What I Talk About When I Talk About Running | Haruki Murakami

Summary of: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
By: Haruki Murakami


Embark on a journey with acclaimed author Haruki Murakami as he shares his experiences and insights about running and writing in his book ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.’ Discover how Murakami’s love for the sport transcends athletic achievement and transforms into a clear mind, allowing him to access deeper wells of emotion in his writing. Learn about the parallels between writing and running, such as the importance of focus, determination, and persistence. As you venture further into the narrative, examine the author’s philosophy on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, unlocking potential, and the importance of self-improvement through discipline and dedication.

Running with Murakami

Discover the meditative benefits of running through Haruki Murakami’s words.

Join author Haruki Murakami on his daily runs in Hawaii, where he clocks in an hour a day for a total of 156 miles per month. Running has never been about racing for Murakami; instead, it’s a way to clear his mind and find peace.

For the author, running and writing go hand in hand: he sold his jazz bar in 1982 to become a full-time writer and started running around the same time. Over the years, he’s completed 23 marathons, but his success is based on personal expectations, rather than competing against others. In the same way, his approach to writing books is not about impressing an audience, but rather satisfying his own desires.

Running has helped him establish a daily ritual that clears his mind and takes him to a meditative state he calls “the void.” In this void, Murakami can find solace from life’s ups and downs. Whether he’s feeling angry, sad, or distraught, a run can wash it all away.

For Murakami, running is more than just physical exercise. Join him on his daily runs on the beautiful Kauai island and discover how running can change your life for the better.

Murakami’s Literary Journey

Haruki Murakami, a former jazz bar owner, never intended to become a writer. However, his epiphany at a baseball game led him to write his first novel, leading to his literary career. With success came an unhealthy lifestyle, leading to weight gain. As part of a complete lifestyle change, he and his wife moved to a rural setting and started a healthy routine that included running. Although he struggled at first, Murakami persevered and became a dedicated runner. Running became an essential part of his writing lifestyle, helping him stay physically fit and mentally sharp. Like with writing, Murakami found running to fit his life in an unexpected way, becoming a vital cornerstone of his personal and literary journey.

The Anatomy of Running

Haruki Murakami’s experience in his annual marathon reveals that running requires both mental determination and physical discipline. To be ready for his next marathon, he retools his anatomy through a tight training regime, focusing not only on increasing the quantity of his exercise but the quality of his workouts. The author’s first marathon, the route of the world’s first ever marathon between Athens and Marathon, taught him the value of pushing through the toughest races, relying on sheer resolve to succeed. The key message is that runners must teach their bodies to obey commands.

Murakami on Writing and Endurance

Acclaimed novelist Haruki Murakami speaks about the essential qualities required to become a successful novelist and long-distance runner – focus and endurance. Through his own example, he highlights the importance of persistence in running and writing, which, like manual labor, require hours of daily commitment over prolonged periods. The key message is the indispensable nature of building focus and endurance, which can be achieved through consistent practice and training.

The Connection Between Health and Creativity

Murakami believes that a healthy lifestyle is essential for producing beautiful artistic ideas and delving into deeper wells of emotion. In contrast to the stereotype of artists living degenerate lives, he maintains a stable routine to fend off the ill effects of negative emotions that arise during the creative process. This delicate balance allows him to continue facing pain and anguish to create his best work, preventing literary burnout. In short, staying healthy is crucial for tapping into the well of creativity.

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