Murakami on running. Opera.

Haruki Murakami

Just finished Haruki Murakami’s “What I talk about when I talk about running”. It’s a short autobiography centered on running and doing triathlons. I especially liked the story of his first marathon, which he ran all by himself from Athens to Marathon. He compares writing a novel to long-distance running. I guess both takes some will power. The book feels very personal and honest, and that’s its biggest strengths. It’s sort of his training log with some thoughts on the way, written in hotel rooms all over the world. If you like both Murakami and running you should definitely read it.

I recognize some of his ideas from my own thoughts about singing opera. Most people probably don’t think of it, but singing is actually very close to being a sport. The physical strain is not as big as in a “real sport”, but we still have to tone and train our vocal muscles like any other muscle, warm up, be careful not to over-excercise, stay fit off-season and repeat technical drills. We have to perform well and keep our minds focused for concerts, much like a sporting event. Musicians may not look like athletes, but many orchestras and opera houses hire sport psychologists and -nutritionists to coach their employees. We even compete in music sometimes. It was one of the original ancient Olympic events after all.

The trend in recent years has been that more and more musicians stay physically fit. It’s also an excellent way to get rid of stress, which musicians usually have plenty of. And writers, I guess.

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