What I talk about when I talk about running

What I talk about when I talk about running

A really enjoyable book about Haruki Murakami's life and how he got into running.

About author and book

His books have been bestsellers in several languages and are considered some of the best fiction with an interesting psychology, romantic and mystical narratives. This book is his autobiography if you will.

He originally ran a small bar and it was growing well but he wrote a short story and entered a competition with it. Then it did well and he wrote another short story.

He enjoyed writing more and decided to write a full novel.

In the process of writing he lost his health as he was no longer running round a bar all day and instead smoking all the time.. So he decided to go for a run every day.

Started small but grew it and became a big part of his life. Entered marathons and even an ultra-marathon.

He is an interesting and introverted guy he doesn't feel that likeable but writes beautifully at least.


Quotes, ideas and lessons:


Young Mick Jagger - "I would rather die than still be singing 'satisfaction' when I'm 45" ā€”> Old mick Jagger - still singing satisfaction; we don't really have a good concept of the value of our future or what we want to do with our lives.

Running and writing

The reason Murakami loves running is that is all about intrinsic motivation instead of extrinsic. For the love of improving yourself and the process rather than beating others or proving things match other peoples expectations. A solo pursuit game

He finds that writing novels is the same. You aren't trying to beat anyone in particular but instead just make the best piece of writing that you can. You have your own metrics of internal success

The gift of challenges

Murakami easily puts on weight, so he has to eat healthy and do a lot of exercise. He treats this as a gift so that he has to be self-controlled and work on himslef. he cant dive into indulgences without getting carried away with what he wants. He must prioritise what is important to him which affects the rest of his life and helps to make him a productive human.

(he also gets the headspace to think whilst he does it)

Muscles are hard to get and easy to lose, Fat is easy to get and hard to lose

Build habits that you enjoy that work on hard things.

Self love isn't giving in to indulgences, it is setting boundaries (food, spending, relationships) invest in yourself

Nothing in the real world is as beautiful as the illusions of a man about to lose consciousness

  • I have accepted certain death three times as I lay in some form of different broken form or other. The first time I wasn't best pleased. But the other two were sublime. Accepting what is can be amazingly liberating, and dying means that you can put all your worries to rest and be at peace
  • I've also passed out from physical exhaustion, dehydration, lack of food and yes being drunk or on drugs. Sometimes beautiful, sometimes terrifying - not sure this quote is 100% accurate

Speaking in a harder language

When speaking in public, Murakami prefers to speak in English despite being bad at it and clunky. He finds speaking in his native tongue he has infinite words available to him and is overwhelmed by what to choose.

Having a reduced set of words means he is more clear about the message he wants to convey and he speaks with better clarity.

Blessings of those who do not die young, is the privelege to grow old

The degrading of your body is not something to panic about but accept and be grateful for the fact that you have been able to enjoy your body up to now and be grateful for what you have done