As of July 2, 2013, I've been a runner for thirty-four years. Twelve days into my thirty-fifth year of running, I've finally answered a question I've often asked myself; "Why do I run at night?"
Before I tell you the answer that came to me last night at 10 PM as I cut through the deserted Huntsville Library parking lot, let me give you a bit of history.
Since I stepped out of my front door at 9 PM, July 2, 1979, and took my first shaky steps, I've been a runner. By that I mean I've run at least 900 miles every one of those years, averaging 1,100 - 1,200 miles per year. I'm not fast and falling on my face in the dark isn't ever in the top ten things I want to do on any given day, so my pace isn't fast. Fourteen to fifteen minutes per mile these days. That means, at an average of 1,000 miles per year and 15 minutes per mile, I've spent 510,000 minutes running, which works out to 8,500 hours, or 212 forty hour work weeks, which is more than four years of work, without vacations or holidays.
Now, back to the original question. Why do I run at night? The answer is so simple I'm surprised it hasn't run me down on a late night run. I run at night because running is just a platform for something else. That something is writing.
At least 90% of my running time is actually writing time. The remainder of my running time is spent dodging traffic and looking for potholes, mud puddles, and other obstacles.
When I was a professional speaker, I wrote and rehearsed presentations while I ran. Now that I'm a writer and blogger, I write novels and blogs while I run. Why not run in the day light? The answer, for me, is simple. There are too many distractions in the light of day. At night, I'm reluctant to give up 10% of my run time to traffic and road hazards, but I do it because I've learned the hard way that if I don't, I'll spend more time pulling myself out of a ditch. If I ran during the day, I'd give a lot more than 10% of my running time to distractions.
So, if you're a writer, and you aren't interested in running through your town after hours, there's good news. Running isn't required to write. However, what is required is finding a place where you can send your consciousness to write. You know where that place is, don't miss an opportunity to go there. Go there often, stay long, write well.