Book Review: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Found this book at one of my local Little Free Libraries along one of my many walks over the past couple of weeks. I love running. I enjoy Memoirs. Figured I would give this book a chance.

Right now, I’m trying to calculate how many years I have been running. I started sometime around 2005 and took some breaks in between. I have been running consistently for three years now I feel awesome. That’s all thanks to my trainer who I feel like I would be wasting his time if I just stopped running and working out. I don’t like wasting time. Why did I started running in the first place? I really can’t remember. Now I can’t remember what it is like not to run.

“What I mean is, I didn’t start running because somebody asked me to become a runner. Just like I didn’t become a novelist because someone asked me to. One day, out of the blue, I wanted to write a novel. And one day, out of the blue, I started to run – simply because I wanted to. I’ve always done whatever I felt like doing in life. People may try to stop me, and convince me I’m wrong, but I won’t change.”

Haruki Murakami, What I Talk about When I Talk about Running

I can relate Haruki. I get you. Back to the book review, this book felt slow at first. Kind of like that warm up first mile trying to loosen up your legs. I wanted to say let’s get moving. And then all of a sudden this book just started to flow like when you get your running rhythm.

For me, the hardest part of running is getting started followed by the first mile. After that it’s all mind over matter. Can I keep my mind from convincing me to quit? Can I keep my breathing nice and steady? Like Haruki pointed out, you can always tell the beginners. Their breathing is labored.

Haruki took me through his training process for running as well as writing. He chronicled races over a few years. I love how he talks about why he runs every single day. It got me to thinking that somethings are just easier to be done every day. I might start running daily rather than three times a week.

“I’ve tried my best never to say something like, Running is great. Everybody should try it. If some people have an interest in long-distance running, just leave them be, and they’ll start running on their own. If they’re not interested in it, no amount of persuasion will make any difference.”

Haruki Murakami, What I Talk about When I Talk about Running

His recount of running an unofficial marathon between Athens and Marathon Greece for an article he was writing was awesome. It was like you were there with him. The emotions, the sweat, the sights. While I have never ran a marathon, I have gone through similar emotions running.

“The gym where I work out in Tokyo has a poster that says, “Muscles are hard to get and easy to lose. Fat is easy to get and hard to lose.” A painful reality, but a reality all the same.”

Haruki Murakami, What I Talk about When I Talk about Running

If that poster isn’t the truest thing written. It’s why being consistent in any practice is important. I recommend this book for any runner out there. You will totally relate to what goes through Haruki’s mind while he is running. You have been there and it’s great to know that you aren’t alone.

“Reaching the finish line, never walking, and enjoying the race. These three, in this order, are my goals.”

Haruki Murakami, What I Talk about When I Talk about Running

Regardless if you purchase the book or borrow it from the library, one of the best ways to support your favorite authors is to review their books on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

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