Part running memoir, part handbook, Alexandra Heminsley’s book Running Like A Girl is entirely a positive, upbeat and inspirational encouragement to women all over the world… to just give running a try and see how it goes. You don’t need to be the fastest or the best, but just give it a go. You don’t need the flashiest trainers or the fanciest kit, just get out there.
I’ve had a mixed relationship with running myself. In my mid-late 20s, I was a committed gym addict, going four times a week and regularly running 5km was very much a part of my routine. But about five years ago I fell out of the habit, and although I’ve tried to get back into running a few times, I’ve never quite managed to make it stick. Alexandra’s book has made me determined to give it another go.
Alexandra (@hemmo on Twitter), is a journalist and broadcaster, who took up running six years ago to combat a broken heart. And this Sunday she is running her fifth London Marathon, having run innumerable and unimaginable feats in between… including a fabulous sounding synchronised light display on an Edinburgh mountainside as part of the Fringe Festival.
Running Like A Girl is entirely realistic about what you’re likely to encounter on your running journey, though. Alexandra is honest about the battered toes, the friction burns from bra straps, and the fact that running sometimes REALLY makes you need the loo! And what’s most refreshing is that this book is an accessible running guide – it’s not weighed down in scary jargon and it doesn’t assume the reader knows anything already (like a lot of online articles or other books do). It’s just an honest, open collection of thoughts to get you up and on to your feet.
And it’s funny, too. Alexandra doesn’t claim to be the best, and she admits to having had periods of self-doubt. But what keeps coming through is her determination to finish what she started, and how the support of her friends and family is what really propels her forwards.
Running Like A Girl is inspirational. I’ve already created a new playlist of '80s power ballads for my iPod to get me around the park on the first of my new runs.
Alexandra is running the London Marathon on Sunday for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. Her sponsorship page is here.