Surely we are all acquainted with Mr Murakami. If not then you need to go and do a lot of Googling my friend.
So apart from praising Murakami because I could go on forever, this is not a post on his works but more focusing on the subject of one of his more recent books; running.
So anyone who follows me on twitter will obviously have seen my over obnoxious tweets, something like;
Just so you get the idea.
Anyways back to running.
Keitii-chan actually asked me on twitter for some suggestions about running, she must have been super in-tuned with my thoughts or something as I started this a little before she asked me. So here we go...
I often try to convince others to go running with me or in general and I often get complaints about how hard they find it and they give up there and then.
Sorry what? Why is exercise the exception for "if at first you don't succeed, try and try again" rule? Like most things, it takes practice and dedication.
Running is honestly something I look forward to most days. It helps keep the mind clear and unclouded by building up of thoughts. When I run I almost feel like I'm in a meditative trance, it's a time when you can get out of the house and just forget everything for a little while.
If you want to take up running, don't over think it, just do it. If you have a spare hour one day, throw on your sweats and shoes and just follow your feet (I personally have a set route to keep track of distance covered). I'd say the unplanned runs are the best, they feel like less of a chore and more like you are running because something inside compels you, but of course we all need order in our lives.
Now I'm no expert, but I will offer a few things I've learned along the way. These mostly apply to me but I hope they inspire or help you too.
Tips and advice;
- Don't expect it to be a walk in the park, running is tough. Physically it's challenging and I still struggle with each run. But the benefits usually outweigh the struggle (clearing of the mind, exercise releases endorphins, feeling less guilty about all the crap I eat, the list is endless).
- Music is key. The difference between a good run and a bad run really depends a lot on what you're listening to. I myself have a specially compiled playlist especially for running. Each week you should change it up a little bit.
- Get out of the house! Stepping foot out of my house is actually the hardest part I find about the whole occasion.
- Set goals for yourself. Something like a certain distance to cover or times per week you want to run, that way you can keep track of how much you achieve each time.
- Carry as little as possible, it helps to feel a little less weighed down. All I carry with me is my iPod on my arm and my keys.
- Don't feel discouraged if you don't start to feel different for a while, it does take a while to notice the effects. At least during the run or after it, you should feel more clear headed and usually in a better mood.
- Breathing is probably the most important part to focus on, focus on in through your nose, out through your mouth. It took me months to get my breathing down. Basically breathing is what determines how well you run and dictates the struggle.
- You should probably combine running with a healthy lifestyle in general, I mean what good is it to go for a run then get home and eat takeaway (says the hypocrite...), a healthy lifestyle will be most effective if you want to notice some results or experience change. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to preach about looking after your body or anything but you really should. Practice becomes habit and after a while the benefits of a healthy lifestyle really make you feel great. Good skin, good attitude, sharp mentality, feeling healthier and happier, general self satisfaction.
- Pace yourself. Don't over exhaust yourself, do as much as feels comfortable.
- Do it for yourself.
One of my favourite artists did a post on Murakami's work and her take on running you should check out. Her sentences and thoughts are much more structurally sound and more fluid to read.
And so I leave you with some quotes from What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, the first one is actually engraved on the back of my iPod. It helps inspire me to keep motivated about running and most things (it's actually a quote quoted by Murakami in his book).
"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."
"People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they'll go to any length to live longer. But don't think that's the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you're going to while away the years, it's far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that's the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole. I believe many runners would agree"
"I'm often asked what I think about as I run. Usually the people who ask this have never run long distances themselves. I always ponder the question. What exactly do I think about when I'm running? I don't have a clue."
"When I'm running I don't have to talk to anybody and don't have to listen to anybody. This is a part of my day I can't do without."