Mar 28, 2012

Reading, Writing, and Running

by Kami Cornwall

My high school had a class called Reading, Writing, and Running in which the English teacher would take the students out for a 15 minute jog before coming back to class and working on the reading and writing portions. He believed that exercise helps stimulate your brain and helps the students focus and learn. That was 20 years ago.

Two years ago there was an article in ABC News in which they "discovered" that research being conducted in schools like that of Naperville, Illinois, show exercise actually improves students' overall grades. Reading comprehension went way up and even math scores were up 21%.

Now I'm not going to tell you all to get out there and start running ten miles a day with a grin on your face the whole way. I never liked running. I was in track but only for the throwing events. I only lettered in discus because my coach made me angry and I aimed for his head out there in the distance when I chucked that disc. Luckily they don't fly as far or as fast as a frisbee and he knew it was coming. But we'll talk about my temper another day.

I began teaching myself how to run about fifteen years ago while living in Florida. I started off walking, then after about ten minutes I would jog for a minute or two. I had to keep telling myself, "This is not a race. The point is to keep a steady pace. We'll work on speeding it up later." Gradually I was able to jog for fifteen minutes without stopping, and then thirty. Two years ago I finished a half marathon.

I feel like writing my book right now is just like pushing through the last few miles of that half marathon. I tell myself, "Only a little farther left to go! If I slow down I might not be able to push to the end. Keep moving. I can do this." Sometimes it takes that 'self talk' to get us to finish a project. Maybe we all could use a little exercise before we sit down and start writing to stimulate those brain cells. Whatever you decide, let me root for you here on the sidelines. Keep going! You can do this! You may have just begun or you may be on the final stretch. Whatever the case, it's going to feel so good when you're done.


  1. LOL! Yes, those discus are heavy. I tried throwing them, but I got dizzy when the coach made me turn in a circle before releasing it. I was a runner. I was the tallest girl in the school, and therefore had the longest legs. I was the fastest, too. When on a team, I was the anchor, and we always won. On those days I felt like I was worth something. Nowadays, I'd rather dance!

    I've never had to talk myself into finishing a manuscript. I've actually dreaded the end coming. It's like saying goodbye to the characters, and it's sad. The only bright spot is I usually have another set of characters lined up waiting for me to get on with their story, like I do right now.

  2. I am with you. I my WIP is practically done (but I am stuck at mile 11 ;-))

    THnak you and I think a quick jog before sitting to write may work for me. Good thoughts.

  3. Yep. One of the big things missing today is the connection between physical exercise and brain stimulation. Lots of studies out there; all positive. Hmmm maybe when I get writer's block, I should treadmill's an idea.

  4. Thanks, Kami. I needed this heading into next week.


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