Running Like a Girl

Notes on Learning to Run

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About The Book

The inspiring, hilarious memoir of a “Bridget Jones-like writer” (The Washington Post) who transforms her life by learning to run, with stories of miserable defeat, complete victory, and learning to choose the right shoes.

When Alexandra Heminsley decided to take up running, she had hopes for a blissful runner’s high and immediate physical transformation. After eating three slices of toast with honey and spending ninety minutes creating the perfect playlist, she hit the streets—and failed spectacularly. The stories of her first runs turn on its head the common notion that we are all “born to run”—and exposes the truth about starting to run: it can be brutal.

Running Like a Girl tells the story of getting beyond the brutal part, how Alexandra makes running a part of her life, and reaps the rewards: not just the obvious things, like weight loss, health, and glowing skin; but self-confidence and immeasurable daily pleasure, along with a new closeness to her father—a marathon runner—and her brother, with whom she ultimately runs her first marathon.

But before her first marathon, she has to figure out the logistics of running: the intimidating questions from a young and arrogant sales assistant when she goes to buy her first running shoes, where to get decent bras for the larger bust, how not to freeze or get sunstroke, and what (and when) to eat before a run. She’s figured out what’s important (pockets) and what isn’t (appearance), and more.

For any woman who has ever run, wanted to run, tried to run, or failed to run (even if just around the block), Heminsley’s funny, warm, and motivational personal journey from nonathlete extraordinaire to someone who has completed five marathons is inspiring, entertaining, practical, and fun.

About The Author

Photograph by Dean Belcher.

Alexandra Heminsley is a journalist, broadcaster, and ghostwriter. She is the books editor for Elle UK and a contributor to the BBC. She lives in Brighton, UK.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (June 2014)
  • Length: 224 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781451697155

Raves and Reviews

"Wannabe runners can live vicariously through the witty new memoir Running Like a Girl. It's packed with get-off-your-butt fitspo from the author's journey from 1-miler to marathoner."

– SELF

“In Running Like a Girl, Alexandra Heminsley has the courage to abandon her comfort zone and try something truly daunting and intimidating, running a marathon. In doing so she proves to herself that she is better than she thought she was and is capable of going further than she ever thought she ever could. These are invaluable life lessons that transcend running itself. You will enjoy this book—and learn and laugh in the processes—whether you run great distances, modest distances, or not at all.”

– Dean Karnazes, runner and New York Times bestselling author

"If you've ever wept WHY WOULD I WANT TO RUN?, your answer is here."

– Caitlin Moran, author of How to Be a Woman

"The morning after I finished this book, I got my running shoes on. Funny, wise, and inspirational, Alexandra Heminsley manages to make running seem not just possible, but life-affirming, liberating, and fun."

– Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You

‘This is not simply a book about running – it’s about discipline, self-knowledge and relationships, and should inspire even the most committed couch potato to strap on their trainers and run.’

– London Daily Mail

"If the word marathon brings you out in a cold sweat, then this brilliantly titled book is the perfect antidote to running reluctance… It’s an honest and uplifting account, pitching practical know-how... with insights into the personal doubts and daunts of [Heminsley's] own life. There’s nothing preachy or smug about her stance. Instead, it’s an inspiring reminder of what we’re all capable of if we put our minds to it."

– Marie Claire UK

"A meditation (slash romp) on running, life and love. Penned in her own inimitable style, the book is a funny tread through the raft of body insecurities and mental anguish we all go through when we put on our trainers."

– Grazia

"[Heminsley's] honesty is winning: her first run is a disaster. . . . Her sketches of her family members are witty. What's truly excellent about this book, though, is its generosity."

– London Observer

“With humor and honesty, Elle UK books editor Heminsley details the anxiety and exhilaration she felt when she decided to try running in her mid-30s…For anyone contemplating running, Heminsley provides valuable insight into the mechanics and emotions inherent in the sport.”

– Kirkus

"[Heminsley is] a Bridget Jones-like writer. [Running Like a Girl provides] a realistic look at what it takes to transition from couch potato to amateur endurance athlete,flecked with self-deprecating anecdotes."

– The Washington Post

"The author is so insightful about how difficult it is to commit to a regular running routine--especially if you don't consider yourself a natural athlete. But Heminsley is also very honest about the emotional rewards of running: how much more confident and happy she feels because she does it regularly. Pick up Running Like a Girl: Notes on Learning to Run for a great read and plenty of practical tips."

– Health Magazine

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