Day 18–Running & Writing Progression

The late Ron Pickering, former national athletics coach for Wales, once said, “If you wake up every morning and go for a 2 mile run around the park in 15 minutes, you will become very good at running 2 miles in 15 minutes. But, if you wish to progress, some of your runs will have to be 4 miles around the park, and some, just one mile around the park much faster.”

The above quote by Ron Pickering is true, but at the same time we can still be proud if we are the person waking up every morning and running 2 miles. In a sense we progressed. We ran 2 more miles for the week, month and year.

As runners and writers we want progression. It’s obvious with any run that we start at point A and progress to point B. The same with writing, we begin with one word and end up with a page or 400 pages.

In writing and running progression is key.

With writing this is extremely true. If you wake up every day and write 200 words, you have progressed. You could write 200 words every morning for the rest of your life, and you will be further ahead than most people and a lot of other writers.

The point being start out with consistency. Wake up and write. Wake up and run.

Start small and aim big.

Write  one sentence today, 2 tomorrow,  3 the next day and so on. After 2 months you will be writing 60 sentences a day, a pretty hefty word count.

If you run 1 minute today, 2 tomorrow, and 3 the next. After 2 months you will be able to run for an hour straight.

Once you have a program, than start thinking about progression in other terms, such as writing more and publishing or running faster and winning a race.

Everybody has their own signs of progression. For one writer progression may be finishing a short story, for another it’s publishing the short story. One runner wants to run a mile without stopping and the runner down the block wants to run a mile under 6 minutes.

Progression is relative.

So how do you measure your progression? You need to look to the past. How much and what were you writing one week ago, a month ago or last year? More or less?

How much and how fast did you run last week, month or year?

The only way to really get a grasp of our progression is if we have some sort of running log or writing journal. Then, we can look back and see what we were doing last month or year. By looking back we will usually find that we have progressed, even though we didn’t realize it.

It’s like growing hair. You don’t wake up and notice your hair grew overnight. But, if you look at a picture from six months ago, you will see progression. That’s why some sort of running/writing journal is a must.

So look back. You will be pleasantly surprised that you have progressed. And if not, you will be motivated to start progressing.

How do you measure running and writing progression?

Writing Prompt–Write a poem about where you want your writing to be in 6 months.

Running Prompt–Look back in your records and try to run your fastest mile today. Then write it down and try again in 2 weeks.

For an awesome article on progression read- Progression – the key to increasing fitness.



Filed under running and writing

2 responses to “Day 18–Running & Writing Progression

  1. This is great advice. I’m of the type that jumps into experiences too quickly. I’m bursting with enthusiasm but often lack the follow through aspect. This is fine with normal experiences, but with writing, it’s much different. Writing is my art. Therefore I need to remember exactly what you said: progression is key, and progression is relative. It’s easy to become frustrated with writing, but when I look back, I’m more focused on writing than I ever have been before in my life. And that in itself is progression of some sort.

    • I can relate to jumping right in. For example trying to write like crazy and then burning out. That’s awesome that you can see you’re more focused than ever. True progression.

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