Since spring marathon season is right around the corner, I thought "Running Like a Girl," by Alexandra Heminsley, was an appropriate book to feature. I know I learned a lot just in time for my first marathon in April.
Heminsley, a British author, writes so candidly about her running experiences in her book "Running Like a Girl," that I almost thought that it was a book of fiction, but it's her own personal experiences.
I have read many books by British author Sophie Kinsella and this book was written in the same humorous style. Think Bridget Jones takes on running.
Heminsley, or "Alex," as she refers to herself in the book, didn't start taking an interest in running until she was in her 30s. She always admired how energized and refreshed her roommate was after returning from a run and was hoping to experience the same feelings once she began her own running journey. It didn't happen.
Alex set her sights on the London Marathon. I was curious to find out why she didn't start out with a few smaller races and work her way up to a marathon.
She tells about her first experience in a high-end running store, where she wanted to get a proper pair of running shoes.
Heminsley also discusses the one thing more important than a proper pair of running shoes - a proper running bra.
Did you know you can do more bodily harm running in the wrong bra than in the wrong pair of shoes? Heminsley talks about the unknown damage that women can sustain while running wearing an ill-fitted bra.
She also shares her experience with what happen when you have to go to the bathroom on a long run and are far from home. Almost any struggle one could have while training for a race, Heminsley has experienced, even falling and having to take a trip to the medical tent during the race.
After the marathon, there was a period of time that Heminsley had stopped running and fell into a rut. She knew she had completed the marathon so she felt she had nothing else to prove to herself.
"Why should I be trying so hard to get 20 minutes faster? What's the purpose? What would I ever do with that extra 20 minutes?", she asked herself.
This is a part of the book that I found to be extremely funny because it is the raw truth, but as runners we always are trying to improve our run times.
Heminsley then talks about how she started running again, even completing the San Francisco Women's Marathon, earning herself a Tiffany necklace.
The second part of "Running Like a Girl" is Heminsley's tips, tricks and advice. She lays it all out on what to expect from your first marathon and advice on protecting yourself from injury and other practical running advice.
Did you know that rubbing Vaseline on your feet before you put your socks on can prevent blisters from forming during your run?
Heminsley addresses the truth behind the Top 10 running myths (as far as women are concerned). Here are just a few.
Running will destroy your knees.
The high impact of running will give you a saggy face and a saggy behind.
Running will make your boobs sag
Running makes you pee blood.
Running makes your pee smell of ammonia.
She also discusses the most common injuries among runners, how to identify and cope with them.
IT Band Syndrome
I have known runners who have had these injuries and after reading Heminsley's book I am now surprised how some of them can be so simply rectified or managed.
I really enjoyed this book because it was full of useful information yet written in a very candid narrative. After reading her words you will truly believe that with the proper training, even you can complete a marathon (even if you've only ever run a 5K).
This book is not just for the beginning runner, seasoned runners will enjoy her stories and learn some new tips to try as well.