Review: Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley

Running Like A Girl
This book made me start running again, no joke. (Well, plus my dad just started running and he’s been bugging me to start too.) Heminsley has such an honest and funny view of the world, and I can really relate with her struggles and her eventual love for running. Other running books get you physically prepared to run, but this book gets you mentally prepared, which is just as important. Half memoir and half running guide, Running Like a Girl has everything girls and guys need to get off the couch and step outside.

Title: Running Like a Girl
Author: Alexandra Heminsley
Publication Date: April 4, 2013
Category: (Non-Fiction) Memoir / Health / Fitness

Introduction

Running Like a Girl is divided into two parts. The first part details Heminsley’s transformation into a runner, from establishing a walking routine to spending two weeks contemplating the idea of running, and then finally to The Run… and then another three months before she tried again. (Can we all relate? Yeah? Yeah?) She talks about not taking advice from her dad – who ran nineteen marathons – and getting injured while running; running the London Marathon twice; and how she kept going to become a runner for life. The second part of the book is more about how to prep yourself for running: the truth behind running myths, how to buy running shoes, and how to get involved in running clubs along with other useful tips.

Discussion

When a running book starts like this, you know it’s going to be good:

It’s the most natural thing in the world. We were born to run.
You just put on your shoes and head out the door, that’s the beauty of it. It’s just you, the road and your thoughts.

These are the things that people say about running. These are lies. Running is awful.

I love Heminsley’s narrative because I think it speaks to many of us who laze around and can’t really muster up the willpower to go running. And even if we do, it’s only that one day a year month when we feel like we’re on top of the world, and then reality hits and we realize that running is painful and difficult and SO FREAKIN’ TIRING. Heminsley had the same problems and complaints, but she also found good things along the way that balanced out the bad – for example, making friends with strangers on the run, or running by the sea, or running with a friend who really needs it emotionally. We’re privy to the painful, joyous, tragic, and triumphant moments of her life as she slowly falls in and out of love with running.

And it’s through this book that I understood how much of a mental and physical battle running truly is. I’ve read books and articles on the physical part, but Heminsley tackles the mentality of a runner in letting us see how she survived her humiliating-yet-hilarious race to find a bathroom during a run, or how she felt when she tripped and hurt herself at the beginning of her first London marathon. I feel like I’m most inspired by people who are like me but can do great things, which is what makes this book different from McDougall’s book on naturally fast runners. Those kinds of books make me think about running, but Running Like a Girl made me actually get up and start running.

But this book also resonated with me because my dad started running last year, and he JUST ran his first marathon a few weeks ago. I remember him forcing me to run with him when I was in middle school and me hating every single moment of it, but seeing how happy he is now after he picked up running made me think about doing it too. After reading this book during the summer (I know, I know… my reviews are so delayed ahhh) I found a running buddy in my cohort who also just started running, and we’ve been running every weekend when weather and time permits. And I have to say that it feels amazing. Obviously, like Heminsley blatantly stated upfront, running is anything but easy when you first start, but it does get better.

In running, as in life, sometimes it just happens — it’s down to you to get on with it. Lots of tampons, lots of painkillers, and the certainty that those post-race carbs will taste even better are yours for the taking. Keep your head high and run like a girl.

Conclusion

If you’re thinking of exercising or running again and need a motivation booster, Running Like a Girl is the push you need. Heminsley is hilarious and real, and her stories are so touching and relatable. Also, girl power awesomeness!

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8 thoughts on “Review: Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley

  1. Have you read Murakami’s – What I Talk About When I Talk About Running?
    It’s a memoir about running and writing that I recommend to everyone. I’m not into running at all, but I found it fascinating!

    • That’s definitely on my to-read list, Brona! My dad’s been recommending that book to me for forever, and I’d love to read it when I can get my hands on it. Thanks for the recommendation! 🙂

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