If you are following my blog then it is obvious for you that I’m programmer. Not all of you know that I’m also an amateur runner. I have been running for almost 5 years of which 3 years of racing (except 2016). I have run a lot of 10km races, several half-marathons, and a few marathons. In this posts, I’m going to show you where I have found a connection between running and programming, and how they affect each other.
At the beginning, I should say something about myths that are stuck to programmers. During the years a lot of stereotypes about computer scientists have been created. We all know stereotypic programmer – a fat guy, who doesn’t care about his appearance, sitting in the basement in the front of the computer. In free time he eats huge amounts of pizza and drinks a lot of coffee.
After a few years in the IT environment, I can certainly say that people in IT are normal, just normal. Some of them do sports, some of them are interested in an automotive industry, the others play music. They have ordinary hobbies and spend time like other people do.
As far as I’m concerned, the stereotype about programmers is no longer true. Of course, in some cases, it might be genuine but it is not a rule. Moreover, it can be true for any other industry.
During years of both programming and running, I have found many similarities between them. First of all, they allow you to travel a lot and meet people that have same interesting. I the case of running I mean running events, in the case of programming I mean conferences. As proof, when you are reading this article I’m sitting on the train going to Warsaw for 4Developers conference, but yesterday I was in Żywiec and participated in half-marathon.
Another striking similarity between running and programming is that both learn you to be patient. If you want to run fast you have to spend a great deal of time on the training. Same in programming, if you are aspiring to be a great developer you are supposed to write a lot of code. For both, time and work are required and there are no shortcuts.
At the end of a season, runners have time for rest. They are recovering for the upcoming season. In spite of appearances, it is very important time. I discovered that the rest is very useful in case of programming. If you are working as a programmer then you are coding, more or less, 8 hours every day. Moreover, the majority of us have own projects developed after work. With a schedule like this, it is very easy to burn out as a programmer.To prevent it you should rest and take breaks.
As you can see both programming and running have a lot in common.
How does running affect programming?
For me, running has a lot of advantages that are connected with how I write code. First of all, I resolve a great deal of programming-related problems during the run. Sometimes I don’t even think about them but solutions spring up in my mind. Secondly, running helps to keep a freshness of my mind. It’s important if you are doing lots of work which requires creativity. Thirdly, running keeps me motivated to work. Surpassingly, this “running motivation” affects the motivation I need to progress as a developer. At last, it is natural for runners to set new goals. They want to break their best results as often as possible. If you apply this strategy in your professional life then it will be natural for you to learn a lot for the purpose of becoming better and better in programming.
To sum up, running has a lot in common with programming. Running has an influence on programming and vice versa.
Programming and running are just examples because they are familiar to me. For you, it will be probably other combination. To make it more general, it doesn’t matter what you do for a living, and it doesn’t matter what hobby you have. The most important thing is to have both and combine them efficiently.