Book review: The Way of the Runner

The Way of the Runner is kind of the sequel to his first about running with the Kenyans. To preface this, the author is an avid runner who enjoys the sport of running and spent some time with Kenyan runners to figure out why they run so well and why they are the most talented runners to come out of the sport. The book that I read is kind of a spiritual successor. This time he goes on to Japan to find out their secret to running. I thought, hey I like running, I like Japan, why not? So I listened to it and it was definitely interesting.

First off, I didn’t know Japan came out with so many athletes. Besides being one of the healthiest countries out there, they are also one of the craziest about running. They have won many Olympic medals over the years and have come out to be one of the countries with the most amount of athletes with times rivaling that of the top runners all around the world. When it comes to running they know how to fly.

Something else I learned about Japan was that their most watched athletic event broadcast on tv is called the Ekiden. It is a running relay event that varies in length. One of their most popular is two days long! Two days!! Their viewership of this specific event rivals that of the Super Bowl in the U.S. I didn’t realize how popular running was in Japan. Everybody dreams of being in the ekiden and that dream starts early in life. It’s mind blowing that they blow the U.S running times for kids out of the water!

Anyways, back to the book. So the author is writing about his entire experience while in Japan. He writes about everything he learned, including a little bit about the culture, the training methods, the whole idea behind the ekiden. He even tries to enter one but unfortunately he doesn’t and instead competes back home in Europe with a new found knowledge.

Their were one or two things that I thought didn’t lend to the overall flow of the narrative he was painting. At a certain point I felt that he had said everything he could about the training , and then for the rest of the book began to talk about his own struggles and his discoveries.

I thought it was really interesting how he not only talked about the differences of the cultures but also how they played a part in the training. Everything there seems to be about tradition which has its good and bad. He doesn’t shy away from speaking about them. He also talks to zen Buddhist about their 1000 marathons in a 1000 days. He is able to get into the mind of one of the Buddhist monks who accomplished the feat and his take on running, which was really refreshing.

Anyways, overall, I thought the book was really interesting. I wish there was more about the training methodology and specifics on what they did but I don’t think that was the point of the story. I was secretly hoping they would give tips and tricks about getting faster but unfortunately, no. But oh well, I will just have to keep doing what I know to do.

Anyways thank you for reading! Hope you enjoyed it and God bless!

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