A Girl’s Guide to Running Magazines: Part 1. ‘Women’s Running’

A bit of background:

I’ve had a subscription to Runner’s World for about a year now and there is much I like about it. However I recently decided to do a bit of shopping around and check out some of the other publications on offer here. So over the next few weeks, I’ll be checking out a few of the other running magazines on sale and seeing what I make of them!

First up today….

Women’s Running

Don't they make you feel cheerful, just looking at them!
Don’t they make you feel cheerful, just looking at them!

General info:

  • Easily found at Barnes and Noble but under ‘Women’ instead of ‘Sports’, even though ‘Women’s Triathlon‘ and ‘Men’s Running’ is under ‘Sports’. Hmmm.
  • Cover price – $4.99
  • Issues reviewed here:  July and August 2013
  • Pagination – Both editions – 80 pages.
  • Advertising Pagination – Both editions – 27 pages of adverts/advertorials. 33%
  • Annual subscription price: $19.99 for 10 issues

What did I like about it?

  • I really liked that it was aimed at women.  It was really nice to read something aimed so precisely at ME as a woman and a runner – and men can enjoy it equally so no need to jump on my equal opportunities soapbox 🙂
  • Really liked the fashion pages. They highlighted some lovely clothes (not at Vogue prices) and the layout, design and photography is great! Made me want to BUY STUFF!
  • Some great healthy eating articles, a feature on running safety and strength exercises.
  • They have a great website with lots of good stuff on there, including a weekly Blogger on the Run feature if you want new bloggers to follow!
  • I loved that they featured a decent amount of reader-runners. They got a lot of publicity last year with their reader cover-girl competition and I loved the supportive nature of these pieces. Much as we admire the pro runners, few of us will ever be that fast and I personally am more inspired by the women I know (and women like me) who run than by the gazelles!
  • I admit it – I liked some of the girly stuff, the skincare and hairstyle stuff!
  • There was a sense of fun about running in this publication. Running IS fun – Women’s Running celebrated it!
I'd like the neon jacket and her trainers, and the coral jacket too, please!
I’d like the neon jacket and her trainers, and the coral jacket too, please!

What was I not so keen on?

  • It feels very thin in my hands, this publication!
  • Equally,  a lot of the content feels very lightweight. I like something easy to flick through but at times it strayed too far into fluff territory. You’d buy this magazine for fun, not to learn anything!
  • I know the ads pay the bills but it felt VERY advert-heavy for such a thin magazine.
  • There was a long article in the July edition about a woman attacked when running in Hawaii. I know it happens more than we’d like to think (and many magazines feature similar articles so Women’s Running is not alone) but I do find this kind of stuff to be fear-mongering.

Overall thoughts

  • I liked this magazine but I wanted to like it more. I would love more depth to some articles and simply more pages!
  • I think it would be perfect for women who are new to running, excited by it but maybe intimidated by the traditional running press. It’s a great gateway magazine into the running community. If you have girlfriends who are getting into it, it would be a great magazine to buy them. I’ll be passing my copies on to newbie friends.
  • Not sure if I’ll buy it again. Maybe for a long car trip? Which is a shame because it could be great!

Next up: Running Times

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Jen says:

    Nice research! Looking forward to your reviews!

  2. You nailed it with this one. There is way too much fluff in there for such an expensive purchase. But I like that they have a black girl on the cover, and that’s kind of what I hate about Runner’s World. Too vanilla. I can’t remember the last time I saw something other than a skinny white runner on their cover.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Totally agree about the black girl on the cover and in the magazine itself. I feel like this is a great magazine to give to friends who are just getting into running – it’s very accessible for newbies. But once you’re remotely into running, it’s a waste of money!

  3. I just found your blog/this post (this is a great idea!!), and I thought I’d leave a comment anyway in case anyone at Women’s Running is visiting here —

    I think there’s nothing wrong with “fun,” in the abstract but I’m so tired of all women’s magazines eagerly trying to be “light” and “fun.” It’s condescending; there’s a sense that women are childlike, and have to be talked down to by magazines. Where are the magazines for serious women runners? Oh right — they’re men’s magazines. Where are the “fun” men’s magazines? Oh right — they don’t exist, because men are serious about athletics and no magazine would dream of writing light, fluff articles about sports for men to read.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Hi, thank you for your comment, glad you found the blog 😉 Welcome!!!

      I agree with you! The Women’s Running review was the first one in the series and as I’ve read more magazines, I’ve got more and more annoyed with WR for being fluff. I’ve also started questioning the need for women’s running magazines in general. One thing that’s struck me is that in all the other magazines, women and men have been treated with exactly the same respect! I don’t ‘believe in’ women’s races, I don’t think we need women’s magazines. Running is one of those rare sports where women are respected as much as men, on the whole! The only redeeming feature I can see in WR mag is that it’s an entry point for the hordes of women coming into running. Other running magazines can be quite intimidating – I remember how intimidated I was by Runners World, which now seems silly to me. If WR Mag can get women excited about running so they move on to more mature publications, great. I’m handing my copies on today to a friend who is new to running and I know she’ll love it. But on the whole, I totally agree with you!

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