Wellness Stories.

The secret of Marathon-runner Novelist Haruki Murakami

Apr 03 2019 • Written by Smriti Mishra

~ Smriti Jha


Haruki Murakami is one of the most experimental Japanese Novelist. He is a self- made man who transformed himself from nicotine-stained wastrel to marathoning mega novelist.

Murakami started running in his early thirties, as he transitioned from Jazz club owner to author, and the 64-year-old has made it a habit to finish a marathon every year. He believes that running and writing are two entities that eventually get intertwine. And so, he urges the modern era writers to work out and prepare for novels similarly like contestants gearing up for the Hunger Games.


He stresses on daily work out and activities. Through repetition you input into your muscles the message that this is how much work they have to perform,” writes Murakami in a memoir, What I talk about when I talk about running.


How Murakami shapes the day

While in writing mode for a novel, Murakami gets up at 4 a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, he runs for 10 km or swims for 1500 mts (or do both). After that, he again reads a bit and listens to some of his favourite tunes.

Murakami thinks writing requires both mental and physical strength. And writing a long novel is like survival training that requires strength and mental well-being. He understands that physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.



What led Murakami start running

Murakami began running on an everyday basis after he became a writer. As being a writer requires sitting at a desk for long and extended hours in a day; without getting some exercise you would quickly get out of shape and gain weight. This is what he figured out quite early. He also took it as a chance to involve in a workout that could help him to quit smoking.


When he started working out

Murakami decided to live in nothing but an absolutely healthy way after becoming a writer. Getting up at 5 a.m. every morning, doing some work first, then going off running. This daily routine had become like a ritual for him.

He has always liked running, so it was not particularly difficult to make it a habit. All you need is a pair of running shoes and you can do it anywhere, Murakami says. He found the sport perfectly fits him as a person who tends to be independent and individualistic.



Setting the goal to work out

He set the goal of running about 60 km per week: 6 days a week or 10 km per day on an average. Some days he even runs more. If it is not before a race, he runs at a moderate pace that makes him feel easy and comfortable. He had also added biking and swimming to workouts.

He usually enjoys the casual pace while running but, focus more on the speed if he needs to prepare for some race in particular. Murakami has also stepped in Triathlons. The 65 years old Novelist has proudly made it a habit to finish a marathon every year.



Sleep early to gear up for next day

He mostly hit the bed around 9 p.m. Murakami keeps to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism, says Murakami.  This mesmerizes himself to reach a deeper state of mind.

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