Fitness Writing, Part IV

RunningI went out for track in both junior high and high school. I never placed in any of my races. I went out for basketball as a junior in high school but the first warm up made my legs hurt for three days.

I’m not a fast runner but I’ve built up the endurance through taekwondo and through persistence.

I break down my running exercises into two categories. Intervals and distance.

Intervals

This is build stamina. My normal regimen is walk fifty yards, jog fifty yards, sprint fifty yards. That’s one set. I’ve worked myself up to eight and sometimes twelve sets. Then I’ll change the routine and do eight sets with the ninth and tenth being walk, jog, sprint one hundred yards. Or, I’ll vary the intervals each set. The first will be the usual fifty, then on the second set I’ll walk forty, jog and sprint sixty. The third set I drop the walking down to thirty and the jog/sprint to seventy. I’ve done the intervals around the track doing hundred yard stretches each time. I’ve done the intervals on the street in front of my apartment using the apartment buildings’ (there are five in all) mailboxes as my distances.

For writing, I liken the intervals to writing in spurts. Quick pages here and there, different times of the day. Short scenes. Dialogue. Description. Sometimes this works just to get down an idea or to detail a scene.

Distance

This is done one of two ways (a subset of the subset if you will). Either I will set the cell phone alarm (usually for fifteen minutes) and take off running in one direction or zig-zag through town. When the alarm rings, I turn back. The second distance is set myself a specific number of laps around the track. Usually ten which is about two and a half miles. I can vary the routine by using a different lane each lap.

In writing you can set the time factor to a specific number of hours to write or a certain goal, such as the end of a chapter. Many times when I ‘distance’ write I get ‘in the zone’. For runners, there’s a point where they push past the pain and the exhaustion and they can run for many more miles. For writers, the zone is when they know they’re on a roll and the words just flow. I’ll know when to quit when I’m writing longhand and my hand starts to ache.

Again, it’s good to celebrate the achievement of that goal. I push myself to do one more lap or push myself to go a little bit farther.

Next week: Biking

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