What I Talk About When I Talk About Running Reviewed at tips 4 running

If only I could have Haruki Murakami's lifestyle. His memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running details how he started running to how running has helped him in his long writing career. The book rambles through Murakami's journey from his unhealthy lifestyle before running, to his days of training for marathon running.

Any distance runner who has trained alone for significant periods of time can relate with this book. Murakami explains what he feels and thinks during his races and training. He sees running as an escape. It's a place where he can organize his thoughts, create ideas for stories and speeches, and escape from the rest of the world.

When the book focuses on the training and the racing, it resonated really well with the runner in me. He describes how he pushed through a 62 mile ultra-marathon by repeating his mantra over and over again. "I'm not a human. I'm a piece of machinery. I don't need to feel a thing. Just forge on ahead."

One of my favorite parts of the book is when he describes an interview with a world class marathon runner Toshihiko Seko from Japan. Murakami asked if he ever doesn't want to run. The runner responded, "Of course. All the time." Murakami feels this way often about his training, but he sees running as a healthy way to fuel his desire to continue writing novels.

Overall, this wasn't one of my favorite running books. The story is loosely based around Murakami's training for the New York City Marathon in 2006. The storyline is sometimes hard to follow. What I thought should have been the end of the book then leads into discussions about triathlon training, and a few more races after the NYC Marathon. There is great beauty in the descriptions of Murakami pushing himself to the limit, but those moments happen only occasionally.

I recommend What I Talk About When I Talk About Running only if you are interested in marathon training, or a fan of Murakami's Novels.

- Written by David Tiefenthaler.

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