How I run is how I write, and visa versa. When either my running or writing is off kilter, the other follows the same pattern. When the prose flow onto the page, I go for an afternoon or evening run that oftentimes exceeds my planned distance, at times stretching into the dark. And when I run like my feet no longer touch the ground my imagination is most fertile and stories appear out of thin air.
Neither are working particularly well at the moment. I am writing every day, and running most days, but both are sluggish, which sucks. I sat wondering why I’m struggling with my novel, and it hit me. The ultra marathon I ran less than two weeks ago sapped more from my body and spirit than I realized. I suppose I’m guilty of expecting to too much of my body too soon after a forty-mile drain, like an equestrian getting back on the horse instantly after a hard fall. My bad.
There are no magic formulas, no silver bullet, to getting yourself on track with your life when you are in a funk. There are no Five Steps, Seven Habits, or The Twelve Step programs that will help until you get up off your ass and take the first step. Books, classes or seminars will get you nowhere until you get up off your duff and go. It’s that simple.
So I’ve decided to switch horses–to the iron horse. I’m a cross-training advocate. I was in the best condition of my life a few years ago when I was cycling with a buddy who goes by the name of Dan-the-Bike. We’d take 40 and 50-mile jaunts on the steep hills in Bucks County, PA, and then I’d take a long run later in the day. Time to brush the dust of the bike and start cycling. Experience tells me that everything else will fall into place once I get going–the running and the writing.
It’s not alway easy, but when you get into a funk, get moving. That first step will build momentum to a second, and then a third. You will see results and your spirit will lift. Sometimes you might consider switching gears. If you are a runner, try cycling, stair-climbing, walking, even yoga. If you are a writer, try taking a class to push yourself, a workshop, or write poetry, even if you’re not a poet. The important thing is–work through it and bust the funk!