Review: Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley


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In the good old days of my (now defunct) other blog,  I used to talk a lot about running. Or more specifically, shuffling round  the park at walking speed trying not to die for half an hour. I really wanted to be an effortless runner and I was more than dismayed to find that even the people who are gliding through their 5k “warm up” are actually working really hard. It appears that with running, practice doesn’t make it easier, you just learn to make it look easier. Consequently, I gave up.

Reading Running Like a Girl made me pick up my trainers and head to my local park the day after I finished it – I found it that inspiring. Part running guide, part memoir, Alexandra Heminsley has done the impossible and made me shift my fat arse off the sofa and into motion.

The book itself is written in a really personable style – Hemmo (in my head we are now friends, and this is what her mates call her) is the first to admit that she’s not a gym bunny and didn’t have a clue how to even get started with jogging. Her writing is warm, funny and very honest – her chapter on being intimidated by unhelpful salespeople when buying running shoes made me laugh out loud.

If you are thinking of starting running and don’t know what you’re doing, the advice that Hemmo gives is absolutely brilliant. I’ve discovered so many things about the way I run that are wrong which I’ve since corrected. It was so reassuring that it’s ok to have forgotten how to run and to be told what position your feet should be in, what to do with your arms etc. It was really interesting to see that it’s not just me who was really intimidated about running by themselves and to hear about the mental challenges to running long distances. There’s also a great guide to kit buying, including fantastic advice about supports bras and buying trainers that you don’t hate. If all of that sounds a bit boring to you, rest assured that Hemmo manages to weave her little nuggets of wisdom in to the main narrative so the book never becomes dry or boring.

This is a great, inspirational book for runners, non-runners and wannabes alike.

Rating: 8/10

I read this book as part of the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017 #1 Read a Book About Sports.


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