What I Talk about When I Talk About Running Journal

By Sean Sharp

I recently finished the book by Haruki Murakami titled, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, which, for lack of a better descriptive phrase, is a meditation on distance running. It’s outlines how he came to be a distance runner, how that intersects with his life both as a writer and in terms of his daily routine. Murakami states, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you think, ‘Man, this hurts, I can’t take it anymore. The ‘hurt’ part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand anymore is up to the runner himself.” As one who runs regularly this is something I can relate to a lot.

After completing this book I decided to create an analogue journal of my running, naming it after the title of Murakami’s book. There are a lot of digital tools to track one’s running, but I wanted to have some notes that I would write following the run (hopefully immediately afterwards) which would capture my thoughts on my distance, pace and anything I noticed, saw or felt while running. A simple reflective journal is what I wanted.

I use a Field Notes larger notebook from the Arts & Sciences edition (though one can use any notebook) and I keep it on my kitchen table where it waits for when I return from a run. Reading back through I can see where I’ve been, what part of my body felt off, what I saw, and anything else I wrote down.

I recommend both the book and a reflective journal for this type of activity. Even if you’re not a runner the book by Murakami has themes around the ideas of perseverance, boredom, an pushing through to which we can all relate.

Sean lives in Eugene, Oregon, where he works as an Educational Technologist for the School of Architecture at the University of Oregon. When not helping faculty and students with technology, he enjoys time with family, reading, writing, running, seeing friends, watching and playing baseball, & hiking. Sean can be found online @seansharp and at seansharp.org.