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Why writing and running fit together

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  January 18, 2013 09:45 AM

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People often ask me why I write about running.

Why not yoga? Or mediation? Or something else entirely?

Having worked at a newspaper since the age of 18, I am comfortable around words. I can control words. I understand them. I know the rules of grammar, syntax, and can control the pace of a piece easily based on a few simple choices.

Words, in all their beautiful, messy, complexity, make sense to me. I know how to wield them. If I stumble while writing a piece, I know what to do to fix it the next time around.

For me, writing is like putting on my favorite old sweatshirt: It may look ragged and rough on the outside, but on the inside it is perfectly worn in and soft, familiar.

I always know where I'll end up when I write. I always have a vague idea of what the journey to get there will feel like, too.

Writing feels like home.

Running feels like work.

It takes every ounce of strength I have mentally and physically to control my pace while running. Every step is raw, unfamiliar, and decidedly not predictable. When I set out to run, I have no idea if I will make it to whatever I determine to be the end that day.

I'm not graceful.

Sometimes my strides have the same feel to them as my fingers banging away at my keyboard: Steady, rapid, and fluid. That's when I'm the most comfortable running. Other times, my steps are wild. Unsure. As if I'm running to catch up with something.

There's a tension I feel before a run that the sheer act of running helps to unravel. That's where writing and running intersect: It seems to be a space where my mind can ruminate.

There's a rhythm to writing. A rhythm to running. Where one beat drops off, another takes it's place -- one word for another, one foot then the other. And eventually, with both writing and running, there's a finish line. And quiet.

I can't wait until running feels like writing does. I'm still working on that.

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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