What I Learnt About Coding From Running

Adam Drake
6 min readMay 27, 2024
Made by AI (in case it wasn’t obvious…)

I’ve been running now for about 3 years. The first year was mainly me trying to build up the habit of running. I wasn’t running far each time, something like 3kms, but I was doing it on regular intervals in order to build up the habit. For the next two years I started building up the distance as well as learning a whole host of other things about training and the body.

It’s been a fascinating journey and one I would highly recommend to anyone. The benefits of running are vast and it impacts all areas of your life. I have also discovered many parallels between running and coding and that is what I would like to share today in this article.

Consistency Is Everything

One thing I love about running is there are no shortcuts. There are no easy wins, no “quick ways” to run faster and you can’t cheat. If you want to get good at running then you have to put in the work. You have to run far and you have to run consistently.

There are definitely strategies you can adopt to make your training sessions more effective but you still have to put the work in. All in all it’s fair.

If you want to improve as a runner then you have to be consistent. I have found that over time as I have consistently put in the miles and kept up the regular habit, that my performance has improved, my heart rate has come down and I can run faster and for longer. If I wouldn’t have kept up that consistency then I would have never improved so much.

It’s been the same with coding for me too. I have been coding seriously for about 7 years (at the time of writing this) and I have learnt to be consistent in my approach. When I wasn’t consistent then I would start to feel stagnant and I could feel myself in a rut. It didn’t require marathon sessions of hacking away at stuff and working into the deep depths of the night. It just required continually sitting down in front of my computer over a long enough period to be able to build up a wide range of skills.

Don’t get Distracted By Your Feelings

I have found that on pretty much every run I go on, no matter the length, I have ups and downs. Sometimes during a run everything feels great and I think I could run for the rest of the day. Other times though things feel hard and thoughts of stopping start entering my mind as if from nowhere. But each of these feelings whether good or bad always pass. Always. As long as you keep running.

I have found the same with coding. When you start on a project things always feel really good at the beginning and the enthusiasm levels are sky high. However as the project progresses the enthusiasm starts to dwindle and those thoughts of doubt start creeping into the mind. Just like on a run it would be easy to stop at this point if you pay too much attention to these thoughts but if you just keep going you find these doubts eventually drift away.

My point here is that if you decide to do something and you set yourself a goal then be very aware that the positive or negative thoughts that enter your mind whilst working on this project are just temporary and shouldn’t sway your course.

Apply Specific Trainings

I said earlier that there are no shortcuts in running and that is true. However there are more efficient ways to improve your overall speed and performance.

With running this can mean doing some deliberate speed work or running longer distances at a slower pace. Doing these type of trainings week in week out will improve your overall running ability compared to if you were to just run each run at the same pace and distance each time.

It’s the same with coding. If you were to code the same sort of project day in day out without any variation then your overall coding skill level is likely to reach a certain level and then plateau. However if you were to throw in some specific data structure exercises or trying out some new paradigm then this will really help improve you as a developer.

There Will Be Good Times & Bad

When doing anything for a sustained length of time then you are undoubtedly going to run into periods of struggle. It’s almost inevitable. I like to think that these times come to test us. It’s like the universe is asking us if we are really committed to this activity, this way of life.

But you have to just get through these moments and trust it is the right thing to do. Trust that it’s all part of the process and it will lead you to where you really want to be.

To be honest it happens in all walks of life. Coding and running are no exceptions. Some days when I get up I really don’t want to run. Then when I do eventually get myself outside it really isn’t a nice experience. It’s the same with coding. Some days I really don’t feel like turning on my computer and when I do it just feels like my brain doesn’t want to work.

But you have to just get through these moments and trust it is the right thing to do. Trust that it’s all part of the process and it will lead you to where you really want to be.

Then there are those days where you just spring out of bed. Those days where you feel unstoppable! Those are the days to cherish. Those are the small rewards along the way that life gives you when you keep on showing up. Over a long enough period you will find these good and bad times even out and you realise that life gives and life takes and it’s all very fair in the end.

Invest In Yourself

If you get really into some activity like coding or running or whatever then at some point it really is worth investing into it no matter how small.

For example with running it could be a new pair of trainers. It’s quite amazing how a new pair of shoes on your feet can spark a whole new gust of motivation. With coding it could be investing in a new piece of hardware like a keyboard or a online tutorial to learn a new concept. I recently bought a new keyboard and I have since been coding like a madman.

I have found that these little investments along the way can act as spring boards to propel you forward in you ongoing quest.

Conclusion

I have learnt many things from running over the years and I have applied these learnings in all areas of my life. In this article I have used coding but the same can probably be said for many other activities. I think the most important lesson is consistency. This trumps everything else by a long way. It’s also the hardest to apply because it’s not just a one time thing. It’s where I see so many people slip up including myself. I am learning this the hard way which is probably the only way to be honest. However, when you experience the fruits of your consistency it really is a beautiful thing.

Subscribe

If you liked this blog post you can subscribe to receive emails every time I publish. I publish every Monday morning at 8:30 Central European Time.

About me

I am a Frontend Developer working mainly with React and Typescript in my day-to-day professional life. I love exploring new tools and libraries and love the Javascript Ecosystem.

I like to write blog posts that share exciting new tools I’ve discovered, how-to articles, and also the occasional opinion piece.

I live in Prague in the Czech Republic with my family.

Check out the original blog post on my blog.

Check out my LinkedIn and Github if you are interested.

--

--

Adam Drake

I'm a Frontend Developer and I write about all things Frontend Related - Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world. Based in Prague, CZ