The Running Writer: Haruki Murakami

I just run. I run in a void.

Earlier last week, like any other morning routine, I checked my mailbox. Amidst the stack of emails, one caught my attention—a captivating article from written by a talented female author. She shared her personal selection of the best nonfiction books she had ever read. Intrigued by the article’s feature, I couldn’t resist clicking on the link. As I delved into the piece, I found myself captivated by her insightful recommendations, particularly one book that stood out among the rest—Haruki Murakami’s running biography: ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.’ Let me assure you, it was a biography like no other, undoubtedly one of the finest I have come across.

After quickly skimming through the book’s summary, I wasted no time. I headed straight to my go-to website,, and eagerly downloaded a copy. And just like that, I began reading the book that very moment, unable to resist its allure.

Within the memoir’s first section, Murakami, an acclaimed Japanese writer, takes us on a journey through his early life, shedding light on his Jazz Club business, his exhaustion, and the overall lack of passion in his lifestyle. However, one fateful morning, at the age of 33, everything changed. Murakami made a bold decision to shut down his Jazz club and embrace a life reminiscent of a monk’s. Together with his wife, they set a simple yet profound goal—to retire early, before 10 PM, and rise before the sun, ready to seize the day.

This newfound routine breathed life back into Murakami’s running journey. Although he had been a runner for the past three decades, this time he discovered something truly magical. Running each day reinstated rhythm in his life and ignited a creative spark that led him to embark on his very first novel. Murakami firmly believes that writing a book demands not only mental labor but also physical endurance. Thus, his daily runs infused him with emotional and physical strength, enabling him to become a resilient writer—a running novelist, as many would proclaim.

You may already be familiar with Murakami’s renowned writing-comes-running routine. In his writing days, he faithfully wakes up at 4:00 AM, ready to devote five to six uninterrupted hours to his craft. Seated at his desk with a trusty fountain pen and a weathered writing notebook, Murakami thrives in the tireless pursuit of his work. He attests that this distraction-free immersion in writing over long stretches of time brings forth a clarity that feels truly magical in all aspects of his life.

Following his intensive morning writing session, Murakami sets off on a ten-mile run. Upon returning home, he plunges into his indoor swimming pool, swimming approximately 1.5 kilometers. The remainder of his day is spent engrossed in books, savoring music, and retiring to bed by 9 PM. He faithfully maintains this routine until he completes his book, believing that the consistency of both running and writing allows his mind to reach the deepest recesses of creativity required to craft his literary works. As I read the book, I couldn’t help but perceive Murakami as a true giant in the realm of running. If you doubt my choice of words, allow me to present some statistics: he typically runs six miles a day, six days a week, without ever wavering. Come rain or shine, whether in the blistering cold of winter or the sweltering heat of summer, Murakami runs unfailingly. Even on days when he questions the purpose of running, he runs from his heart, as he eloquently puts it, “I just run. I run in a void.”

Remarkably, Murakami’s commitment to prioritizing his running led him to make significant lifestyle changes. He gave up smoking, alcohol, and unhealthy food consumption, all in the pursuit of his passion for running. Year after year, he took part in marathons, conquering them with unwavering determination. Whether it was enduring the scorching sun in Greece or braving the frigid temperatures of New York, Murakami crossed the finish line every time. Reading about his marathon experiences brought me pure joy and admiration for his unwavering spirit.

To me, this biography represents so much more than just a captivating story. It holds valuable lessons we can learn and apply to our own lives. It teaches us the power of passion in driving us towards our goals. It demonstrates the transformative effects of routine and consistency, unlocking the deepest wells of creativity within our minds. And it reminds us that while pain may be an inevitable part of life, suffering is optional, and we have the power to choose our perspective.

In conclusion, Haruki Murakami’s “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” is a remarkable testament to the human spirit, passion, routine, and resilience. It inspires us to embrace our passions, establish empowering routines, and persevere through challenges. So, let us take this wisdom to heart and embark on our own journeys, fueled by our passions and guided by the discipline of routine. In doing so, we may unlock our true potential and create a life filled with purpose, creativity, and fulfillment.

Best quote:

‘Most runners run not because they want to live longer but because they live life to the fullest.’



Author Bio

Md Amit Hasan

Hello! I am AMIT HASAN, first year PhD Student in Neuroscience at Institute of Neuroscience Paris-Saclay (NeuroPSI), University of Paris-Saclay, Paris, France. Previously, I completed my undergraduate degree in Biotechnology at Rajshahi University, Bangladesh. Afterward, I pursued my master’s degree in Life Sciences and Health, followed by Computational Neuroscience and Neuroengineering at the University of Paris-Saclay in Paris, France.

I am highly passionate about applied research. Brainstorming research problems, doing experiments inside the laboratory, analyzing a large volume data set, and finally deducing a result from that intrigues me a lot. Since I am fond of unpredictability in life, and research capable of supplying that now and then, my future goal is to spend as much time as possible in academia.

Here, I often write short stories, book reviews, and travel stories.

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