A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Book Review: Running Like a Girl

on January 28, 2014

One of my Christmas gifts was the book “Running Like a Girl” by Alexandra Heminsley. The author is a journalist, broadcaster and ghost writer in England who, like a lot of us, came to running as an adult after believing for years that she was “not a runner.” I picked it up this weekend to start reading (despite the fact that Goodreads says I’m reading two other books) during my post-wipeout bath. It seemed like a good light and fluffy option to dip in and out of over the next couple of weeks. It turns out to be a really quick read, so I’ve already finished it after a couple of days.

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Reading the first part of this book (Part One is the first 2/3) is really like having a conversation with another relatively new runner, which is fun. I found myself smiling a lot of the thoughts she describes about her running early on because I thought I was the only one with those things flitting through her mind. In that sense, this book is a lot of fun if you don’t have any other runners around you and want to reassure yourself that you’re not the only one thinking all of these random thoughts about running. The stories about the first shoe shopping experience and the importance of sports bras were funny and real. The first time she describes speed training encompassed all of the reasons I’m wary of speed training! After feeling accomplished as an endurance runner, why go back to feeling clumsy and incompetent again by training to run fast! (Answer: because it is good for you, like so many things that are hard. Sigh)

I also really enjoyed reading about the emotional gamut we travel with our running, both on individual good and bad runs and overall, as we come over the high of the first race and go through the peaks and valleys of running after that point. I was particularly interested in reading about her experiences with running after she finished her first race, where she went from a “I’m a runner, let’s do this again!” mindset to seeing running fall out of her daily life. I know lots of people where this has been the case, where running falls off the radar once the goal race is completed. Reading about falling off the path and getting back on again over and over was somehow reassuring, that my fears about losing what has become a big part of my life are normal and not unfounded, but not insurmountable either.

The last third of the book (or Part Two) is full of practical information from a very journalistic perspective. There’s a section on common running myths and the associated realities; shopping for running shoes (loved the tip not to wear a skirt, if you think about where the sales person will be hanging out most of the time!); proper running form, and of course, the kind of make up that will hold up to a marathon. All in all, this was fun and fluffy and vaguely British, which I personally always enjoy. It’s definitely worth checking out at your local library next time you need a quick and easy read.

Speaking of British, have I showed you guys my awesome Dr. Who cookie jar? It’s where my running fuel lives (and the TARDIS sound effect is enough of a “gotcha” that it keeps me from sneaking Salted Caramel Gus – those may taste like regular caramel sauce, but I have to remind myself that isn’t what they’re for!)

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If you’re on Goodreads, look me up. My profile name is just “Jessica” but it should have my age (35) and blog so you can figure out which one is me. I love reading recommendations, especially since I spend a fair amount of time in the winter running on the treadmill and the Kindle iPad app keeps me sane during those times! This afternoon I’m going to hit the treadmill and attempt a run-walk on my banged up knees. Wish me luck!

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19 responses to “Book Review: Running Like a Girl

  1. playfulpups says:

    I started this as an audiobook I listened to while running- I got a free sample chapter or something. Now I want to go order it and finish it! Im on goodreads too- ill look you up! 🙂

    • I love audiobooks while I run. The one I’m listening to now is about a food critic and it entertains me to listen to someone talk about fantastic food while I’m pounding out the miles. 🙂

  2. Lauren says:

    Sounds like a fun book – I’ll have to check it out! You know, I’ve never seen Doctor Who, but my husband and I have heard so much awesomeness about it that we’ve mentioned we should really start watching it!

  3. I have this on my Amazon list! Sounds great! I LOVE the tardis, I need to get one of those for my BFF, she’s a huge Dr. Who geek!

    • To start with I thought the book was nothing that exciting or useful, but I found myself enjoying it more and more as I went along. It is always nice to hear from other people like me who aren’t “born runners”, you know?

  4. This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the review! I think I’d love part 1 and her thoughts on being a new runner as someone who thought they weren’t cut out for running. I still struggle with calling myself a runner (and I wonder if I will ever feel comfortable saying it out loud)! That Tardis jar is fantastic for a number of reasons (and it would absolutely match the other accessories I have in my kitchen). Speaking of tv shows; are you caught up on Sleepy Hollow? I didn’t realize last week’s episode was the last until fall (!) and it was a doozy!!

  5. […] Like a Mother, all of which I got as Christmas gifts last year and loved  (check out my reviews here and […]

  6. […] month’s book club read is also one I’ve read and reviewed here before, Running Like a Girl. I plan on re-reading that one because it’s been a while and I’m curious to see how my […]

  7. I also enjoyed this book… it was definitely something I think many runners can relate to, and I thought her writing was amusing and easy to read!

  8. I agree! I think every reader can elate to this story in some way, it did make me feel “normal” and it caused a lot of smiles as I went along- fun read for sure!

  9. This was a really popular book with everyone. I’m so glad you liked it too! Thanks again for linking up! 🙂

  10. […] Taking the Long Way Home book club choice is Running Like a Girl, which I reviewed a while back here. Check out Wendy’s post for the link ups and more […]

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