Body, mind, and spirit. Running is good for the entire trinity. I'm not talking about racing, competitive running, but about inward running, which is good for the mind and the spirit as well as for the body temple which hosts it.
Each January, I resolve to get fit again and return anew to running--and by that I mean jogging. Physical exercise is a good break from reading. Jogging forces you to breath, to air out, to pace yourself. While running, you can mull over what you have read, sort things out, draw connections. Or you can go inward, meditate, concentrate on your breath, empty your mind for a while. I've never been able to meditate in a lotus position, but doing so while running comes naturally. At least for this runner. Plus it helps regulate your weight and promotes cardiovascular fitness.
If you need to be inspired, you might like George Sheehan's Running & Being: The Total Experience, which I have reread often down through the years. I also recommend Lawrence Block's memoir, Step by Step: A Pedestrian Memoir. Block is a competitive runner/walker who tends to overdo it--and who kept saying that he was quitting. He also said he was done writing novels, but the news is that a new Scudder novel is scheduled to be released in the spring. I'll be reviewing it here.
I was delighted to read Haruki Murakami's memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (Vintage International), when it first came out. He also talks a lot about his writing life.
I've not yet read Christopher McDougall's Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, which appears on many of the non-fiction best lists for 2010. They say it is also very inspirational.
I enjoyed Roger Robinson's Running in Literature: A Guide for Scholars, Readers, Runners, Joggers and Dreamers as well as Garth Battista's The Runner's Literary Companion: Great Stories and Poems About Running.
And if you've enjoyed these, you might like some of the others on my list at Amazon at the link, here.
That's me, by the way. A literary jogger who takes it easy on his body and often can be seen walking up hills. Still moving, after all these years. I am grateful for the day.