Book Review: Running Like a Girl

Running Like a Girl: Notes on Learning to Run
by Alexandra Heminsley
2013

cover

Running Like a Girl first caught my attention on Goodreads back in November, but after adding it to my to-read list I promptly forgot about it (so many books, so little time!) until I read The Crazy Runner Girl‘s review of it. I’m so glad it was brought back to the forefront of my mind, because I fell instantly in love with it and found myself getting oddly excited about my daily commute on the bus because that meant extra reading time.

The book is divided into two parts – the first is essentially Heminsley’s running memoir, and the second is all kinds of advice intended to help the reader “hold [her] head high and run like a girl.” The advice section includes such features as “The Truth Behind the Top Ten Running Myths” [for instance, the high impact of running will certainly NOT give you a saggy face and a saggy behind!], “Top Ten Tips for Buying Running Shoes Without Having to Exchange Them for Your Dignity,” “Everything You Wanted to Know About a Marathon but Were Too Afraid to Ask,” how to identify and treat the most common injuries for runners, and how to find other runners near you. [That last bit, the “Finding Your People” section, introduced me to the Road Runners Club of America, an organization I had otherwise never heard of. If I hadn’t already found the Shammies, it would have been a priceless resource to connect me with other runners… and it’s still a great resource for finding races, trainers, and more.]

I loved the memoir section of the book, too. Not only is it all about running, my new love, but it’s also written by someone who approached running much like I did… at first looking at it as something other people did, (Me?! Run distances? Of more than 100m? Without chasing a ball? … Why? I can’t do that!), but then deciding to give it a go… after spending weeks saying I would and making preparations and picking out an outfit, only to finally go for a run and burn out after a lap around the track. There were so many times while reading that I’d think That happened to her/She thought that too?? Oh God, I’m so glad I’m not the only one! The book also gave me a sense of hope that if the author could start out hesitantly like I did and then go on to run marathons and be totally badass, maybe I’ll get there one day too!

Though I appreciated the advice as well as the reassurance I got from the memoir section, the main reason I enjoyed reading this book so much was the sense of humor with which Heminsley describes her running adventures. It was as if Louise Rennison and Miranda Hart (two hilarious women that I love dearly) had combined, decided to run, and then write about their experiences in such a funny, self-deprecating manner that the reader couldn’t help but laugh out loud on public transport a few too many times. It’s a bit of a cliche, but I enjoyed reading this book so much that I was actually sad when it ended. It’s a book I would definitely read again, and would highly recommend.

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