Haruki Murakami ‘What I talk about when I talk about running’

Monday 13 July 09
I was lent this by a marathon runner friend and everyone who runs seems to know about it. Although Murakami is a writer and is a marathon runner, it is relevant to anyone
who works creatively in solitude. 
Basically the book examines the intertwining of the practice of running and the practice of writing and how they enhance one another.
I enjoyed some of his observations in the book. He talks about the necessary ingredients for writing being talent, focus and endurance. The talent part is given and there’s nothing we can do to compensate for a lack of it. He draws an analogy with his running time. No matter how hard he trained he just couldn’t beat his personal best. He reached his limit and was not able to go beyond it. BUT to return to the application of the theory, if we focus on our creative pursuit (in his case writing) and build up our endurance by working at our pursuit in a regular and disciplined way then it is possible to discover a hidden part of our talent, or at least to put what we have to its best. And, he says, to build up our powers of endurance is a physical requirement where the serious running becomes relevant, in his case.
He refers to the process of aging. How, the older we get the way we work changes. That when young the working ways are effortless, but that as we age we must work harder to achieve the same. He refers to the way as a young man, if he was fit he could run a marathon without serious training, but that as he got older he realised he couldn’t.
He does refer to ‘serious running’ ie long distance marathon training style as the running he means,  but I reckon the 20 min jog is equally valid for enabling the clarity of thought and oiling of the machinery ready to work….the ‘buzz’ or ‘drug’.
Maybe some of it is obvious, but fascinating to read about his focus and commitment nevertheless and an inspiration to make an effort to keep running and creating alongside.

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