I think running is the best alone time that anyone can have.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I run at least twice every week, I have previously ran a 10K and a half-marathon, and I aim to finish a marathon in 2018. I have been running outdoors for exercise on and off since I was 15.
However, I would not class myself as a “runner” because that would be separating me from other people. The leap in standard needed for running in races is not as big as you think. In this post, I want to show all of you that taking some time out of my weekly schedule to go running has improved more than just my fitness.
If you have worked long-hours on complex projects then you will know that willpower alone is insufficient for productivity. There will be periods where you feel severe mental block and stare blankly at the screen or paper.
After about 30 minutes of mental block I would try and run for 30 minutes to divert my attention away from the task in hand. The physical stress which was brought on by the constant sitting down and critical thinking would be relieved by the running which made me physically tired while clearing my mental tiredness and confusion.
When I had finished my run I would be able to start the task again with the same state of mind that I had begun with in the morning. I could relax and see the steps which had to be taken with real mental clarity.
The repetitiveness of running can manifest into boredom. This creates a major deterrent for people to start running and then keeping going out. However, I would like to tell you why the repetitiveness is a godsend anyone working on a creative project.
The repetitiveness of the movements and the plain thinking which runners engage in when they identify their route has the effect of clearing your mind of negativity around other parts of your work.
The mental clarity which I gained from running also allows creative breakthroughs to come through that would not have happened if I had stayed at my desk all that time.
I cannot emphasise enough the boost which running and other exercise brings to your self-esteem. It does not just help your self-esteem by improving your physical appearance, but by giving you the feeling that you are doing something right. I always found that an hour or more of mental block can be detrimental to self-esteem, because it is just time wasted.
So if you take some time out when you are suffering from mental block you will get more throughout the whole day from the time that you have put into work, and also get your daily exercise completed.
In order to run well I had to force myself to adapt to a healthier diet. Running without energy is especially boring, so I got into the habit of eating a banana before each run. This had a knock on effect on my work life, because I saw the impact of healthy eating on my ability to think clearly while running. As a result I decided to bring bananas to the library instead of chocolate and other processed sugary food and drink.
So by wanting to run, I was also able to get into the habit of eating better food which has improved my overall health.