Friday, October 1, 2010

Half Marathon Writing

MOOD STATUS: "Pleased". I have a partial completed--it's rough, but my goal is done.

Well, as most of you know, I run--or light jog, as I like to say. The hubby has started to run too. I think I even mentioned that we both ran in our first 5K race a few months ago. Yeah, that's all well and good, but now he's taken this running thing to a new level.

How?

This Sunday he's actually running in his first half marathon race. Yes, that's 13.1 miles. 13.1 miles!!!!

That's two hours of running. I mean...who does that? I can't imagine doing ANYTHING for two hours straight! (However, he wants it noted that his goal to finish in under two hours) ***I'll let you know how he makes out on Monday. Assuming he's still living...

Anyhew, he's been training for this for a few weeks now with his running buddies. But they have a plan. It's this: run a mile then fast walk a minute, run a mile then fast walk a minute, etc... My friend who ran a half marathon straight said she did this method and it shaved 6 minutes off her total time (which is actually pretty good). The theory is that you can go faster when you run those miles if you give yourself little breaks in-between.

Interesting, huh? So I guess you're thinking that I've applied this to my own running, huh?

Well, no. But I HAVE applied it to my writing! Sort of.

I started paying attention to my writing time and how I was using it thanks to Patti Nielson's blogfest this week. Of course, Patti wasn't trying to have us write more. She was just interested in having us see how much we write in a week. But because of that, I wanted to make the most of that time I was using.

Normally, I write until I make my daily goal. No computer time or anything else until that goal is met. It works--usually--but I've noticed it's been taking me much longer to make goal these days--thus, limiting my blogging time.

So, this week I decided to use my hubby's training method--so to speak. I wrote for 45 minutes, took a 15 minute computer break. Wrote for 45 minutes, took a 15 minute break, etc...

And you know what? I found I was able to write much more (and stronger) in that 45 minute time frame by taking more frequent breaks in-between.

As a result, I wrote a whole chapter in four days and I didn't need as much total writing time. thus, my goal this week was met a day early.

Go, me!

What about you?

What works better? Long-distanced writing with little or no breaks in-between? Or do you do shorter writing times with frequent breaks?

36 comments:

MJFredrick said...

I used that same schedule this summer. I'd write 45 minutes, then do something else for 15. I got a LOT done with that schedule.

Misha said...

That's awesome! I'll give it a time once I get time to actually write without feeling guilty...

I generally don't have a system. I don't even set goals. I tend to just write until whatever I'm writing is done, be it a chapter or a paragraph.

Sometimes I write until a portion of the story is done (as in thousands of words.)

I generally don't take a break except for snacks and bathroom, which means that I'm bushed by the time I finish...

blueviolet said...

That's pretty cool that you changed up your technique and it worked.

I tend to have to focus and just plow through it. I'm a flitter by nature, so the stop and start is my normal way. My changing up is to take no breaks.

Piedmont Writer said...

Wow that's awesome. I wish I could do it but I don't run, or even half jog. I need my total focus on the work at hand, 2-3 hours at a time and then I shut it down and play.

You've got dedication Jennifer, go get'em.

Hey, good luck to your husband in his race too.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Misha: Yeah, when i write straight through I'm exhausted by the end too. But with these little breaks I was tired at all at the end!

Piedmont: Thanks, I'll let him know. :)

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I'm a long distance gal in just about every area of my life.

I've always wanted to run a half marathon.

I will...someday.
~ Wendy

T. Anne said...

Yes, go you! I'm still outlining and wishy washy on plot points of my new novel. I wish I could shore up some details so I could go ahead and write already.

Jenna Wallace said...

This is a great idea and one that I am definitely going to employee. If nothing else, it might help break me of the habit of bouncing up out of my chair every ten minutes to do something random like clean the toilets or make toast.

Linda Kage said...

Good luck to the hubby!

Your writing strategy sounds interesting. But if you've got a great muse flowing at the end of the 45 minutes, do you still force yourself to take a break or can you keep writing?

Maria Zannini said...

That's a very interesting process. I'm usually a go for broke kind of writer, but I'll try this and see if it helps.

Thanks.

Joanna St. James said...

am amazed u can discipline yourself to 15mins of computer time without going over. I get carried away and sucked in very easily . I just go with whatever I can concentrate on tv, internet, writing, daydreaming. I really should change

Linda G. said...

I don't run, but that schedule definitely makes sense for writing. If you just push and push, you eventually reach a point of diminishing return, and you're just wasting time staring at the screen.

Jules said...

Applying the schedule to writing makes sense. Sounds like a pressure release valve. :)

As to running...the only time I run now is if someone is chasing me yelling, "Thief." :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Laura Pauling said...

I'll take little short breaks every hour. Or when I'm cleaning right now, I'm taking a 15 break to comment on blogs. And then I'm back to power cleaning.

R.M.Gilbert said...

Yeah, that's what I try to do...only the break sort of extends to way more than 15 minutes. I'm on one of those 'breaks' right now. (My fifteen minutes ended a while ago). I may have to rethink things a little.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Oh, there's no way I could run for two hours! I really admire people who can.

I do the writing thing kind of like you just did. I'll write as much as I can for an hour--usually my goal is to hit 1,000. Once I do, even if the hour isn't over, I'll stop and do something around the house or take a break somehow. Then I'll start up again.

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Carol Kilgore said...

Can't wait to learn if your husband makes his goal. My writing time is CONSTANTLY interrupted, so I have no way to judge this. I can't imagine being able to write for 45 minutes without having to stop to do something. Heaven!

Laura Marcella said...

Ooo, that's a great way to write! I ran track and cross country in high school, and we had certain days during the week when we'd practice that way: run a hard mile, jog a mile, run a mile, jog, etc. It's definitely beneficial! Running, actually any sport, parallels writing in many ways. I'm going to give this a try! Thanks for sharing, and good luck to your hubby!

PatriciaW said...

I found that exercising in intervals really helped me to exercise more consistently and for longer periods so yeah, should work for a half-marathon.

I do my running on a treadmill, alternating with power walking. The experts say you burn more calories this way and that your workout is more efficient in 20-30 min than if you simply ran for a hour.

Susan R. Mills said...

I like taking breaks in between. It works better for me. Glad you found something that works for you.

Karen Lange said...

I like breaks, but sometimes will write for long stretches. It depends on the project. I'm good with both as long as I don't allow too many interruptions. Which I have lately...:)
Have a great weekend,
Karen

Jill Kemerer said...

I like this idea. I will try it next week. It's been taking me longer to get my words in too. THanks!

Julie Jarnagin said...

My husband ran his first marathon this year. It really is inspiring!

Conda V. Douglas said...

Ah yes, a friend gave me a sign that says, "Writing consists in most part in the act of staying in the chair"!

Las Vegas Writer said...

I HAVE to take breaks in between. I guess you could say I write for an hour, then take an hour break. Write for an hour, take another break...:)

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Susanne Drazic said...

Some days I get more breaks than writing in. : (

Janna Qualman said...

My best friend and I just had a conversation about this method, in regards to running! And I think it's a great thing to implement for writing, too. Awesome, Jennifer!

And congrats on your complete partial. :)

Terri Tiffany said...

I can usually write for about two hours straight if I've thought it out ahead of time--then I break and then go back at it:)

Patti Lacy said...

Oh, I LOVE those marathons, half-marathons.

Sigh. Think those days for me are over...but will see my son do 26 in a couple of weeks!!

I write in 30-minute shifts...except for that rare occasion when I FORGET time. Two hours later, I've finished a couple of scenes.

Proud of you.
P

Queenie Jeannie said...

Great job!

Wannabe Writer said...

Very impressive! I definitely "walk" while writing. Probably a little too often, which is why I'm two years into my current project without being much further than I was six months ago. I need to do some cross-training I think, and then back to the marathon!

Patti said...

I love that idea 45 min. on - 15 min. off.

Thanks for participating.

Jaime Theler said...

I usually do about an hour and then 15 min. break, unless the writing is really flowing and then I keep going until I have to stop, either from hunger, or life, or I finally use up my creative juices. I'm all about making the writing time we have more efficient, though. Maybe I'll try different chunks of time to see if something else works better. Thanks for the idea!

Jamie Burch said...

Great schedule! Glad you had a great writing week and your husband did so well with his first marathon. Congrats!!!