I run for fun. (Queue the Back to the Future quotes if you like.) Some people think it's crazy, and six years ago I would have agreed with them. But once I started running regularly, I started seeing the benefits:
clear mind, energy, alertness, general strength and stamina (kinda sounds like Specials by Scott Westerfeld)
and running helps to clear out all the funk and cobwebs that gather when I'm trying to write.
During my run, my mind is especially clear. I can focus on anything. Today I wanted to think about the story I'm working on. I played through the last chapter as my feet kept a steady rhythm below. And the characters came alive. It was magic, I tell you. Pure magic.
And as I was crafting characters and situations in my head, I passed by a house with the door wide open. This house had its front door open the last time I ran past it. (It wasn't an accident because I saw someone walking in the driveway.) As I was thinking about why someone would leave their door open, a smell caught me off guard. I think it was coming from inside the house. I was breathing hard, so I inhaled a lot of the scent and my first thought was: clean. Like the dentist's. It was the perfect scent to put into my scene and I was trying to come up with the right words to describe it and it hit me: licorice. Licorice and mint. And maybe fluoride or something.
So that's why I run, folks. Clear head during the run lets me brainstorm, clear head after the run lets me focus when it's time to actually write, and scenery feeds me material. Like I said: Magic.