As you may or may not remember from reading this blog I decided a few months ago to get my lazy behind from out of the sofa and into some running leggings. I’m happy to say that about 3 months later I’m still lacing up those trainers on a regular basis.
The level of enthusiasm with which those laces have been tied up has varied greatly and something I’ve found to help a lot with this occasional reluctance to run is read about someone else’s running.
I’ve read two running books in the past two months and both of them have made me more eager to keep working up a sweat a few times a week.
The first book I read was ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running’ by Haruki Murakami. I stumbled across this book in a second hand book sale and was immediately intrigued. Murakami is one of my favourite writers, but I had no idea that he was a fervent marathon runner, so I was more than curious to read about his experiences. And for 2 pounds, you can’t really go wrong, can you?
I think anyone who either enjoys running, writing or reading (or all three of course) would enjoy this book. Murakami takes you along on his marathon training process whilst also giving you an insight into the rest of his life. How he became a novelist, why he enjoys public speaking more in English than in Japanese and being disappointed with marathon times being slower in his fifties than they were in his thirties.
I loved reading his no-nonsense, sort of zen approach to running and writing. He writes that getting the idea to write his first novel went a bit like this: “You know what? I could try writing a novel” and he ran his first marathon on his own, in Greece from Athens to Marathon, no crowd cheering him on.
I can see myself rereading this book in the future in case the motivation to pound the pavement reaches a new low. I think the main message in this book is that you only have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going and sometimes you need to relearn just that.
A few weeks after finishing Murakami’s book I found myself ordering another running book; partly for the purpose of writing this post and partly because I’d wanted to read this for a long time and finally found a good excuse to do so. ‘Running Like A Girl’ by Alexandra Heminsley was relatable for me in the way that I found Murakami’s book inspirational.
Heminsley writes about getting into running after years of doing virtually no exercise and all the pain, doubt and small victories that go along with it. About realising that anyone can run and that, again, it’s just about putting one foot in front of the other.
I loved how she describes her thought process whilst preparing for and actually running her first marathon and could recognise myself in a lot of it. Not in the actual marathon running, but I have definitely had the ‘I can’t possible run further than my longest run so far’-thoughts and then afterwards finishing that new distance anyway.
You can also find some great practical running tips in this book and some hilarious anecdotes such as getting flustered in front of the super sporty (and judgy) sales men when trying to buy a first proper pair of running shoes.
If you, like me, are just getting into running and don’t quite feel like an athlete yet, this book is for you. Because there is hope. Because everyone can run.