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Book giveaway: Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley

(42 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 27-Jan-14 12:25:02

We have 50 copies of Alexandra Heminsley's Running Like a Girl up for grabs this week.

As Caitlin Moran says; "If you've ever wept "Why do I want to run?", your answer is here." Running Like a Girl is an honest, funny and inspiring memoir about Alex's own journey from being certain that she wasn't a runner at all, to completing five marathons.

If you're already a runner, you'll relate to Alex's triumphs and lows and affirmation that running is about so much more than losing weight. If you've ever thought about running but then failed to put on your trainers and get out there, this is the perfect book to offer you both inspiration and practical advice on everything from avoiding injury to buying the right bra.

Watch Alex talking about the book and if you fancy reading and reviewing, apply for a free copy. Once you've read it, join the discussion on this thread or post a review of Running Like A Girl.

Finally, Alexandra wrote a guest blog where she explained how running has transformed her relationship with her body, and helped her find reserves of determination she never knew she had.

janeyh31 Tue 18-Mar-14 17:11:16

Thank you for sending me this book. has taken me a while to get round to reading the book but I finally got there! I loved the book had a good storyline and left me feeling very inspired. Thanks for the book would definetly recommend to anyone who wants a good read or the motivation to get up and do something!

musicmaiden Mon 10-Mar-14 18:37:05

I found it a thoroughly enjoyable and not-a-little inspiring look into running, written in perky prose. There are plenty of wry jokes alongside some great advice and a lot of genuine emotion, and I enjoyed her epiphanies along the way about where motivation comes from - and that her Dad was always right!

I don't know how good it is at inspiring others to run. Like a PP, the section on injuries just made me nervous. Overall, it didn't make me want to run a marathon (and I can't see that changing) but it did make me want to try a park circuit.

supermariossister Fri 28-Feb-14 11:28:04

I liked the story and the emotion behind it, the build up of family relationships and friendships when supporting them it was insightful to see the thoughts and reasons behind each person's challenges. I found the actual sections on advice kind of boring but can imagine they would be useful if you were going through it, it hasn't inspired me to run because I am still in the self conscious everyone is looking at me stage but it has inspired me to challenge myself in other ways. I have now lent it to my sister who does run so it will be interesting to see what she thinks

Mouldypineapple Thu 27-Feb-14 17:59:02

Not finished yet but about a quarter of the way in and really enjoying it. Quite inspiring me to get out there, get over the initial hurdles and take up running. As my dh has been trying to get me to join him for years!

PourquoiPas Sat 22-Feb-14 20:55:32

I feel bad saying this because I really really really wanted to enjoy it, but.... I didn't enjoy it.

I liked the section on the history of women's running and I kind of liked her story of her actual running journey, but it felt fragmented and jumped about a lot chronologically. There was some good tips in there like buying warm up gear from a charity shop to chuck away at the start line and why it is so hard for the first few km and that you have to push through.

However, as a runner I would have liked more actual information about her training plan and how she prepped for the light show art thingy. I would also have liked more recommendations for specific kit she liked/used. The book felt a bit confused, a mixture of anecdotes about her race, history and bits and bobs about running.

I gave the book to a friend once I had finished it, and I am a book hoarder so that says something.

supermariossister Fri 21-Feb-14 23:31:03

over half way through and enjoying it so far after it taking a little while to get in too, will be back to review

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 21-Feb-14 14:17:01

Thanks to all those who have posted up reviews - it's great to hear you've enjoyed the book. Alexandra Heminsley is going to be joining us for a webchat on 27 February so you can chat to her about the book and share your own experiences of running (or doing everything possible to avoid it). We'll post on this thread as soon as the webchat thread is live.

CheeseStrawWars Fri 21-Feb-14 09:43:57

I've left a review on the official Mumsnet review section - I hope that's where I was supposed to leave it! I can always post it here later...

I really enjoyed the book. The first half was a very readable 'story', and the second half was really interesting - I can't believe than within my own lifetime, women weren't allowed to compete in marathons! A marathon still seems like a scary, scary thing, but I'm going to give it another go and focus more on the experience and benefits than trying to completing any specific times/distance.

Interesting to hear what musicmaiden says about the cover, as at the end in the acknowledgements Alexandra thanks the publisher for agreeing not to make it all pink! It could have been much more chick-litty.

soundingklaxon Fri 21-Feb-14 05:02:37

Another review to add...

This book is easy to read, informative and engaging. The author comes across as someone you would like to have a friend ( so she could provide constant motivation!)

When Alexandra talks about her relationship with her father strengthening due to their shared interest in running, I found it remarkably honest and I may have had something in my eye... On a few occasions.....!!!

Overall, despite this being an enjoyable and informative book ( how to buy the correct sized trainers/ what to do if you need the loo while running etc) like the previous reviewer, I almost immediately realised it wasn't going to be the tool that I needed to locate my running mojo- which is currently missing. As someone who can run- well, to laughable degree, I do not have a distance longer than a 10 k in my sights, so I almost felt abandoned by her as, what felt like a few pages in, she had a few 5ks under her belt and was considering a marathon. To me, this would be like undertaking and completing a woodwork degree, then carving a boat for Noah.

What I was left with, however, and it is a good lesson in most things in life- is that becoming a runner/ becoming a better runner/ running longer distances... All comes down to one thing. A decision. Made by yourself. For yourself.

Unfortunately I'm still not sure that I've made that decision....

funnyperson Wed 19-Feb-14 00:51:35

Review as promised:
I read this easy and enjoyable book on the commuter train. It has no sex or violence and is therefore quite safe to leave around the house. The most risque and useful bit is on being measured for a sports bra at Bravissimo.
As the author's second run was 5k it soon became apparent that for me this book was going to be an interesting but fantastical account of an attempt to run the London Marathon, which for me is like reading about people who sail round the world single-handed: i.e. unachievable but admirable.
The author's relationship with her father, who ran 19 'official' marathons was movingly developed. The account of her family cheering her on on the day brought a tear and a smile to my eye, though her chagrin at being included with the costumed slow coaches at the start line made me frown a bit.
On balance this book is no good for fatties like me who are trying to get it together to walk briskly for 30 minutes three times a week, but entertaining for those who can already run 5 k and are thinking of doing the marathon. I have passed it onto DD.

musicmaiden Mon 17-Feb-14 23:21:44

Thank you for my copy - I'll be getting cracking on it after my current read. I am -lazy- -unfit- lacking in motivation to get moving at the moment so hoping this provides the kick I need.

Afraid I don't like the cover AT ALL. Looks like uninspiring chick lit.

PurplePotato Mon 17-Feb-14 17:22:39

Thanks for my copy of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am about halfway through C25k at the moment having not run anywhere for 30 years, and found it inspirational for a beginner runner. The section with tips about gear is really useful, and like GoingToBed I found the parts about her relationship with her father really moving.

My only criticism is that the book mentions a training run in the Wye Valley - surely if she was starting near Salisbury this was the Wylie Valley? Maybe an error in the editing process? Anyway, it didn't distract from my enjoyment of the book which I devoured in one sitting.

CheeseStrawWars Sat 15-Feb-14 22:51:09

I'm 50 pages in (and marking my place on this thread - thanks for the copy grin ), and it is very readable. I'm pleased to read that the 10 mins of 'urgh, what am I doing?!' at the start of a run is normal!

GoingToBedfordshire Sat 15-Feb-14 22:23:02

I finished reading it today and overall really enjoyed it. The passages about her growing relationship with her Dad as she got more involved with her running were very touching. I found those the most truthfully written as (and I think she admits this) I found her somewhat evangelical about running which made me take what she was saying with a pinch of salt.

It has not however persuaded me to go out running. The possibility of injuries, despite her obvious technical knowledge in the second section detailing how to avoid both them, still puts me off. I can however relate to some of the benefits she gets from her chosen sport that I get from mine (swimming).

I have an enormous amount of respect for her, I really do not believe I have the motivation to train for a marathon as she has done, multiple times. And she has written an enjoyable, heartwarming book about the whole experience - fair play to her.

Southeastdweller Thu 13-Feb-14 13:33:46

I agree with cavy that I'd have liked to have read more about her work and personal life. She didn't come across as a living and breathing person, iykwim, and I think the book suffers for it. A new boyfriend is mentioned in one line, for example. Also, how did she afford to fly out to San Francisco for the marathon there and the one in Edinburgh? Was it worth the outlay? Alexandra seems like a very circumspect lady and whilst I know the book was essentially about running, I thought if she'd been more open it would have been more satisfying and relatable. Maybe I'm just really nosey. It also irked me that there wasn't enough of a build-up to her running her first marathon.

Still, she has helped with my motivation to run the marathon in 2015 smile.

HypodeemicNerdle Wed 12-Feb-14 22:54:30

Loved this book! I'm feeling very motivated now to dust off the trainers and gather my running kit. Just getting over tonsillitis but I have promised myself I will get out on Saturday, no doubt I will be extremely slow and will be doing more walking than running but I now believe again that I can do this. Thank you Hemmo, I'm determined to become a runner this year

IAmNotDarling Tue 11-Feb-14 21:27:28

Thanks for choosing me to review.

I'm up to page 100 and enjoying it immensely. Considering putting my trainers once the weather clears up a little.

funnyperson Tue 11-Feb-14 19:28:26

Thank you I have received this book which came as a nice surprise.
First thoughts: I like the cover!
Second thoughts: should I read this or not because if I do I might end up having to run
<hides book>
I will post a review later.

RunningGingerFreckleyThing Tue 11-Feb-14 10:40:18

Received the book and started on it straight away. It is very inspiring and made me feel like I could run a marathon. It's an easy read about the authors running journey and progress from non-runner to marathon runner. I liked that the second part of the book was like an FAQ section and found it helpful and reassuring, especially the injury section.
Thanks for the book. Would definitely recommend it.

ireadnovels Tue 11-Feb-14 08:34:43

I entered to win Running Like A Girl because I have not read a book on this topic before. Good luck to Alexandra Heminsley with your new novel.

Bobthatsafunnynameforagirl Mon 10-Feb-14 19:36:48

Received my copy (thank you!) and am astonished at how Hemmo has nearly persuaded me that running is a good thing! Have classified myself as a non-runner for years (it hurts, and my chest is the wrong size; I'm clearly not designed to run; and so on). This book is persuading me that perseverance might reap rewards. Highly recommend the book. Funny, moving and inspiring, it's an easy but addictive read.

cavylover Sun 09-Feb-14 18:39:58

Despite not being a runner myself I found this book very entertaining offering a real insight into the way a runner prepares for a race from what type of trainers to wear (actually larger than your actual shoe size) to knowing the route you are going to take. It also shows how the relationship with the author's father is strengthened by the advice she is given by him about running from past experiences he has of running himself. Relationships with fellow runners she only met during marathons are mentioned and how they helped her keep going when she felt at a low ebb enabling her to complete marathons. The support of her family is also mentioned in the book. There are some laugh out loud moments in the book too regarding needing to visit the lavatory at the most inappropriate times and just being able to find one before it was too late!

The only thing I would have liked to hear more about was how the author juggled her working and personal life with running but all in all I would recommend this book to runners and non-runners alike!

Lilybensmum1 Sun 09-Feb-14 11:38:39

Read this book in one day! Not the sort of book I would choose to pick up but I loved it, it's laugh out loud in places, had me in tears in others, I , like the author, started running a few times but gave up as I felt like I was dying this book has given me the motivation to start again she explains so well that running is about your mind too! Can't wait to start will probably dip into this book again to keep me motivated, highly recommend this book the authors writing style is so engaging!

furrymuff Sat 08-Feb-14 15:43:20

Mine came in the post this morning (thank you!) and as both DCs were out and the house was fairly clean I settled down to read a couple of chapters. That was 3 hours ago and I've just read the final page. Absolutely loved it, and am feeling completely inspired (have just shrieked down the hall to DH "am going for a run TODAY!" grin ).

As someone who sporadically works up to running 5km, then gets bored and stops for a year or so, this book has taught me that it's not all about the distance, that I should just get out there and run, and keep on trying. I still have that niggling feeling that maybe I wasn't designed to run, and that only certain people can do it, but I'll never know unless I try. So thanks Hemmo for your words of wisdom - I'm off to put my old trainers on (you never know, the gale force winds might propel me along grin )

GoingToBedfordshire Fri 07-Feb-14 20:30:26

Got mine today whilst my marathon running friend was round. I am a firm non-runner, but she has read it and said what a great read it is regardless.

About to get started right now! Thanks v much for the free copy.

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