Tag Archives: running prompts

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.



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Day 17–I Love My Ticonderogas & Patagonia Shorts

Where would I be without my Ticonderoga pencils?

There’s nothing better than a freshly sharpened Ticonderoga  pencil. The smell, the feel and the way they write. I don’t know where my obsession with these pencils began, but I’ve never turned back.

I’m also pretty attached to a pair of Patagonia Ultra Running Shorts. They are so comfortable, and they have seen me through 3 0r 4 ultra races. They have had their day, but I can’t seem to toss them.

It’s been noted that many writers have their quirky likes and dislikes. For some writers it is very important the time of day they write, where they write and what’s around them when they write.

Some writing quirks of famous writers:

Truman Capote was  a self-declared “completely horizontal author.” He said he had to write lying down, either in bed or on a couch, with a cup of coffee.

Ernest Hemingway used to write standing up, a pencil in one hand and a drink in the other.

Poet Wallace Stevens would compose poetry in his head while walking to and from his job at the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company.

Vladimir Nabokov did his writing standing up, and all on index cards.

*Writing quirks found at:   Note to self: develop some real quirks.

Runners also are known for their tendency towards quirks. Having running routes that they can’t veer from, race day rituals, post run rituals and special running gear. I searched  some running forums and found that some runners can’t go for a run before first taking a shower or shaving, others brush their teeth before every run, tie their shoes at the same tightness and or have to chew gum on the run.

I have to admit, I do have a few preferences, but nothing concrete.I think it’s good to have some running and writing quirks, because these quirks are often part of the routine that keeps you scheduled.

At the same, it’s good to toss your quirks to the side and start fresh, when you start a new writing project try to start fresh or write somewhere you normally  wouldn’t. This will help to liven up your writing. And with running, why not try running a day quirk-free. It might add something to your run.

When it comes to writing I do love the tools of the trade. Especially the minimalist ones such as, a spiral bound notebook and a Ticonderoga pencil. If you don’t have any Ticonderogas, I encourage to go out and by a box, sharpen everyone of them and start writing.

So where would I be without a Ticonderoga, probably the same place I am right now, but I wouldn’t have enjoyed the voyage as much.

Writing Prompt-Write a short story based on a writer that is drowning in running quirks.

Running Prompt-Try stretching for just 5 minutes after your run. For stretches check out: Five Fantastic Strecthing Exercises.

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Day 15–Does Technology Help you Run & Write?

We are bombarded with new technology each and every day. I’ve at times found myself shunning technology and have even been jokingly called a Luddite by friends. So to get down to the bottom of this question, we first need to clarify what is technology.

Technology–the making, usage and knowledge of tools, techniques,crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or serve some purpose–Definition from Wikipedia.

Doesn’t sound too bad, does it. To me it sounds exactly like what an artist needs–tools, techniques, crafts and methods. Writers are constantly looking at ways to enhance their craft through techniques and tools.

When I think of technology I immediately think of something electronic, but it turns out I’m wrong. Pencils, paper, ideas, writing books, writing prompts and the list goes on. These all help us write.

As a runner a person also is in constant search for techniques and systems to better their running. Even the barefoot watch-less runner is using technology, because they have their system that they follow.

So technology helps us Run & Write. But, can it also hinder us?

I view technology like a sharp knife. Grab it by the wrong end and you’ re going to do more harm than good. For example, the internet allows us to write and publish our writing, this technology helps us write. But, grab it by the wrong end–spend three-quarters of your day playing online chess and boom, the technology has stifled your writing.

The same with running, the new technique of barefoot running, it’s a part of technology. But, if you grab it by the wrong end you’re bound to get hurt, literally.

So the use of technology requires balance. Thinking about how you will use it and when you will use it.

What is your most useful piece of running or writing technology?

Writing Prompt-Take note of what aspects of technology helped you write today. Use them as the basis of a poem or short story.

Running Prompt-Take a run without a watch, iPod or any other digital device.

This blog post was inspired by–

Time to write: technology helps (and sometimes it hurts)

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Day 11–Meet your Running & Writing Goals

Seneca said, “Our plans miscarry if they have no aim.  When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.”

The importance of goals for running and writing can’t be stressed enough. If we don’t know what harbor we are aiming for there’s no wind that will carry us there.

Imagine a sailor that does not know  his destination, for him the sea would be a frustrating place. Now imagine the writer or runner who does not have a goal, this person will be plagued with the same frustration. The sailor may leave on his voyage without a goal, but he will soon need to decide, before his food and energy give out. The same with a writer or runner, they may start with no goals, but soon there zeal and energy will wane if they don’t set goals in front of themselves

To increase your enthusiasm follow these goal setting techniques:

Be distinct and specific
Instead of saying I will write and run today, decide what you write, how far you will run and when you will do these things.

Decide on a Deadline
Procrastination will conquer, unless you give yourself a specific deadline. Write down a date that you want to have your short story completed by. Or mark your calender with how many miles you will run this week.

Be reasonable, and unreasonable
Your goals should be within reach, but at the same time a challenge.

Mark your calender and check it
Day 1 of this blog emphasized the importance of a calender or planner. So mark that calender up with your goals, and at the end of the month be sure to review them.

Running & Writing Prompt– Set a goal and meet it by the end of the week.


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Day–8 The Writing & Running Spice


If you were to write the same story over and over, each and every day, you would get bored and stop writing. So, why try to write only fiction, or only essays, or only poetry. By limiting yourself to only one form or genre of writing, writing can lose its excitement.

I wake up early to work on my fiction. But, I don’t work on the same novel every morning. I have a rough schedule of:

Monday: Novel-write

Tuesday: Novel-enter novel from notebook into computer

Wednesday: Short Story-write

Thursday: Short Story-enter short story into computer

Friday: Novel-edit

Saturday: Short Story-edit

Sunday: Novel- write or edit

By changing it up everyday I find I’m more excited to get to my writing.

I also do this with my non-fiction freelance work. I block out chunks of time for queries, writing, researching and submitting. And why only write essays? Try your hand at all non-fiction forms. Such as, profiles, interviews, service articles and reviews.

Writing Prompt–Today write in a form you normally would not write in. If you’re stuck in fiction, try writing an essay. If you’re caught up in poetry, write a short story. And, if you’re busy with freelance work, take some time to start that novel.

Running–In the world of running variety plays a huge part in  you sticking with it.

Imagine going to the track every day and running the same quarter mile loop over and over again. Boring. So, why would we choose to run the same 3 mile route at the same time every morning and at the same pace. We are creatures of habit and  that can be our downfall.

How do we pop ourselves out of the running rut?

Running on pavement can  get old fast, so give trail running a try.

If you always run on trail, go to the local track and do speed work.

If your a speed-work specialist, try going on a long slow distance run.

To stay motivated, all you need to do is change it up a bit. Run in new places and at new paces.

Running Prompt–Try to find a trail near to you that you’ve never run on. Go explore.

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Day 5–Breaking through Running & Writing Obstacles

Obstacle defined–something that impedes progress or achievement

Ask yourself what stops you from running or writing today?

Is it procrastination? The I’ll do it tomorrow syndrome.  According to Psychology Today, “there are many ways to avoid success in life, but the most sure-fire just might be procrastination.”

If so, here’s how to solve this impediment to your progress or achievement.

The first step is realizing you’re procrastinating. So lets define procrastination. It  refers to the putting off of important tasks to a later time or the act of replacing high-priority goals with low-priority tasks.

The next step is deciding what your high-priority goals include, hopefully they include running and writing. If you are putting off running and writing to watch TV, dawdle on the internet or hang out at Mickey-dees then you might be procrastinating.

To beat this obstacle take these 7  simple steps.

1. Make a plan-Run or write every day this week.

2. Meditate on the Benefits- Run to be healthier.

3. Set a deadline-Write before 7 am each morning.

4. Build enthusiasm-Run a new route.

5. Do it-No explanation needed.

6. Reward yourself-After a week straight of running and writing every day you deserve some dessert.

The second obstacle is thinking  you can’t do it. The great thing about this hurdle is that no matter who you are, you can clear it.

Running: Not everyone can run a marathon in their first month, but most can after months of training. And to be a runner you don’t need to run a marathon. Start with a quarter mile, 1 mile or 2 miles. The beauty of running is that progression will be evident. It’s a progressive sport. I started with running a mile at a time. Now I’ve run 50 and 100 mile races. Start small and know you can do it. Start at Day 1. Dedicate yourself to a running streak, this blog will get you there.

Writing: Again, not everyone can sit down and write a novel. Like a marathon, writing requires endurance, and that is why you should start with small bites–short stories, poems and short essays. Then, after getting the feel for it, start that novel. Join our streaking club with Day 1. Stop here everyday for a prompt and some writing motivation.

Running Prompt-Today, run for the reward. Decide on a reward, then run and reward yourself at the end of the run. The only rule is that your reward shouldn’t contain more calories than you’ve burned in the last 2 runs.

Writing Prompt-Write down 5 writing goals. Such as,write 7 days straight, write a short story, publish a short story, get published in a magazine, write a novel or write 15 days this month. Whatever your goals are, make sure at least one of them can be accomplished within the next week, and work on that one first.

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Day 2-Find Time to Run & Write

Time, time, time. We all have it, we all use it and we all want more of it.

The reality is that we are all spinning around on the same globe, with a 24 hour day. The trick is dedicating a miniscule part of those 24 units to running and writing.

RUNNING– How far do you want to run today? Or how many minutes do you want to run today? I’m planning on 50 to 60 minutes, but that’s just me. You need to decide what your goal is. You can reasonably achieve your goal of running today  in less than  20 minutes. But what if you don’t have 20 minutes? Remember we all have 1,440 minutes each  and every day.

Running Prompt- Go out and run a timed mile, but don’t run fast. Run in your comfort zone. Right your time down.

Send me your time.

WRITING– First ask yourself, what do I want to write today? If you don’t have an idea about what you want to write, chances are that you won’t. The limits are endless, but if you are just starting, start small. Write a one page short story. Or a 10 line poem. You can reasonably do either in less than 30 minutes. But,  from where will you steal or borrow the 30 minutes? I’ve found the best time is early in the morning or late at night. The reason being, that is when I can find time alone, to just think. So tonight stay up 30 minutes later, and write. Or tomorrow set your alarm 20 or 30 minutes early, and write.

Writing Prompt-Write a hundred words or more about why you want to write.

Send me your essay on why you want to write.

The trick is allotting time, you may have to scour your schedule,  look in the deepest corners.

Here are some of the those deep corners:

TV Watching

Newspaper or Magazine Reading


Lunch break

Internet Surfing

House Cleaning

Video Games

The list goes on and on. If you don’t have time to run or write, choose one of these times eaters, and borrow 20 minutes from it, or take 10 minutes from each one of them. You will not regret it.

You will never hit the pillow at night and think, “I sure wish I would have spent more time watching TV or  playing video games today, but you will lay and think, “Why didn’t I just take the 30 minutes to run or write today?”

If you’ve just found this blog, it works best to start at Day 1.

Please let me know if you have started your–running or writing–streak.

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