How training for a half marathon made me a better designer

Posted by on Feb 10, 2017 in Thinking Out Loud | No Comments

February Blog Photo

I found inspiration for my designs while training for a half marathon. Read about what I learned. Click To Tweet

People always ask where I find my design inspirations. Last fall I found it in an unlikely place….

This is my story of how training for a half marathon made me a better designer.

As a I designer look for inspiration everywhere. From fashion to textiles, from art to architecture you never know where inspiration will strike.  For me, it came from an unusual source, a local half marathon. I cannot say I have a bucket list of experiences to check off but I do like to set goals and meet new challenges.  Whether it is finishing a tough puzzle, finding the perfect layout for a room or solving a complicated framing issue, I like learning from all of these experiences.

My latest challenge was to get into better shape. Okay so I will admit I am getting a little older and finding ways to stay healthy can become harder and harder.   I figured more fitness for the body more exercise for my brain. Little did I know how it would benefit my design career as well. Sports have always been a big part of my life. I have raced sprint distance triathlon, run 5k races and rode a local Grand Fondo so logically a half marathon was next right? I set up a training plan and signed up for a race 12 weeks away.

At first I was worried I would not have enough time in my day to train, run my design business and still be creative for my clients.  What I realized is that following this race plan was a lot like approaching a design problem one step at a time. When you run it is you your feet and the road. When you design it is you the concept and finding the solution. Running gave me access to natural color themes. Each run, I experienced the season and the colors of nature as they developed and changed. Early summer and the bright blooms with dark green leaves against a crisp blue sky. Mid August and the beautiful colors of the sunrise. Early September rain brings a combination of gray and greens with a misty background.Depending on the time of day and the weather, I had a lesson in lighting and the effects created by the changing sun. Oranges and blues with pink at sunrise. Darker blues and purple at sunset.

As the runs got longer, I found myself working out design solutions for my client’s spaces. How to work that immovable obstacle into a design detail. Creating the perfect color way for a paint schedule. I also found myself designing textile patterns from the sights on my run. Hopefully there will be some rug designs in my future. I have always been conscious of air quality and the importance of low VOC products and good ventilation. Running during the hot humid northeast summer of 2016 reminded me just how important those things are for homes.

Just like standing in a completed space I have designed brings a sense of accomplishment so did completing my first half. Running reminded me of why I chose design in the first place. Experiencing colors, textures and patterns. Finding the perfect solution to a design problem. Feeling a great sense of accomplishment completing of the project. I will bring all of these things into my next project and my next half marathon.  I’ll be racing in Florida this month so a new local will bring new inspirations to make me a better designer.