Book Review: Running Like A Girl by Alexandra Heminsley

Apr 18, 13 Book Review: Running Like A Girl by Alexandra Heminsley

This book was suggested to me earlier this week and the timing couldn’t have been better as I approach my first marathon on Sunday.  I laughed, cringed and wanted to cry in places.  But above all it was inspirational.  It was just what I needed.

Alexandra (Hemmo) seems to have lots of reasons why she can’t run at the start of the book, yet takes the bull by the horns and signs up for her first Marathon.  I’m a good few years older than her and yet so much of her journey resonates.

The humour throughout the book helps make this a very easy book to read, and yet there are a lot of serious messages in there as well which don’t get lost.

The chapter on running her first Marathon in London was just what I needed, from getting off the train at Blackheath to actually crossing that finish line, I feel like I now have a real picture of what to expect this weekend, and it’s the things I needed to know about as well.

I am beyond admiration for her, she started this running lark before we had all the gadgetry, I’d be so lost without my iPhone running app, and her determination inspires me.  From calculating routes to her first disastrous attempt to buy the right trainers, and it’s a relief to know I am not the only runner out there that is top heavy and requires some decent support!

The book doesn’t end with the first marathon, there are other races in there, there are days when she even doubts her love for running, but reading this book reminded me what it is I love about running.  You can get so focussed in preparing for the race that you forget that, so thank you Hemmo for reminding me why I love it and for making my last practice session this week one of the most enjoyable I can remember.  That is a gift beyond compare.

The first half of the book is Hemmo’s story and is one of the best running books I’ve read.  The second half of the book is her practical advice but also some history about women in running.  I was shocked how recently women have been discriminated against in distance running, and Hemmo has a section where she focuses on some of the great names that helped that discrimination come to an end.

This book is not only a useful beginners guide but it’s a real guide.  I’ve read other books about running your first marathon, but none have touched me like this book has, nor offered me such practical and sensible advice.  Hemmo makes mistakes, she shares them so that we don’t have to go through them ourselves, but she also writes in such a way that you know she knows you’ll ignore half of what she says and learn it for yourself the hard way.

Whilst I’m still dubious about her advice to slather my feet in Vaseline, something she took years to listen to herself, I guess if she says it works then I should do it!  That’s the way this book makes you feel,  you feel re-invigorated about your own running and you trust the advice given.

It’s definitely a book I’d give five stars to.

You can find Running Like a Girl on Amazon in both print and Kindle formats and you can find Alexandra on Twitter as @hemmo


1 Comment

  1. Anne Fieldhouse /

    Vaseline worked for me!

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