Jog On: How running saved my life by Bella Mackie – Book Review


I received an e-Arc of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for a fair review. Basically, I requested this book purely on the basis of the cover and its description, since I had recently started running too and it always helps to get some inspiration along the way 😊🏃‍♀️

Little did I know that this book will turn out to be so much more. The author actually bares her heart and soul with us readers and talks about her crippling experiences with mental illness. She talks about anxiety, panic disorders and depression and also packs in a lot of information, references and real world examples of people – famous and not so famous, who have struggled with mental illness and have used various forms of exercising to keep the panic attacks, depression and anxiety at bay.

I had picked up this book thinking that it would be purely about running, but it turned out to have very interesting and helpful facts about mental illness as well- one that I’m not a stranger to, considering my own experiences with anxiety, panic attacks and depression. Especially when I recently signed up for Justonemorepa(I)ge’s 2019 reading challenge, where the topic for January was to read something for Mental Wellness Month. You can check out her challenge here.

My favorite time to read this book – with my morning coffee and breakfast 🙂

So here is a list of what worked for me in the book and what didn’t work so much 😊

What I enjoyed in this book

  • I’d really like to be friends with this author. Her writing is so personal and funny that it feels as if you’re listening to a friend from the other side of a telephone conversation, instead of reading about a stranger’s challenges with mental illness and her love of running
  • The book is supported with a lot of references and studies carried out in UK for mental illness and how exercising is beneficial for us (no surprise there)
  • Its a short read
  • There are lots of good tips towards the end of the book on how to pick up running and stick to it, if you’re an amateur or just starting out
  • The author includes a lot of her thoughts and feelings – the goods and the bads of running
  • This is not a self help book – it’s more like reading a diary. There are also snippets of the author’s diary entries on running at the beginning of each chapter
  • It’s cute how the author has named each chapter with a running km – 1k, 2k…10k

What didn’t work so much for me

  • I was slightly confused when I started reading the book, but that’s my fault since I hadn’t read what the book was really about before starting to read it. But basically, the first 40% of the book purely focuses on mental illness and the author’s struggles with it. I wasn’t prepared for it mentally, since it has a few triggers for me too.. but once I was able to get through that 40% and get my mind under control.. I started enjoying the book and nodding along with everything the author said
  • The fact that the references and book is purely UK based. I was lucky that I lived in UK just recently, so I could understand all the references and what NHS means- but for someone who hasn’t visited UK, some of the references may not click immediately

Overall, an interesting and motivating read- perfect to begin the month and tick off one book from one of the reading challenges for me this year 😊

Something I’d like to discuss with you guys

Have you struggled with mental illness or know anyone in your family who struggles with it?

Do you try to face your fears and anxieties or live with them?

Is there a movie or a book that really helped you, when you were are your lowest?

People with anxiety or panic disorders can think of a million strange things to start hyperventilating about. Just like the author talks about in her book.

For example, I have an irrational fear that if I go and run on the streets in India, I will be chased and bit by all the street dogs. And this has restrained me from enjoying long runs in the morning to explore the city or any other place so far. I stick to taking random circular jogs within my society area since I hate running on treadmills. But after reading this book, I mustered up some courage and stepped out of my comfort zone for the first time last weekend. I ventured out. I mostly stopped and started walking at the sight of any street dog, but once or twice, I saw another experienced runner pass me by and pass a dog by – and saw that the dog didn’t bite him/her (naturally). And so, I braved on with a hammering heart. And felt awesome once I achieved it! It has been two days since then and now I’m back to running in my society again. I’m trying to build up the courage to venture out again, and I hope I don’t start thinking like the bitmoji-me below again! haha

9 thoughts on “Jog On: How running saved my life by Bella Mackie – Book Review

  1. First, thank you so much for participating – I’m so excited that you are! And I’m also very glad that it seems as if this first book was an overall positive experience, even if it started harder. Reading about mental health is always difficult, I think, because it is so personal and so intense. I’m glad you were able to push through to finish this one. Also, it’s great to see that it helped you step out a little! Fingers crossed you can continue that, at a pace that you’re comfortable with, of course. Can’t wait to see what you pick for February!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have not heard of this book! Thank you for writing about it. I used running to help with my depression. I usually have all the new running books on my radar and had missed this one so thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In glad to be of help😊 she does mention about a lot of other running books that she has taken inspiration from. One that I’ve read and loved is Murakami’s thoughts on what I talk about when I talk about running 😊 I came across her book as a suggestion on Netgalley. Let me know what you think of it if you read it later.
      I’d love to get some recommendations on books on running from you too😊

      Liked by 1 person

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