind of a runner can help you get the most out of your blogging and out of any other task that requires endurance and perseverance.
One year ago, I was not what anyone would consider a runner. Though I had already lost a lot of weight and greatly improved my health, I’d been shying away from treadmills and tracks simply because it was a type of exercise I wasn’t good at.
In high school, I was an avid mountain cyclist and would ride for hours on end. While cycling is great exercise, it requires a very different skill set than running and, every time I attempted to use my feet instead of my pedals it ended badly.
Yet, when I started seeing a trainer early this year, I had little choice but to start running. Since he was just starting out, the only cardio equipment he had was a treadmill so I was forced to learn and quick.
At first, it was pathetic. A lot of rail holding, long warm ups and short bursts. But, with time, I learned, got better and soon graduated to running on the streets and then begin to get much more serious, running farther than I ever thought possible.
Last week, I completed my first 10K run (6.2 miles) and am working on improving both my 10K and 5K times.
Though I still have a lot of work to do (my times are nowhere near competitive) It’s been a long journey already and one that I’ve already learned a great deal from.
With that in mind, here are just five of the lessons that running has taught me and how they apply to blogging.
1. The First Mile is the Hardest
There’s an old saying that goes: “The last miles is the hardest.” Whoever wrote that was not a runner.
The last mile is easy. You’re on the home stretch, your mind and your body are in a rhythm and you’re staring at the finish line. If you’ve made it to the last mile, you probably aren’t going to stop and you may even start to push harder.
For most runners, the first mile is by far the hardest. Though the first few feet is always easy thanks to the initial excitement, there comes a point where the pain and effort required to run catches up to your body and, sadly, you’re only a few hundred feet in.
At this point, you’re hurting and you’re staring down a long, hard road. It can feel impossible even if you’ve done it hundreds of times before. This, more than anything, will make you want to quit and go back home.
Lessons for Blogging: Setting up a site is easy and fun, everyone loves picking out their theme, but writing entry after entry without anyone reading gets tiresome quickly. You need to make a strong first push to get a site going and, once that’s done and your audience grows, you fall into a rhythm and things begin to get easier.
2. Consistency is Key
Though interval training is great if you’re learning how to run or want to burn a lot of calories quickly, it’s not a great way to post good times or run long distances. If you want to make it to the end of your run, you need to find a good, consistent speed that you can maintain and hold it.
Doing this not only makes running a lot easier on you, enabling you to go much farther, but it improves your overall speed, helping you get better times. The hardest part, however, is finding the exact right pace. It needs to be one you can maintain, but one that gets you to the goal as fast as possible.
Lessons for Blogging: You need to make blogging part of your routine and do it as often as you can maintain reliably. It’s easier to pick up the pace later than to scale back a pace you can’t maintain.
3. You Need the Right Equipment
Runners don’t wear the clothes they do out of a complete lack of fashion sense, it’s a matter of practicality. Normal clothes aren’t made for running, they’re heavy, restrict movement and are generally uncomfortable for any kind of extended physical activity.
That being said, good gear doesn’t make you a good runner, but it does make it possible for you to become one. Running shoes and track pants might seem like a waste of money, but when you try running in anything else, the difference is clear.
Lessons for Blogging: Bloggers have tools too, in particular the platform that they use. Whether it’s WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, TypePad or any of the other numerous options out there, you need to make sure you have the right platform for the type of site you want to run. The perfect blogging software won’t make you a great blogger, but it can give you the chance to become one.
4. You Need Support
Running is a solitary sport, but it’s not one you should be doing completely alone. It’s difficult to keep motivated when it’s just you running against yourself. Though you can set important goals, it’s easier when you have others to help push you along.
Whether it’s friendly competition, encouragement or just someone to talk to about running, having people you can work with not only makes it easier but better all around.
Lessons for Blogging: When you’re blogging, it’s just you and your keyboard but there is strength in numbers. Networking with other bloggers encourages linking, swapping useful information and much more. Being a social blogger makes you a better blogger.
5. It’s All About the Mindset
When starting a run, if you realize it’s going to be a long run and take it seriously, you’re much more likely to finish it. If you underestimate how far X number of miles is, you’ll likely not finish it, even if you’ve gone much farther in the past.
If you know what you’re getting into and treat it with the right amount of respect, you’ll reach your goals. If you don’t, you won’t. It’s that simple.
Lessons for Blogging: Blogging is an endurance run. It’s not something you do one day and quit. It becomes a part of your life and something you do day after day for months or even years. If you realize that before opening a site, you’ll likely go far with it and do great things, if you don’t, you’ll probably quit not too far out of the gate.
Running isn’t easy but neither is blogging. But any time you take on a challenge and overcome it, there are things that you can learn from that and take it to the next.
This is why it’s important to always be working to improve yourself in everything you do. The harder you work, the more you overcome and the more experience you get, the better you are prepared for what lies next.
That, in turn, enables you to do more and become more, possibly exceeding the highest expectations you had for yourself.