“I Have Only a Few Reasons to Keep on Running, and a Truckload of Them to Quit.”

“If I used being busy as an excuse not to run, I’d never run again. I have only a few reasons to keep on running, and a truckload of them to quit.”

–Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

I’m editing my draft of Before and After, and although I love this quotation, alas, it just hit the cutting-room floor. I’m consoling myself by posting it here. (I include a lot of quotations in my books, and at a certain point, it can just be too much. Plus I have another Murakami quotation.)

This quotation was cut from one of my very favorite chapters, about the Strategy of Loophole-Spotting. As Murakami  points out, there are truckloads of loopholes, in ten categories.

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  • Penelope Schmitt

    I have found your ‘loophole spotting’ series of posts to be helpful to me almost every day since you started them. In spite of months of a walking daily habit, I find that I have to ‘process’ loopholes every day to get started and to keep going. The pressure of other things needing to be done is such a big one. I have to remind myself over and over again that although this is ‘just one day’ that it is the long chain of days that has improved my health and fitness so much.
    Yesterday, we had a little emergency trip to the ER for my Mom (she fainted). After the stress of watching her slip into a stupor from which I could not rouse her, and sitting in the ER for several hours (dehydration was the only problem found!) I felt almost ready to jump through about 20 loopholes of compensatory eating. Happily, my defense of not having things in the house that I do not want to eat kept me from coming home and working my way through a box of cookies or crackers.
    Murakami is right: for every single-minded and single-hearted resolve, one seems to encounter a thousand tempting loopholes.
    As success and its good results become ‘taken for granted’ it is sometimes more difficult to remember that you got to the good place by not deviating from your path. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Judy

      Penelope, you are an inspiration! Your commitment to yourself and your health comes through loud and clear.

      • Penelope Schmitt


  • I wonder why humans so often have trouble doing what’s best for them… We know that an apple is better than candy, a walk outside is better than couching in front of the TV, being honest is better than a white lie (most of the time…)
    So, what evolutionary advantage has this behaviour given? Or is it just a mistake by nature?

  • My sister and I have committed ourselves to doing something daily for a week. For her, it is pushups. For me, it is stretching. We told each other to email if we were the first to break the chain. We’re both Obligers. 🙂

  • Jane D.

    Gretchen. 2015?? Really. Really?? 🙁 *my saddest, most pitiful face*

  • Caroline Donahue

    How funny to see this here! I finally have been reading this book or Murakami’s and I love it. As both a runner and a writer, it is incredibly inspiring. Highly recommended reading on habits, as you obviously know quoting it. I am getting very excited for your book, too. These posts have been great to engage the idea in the meantime. Thank you for all you are sharing!

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks so much – that’s so nice to hear.