After doing my first No More Trouble Zones workout last night, I woke up today feeling sore on every inch of  my body.  Mostly, I felt it in my triceps, biceps, abs, and back of my thighs.


Many people commented that they found it “scary” that I thought NMTZ was so hard.  I know I do a lot of cardio, but my strength training is non-existent.  I could probably hop on a bike right now and bang out 60 miles, but ask me to do 40 minutes with Jillian Michaels, and I’m practically in tears.  I’m a strength training newbie! :)  Would you believe me if I said I was more sore today than I was the day following my 100-mile bike race?


However, the show must go on!  I had an important goal this morning: complete a 3.0-mile “countdown” run, which is when I progressively get faster.  Since I’m creating my own training plan for the Speedy 5K/NMTZ Challenge, I needed to figure out if I’ll be able to do speedwork the day after NMTZ.


It was sure hot outside!


I worked really hard during the 3.0 miles, pushing myself to go faster and faster despite my sore legs.  My arms hurt just holding up my water bottle!




  • Distance: 3.0 miles
  • Duration: 27:44
  • Mile 1: 9:44
  • Mile 2: 9:20
  • Mile 3: 8:42


I wanted to collapse in the grass at the end!


Verdict?  Doing back-to-back NMTZ and speedwork will NOT work, especially during the first few weeks of the program.


When creating my own training plan, here’s what I always consider:


  • “Official” training plans. I love Hal Hidgon the most.
  • My past experiences.  When I created my marathon training plan, many people said I “couldn’t” run a marathon only running four days a week.  I knew that running five days would be too much and that it would be fine based on my own athletic history.
  • My schedule.  My number one mantra is DON’T SET YOURSELF UP TO FAIL.  If you’re super busy at work, don’t create a schedule that has you doing 2-hour workouts during the week.
  • My susceptibility to injury.  As it’s fairly well-documented on the blog, I am the self-proclaimed “Queen of Injuries,” and I rule over a little kingdom called “Shitty Knees.”  I strive to eliminate “junk miles” from my training plans and be smart about when I do speedwork.
  • What I’ll find FUN.  Training plans should be enjoyable!  I try to schedule in other races or activities to mix it up.
  • When I’ll need a “stepback week.”  I build it one stepback week per month where my mileage and activity levels drop down.  This gives my body – and mind – a break from constantly increasing activity.


I’m thinking I’m going to do 3 days of NMTZ a week, as well as 3 days of running.  However, I won’t be able to 6 days of workouts because, as mentioned above, doing back-to-back days of NMTZ and runs will set me up for injury, exhaustion, and burnout.  So, I’m considering a plan that will have me pull two 2-days with speedwork and then NMTZ, one day of NMTZ, and one day of running.  I’ll probably cross train on the fifth day, and use the other two days as active rest.


Stay tuned for the official plan on MONDAY!


Before my run, I had 1/2 a banana and a coffee:


And afterwards, I filled up on some vegetarian protein in the form of organic Greek yogurt from Stonyfield Farm:


I had: 1/2 a cup of Greek yogurt, 1/2 a cup of raw oatmeal, 1 tablespoon flax, cinnamon, 1 banana, and blueberries.




Guess who I’m picking up from the airport in a few hours?


My Ma!

(Hey, who’s that cute baby?!)




What do you consider when developing a training plan?



  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs June 18, 2010, 10:21 am

    It sounds like you’re doing the right thing with your programme. When I was deciding what marathon programme to do, I knew from experience that pumping out 7miles a day 6 days a week would NOT work – I’ve settled on an ‘easy’ one which is 4 days of running and 1 of cross training, with easier mid-week mileage. I’d rather enjoy it, and be safe not sorry!!
    Random question – when you have your oatmeal like that, do you ever mix it up, or like, eat all of one thing 1st? I know people that do that 🙂

    • Caitlin June 18, 2010, 10:27 am

      yes i mix it up 🙂 it’s just like that for pretty pics!

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin June 18, 2010, 10:22 am

    LOVE this post! First, you were so cute as a baby!! Your face looks exactly the same.. adorable!

    Also, I love your take on training plans. I think using an official training plan as a base and then looking at your schedule and knowing yourself ultimately lead to the best training plan for yourself. I also consider special events I have coming up or weekends where I’ll be away and make sure I build my training around them. I’m putting together a training plan for a half marathon now, but I have a bunch of events coming up in August (a wedding at the Healthy Living Summit!) so I’m going to factor those in when I design the plan.

  • Morgan @ Healthy Happy Place June 18, 2010, 10:28 am

    omg, i don’t think it’s “scary” AT ALL that you think NMTZ is so hard! I think anyone would think it was hard even if they already strength train. I almost died the first time I did it…and i’m a certified personal trainer!!!

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday June 18, 2010, 10:29 am

    It will definitely work! You just need to get used to the new strength training routine. I also find that when my legs are sore after my leg weightlifting days they actually feel BETTER after a run (can’t say the same for upper body though).

    It’s great to see you doing strength training because I don’t think enough women really do it.

  • Elise June 18, 2010, 10:29 am

    I like your training mantras and way you look at it. Can I pick your brain a bit?

    Do you have any tips for training for my first marathon? I have had two knee surgeries for a torn ACL on my right knee, and I’m worried that running more than 3x a week while training (at least at the start of the plan) will wear my knee out. If I do two shorter runs, one long run a week + cross training and weight training do you think I’ll be prepared to run a marathon? I start training on the 28th of the month, so I thought I’d ask because you seem like quite the pro in regards to injury prevention/training.

    • Caitlin June 18, 2010, 10:37 am

      Heheh yes you can pick my brain, but first I have a question for you. Have you been running longer distances with no knee problems? Like a half marathon? I would be concerned about paying a registration for marathon if I was starting from 10K or less with your knee history.

      That being said, that doesn’t mean you can start to train and see what happens. Yes I think your plan sounds great. Here’s my marathon training plan: Hope that helps!

      • Elise June 18, 2010, 10:49 am

        I ran a half marathon in 2007, so I know I can do longer distances 🙂 Thank for the link to the plan…I will check it out and maybe combine ideas!

        P.S. Love your blog and Operation Beautiful!

  • ShutupandRun June 18, 2010, 10:30 am

    I used the “Run Less, Run Faster” plan when training for my last marathon. I did this b/c I had a stress fracture from overtraining and needed to be smarter. I ran only 3 days per week, but incorporated tons of cross training and yoga. Each run had a purpose: tempo, speed or long run. I ran my marathon in 3:42, which was 21 minutes faster than my first marathon only 15 months prior. So the answer is: of course you can train for a marathon and only run four days per week. You have to do what’s best for your body. For some people, that’s running everyday. For others, it looks completely different. Good luck!!!

  • Alyson @ Nourished Fitness June 18, 2010, 10:30 am

    Man I’d love to borrow some of your cardio love & capability! I’m exactly the other way, I love weights and put on muscle pretty well, but my cardio is pathetic! It’ll be so cool to see the amazing changes adding lifting to your routine will make 🙂

  • Amy B @ Second City Randomness June 18, 2010, 10:30 am

    I was always wondering if I was ok with considering The Shred as strength training? I figured for me it was, because I too am not much for it! Definitely a cardio girl…

    • Caitlin June 18, 2010, 10:38 am

      dude, i count it as ST. even if the weights you’re using are light, you use so much of your body weight for resistance…. i vote yes.

  • Marilou @ Mostly Healthy June 18, 2010, 10:31 am

    Yay for a week-end with our moms! 🙂 Always feels good doesn’t it, to know that she’s around?

    You were one cute witch hehehe!

    I’m looking forward to following you on your new challenge!

  • Carolyn @ lovinlosing June 18, 2010, 10:33 am

    Bobbi over at nhershoes posted yesterday about a book that tells how to do races (from a 5K to a marathon) on 3 days a week.

    I feel your muscle pain, that’s how I feel after Body Pump because I’ve slacked a lot on strength training recently. It makes putting together a workout schedule hard, especially when training for a triathlon and trying to get in all those different activities. I basically just have to make up my training schedule week to week based on gym class schedule, my schedule and sometimes even the weather report!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman June 18, 2010, 10:36 am

    Ha ha…love the photo of you and your mom totally from the ’80s/early ’90s. Looks like my childhood photos.

  • Andrea ( June 18, 2010, 10:36 am

    I know I should probably be posting something constructive or insightful about strength training/training plans but I just want to say you look so beautiful in that last wedding pic. So beautiful. Your mom is radiant.

    • Caitlin June 18, 2010, 10:38 am

      thank you!!!

  • Therese June 18, 2010, 10:38 am

    I start half marathon training on Monday and when making the training program I took the following into consideration:

    – My current mileage.
    – My current weight.
    – SCHOOL! I worked in active rest weeks during exam time so I don’t explode.
    – Time I have during the week in which to train.
    – Other races (just one).
    – Family events.

    And all of it is subject to change under unforseen circumstances.

  • Ali June 18, 2010, 10:39 am

    Do you think NMTZ is good for someone who strength trains regularly? I try to do some weight routines a few times a week but am always looking for something knew to try. Good luck with the training plan!!

    • Caitlin June 18, 2010, 10:41 am

      based on what i hear from other people, yes! it’s definitely a great workout for all levels.

  • shelby @ eatdrinkrun June 18, 2010, 10:43 am

    I have run 9 marathons, and yet? The most sore I have ever been in my life was from this 45-minute bootcamp class at my old gym. Holy mother of soreness. Marathons did not even compare.

    Good luck with your new training plan! And have fun with your ma! 🙂

  • Hannah June 18, 2010, 10:47 am

    I did NMTZ all the time this winter and it got much easier after a while. I love the way Jillian’s eyes burn with madness when she says things like, “if you’re not burning fat, what’s the point?” The tricep part is particularly painful.

    • Caitlin June 18, 2010, 10:49 am

      hahahah when she said that, i thought “the point? how about resting, laying, relaxing, reading, sleeping, sexy time, eating….”

      • Hannah June 18, 2010, 10:55 am

        Jillian is definitely the kind of person who does side planks during sexy time.

  • Kellie June 18, 2010, 10:48 am

    I think I need to incorporate a “step-down” week into my months too. Sometimes my body gets so tired that I have poor workouts. It would be better to have great workouts and less of them, than back to backs that are just OK.

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers June 18, 2010, 10:58 am

    I usually start with Hal Higdon- I’m super injury prone too, & I like the built in crosstraining days. Then I adapt it to my schedule. Then I just go with the flow 😉

    Strength training is HARD when you’re not use to it- there’s a lot of muscles besides the running & biking ones!!

  • Marci June 18, 2010, 11:04 am

    I really like Hal Higdon too. I used his 10K training program for my first 10K, then adapted it for my second 10K. I signed up for my first half marathon in December, and printed his Novice Half program. I get shin splints and IT Band/Hip pain easily, so I am planning on doing two good runs/week to train–Tuesdays and Saturdays. Then I do strength training on Mondays and Wednesdays, cross train cardio on Thursdays and Sundays, and rest on Fridays.
    I am concerned that 2 days of running is not enough, but I agree about junk miles, and I also know my body that if I push too hard, I will surely hurt myself.
    And way to go with adding strength training. I really think it makes a difference in cardio too.

  • Madeline - Greens and Jeans June 18, 2010, 11:04 am

    I really like NMTZ. Now that I’m in marathon training mode, I do parts of it along with the elliptical and swimming on my cross training days! When I’m creating a training plan I usually end up pulling up a couple of different plans and mashing them together to make it work for me. Like you, I am very injury prone and no one knows what works for my body better than I do!

  • Camille June 18, 2010, 11:11 am

    With you as my inspiration, I am trying NMTZ this month! I can’t wait!

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow June 18, 2010, 11:17 am

    I will never forget when I started Insanity (the program I am doing right now) and I felt like I was going to die the next day. I could barely move I was so sore! And I had just completed a 90 day strength training program and felt stronger than ever!

    Your muscles build in strength in the way that you train them. You are an endurance queen right now! You could bike for days and likely feel decent. Throw in a bunch of squats and biceps curls and you might not be able to extend your arm straight the following day. 🙂 That’s the cool part about changing things up- you get to refocus and retrain your body. Enjoy the process!

    When I think about my training plan my first consideration is my motivation and excitement- what would spark me to complete the program? That’s my starting place and then it just builds from there. Cause if I’m not having fun- what’s the point!

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) June 18, 2010, 11:22 am

    Aww…I love the pictures! Moms are so great. 😀

  • Chrissy (The New Me) June 18, 2010, 11:25 am

    I think I like create training plans more than actually completing the events! Calendars and schedules are really exciting to me. 🙂 When I make a training plan, I look to see what other people have done and read up on the event, especially if it’s my first one. Then I definitely take my personal life into account and schedule accordingly. I use Google Calendar and I put everything on it, so I can see what days will be long, when I have social events and travel, and when I can fit in my workouts. I also don’t beat myself up about switching days around when I need to. Being flexible yet consistent has been the greatest lesson to me – it lets me reach my goals while still enjoying the training process.

  • Morgan June 18, 2010, 11:28 am

    I know you love Hal Hidgon, but Google KEY workouts for marathon training. Even though you aren’t training for one, I think the plan could easily be translated into ______K race trainings. The basic idea is that you get 3 quality runs in a week and the other days cross-train. It’s a great plan!

  • Jessica @ Jessica Balances June 18, 2010, 11:32 am

    I don’t think it’s scary that you found NMTZ to be so difficult; I recently ran a half marathon, and I think it’s freakin’ hard! Strength training is so different from cardio and if you aren’t used to doing any weight lifting, heck yeah Jillian will kick your butt! Totally understandable. 🙂 You’re a rock star for pushing through your run today!

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine June 18, 2010, 11:33 am

    Since I’d like to consider myself a princess in the kingdom of shitty knees, when I look for a training plan it can’t be too high mileage. I actually ordered the NMTZ video this morning- it was only 9 bucks on Amazon, and like you, I’m in serious need of some strength training!

  • Jenny June 18, 2010, 11:33 am

    Great post! This is something I struggle with- accept it’s just coming up with your normal, every day exercise plan. You have some great tips and I’m going to check out the Hal Hidgon site right now!

    Take care,

  • Sami June 18, 2010, 11:34 am

    AWHHHHHHHH. You and your Mom are beautiful! 🙂 Even as a kid you were a cutie pie! Haha.

    Quick question- What does flax taste like/feel like? I’m debating ordering some, but I’m not sure if I’ll like it…

    • Caitlin June 18, 2010, 11:46 am

      like nuts!

    • Sarah for Real June 18, 2010, 2:13 pm

      A tip on flax… The best way to do it is to get it whole and grind it yourself as you use it with a coffee grinder. Keep it in your refrigerator also. The fats are delicate and oxidize quickly (become worthless) if you buy it already ground and don’t keep it fresh.

  • Claire June 18, 2010, 11:39 am

    You have totally inspired me to check out NMTZ – I am really intrigued! Also, this may be the weirdest compliment you ever receive, but you have a really pretty collarbone haha.

    • Caitlin June 18, 2010, 11:45 am

      thank you 🙂 actually my collarbone is one of my favorite body parts!

  • Marissa June 18, 2010, 11:41 am

    You were so blonde–how cute! I love speedwork; you get the best workout possible in the least amount of time, and I always feel like I work harder even though I go a shorter distance! I love high-intensity workouts, I guess. Have fun with your mom!

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople June 18, 2010, 11:48 am

    You are amazingly in tune with your body. I think that is really cool.

    I also think it is interesting that we can be really trained for one type of exercise, but another kicks our BUTTS! It actually didn’t surprise me that NMTZ was so hard. Jillian is hardcore!

  • Miranda @ Mirandasjeans June 18, 2010, 11:48 am

    Great post! I try and consider my work schedule (which is drastically changing after June 30th yeah), and if I will enjoy the training. ST is starting to show up in my training, and so far I haven’t dione it. Luckily I have an extra week or two, so I can wait until things settle down and get my head in the game completely!

  • Suzanne June 18, 2010, 11:50 am

    I just wanted to share a thought. I break NMTZ up because for me it’s just too much in one day and it makes it hard to get cardio in (I’m strapped for time most days). So, I’ll do the last two and first two circuits (not counting warmup or cooldown)one day and then the middle three the next day. Since she focuses on different muscles during the circuits, I feel like I’m ok by breaking it up and not hitting the same muscles (except for abs maybe) two days in a row.

  • Jenn June 18, 2010, 11:51 am

    Have you ever tried or heard anything good/bad about the Tracy Anderson Method?

    • Caitlin June 18, 2010, 3:02 pm

      I don’t even know what that is! What is it?

  • Jasmine June 18, 2010, 12:07 pm

    For all those that think that NMTZ is “scary”, I’m here to say that I thought it was easy :S I think it’s because I do a fair amount of strength training with my cardio so that’s probably why. I was surprised when you said it was hard! I know ST is my weakness though.. P90X and Insanity, now those are ball busters, they get me everytime.(But you’re right, they’re not good for ppl with knee problems)

    • Ashley June 18, 2010, 1:32 pm

      I also thought it was pretty easy for the majority of it, and I don’t really do that much strength training.

  • Lauren (Clean Eats in the Dirty South) June 18, 2010, 12:14 pm

    love the pictures of you and your mum! you are both gorgeous.
    when it comes to training, i know i’m going to just want something i can keep up with that isn’t a chore – running and exercise should be fun, and i’m doing a 10k so that i can have a good time, learn about myself, and so that i can work on endurance. i think the main consideration is that if it’s something i will enjoy and not get bored with.

  • Amy @ Amy Starts To Run June 18, 2010, 12:24 pm

    My training program got interrupted by the hot hot heat. It wasn’t for a specific race (yet), but running outdoors has gone the way of the dinosaur during the summer in AZ. I’ve decided to take the Insanity challenge though. I think that might do me in. I think I’m pre-sore in anticipation.

  • Rachel June 18, 2010, 12:24 pm

    I’m not a Jilliam fan at all, but maybe I need to give NMTZ a try! I can’t believe you are reporting such high levels of soreness.

  • kalli@fitandfortysomething June 18, 2010, 12:38 pm

    so excited your momma is coming! and i am looking forward to seeing your training plan. my trainer/friend is setting me up on a plan and i can’t wait to see that as well!

  • Rebecca June 18, 2010, 12:47 pm

    Just wanted to chime in on NMTZ (a little late to the party). I started doing NMTZ regularly about a year ago–it’s an awesomely difficult and effective workout. I probably do it about twice a week now–still sore the next day.

    I would like to see a blogger take on Burn Fat Boost Metabolism (another terrible name), which is a 40 minute cardio interval session. Kicks. My. Butt. It’s seriously intense, and I’d like to hear some cardio “pros” opinions on it. Only thing is, the plyometrics are definitely back and fiercer than ever, so it might be hard on your knees!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) June 18, 2010, 1:18 pm

    for me it’s all about keeping the end goal in sight and then considering the amount of time i have and can commit to training. otherwise i just research how to get there and put it into a plan i can actually do!

  • Kelly June 18, 2010, 1:20 pm

    I LOVE Jillian’s workouts. But….they are very hard on your knees. the Burn the Fat DVD is all cardio and is a killer too.

  • claire June 18, 2010, 1:46 pm

    I also try to do 4 days of running because my shins are so prone to shin splints which often turn into stress fractures. I love Hal Higdon and my book from Runner’s World called “Run Less Run Faster” is a great resource too that emphasizes less days to prevent overtraining. Love the mama photos lady, you two are quite beautiful women!

  • Laurie June 18, 2010, 1:57 pm

    Love the beautiful photos of you and your Mom. You see the love in all the pictures! I done Jillian’s 30 day shred a couple of times, I will need to get NMTZ next! Have fun with your Mom!

  • Claire June 18, 2010, 2:38 pm

    Awwww…you and your ma are so cute:-)cc

  • Meredith June 18, 2010, 2:39 pm

    I bought NMTZ on itunes yesterday after reading your review. I love it! It wasn’t super painful for me, probably because I don’t have any hand weights so I just used two 540ml cans of chickpeas haha. Plus, by skipping her warm-up (I went for a short run instead) it was completely third-floor apartment-resident friendly. Yay!

  • Patti Bevans June 18, 2010, 2:44 pm

    I was inspired to get my lazy butt on the treadmill after reading your post. I’m a wannabe runner – have a nice treadmill but only get on every so often. Got on today and ran 2 miles! I was happy! Do you know what burns more calories – speed or distance?

  • Wei-Wei June 18, 2010, 3:01 pm

    I can definitely see where you got your good looks from! Is your original hair colour blonde?! I love that studio picture of you and your mom in the matching sweaters 😀 so cute!

    I actually am not on any sort of training program right now… I just make it a priority to get in SOME form of exercise everyday! At least it’s a start, right? 😉


  • Sophia June 18, 2010, 4:00 pm

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  • Emily June 18, 2010, 4:28 pm

    I’ve been thinking about trying NMTZ, I think you may have convinced me! Good luck with a training plan! I feel your pain on the Florida heat! I’m trying to do some pool workouts to fight the heat and still get some good outside workouts in!

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter June 18, 2010, 8:00 pm

    Your training plan reminds me of when I would pole vault on Mondays and Wednesday’s and do long runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I was also training for a half marathon. Plus I wouuld walk a few miles on the weekends on the trails around my campus. I pretty much killed myself when I was doing that and I didn’t have any energy to pole vault or walk or even run. It was a terrible situation for sure.

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