I ran yet another 10k this weekend, in my continuing quest to run the NYC Marathon again this coming November. I’m continuing to get faster, my training is paying off. It occurred to me during the run, though, that the 10k is truly my favorite distance. I’ve done races from one mile to 140.6 miles (Ironman distance) yet there’s something about a 10k that keeps me coming back. I realized Saturday, as I was walking home from Central Park with my fastest 10k time in eight years under my belt, what it was.

A 10k is the perfect race distance for the ADHD brain. 

Hear me out:

  1. It’s 6.2 miles. Those numbers are easily divisible as you’re running, perfect for our faster than normal brains: “OK, 2 miles 2016-03-26 11.28.10-2down, 1/3rd done. 2/3rds left. 20 minutes for the first 1/3, means 40 for the rest, I can knock off 20 seconds per mile and shave a minute…” Etc.
  2. It’s the perfect race for about nine songs, or one to two podcasts. Set up a playlist specific to a 10k, with faster/slower music coming in at specific times. I.e., Slower, faster, faster, faster, slower, slower, faster faster SUPER FAST done.
  3. You can let your mind wander, but it’s jolted back at each mile marker, allowing you to focus again on your speed and pace for a little bit, then wander again.
  4. Enough other people are doing it that you can usually find someone to make eye contact with at least once, then create a story about them in your head. I can usually do this for at least two miles, and before I know it, I’m running the home stretch.
  5. It’s the perfect combo of endorphins and exhaustion. You’ve gained more than enough endorphins to keep you going throughout the entire day, but you’re not as exhausted as you’d be from say, a half-marathon, so you can actually enjoy them and use them throughout the day!
  6. Finally, not entirely ADHD related, but still awesome, you’ve burned several hundred calories before 10am. Did someone say pizza for lunch?

In the end, any kind of exercise is perfect for the ADHD brain. But as someone who has resorted to reading from memory, out loud, the entire script of Back to the Future to keep his mind off the 112 miles he was currently biking on an Ironman course, some exercises are better than others for those of us who are Faster Than Normal. In this case, I’m in love with my 10k. I’ll still do the NYC Marathon this November, but hey, when you break it down, that’s just four 10k races in a row!

What exercise fuels the gifts of your ADHD? Let me hear it in the comments below.