What I talk about when i talk about running by Haruki Murakami

running_murakami cover

Title: What I talk about when i talk about running
Author: Haruki Murakami
Genere : Running /on self
Publisher: Vintage Books
Non-Fiction
ISBN: 9780099526155
Pages:180
“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they’ll go to any length to live longer. But don’t think that’s the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life”
Every time  you read a book it leaves in you some imprints to last for long. I wonder what influence this book would have had in me, had I not been a runner. Reading a non fiction on someone’s life leaves you with a   feeling that you know someone even if you would never meet him. This is not only the story of Murakami  but of all the long distance runners. It covers all the aspects of long distance running. For non runners it may be quite difficult to totally appreciate some aspects of the book but i definitely feel that this would invigorate the hidden runner in you. He combines his running with writing and definitely has tips for an amateur writer.
He started running at the age of 33 . In spite of criticism he sold his jazz bar to focus solely on writing. He needed a routine going and strength and focus for better output. He started running then which not only made him quit smoking but also set in as an important part  of  his writing life. He says that writing is a mammoth task and often involves a lot of sitting in the same place and of continuous focus day in day out. Ideally writers consider writing as involving a lot of manual labour but he has always considered his writing to be a physical task of endurance somewhat like climbing a mountain. Though he talks of a lot of running experiences from the past and how running and writing have evolved together in his case , this book is primarily set in 2005, when he is preparing for the New York city Marathon and his 4 months of preparation for the same.
There are a lot of technical aspects of running covered in the book. His training regime symbolizes how important is mileage for a long distance runner, how does he sets himself to a routine of distance running and how he has to sacrifice all other things for running. Averaging 160 miles plus a month is commendable. He also speaks of certain aspects for example how the muscles develop for a long distance runner and how they are susceptible to relaxing too easily if adequate load is not put on them regularly.He compares his strength when he was much younger but like any other runner wants to keep running all through his life. One interesting aspect of his runs so far is that he has never walked in his long distance runs.  His descriptions of his solo run from Athens to Marathon where he speaks of a lot of white salt on his body is something Indian runners can relate to because the conditions here too are very hot.
Running is a strange activity for when asked one cannot tell what he was thinking of . Most of the time it was blank for him while sometimes it was a thought process of an upcoming event in his life. Sometimes it was just enjoying the scenery especially in the regions of Charles river where he talks of the colours of the sea. If you run on the same track day in day out you start recognizing the passers by to an extent that he talks of a 60 year old lady who had an impeccable dressing sense and would always give him a feeling of strange expectation. But apart form these running as an experience is totally internal , it is one’s own nostalgic silence.
This is one wonderful book which you should definitely give a try, probably inspired by it you may start running.
“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Say you are running and you start to think , man this hurts , I can’t take it any more. The hurt part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand any more is up to the runner himself. This pretty much sums up the most important aspect of marathon running. “
Rating : 4.5/
This Book review is a part of  Book Review program at Flipitall.com

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I have read his short stories. I truly admire his writing. It is from the heart. Timeless.
    And, certainly an inspiring read.

    Won’t promise to read it or pick it up immediately but i will remember this.

  2. Sounds like a very compelling read. Need to pick this one up soon.

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