Running Like a Girl

On Tuesday evening, I attended a book reading and Q&A at Run and Become with Alexandra Heminsley author of Running Like a Girl. I recently finished reading this book, so jumped at the chance to attend the event and hear Alexandra’s story.

Running Like a Girl is the story of Alex’s journey into running from that painful first attempt to completing five marathons in two continents, with tips and advice to the newbie runner. Alex doesn’t claim to be an elite runner or an expert on the sport, she is just an ordinary girl who took up running and found that it changed her life in more ways than expected. I really enjoyed her candid and unpretentious way of writing- the book is full of humour and honesty, with anecdotes that all runners can relate to. 

Alexandra read a few extracts from the book which had everyone laughing and nodding in agreement, she then lead a question and answer session with the audience. 

Some of her advice on preparing for a marathon:
– Firstly- enjoy! Running a marathon (particularly London) is an amazing experience and the energy of the crowds on the day will carry you. You will feel like a rock star being clapped and cheered by supporters! 
– Don’t let your training plan overwhelm or unnerve you- she mentioned that around March time plenty of first-time marathoners will begin to freak out as the long-runs increase in distance and training seems relentless- don’t let it get on top of you!
-Long-runs are as much about training your legs as about training your mind- those quiet solitary runs can be an emotional rollercoaster so learning to deal with those negative thoughts which can creep in while you are out there on the road. 

Her advice on staying motivated:
-Set a goal, sign up for a race! Without having the obligation of running the London Marathon and raising money for a charity, Alexandra would never have carried on running.
-Remind yourself that a run is 30 minutes out of your life which benefits everything you do, you feel amazing after a run even if it is only short- she described the effect of running as a ‘reverse hangover’! “Just imagine – the joy you get from a 45min run, even though it may have been tough and painful, lasts for days. Compare that with a 45min drinking session which could be lots of fun but leaves you feeling worse for wear for days.”
-Change up your routine- try running in the morning if you are usually an evening runner.

One of the ideas which Alex shared was that when training for a marathon (or half-marathon) those long-runs mean that every single week you defy expectations of yourself- every week you are way more amazing than before! I really relate to this, as I still can’t quite believe that I actually ran 12 miles a few days ago!

I got my copy of Running Like a Girl signed by Alexandra Heminsley, and came away from the event feeling inspired and reflecting on how running has changed my life for the better. 

Picture from Run and Become

Picture from Run and Become

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