I’ve just taken up running recently and it dawned on me during a particularly difficult run that blogging is an awful lot like training for a race:

  1. In both running and blogging, you must commit. When I first started running I had grand delusions of what running would be like. I thought that since I was relatively fit and I ran cross country when I was 14, I could just hunker down and run a few miles. Boy was I sadly mistaken. A few minutes into my first run—if you could call it a run that is—I was huffing and puffing like a steam engine. While gasping for air, I quickly realized that I was going to have to go much slower and build up what runners call a base – you know, get my legs used to running so that my body can learn how to adjust to this new regular pavement pounding. Blogging is the same way. Although you might write regularly for your business, you are probably not used to writing 200-600 words several times each and every week. You have to build up your writing base, just as you would in running, so that you get used to the writing and you start to find your stride. You’ve got to lay the ground work first.
  2. You must be consistent if you want to succeed. Anyone (well, just about anyone) can get out there and pound out a couple of miles or a few hundred words on their keyboard. Some people might even get lucky and do really well right out of the gate. But to get good, really good, you have to practice – or train. When I started my 5K training back in February, I knew I had a long haul ahead of me. Three miles felt like a zillion. But after about three weeks, things started to turn. I started to run more than walk. Then I could run 20 minutes. Finally, after 10 grueling weeks of running 3+ times a week, and much to my astonishment, I was able to run 3 miles. And now one mile seems like a cinch. Same goes for blogging. You’ve got to keep up with the writing if you want to see the results. And one of the great things about blogging is the results are cumulative, meaning you’ll see greater results by writing often and writing more. You just have to put in the time.
  3. Not every run or article you write will be a winner. Some days, I get in the groove and end up running 4 miles. Other days, I can barely knock out 2.  Some days I actually smile while I’m running. Other days I sneer at everyone I see.  Blogging can be the same way. Some days you’ll have a flood of inspiration and write a killer post that attracts a lot of attention. Some days you’ll write a clunker. Most days you’ll cruise along at and slow and steady pace. The good thing about running and writing on a regular basis is that you learn to muscle through those sluggish days and just “do it.” The hard days are worth it because you’ll learn that discipline will (almost always) trump talent.
  4. Others will give up, which gives you a competitive advantage. Recently while competing a 5K, I noticed that most of the runners around me started out fast. I considered running faster to keep up because I did want to be shown up by women pushing strollers. But I decided to keep my comfortable –albeit slow—pace. What I noticed was that when I reached the first hill, people started walking. And then the next hill, more people started walking. As I came round the last turn, I was still chugging along and managed to set aside a reserve of energy left to finish the race without keeling over. To my surprise, runners all around me started to tucker out. It was a great feeling to think that all my training helped me push through the hard parts. So don’t think that every blog that is started will succeed. Many fail. Most fail because they are started on a whim – no plan, just an idea. And once the excitement and newness fades, the blog goes stale. And looks can be deceiving. Some people might start out fast (and look awfully successful) and putter out just when they are starting to see some real results. For those slow and steady bloggers, this is a good thing. Less competition = more opportunity for you.
  5. It always feels good when you are finished.I wouldn’t say I love running. I love getting out in the fresh air. I love listening to my music. I love doing something good for my body. But the actual running part, not so much. The best feeling in the world is when I complete the run. Whether I am running a race or trying to increase my distance, I feel so great when I finish what I set out to do. That feeling is what makes me do it again even on days when my head is filled with all the excuses in the world. But just like running, if you only write when you feel like it, you probably won’t write much at all. Set a goal. Write the first draft. Edit. Publish.And then enjoy that feeling of accomplishment – until the next time you need to pound out another post. Because just like in running, the race is never really over. Just when you cross one finish line, you start training for the next race.

 

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