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Why I Gave Up Running

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I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while…

Although it’s completely unrelated to healthy desserts or recipes, I wanted to publish in case it can help someone out there who might feel like I did a few months ago.

If you were to stumble upon my blog without knowing anything else about me, you might get a picture of this crazy-enthusiastic girl who is always happy, completely carefree, and whose life revolves around food and chocolate and dessert 24/7. In reality, “blog Katie” is only a very small portion of who I am outside of the computer world. You might be surprised by how much of my life is entirely unrelated to food and cooking, and I’m definitely not completely carefree.

Because I choose not to talk about my friends, relationships, or personal life on the blog, most people would’ve had no idea I was anything less than my usual upbeat self early this year…

Yet even as I continued with the cheery chocolate posts, I was feeling overwhelmed and exhausted thanks to moving twice, going through a breakup with my boyfriend of over a year, sorting out issues with the cookbook, and worrying extensively about the future.

In the past, I would have leaned on running to get me through: It was in college that I first fell in love with the sport, waking up each day excited to get out in the fresh Pennsylvania air before classes. Running provided an outlet for the pent-up energy I was no longer expending on soccer and tennis (sports I’d played almost from birth all the way through high school), and I could think about everything while I ran: school, friends, guys, the past, the future… or sometimes nothing at all. Running’s meaning in my life would change over the years; when I moved back to Texas it became a comforting source of stability in my crazy and uncertain post-high-school life. Four or five times a week, sun or rain or snow, I’d be out there running, 7 to 10 miles each time. I loved it.

But somehow this past summer, I lost energy and motivation for something that used to bring such joy and excitement. For the first time in eight years, I found myself dreading the idea of going out for a run. I would drag myself through the miles and arrive home feeling completely drained. Running had never been something I wanted to force myself to do, so one day in early July when I was “supposed” to go out, I just didn’t.


That one day turned into a week.

The week turned into a month.

Then two months.

And I was surprised to find I didn’t miss it. I had much more energy throughout the day, felt happier and less stressed, and even my hair—no longer breaking off from much-too-tight ponytails—looked healthier. As people have pointed out in a few of my recent posts, I’ve also gained weight, which I’d been trying to do for awhile (I always wanted curves). Not going to lie, I am pretty excited about this.

(To ease your worries if you want to give up running but do not wish to gain weight: I don’t think quitting running directly caused me to gain weight. My personality is such that I naturally tend to lose weight when I’m stressed and overwhelmed, so the change is a physical manifestation of feeling happier and more relaxed. It’s also easier to eat more when you’re not worrying about running right afterwards. My new routine is to eat a third of a jar of peanut or almond butter mixed with coconut oil and sometimes blackstrap molasses as soon as I wake up. If you thought regular peanut butter was good, just try mixing it with coconut oil. One spoonful and you’ll understand how easy it is to eat most of the jar without coming up for air! But anyway… sorry for the tangent. I do that sometimes.)

Will I ever go back to running?

Maybe someday in the future, but much more recreationally. If running works for you, that’s great. Keep doing it! But if you’re feeling burned out by running—or any exercise—it might be a good idea to take a step back for awhile. You can always pick it up again if the desire strikes. That’s not to say I’m advocating giving up exercise completely: I still walk every morning to get out in the fresh air, and lately I’ve been going with a friend to the gym a few times a week (basically he lifts all the heavy weights and I stand there with my 10-lb dumbbells and exercise my mouth!).

When I first gave up running, I feared losing a part of my identity. But the truth is I now have so much more.


2014 EDIT: Part Two: Going Back To Running Again

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flourless banana pancakes

Flourless Pancakes – 3 Ingredients, NO gluten, soy, eggs, or refined sugar


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Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. Kaitlyn says:

    Wow. I have been going through this exact thing here lately. Down to the breakup. Did me wonders to read this – I think fitness in life is definitely something that is cyclical and once you know HOW to do it, it’s always something you can get back into! …now if I could just get my nutrition in check on the days I don’t work out – in my mind they seem to be mutually exclusive! (Day off = “cheat day”!)

    Thanks for the post – good to know I’m not the only one struggling with burnout. You look happy and beautiful!

  2. Alli says:

    Hey Katie!
    I’m a crazy runner myself, but I’ve always believed in listening to my body above all else, whether this involved food, exercise, anything. The best thing to do for yourself is what you need. So good for you! And keep up the amazing blog!

  3. Becca says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! I love to hear about the blogger behind the recipes. 🙂 We (your readers) support you and encourage you to do what makes you happy and healthy!

  4. Annabelle says:

    CCK, vegans/vegetarians can harm their bodies by running too much, losing iron is common with runners and if don’t have a diet rich in iron ur body just can’t keep up;) I would love to talk u into eating meat but that’s prob not going to happen….so I’ll just say “u look terrific” and healthy!

    1. Thanks! I am actually good on iron… got my levels tested last year and everything was normal. Must be all the blackstrap molasses ;). You’re definitely right that it’s something women (and especially vegetarians) need to pay attention to!

      1. Rebekah says:

        I’d also add that iron is not best sourced in meat. Plants are awesome for it.
        Having been vegan for a year now, I have more energy and am actually enjoying a short run now and then. It’s a big deal for me.
        But my dear (I love reading your blog so I’m saying “dear”), I know you want to gain weight, but that’s a lot of peanut butter, and I definitely don’t recommend oil. I know you’ve been doing this longer than I, and that you use oil frequently. Anyhow, I’d just recommend eating more plants.

        1. Steph says:

          No offense but fat is NOT bad for you. PUFA’s are a different story but vegans can’t do much about that.

          1. Jenny says:

            I agree with Steph. I think what Katie’s doing is absolutely fine. Makes me wonder if that’s why both her skin and hair look even more incredible than usual in the photo she posted.

            Iron from plants (non-heme) actually isn’t as bioavailable as iron from animal sources (heme), but eat enough non-heme iron and you will almost certainly manage to absorb enough to keep yourself healthy. Katie’s right – she’s probably fine thanks to the molasses (and because she consumes a balanced vegan diet).

            Katie, I haven’t commented in a long time, but am writing now to say: great post. And you look radiant. Glad that you are feeling happy and healthy. : )

        2. Chelsea says:

          Fats and oils are certainly NOT bad for you. In fact, they help with healthy skin, hair, and even brain function. They are a necessary part of the diet. The only ones that are rather bad are trans fats. But coconut oil and the oil in peanut butter are both perfectly fine.

          Katie, I’m really glad you’re making decisions on what your needs are and not on something that you once found your identity in! It can be tough, but it’s best to do what’s good for you! I really liked this post a lot!

      2. kari says:

        Make sure to insist on feritin levels being tested also. Feritin is the iron stores in the body. Your hemaglobin can actually be in the normal range (iron levl that ideally hovers around 12), with a feritin level that is severely depleted. Most people don’t know this until they live it (talking about myself). My hemoglobin tested at 11, and 2 weeks later i was admitted to the hosital with feritin <2 (usually between 60-120) and my hemoglobinhad dropped to 5!!! I didn't have any internal bleeding, but had just completely exausted my feritin supply, so my hemoglobin had nothing left to draw from. I ended up being diagnosed with anemia of unknown causes, and recieved 7 blood transfusions!!! I was hospitalized for 5 days. I drove mysf to the hospital, and when they got my levels back they slapped a "fall risk" bracelet on my arm and told me I couldn't walk on my own because it was too dangerous. They asked me how I was still standing. I told them That except for being a little tired (and who wouldn't be with a job, husband, and 4 kids?), I felt fine. I realize this story sounds a little dramatic and over-the-top, but I swear it really was this night and day. Now in all my follow-up appointments I always ask my doctors why feritin isn't an automatic test. Easy answer: because it costs more than a hemoglobin test. But you can request it. If you find yourself in a situation again where you are concerned about your iton level, I would suggest requesting a feritin test also. Thanks so much for your blog. I find lots of sweet treats for my family!

        1. Heidi says:

          Thank you so much for bringing this info! I worry about my levels as I always have negative side effects when I donate blood. I do eat meat, but I don’t eat red meat. My iron levels tested fine, but now I’m curious about this. Thanks again!

  5. I can completely relate to this post! I gave up running for about a year after I had an injury. I didn’t miss it. I have since started running again but I believe I could stop altogether and I wouldn’t miss is this time either. My mom runs and we do the Women’s Half Marathon every year. So every September, I begin that dreaded training ritual. I have found other exercise routines I prefer so I can still keep my girly figure and eat all the desserts you post 🙂 Thank you for your honesty and you look amazing!

  6. Bree says:

    Thank you for writing this. I went through the same deal with running, last year when I discovered running and did it 3x a week, then almost everyday, then I got injured, went back at it when I healed, and got burnt out after my last 5k race. I tried doing it again this year, got injured again, tried one more time and I finally came to realize that running is not okay with my body, at least right now. It doesn’t bring me as much joy anymore, it felt more like a chore, so I agreed that it’d probably be better finding a different way to get my exercise and be happy. As you did, I gained weight but that was because I stopped running and was stress eating at the same time. So I feel you, girl! I really appreciate this post and I’m happy that you are happier now. <3

  7. becauseHeloves! says:

    Good for you! I used to love running, but every time I did it, I would think, “why do I do this to myself?”
    So I stopped too. Now I go through a bipolar relationship with swimming. Sometimes I love it (most of the time), and sometimes, when I’m exhausted, I don’t like it. But anyways, be happy! I’m single too, and a lot of my friends aren’t. Sometimes it’s like, gah! When is it myyyy turn? But I guess I’ll just wait. If I’m single forever, then that’s the best for me. God has a plan.
    And being single also means I get to keep the whole jar of peanut butter and pan of brownies to MYSELF! 😀

    1. teetop says:


  8. Jaime says:

    Good for you Katie! It takes a strong-centered person to learn to listen to their body and know when it is time to just “lay low”.

  9. E says:

    Well, I think I speak for all of us here when I say that I’m glad you’re feeling better!

  10. I’m so happy to hear that, I’m glad you listened to your body! I stopped running a few years ago for the same reason and am also much happier.
    Also, you look great and how is your hair so gorgeous? Jealous.

    1. Thank you so much!
      In the photo I used something called a MiraCurl curling iron… it’s amazing, but it probably fries your hair so I try not to use it very often.

  11. Meesh says:

    Thanks for writing this post, Katie. I know you’re sometimes hesitant to share personal information on the blog (which is totally understandable!), but I think it’s almost comforting to read more personal posts occasionally and be reminded that you’re a human being too. Also, I think a lot of your regular readers actually have detected a change in your posts where you seemed more distant, so I’m glad to hear that you’re doing okay because I was actually kind of worried :-/

  12. Denise Batalha says:

    Over-training without breaks can do that. Over-training AND over-dieting will definitely do that (if others are feeling this way, make certain you are taking in enough calories to lose/maintain/gain… this is a process you have to learn… there are calculators, but some aren’t very accurate). I’m a former physique competitor… well, former for now, until I figure out what’s wrong with my body (according to my homepathics specialist, my body isn’t metabolizing one of the amino acids it makes properly, so it’s causing all sorts of issues, even emotional ones, but it seems we may have found a treatment that works), so I have some experience with this.

    If working out is making things worse, definitely look into taking a breather from it. Keep calories the same in the meantime, and assess from there. Could also be added stress… meaning, putting more stress on the body. Dieting, exercising, emotional issues can all cause stress. Just some food for thought.

    Sweaty Betties is a great place to learn more about these issues. To learn more about macronutrients, etc, I love For the record, I’m not affiliated with either and am definitely not being paid by either… don’t I freakin wish.

    Thanks for the post, Katie. I know I have gone through something similar myself. Things I used to enjoy I found myself dreading. Taking a break after awhile, helped me find I missed at least one of the activities. I love to hike and I barely did that this year, so I miss it. Muay thai I LOVE and hated it for awhile… I’m back to going now, but if I feel like not going, I’ll do something else, like walk. No biggie. Unfortunately, I wasn’t blessed with being naturally thin, so I have to continue to workout, regardless, but I do give my body breaks. Just listen to your body, girls. 🙂

  13. Tamu says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! It’s always nice to hear that someone can come up with such great healthy recipes, and still be human. 😀 I’m sorry that you had been having a rough time, but so happy to hear that you’ve found some comfort in your new routine.

  14. Amy in Toronto says:

    I really appreciate how candid you are and I thoroughly understand why you would keep certain things private. I also love what you share, both recipe-wise and personally.

    I was never a runner. I only got into it after I started college and my roommate in the dorm was a cross-country runner and asked me to go jogging with her. I was amazed that I could actually do it, and she’s the reason I started including running to my physical activity repertoire. That said, I am not a runner. I am not at all fast and I do not do long distances. 10k is about as much as I like to do. And, I just like to do it sometimes, especially when the weather is particularly crisp and sunny and perfect for a run, or if my playlist is new. 🙂

    I do compete in triathlons, however, with the swim being my favourite event. In the last year though, I’ve experienced the worst bout of plantar fasciitis I’ve ever had, and despite months of physiotherapy, getting “shockwave” treatments, and stretching my crazy-tight calves on a daily basis, I still have daily chronic pain in my right foot that keeps me from running.

    I miss it, but I realize that I need to evolve as my body ages and changes, and it’s consoling to hear that others go through similar shifts in activity and mood and life circumstances (makes me feel like I’m not the only one…).

    Thank you for inviting us in!

  15. LoveBeingMommy says:

    Thank you for this post. I have always been about intense workouts (lifting weights and plyometric type stuff) the way you were about running. This has caused me serious fertility issues. The fertility specialist diagnosed me with hypothalamic amenhorrea. My husband and I conceived our first child with the help of fertility treatments, but now that we are looking forward to conceiving a second one, I am no more fertile than I was and I wish to conceive naturally. I am actually probably less fertile because I am leaner than I have ever been. Actually where I was just ultra lean in the past, now I am more along the lines of skinny. I am eating a lot to try to gain, but I am struggling with the cutting back on exercising (which apparently is necessary to recover from HA). I fear losing my identity as you said you did. Working out is such a huge part of me, what will people think if I don’t work out at my max heart rate this week? What will I become if I just walk and do yoga or if I just read a book tomorrow morning instead? That seems so silly reading it back, but it is truly a fear. Since I have been more personal in this comment than maybe I should have been, I will stop here. The main point I need to make is that I am seeking encouragement right now so this post is very timely. Thanks!

    1. Catta says:

      Thank your for posting this! I have similar problems, and I understand your thoughts. Thank you again for posting it. I wish you all the best and hope that you will welcome another child to your family soon! 🙂
      To Katie: THANK YOU for your personal post! Your hair is beautiful. Hugs! 🙂

  16. Great post…As a runner, I do understand. A few months ago I lost the race itch, not the running itch but the itch to register, prepare, drive to and run actually races. I couldn’t understand why but since I had the lack of desire to participate, I pulled out of a bunch that I had scheduled. My desire to run was still there but as I said on my own blog, when something you love becomes a chore, it is time to re-evaluate. You may wake up and want to run tomorrow or you may not – just do what comes natural.

  17. I completely understand where you’re coming from. I ran competitively from middle school through my sophomore year of college, but the summer between my sophomore and junior year, I started hating it. I literally wanted to cry every time I laced up my shoes.

    For me, it took about 4 months of no running at all and a good year of running just for fun (no races, only going out when and for how long I felt like) to really remember why I loved running again. But I also think it’s fine to give it up for good. Running should never be a source of stress. There are too many of those in everyday life to begin with 🙂 Good for you for being honest with your body and your heart!

    Looking forward to checking out more of your blog posts in the future 🙂

  18. Anonymus says:

    I am so happy that you made this big decision…. life is short and being happy is extremely important. Sorry you had a rough year….here’s to the best yet!
    ps: your sugar cookie oatmeal is to die for… I can hardly wait to buy your cookbook!

  19. Melissa says:

    Such a beautiful post and I think it was so brave, courageous and honest of you to share something private and telling. Thank you for this!

  20. Cassie says:

    I’m happy to read that you are listening to your body and doing what’s right for you. And I love that you include that we all just have to find our own way in exercise and in life. No one else can tell us the way that will make us happy.

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