The similarities between Running and Studying

I run about 15kms 4 or 5 times a week, and whilst I enjoy the end-of-run endorphin afterglow, I must admit, I don’t really enjoy the running very much! However, there are periods during the experience where I find a rhythm that allows me to transcend the discomfort. I think runners from complete novices to hardened marathon runners know what this is like; it’s often described as flow or being in the zone. I think there are many similarities between running and studying (though the pain from studying clearly resides in the brain and not the hamstrings or lungs)


So how do we find that place where our perception of the process, be it studying or running, transcends from one of pain to one of flow and rhythm? Where we are in the zone, unstoppable. This, I think, is worthy of consideration because it is axiomatic that when we enjoy something it will be easier to do and will likely produce better results.


“Eighty per cent of success in life is turning up.” Woody Allen.


If we are to believe Woody Allen, the fact that you’re reading this, or that you have spent time this week sitting in a seminar trying to concentrate or burning the midnight oil reading a tough academic article, means that you are 80% of the way to achieving your goals.


The key now then is to optimize the remaining 20% and make the most of the commitment you have made to yourself.


The following is a strategic framework for doing this methodically with purpose. It’s skeletal right now, but I hope to fill it in with practical ideas over the coming weeks.


Motives,Opportunities and Means

1. Develop a motive to improve your academic skills

  • Verbalise to yourself why you want to become a more effective student.

  • Articulate your goals and write them down.

  • Confront any negative beliefs you have that you won't succeed.

2. Develop opportunities for you to improve your learning

  • Create a space that is distraction free.

  • Think about how you manage your time.

  • Create study habits that fit the kind of learner you are.

  • Develop learning strategies that fit the requirements of your course