Friday, 5 June 2015

Running Like a Girl - A Book Review

As we prepare for our move to Nottingham, I've become determined to get fit.  Yes, I'll be honest, there is an element of vanity here, to get my pre-babies figure back, but also to keep up with the three year old (they actually expect you to join in at Rugby Tots!), and his brother when he's running rings around me too, but also to make sure I'm still here when they're older (a little morbid for a Friday, sorry about that).

However, for now my running shoes are in storage (crying shame) and we're living at the top of a massive hill, so alas, it has to wait.  So to inspire and motivate myself for now, I've done a few things:

  • Agreed to a Marathon.  Ok, not a full marathon.  No, no not a half.  OK, a mini-marathon, a fun run of 1.5miles with my eight year old cousin who is sure to kick my behind.  But its a start.

  • I've publically (well, twitter, same thing) signed up to a beginners park run starting on 4th July

  • Read Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Hemingsley, currently 1p on Amazon, which brings me to the point of this post - a short review.

(N.B. This isn't a sponsored review, I bought the book one evening whilst looking for inspiration and motivation).

Running Like a Girl isn't a book for those looking for a running guide; nor is it one for someone who wants to understand the physiological ins and outs of running.  It's a book for those looking to relate to someone who starts off thinking 'Can't Run, Won't Run' (ie, me) and actually ends up achieving something (not me right now, but watch this space!).

It's a book of two halves; the first, a memoir of her running journey, what she learnt and how she became a marathon runner.  I loved her honesty; the stories of running off to the loo in a pub to avoid pooping her pants; the story of running a marathon in tears; not sugar coating the relationship she has with her dad (don't worry reader, no Westlife soundtracked X-Factor style back story here); stories of the pitfalls of trainer shopping and the highs of stopping your boobs swinging free.

She follows her story with some cold hard facts about running. Expect the clearing of some common misconceptions of running (wrinkly face and sagging boobs anyone?) and discussion of some common injuries.   Lists of stuff wannabe runners need and how to treat yourself when injury strokes. This part of the book did it for me and surpassed the first part in my opinion.  It's pretty clear the author wants to get you running, even going so far as to guilt you into it; the chapter entitled The Women in Whose Tracks We Run is about female runners, banned from road races until the 60s and 70s, who forced officials in the US and Britain to include women, simply by turning up and running.  Fascinating stuff I never knew.  There's definitely some material for Sheryl Sandberg in there!

Did she inspire me to run a marathon? God no.  But then it'd take a hell of a lot to get me running a marathon, and I'm not entirely sure that's the purpose of the book anyway.  It became increasingly clear to me that the purpose of Running Like a Girl was to convince other women to just go.  Just get up off your arse and run.  Good advice.

The first thing I'll unpack when we move?  My running shoes.