Book Review: Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley

Running Like a Girl
by Alexandra Heminsley

Publication date: January 16th 2014
Publisher: Windmill Books (first published April 4th 2013)
Pages: 229


Alexandra had high hopes: the arse of an athlete, the waist of a supermodel, the speed of a gazelle. Defeated by gyms and bored of yoga, she decided to run. 

Her first attempt did not end well. Six years later, she has run five marathons in two continents. But, as her dad says, you run with your head as much as with your legs. So, while this is a book about running, it’s not just about running. You could say it’s about ambition (yes, getting out of bed on a rainy Sunday morning counts), relationships (including talking to the intimidating staff in the trainer shop), as well as your body (your boobs don’t have to wobble when you run). But it’s also about realising that you can do more than you ever thought possible. 

Very funny, very honest, and very emotional, whether you’re in serious training or thinking about running for the bus, this is a book for anyone who after wine and crisps for supper a few too many times thinks they might…just might…like to run like a girl. 

Alexandra Heminsley is a freelance journalist and broadcaster and a dedicated runner.

Source: Goodreads


I first read this book pre-blog when I was preparing for the London Marathon. A few years on, I’m certainly not running as much as I was back then, but felt like reading this book again as a bit of motivation to get back into it.

“Running Like a Girl” is non-fiction, partly the story of author Alexandra Heminsley‘s first experiences of running, and part guide to running and everything related to it (how to control your boobs, avoid an injury and buy the right trainers, for example).

This book is funny and I read almost the whole thing with a smile on my face, apart from the parts about the London Marathon, which really brought back the emotions from my own experience. I felt that I could really connect with Alex, because unlike some of the other running books I’ve read, she really tells it like it is. She’s so honest, and admits that running is hard. I remember reading one book that explained in detail how hard the author found running a marathon, it was awful and he was so disappointed with his time of slightly over 3 hours. That kind of book is definitely not for me and my relationship with running, but honestly, “Running Like a Girl” could have been written for me personally.

“Running is awful. It feels unnatural, unnecessary, painful. It can hijack you with breathlessness, cripple you with panic and overwhelm you with self-consciousness.”

Alex is a clumsy, “curvy girl with little or no competitive spirit”, a description that you could also use to describe me. She procrastinates, she loves lasagne, she paint her nails and wears neon eye liner to a race – doesn’t she sound great?

The style of writing in this book is very casual and conversational, so much so that it feels like the author is your friend, helping you believe in yourself. There’s no science or detailed research provided here, so don’t go into this book with those kind of expectations This is fun, breezy and could be the motivational read you need to start running yourself.

“The moments of anger or desolation that runners experience at desperate points of a lengthy run are basic physiological reactions to the situation. But once you have accepted what they are then you have learned to conquer them, and you will begin to believe anything is possible.”

Overall rating: I gave “Running Like a Girl” 4 stars on my first read and I think I enjoyed it even more second time round. I’d recommend this book for anyone who wants to run, or is thinking about running, but needs that extra push to get out the door – 5 stars!


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

      1. That’s wonderful (: I definitely do want to try out some of the more chatty and comedic ones that I’ve seen. Most of those are linked to actresses but, even though I’m not really into running, the quotes just sort of called to me.

        Liked by 1 person

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