Do more successful people run? (Or does running make you more successful?)

Getting a new perspective

I’m fascinated by the other people out running in the early morning, and the commonalities that have us setting our alarm clocks an hour early, pulling our running clothes on and heading out into a dark, chilly morning.

Without any hard evidence (as yet!), I’m sure that as a group we achieve more, create more, solve more problems and demand more of ourselves.

The inventor, James Dyson told the FT’s weekend magazine recently that he’d “think nothing of a six-mile run before breakfast”.

There is plenty of medical research to be found on the benefits of running on energy levels, mental alertness and positivity, and all of these factors surely contribute to higher productivity.

I also think running, and particularly early morning running, encourages three more subtle success habits:

  1. The habit of starting something: getting up and getting going.  Creating or inventing or pioneering requires taking a step on a new path, departing from the usual, breaking the mould, starting something brand new.  Sometimes it’s difficult to get going on a new idea, but it’s only once you get started that the next steps present themselves.  Thus I think the practice of starting your day by shaking yourself out of the “normal” routine, getting up and getting going, inspires a more active and creative mind.
  2. The habit of being open. I think our tendency is to be closed; head down, under pressure, rushing, stressed, stubborn and frustrated.  Getting out in the open air and space and breathing in a new day is an excellent counter to modern life.
  3. The habit of being uncluttered.  Wherever possible, I don’t take anything with me but my keys.  If I’m going to run at dawn, I need to lay out my running clothes the night before and streamline a morning routine that would otherwise certainly tend towards cluttered!  I think it’s good practice.  Free yourself and your mind, and see what comes in!