Training: Real Talk, Anxiety, and Taking a Step Back

It’s important to be honest, so here we are.

Recently, I have found myself once again burning the candle at far too many ends. So I’m taking a few days off from running.  I started my self-imposed break on Saturday and will continue until I feel like running again.  My guess is around next weekend, but I’m not putting any pressure on myself.

Since my Half Marathon PR in February, I haven’t had a lot of quality training weeks. I’ve run and have had several good weeks, but I haven’t had the consistency that led to my PR.  You can’t always be in PR shape and can’t train hard all of the time.  I should have taken a more extended break a few weeks ago, but I took a few days off and still think I jumped too quickly back.

But running isn’t even the most important thing I’m suffering through.

Over the last few weeks, my anxiety has been at an all-time high since college. In my own personal life, I have a lot going on.  Unfortunately, it’s not something I can talk about in the blogging world, and I am talking with my therapist about events going on.  No, it’s nothing life-threatening, and I’m not injured in any way (knock on wood).

Yes, running is great, but for me, it’s not therapy and not interchangeable and of course blogging on the internet does not take the place of talking to a professional.
Monday: Easy 5
Tuesday: Easy 45 minutes
Wednesday: 5k Speed Workout (20:01)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Rest

Why do I talk Openly about Anxiety and Depression?

I’m not ashamed of it.  With the recent news of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, it’s important to know you aren’t alone.

It’s easy for anyone to say “I’m here for you, if you ever need to chat” but believe me if you aren’t in your normal frame of mind, you won’t ask for help.  In my darkest moments through college, I didn’t ask a single soul for help.  Many people, including best friends and family, said they were there, but I had no interest to ask for help.  Most people who have dealt with any mental health disease don’t.

For me, I need to talk to a professional.  Having anxiety or depression isn’t embarrassing.  Like any crippling disease, it’s essential to take actions to deal with it, so it doesn’t continue to hinder or affect your quality of life.  Right now, my anxiety is far higher on the scale than depression.  I’m not in that mindset but I also know I have several issues to work through.

I’m not fine, but I’m taking steps so I will be.  I have family, friends, and professionals that are helping me dig into the hole I fell down.

I do plan to be active the next week.  Right now is a good time for me to take a break from running.  It makes sense from a mental health standpoint as well as a fitness standpoint.  I’ve been running healthy for almost a year now with no real hiccups.  Like last June, I’ll be busy with various things that June is a good month for me to take off.  I can squeeze running here and there, but I would prefer to have downtime and focusing on more important things.

Posts from the Week:

Newport 10 Miler Recap (1:03.57)

Hair and Nail Benefits of Collagen

Hiking Bear Mountain in a Downpour

Questions for you:

Do you ever take running breaks?

Are you getting ready for any races soon?

Categories: Tags: , , , ,


  1. You are doing the right thing.

    I too am conflicted with all the posts saying “I’m here for you, if you ever need to chat”, especially after the suicides. People need a support system, whether you’re just having a bad day or going through a major depressive episode- everyone needs a support system. But if someone is contemplating hurting themselves or committing suicide- they need professional help (if someone did come to me to “chat” in that situation, the first thing I’d do would be find them a way to get help and offer to drive them to the appointment and go out to coffee after).

    Another thing I hate seeing is “running is my therapy”. Running can help with tough times but it is no substitute. Often if someone is going through depression or anxiety they may not have the energy to get out of bed, let alone get dressed and run (even if they are an avid runner). I have been to therapy before and often thought, well, lucky for those who don’t have to do this who just get the relief from running. To me that phrase almost mocks runners who get help. I hate it.

    You’re a strong person Hollie and you can get through everything you are dealing with; you have gotten through so much before, and you are very brave to blog about it as well. That kind of openness is what people need to see to know they’re not alone, and possibly have the courage to reach out, rather than those phrases in Facebook posts.

    1. I do agree with you Amy. I strongly don’t believe that “running is therapy” and I don’t particularly like the phrase at all as I think it belittles the need for therapy if that makes sense. I always appreciate your support Amy.

  2. I respect you all the more now Hollie. I have struggled with anxiety, depression and OCD since my early 20’s. I took up running 4 years ago and for me it works as a great stress buster along with the correct medication and the support of my family. I started blogging a year ago to share my story. Honesty and talking about these issues is essential in order to spread the message that looking after your mental health is paramount. Great post and keep safe – Stephen

    1. Thank you for your support Stephan. Like you I believe talking openly about it is key for yourself and others.

  3. Thank you for sharing, Hollie. I have so much respect for you and always appreciate how honest and open you are. I’m so glad you are taking action and I agree that while running can be a great stress reliever, it doesn’t take the place of therapy. I also think sometimes running can make things worse if you’re not enjoying it at that time. I’ve also respected that you recognize when you need a break and take one! I’m so glad you have such a great support system in your friends and family as well!

  4. I echo what other commenters have said…thank you for sharing this. I have dealt with anxiety ever since I was younger, and while running and exercise in general is great and helps….it IS another stressor on our mind sometimes more than our bodies. I have definitely learned to take steps back and try to take each day as they come. Please keep spreading the word about this…and have a great week! 🙂

  5. One thing I love about running is that it’s there for you when you’re ready. You don’t have to wait for a certain season, you don’t have to have a team, you can take breaks when you need/want and come back as soon as you’re ready.

  6. I actually just started going through the same thing only on the opposite end. Everytime I’ve raced it’s just hasn’t worked out. My training hasn’t been where I’d like it but to that end it just has gotten to a point where running feels like a chore. Some workouts I’ll run well and for whatever reason it just isn’t translating into races.

    It’s almost gotten to the point where I’ve legitimately felt like I should just walk away.

    1. I hope you are able to get a good race under your belt Jeff. Although taking a short break and slowly progressing back probably wouldn’t be a bad option either.

  7. Thanks so much for your honesty, Hollie. I’m sorry you are struggling. I really enjoy your blog. I am a slow-ish runner who doesn’t race a lot, and one of the reasons I love your blog is that you are very low-key about your races and runs. Sometimes I feel terribly let down after I don’t hit a goal, but your blog reminds me it’s just one run/race/day.

    1. Thank you Kathleen and that truly means a lot. I think we’ve all been there about not hitting a goal or time but there are always more races. Are you training for anything now?

  8. So glad you are writing about this because I find that when I’m especially anxious, just writing about it helps me purge my mind a little bit, just like running. Obviously there’s no substitute to therapy when you’re going though a bad spell so good for you for knowing what you need, when you need it and sharing with all of us! The more we talk about things like anxiety, depression and therapy, the better off everyone will be since, like you said, you’re not going to reach out unless maybe you know someone going though the same thing who will truly understand. Great post and keep writing about it and talking about it…and running though it…or not. xoxo

  9. Great advice Hollie. Too many people struggle thinking they are alone with their problems. Talking to a friend or counselor is a great step to healing. I am coming off a two-month running hiatus due to a persistent right knee problem. I finally decided in April that I just needed to stop for a while. Ran again for the first time yesterday, but limited it to a little over 3 miles at a slow pace. I signed up for my first sprint tri in two years just to give me a little push.

  10. Thank you for sharing <3 I'm at a similar place in needing to step back from my running for a bit to focus on my mental health. It's quite the vicious cycle when you know one of the things that's helpful for you just isn't at the moment.

  11. We all appreciate your honesty and keeping it real, Hollie. It’s great that you are seeing a therapist and getting the help that you need, and I’m sorry you are going through a rough patch. Thinking of you.

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