Ebb and Flow

in All Posts

Next time you come back from a very hot run, I highly suggest you do this…



It feels amazing!


Okay – time for an ‘honest’ post (well, all my posts are honest, but you know what I mean).


I actually wore my Garmin 305 on my run today so I could track distance, but I noticed that I was staring at my pace a lot and getting more and more irritated.  I used to LOVE my Garmin 305 and it’s ability to track pace according to a GPS.  I realized today on my run that I loved the 305 when I was fast (relatively, of course).  It’s fun to watch your pace when you can easily impress yourself!  It’s not as fun when you are struggling to maintain a pace that you ran an entire marathon at.


I’ll admit it.  I am no where in the shape I was last October.  What happened?  Work.  Seriously.  Work has crushed my soul over the past year and, simultaneously, it has crushed my desire to do super hard workouts.  I hardly ever feel guilty about my current status (it’s not like I’m doing nothing, after all – yay, triathlons!).  I step on the scale and see the obvious difference, and it’s like – whatever.  Who cares?  If I pushed myself harder, I know I would have total burnout.


But man – numbers blow sometimes.  So you know what – I’m going to leave the freakin’ Garmin at home for the time being.  Because I’m out there, running, and that’s all that happens.  Why set myself up to feel guilty and crappy?  Fitness ebbs and flows, and I’m sure I’ll have even higher highs and maybe even lower lows.  It’s part of life, right?


6.0 miles, done and done.  Pace, schmace.


We literally have zero food in the fridge, so this was lunch:


Wish it had been a bigger plate of food!  I’m going to need a big afternoon snack after that hard workout.


In the mix: chilled millet, corn, carrots, parsley, greens, chickpeas, and Simply Dressed balsamic dressing.  Very tasty. 


Do you wear a mileage/pace watch?  Do you ever think it does you more harm than good?  How do you deal with fitness ebbs and flows?



  • Army Amy* August 3, 2011, 1:31 pm

    I definitely burn a hole into my garmin because I stare at it the entire time I run. I think it’s hard because numbers seem so black and white (i.e. I was fast, now I’m slow) even though there are so many factors that affect your pace. Right now my pace is seriously suffering, but it’s also a bajillion degrees where I live, so I’m trying not to be too hard on myself.*

  • Michelle August 3, 2011, 1:35 pm

    I’m addicted to my garmin. It’s pretty bad and can really get me down sometimes if I think I should be going faster or running further. The other day on my run, my garmin died a few minutes after turning it on because of low battery. I thought my run was going to be horrible but it was so refreshing to run and not really care about pace. However, I kept glancing down at it, knowing that it wasn’t working! Habit, I guess.

  • Roberta August 3, 2011, 1:38 pm

    Stopped wearing a garmin 3 years ago and have PB’d every race since. Was putting way to much pressure on myself. Best thing I ever did for my running.

    • Dana August 4, 2011, 8:03 am

      So interesting!

      • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:38 am

        Very interesting.

  • Jamie@everydaydolce August 3, 2011, 1:38 pm

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been having the same issues/ frustrations. I have been slacking in the motivation department for a couple of months myself. I wrote a post about it last night (tweeted it to you!) about how I stay motivated even when I feel burned out or bored. The Garmin is a great running tool and incredible for training, but it does add pressure. Running should be free and fun sometimes! In the heat of summer it’s hardest and so easy to slack off because of the heat, you’re definitely not alone. My Garmin has done more good for me but there are days I need to say “screw it!” and leave it at home 🙂

  • cathy August 3, 2011, 1:39 pm

    i used to religiously time every single run (this was before garmins, haha). it was a negative practice, for me, because i was always trying to go faster than the last time. what happened? helloooo injuries and burnout. now, i never time myself, and i just run, and i am super happy with the mental part of the running game.
    thanks for sharing your situation and feelings, caitlin!

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me August 3, 2011, 1:46 pm

    I don’t have one and I’m too cheap to buy one. I think if I ever get one it would have to be a gift. I’d love to get one for cycling but we’ll see.

  • Beth @ 990 Square August 3, 2011, 1:50 pm

    Caitlin, you rock! Thank you for posting this. So nice to see a healthy living blogger just be okay with weight, speed, fitness for once! I’m coming off an injury and I’m right there with you!

  • Carrie S. August 3, 2011, 1:50 pm

    Oh I feel you! I’m just coming off an injury and it’s so hard to look at my Garmin and see that I’m going a lot slower than I was a year ago. What’s harder is getting emails for all the upcoming 5Ks that I did (and kicked butt in) last year. Race? Now? Um, no. Thanks for you always honest perspective, Caitlin!

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:38 am

      I hope you feel better soon! Injuries BLOW.

  • gabriella @ embracement August 3, 2011, 1:51 pm

    I have one; I only just got it in April. I trained for my first half marathon and the majority of the second without it. I found it really useful when I was training and trying to aim for a specific pace. Since I’m not training and simply running to maintain fitness or for fun I find it realllllly annoying. I’ve definitely lost some endurance, but I still run almost every day simply because I like to. I like running with my heart monitor a lot better. Watching my heart rate keeps me working hard no matter what my pace is.

  • Rachel @ The Perseverance Diaries August 3, 2011, 1:53 pm

    I don’t own one for the very same reason I don’t own a scale – I’ll become too obsessed with numbers. I’ve learned that as long as I’m up and moving, such as going for a run, for at least 40 minutes then I am satisfied.

  • Adrienna August 3, 2011, 1:55 pm

    I love my Garmin and once made my boyfriend return home to get it when we were heading out for a group run (we were late because of me). I feel like I need to know EXACTLY how far/fast I go. But last month was really hard because my pace went WAY down (although my mileage went WAY up). I’ve trained myself not to look at the pace – to my detriment, I think, because I should be using it to push myself. It’s hard – how do you push yourself AND listen to your body? Guess experience.

  • Laura @ Cookies vs. Carrots August 3, 2011, 1:56 pm

    I generally have different goals for each run. If I am trying to go for a longer distance than is normal for me or am working in hills, I don’t care about my pace too much. If I am going for a short distance/easy course, that is when I try to push my pace. Every once in a while though, I think it is good to work in a “fun run” where none of that stuff matters, and I just run they way I want to run.

  • Katie August 3, 2011, 1:56 pm

    I was on swimteam for years and I never met anyone who lost weight by swimming unless they were training like an Olympian. In fact, I think that swimming makes people really hungry and actually can cause weight gain – not neccesarily more unhealthy. I just think it’s deceiving sometimes. Not that this has anything to do with running, but I know you’ve been swimming a lot. It does seem like running keeps people slimmer — plus it’s hard!

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:38 am

      I’ve found that all types of hard cardio (like, endurance races) make me gain weight. No big deal, but I think it all just jacks up your hunger too much.

  • Erin August 3, 2011, 1:56 pm

    For me, summer heat is a killer. I realize this about myself now and try to either have realistic pace goals or use my Garmin to make sure I’m not going too fast! Right now I’m training for a marathon and while, yes, it’s disheartening to realize that I’m slower now than I was at the beginning of the year, I know my time goals for the marathon are different than for a 10 miler or a half marathon so my slower pace doesn’t bother me quite so much. Last summer I put too much pressure on myself pace-wise and spent too many runs in tears. This year I said no more!

  • Chelsea August 3, 2011, 1:58 pm

    I use my phone to keep track of my workouts. I don’t really listen or care about the time until the end of my workout but I use it to track how far I’ve gone more so. When I want a paced workout I get my boy-friend to ride his bike next to me to help me go faster/slower than I want to go. Other than that like you said,”Because I’m out there, running, and that’s all that happens.”

  • Karen August 3, 2011, 1:58 pm

    So funny! I always say that work is crushing my soul as well. I don’t know how to get it all in in one day and the things I want to concentrate get pushed aside. I run with the Nike+ even though I know it’s not at all accurate (my marathon by Nike+ was over at the 23.5 mile mark.) Since the marathon in November, winter, puppy, busy work schedule and life has just gotten in the way. I run with my iPod but I refuse to “check in” on my pace because I figure I’m out there and that’s got to count for something!

  • Jen August 3, 2011, 1:59 pm

    caitlin – i have commented to brandon several times over the past few months that i can’t believe i ran a marathon last fall. running in 2011 has been a totally different ball game…i’ve been much more focused on my yoga practice and when i do run, i hurt. bleh.

    recently i’ve kind of adopted the attitude of just going with what my body gives me. it’s clearly not down with the running right now but i have faith that it will come back around in due time.

    i love your attitude. you have accomplished so many other amazing (non-running related) things since your marathon and i love the attention that you’ve given to swimming and tris.

    have a good day!

  • Katie of Cabbage Ranch August 3, 2011, 1:59 pm

    My lowest fitness point was after having my daughter a year ago. Coming back to getting fit has been slow and hard (especially devoting the time!), but I try really hard to just focus on doing it. Not the pace, but the good habit. Thanks for your honesty and openness, it’s so validating to see we all struggle sometimes!

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) August 3, 2011, 1:59 pm

    I don’t wear my (expensive) Garmin around much anymore, only when I’m running a new route or during long runs on the weekend so I can track how (very) long I’ve been out there. And when I do wear it, I face the numbers so that I can’t easily look and rely on the beep every mile to know where I’m at.

    In all honesty, I don’t care about pace as much as overall time. So if I am just running for its own sake, I try to aim for 30 min for 3 miles, great if I do more, but eh if I don’t. It has made things easier, because I get burned out easily (especially when I was in school).

    Numbers are great, but they aren’t everything, which is why even when I TRY to post numbers like that on my blog, it is SO unnatural to me. I am not running to be a pro athlete or anything, and I do have a life beyond running.

    When people start throwing numbers, it’s the equivalent of, “Oh, I went to grad school and got a 3.73 GPA.” Not many people care what your GPA is!

  • Claire @ Live and Love to Eat August 3, 2011, 2:01 pm

    Love the action shot! I am not a numbers person much at all – it’s more about how I feel.

  • Blair August 3, 2011, 2:06 pm

    It is beyond frustrating to me to see people who can knock out continuous 8-9 minute miles while I struggle to stay around 10-10:30. That’s the main reason why I hate my Garmin, BUT I do want to track my runs for distance purposes. I’ve changed the display on my Garmin to only show the date, so whenever I’m running I can’t look at my pace or distance unless I do some buttom pushing. It’s definitely helped me with getting upset with myself in the middle of a run.

    • Faith @ lovelyascharged August 3, 2011, 2:30 pm

      That’s a great thought. Sometimes I cover up the display on the treadmill (except for the distance section, so that I know when I’ve hit my mileage goal for the day) and avoid looking at the stats until I’m finished. That way I don’t get discouraged!

  • Gavi @ Gavi Gets Going! August 3, 2011, 2:06 pm

    I’m in a similar place with my fitness right now. I fractured my foot doing a 30k back in April, and I am working my way back towards a full recovery. It is frustrating and a bit depressing to struggle with a 4-, 5-, or 8-mile run when I am used to running double-digits. My pace has also dropped dramatically. At this time, it helps to remind myself that my athletic life is always evolving and changing, and that it is shaped by the other factors in my life. I will be capable of different things at different times in my life, and as long as I am healthy and active that is just fine with me!

  • Leslie August 3, 2011, 2:06 pm

    You ran SIX miles. SIX. That’s a lot. I don’t care what anyone says. There was a time when you (and I, and so many others) couldn’t even run one, remember?! I just signed up for a half marathon and today was supposed to be day #1 of training. Day #1 is pretty daunting as it is, but then when I woke up it was raining so I didn’t go. Now I have motivation to get out there tonight and do it.

  • chloe @ 321delish August 3, 2011, 2:06 pm

    your lunch is very Fallesque. I cant wait for Fall!

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:36 am

      me too. im over summer!

  • Hillary August 3, 2011, 2:06 pm

    Thanks for posting this Caitlin. It’s something that I’ve been struggling with lately, too. I’m nowhere near in the same shape I was in while training for my half marathon last summer, and it’s taken me awhile to be ok with that. I’ve been using my Garmin less lately, mainly because I’m less distracted when I wear it and more focused on just RUNNING. Now that I’m not training for a race, I’m less concerned with how fast or how far I’m running and more concerned with the fact that I’m still running because I enjoy it.

  • Ashley O. @ The Vegetable Life August 3, 2011, 2:07 pm

    Sometimes I totally love to run “naked” without my HRM and my mileage tracker…. I find that sometimes I need a break from the pressure the numbers. I try to go by how I feel during and after my run to decide if it was good or not…

  • Jazz August 3, 2011, 2:07 pm

    I don’t wear my garmin on my tuesday runs, because of the same reasons, just there to enjoy it! I wear it when I do speed training and like the beeps every min though. Also on my long runs just to hear the km beep.. best sound ever!

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg August 3, 2011, 2:08 pm

    I actually just bought my first Garmin (and it should be arriving today!) — I want to see what my pace is. I have an easier time running on the treadmill because I can control my speed that way, but I want to get better at controlling my speed on the road. I totally know what you mean about not caring about pace though — that is how I went through marathon training because I didn’t need/want that extra pressure! I was happy to complete the training in the first place!

  • Sarah for Real August 3, 2011, 2:11 pm

    All that matters is how hard you try.

    This is my new life motto. I used to be very end-result focused, which is pure torture when it comes to fitness and only sets me up for failure. I focus on being proud of my efforts. Think: I did my very best given the current circumstances.

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:34 am

      I like your new life motto!

  • Veronica (Run Write Repeat) August 3, 2011, 2:16 pm

    I actually wear a (cheap timex) watch for the opposite reason… to make sure I’m running slow enough. i’m prone to both injury and over-exercising (now recovered from an ED), so I keep tabs on my pace, making sure I don’t over-do it. For speed workouts, I listen to my body and try to gauge what it feels like doing.
    I hear you on work… it’s a time sucker for sure. I have learned to deal with the ebbs and flows by reminding myself (sometimes hourly!) that there WILL be time to get back in my best shape of my life… but life happens, and it’s better to enjoy it wholely than by simply focusing on exercise.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat August 3, 2011, 2:16 pm

    Oh my goodness.. I feel like you are inside my head right now!! I’m the exact same way – and I blame work 100%! Thinking back to the workouts i did pre-full time job, they were intense. I’d go crazy hard on my intervals and I ran outside a lot more than I do now. (Now, I tend to be on the treadmill more). I used to wear my HRM quite a bit, but now, it’s mainly the treadmill numbers I’m looking at to ensure that I don’t let myself “slack” (if you want to call it that) and get slower than my older training times. However, I have done a few outdoor runs this summer and I know I’m not as fast outside as I used to be. I totally hear ya – it’s frustrating. Especially because it sort of feels like there’s not a whole lot I can do about it – yes, I’m still very active in my morning workouts and like to push hard, but then there’s work and sitting in front of a computer all day, and we can’t NOT work, right!? This month I’ve vowed to kick my fitness up a notch and make my workouts more different, intense, and interesting (as in, not just running all the time) so hopefully I’ll start seeing some improvements in results – and motivation! Glad to hear I’m not the only one feeling this way!

  • Kristen - Anywhere There's An Airport August 3, 2011, 2:16 pm

    I have ebbed right out of love with running and flowed right into weights and jumping around my living room. It comes and goes. I’m going to guesstimate that it’s been over a year since the Garmin has graced my wrist. Leave it at home! 🙂

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife August 3, 2011, 2:16 pm

    I definitely do NOT wear a pace watch. IF I run, I do it because I want to, not because of a certain goal pace. I always PR when I am not wearing a pace watch. Funny, eh??

  • Jess August 3, 2011, 2:17 pm

    I’ve dealt with this for almost a year now! I’ve gotten slower and slower. The reasons are good ones–I’ve had a couple of really bad bouts with illness or allergies, another freak medical issue, lots and lots of travel, and now a stress fracture. It’s especially hard to swallow, since a friend whom I introduced to running has been getting faster as I get slower. 🙂 But, I just have to remember that a) I like running as an individual, personal sport and shouldn’t compare myself to my friends, b) I like running for the sake of running, and shouldn’t care if a run I thoroughly enjoyed was on the slow end according to Garmin, and c) I’m only 26: I have many more good years of running ahead of me. 🙂

    Leaving Garmin home is a GREAT idea, and I believe I’ll do that once my shin heals and I can run again!


    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:33 am

      I hope you heal up very soon!

  • hippierunner August 3, 2011, 2:18 pm

    Caitlin, you are the best. Great honest post!

  • hippierunner August 3, 2011, 2:19 pm

    Caitlin, you are the best. Great honest post!

  • Whitney August 3, 2011, 2:19 pm

    This is very sad to admit but I am obsessed with my garmin! I am training for my first marathon and for all the different runs I have to do it really helps me keep pace. I really don’t get frustrated when I look down at my garmin when my pace is not where it should be. I just find all the information the garmin provides interesting! 🙂

    I always tell myself that there are going to be good running days and bad running days and you learn from both equally. 🙂

  • Faith @ lovelyascharged August 3, 2011, 2:20 pm

    I’ve been going through some similar stuff lately as well. I’ve been running for about three years, never entirely “hardcore”, but as I’m finally starting to get more serious about finally getting myself to enter a race, it’s sad to see that my endurance/little ability for speed that I once had has dropped down. I know that I can get it back if I just apply myself, but it is discouraging to look at my pace and see how others could blow me out of the water. At the end of the day, though, I can only do so much, and I have to make it through these shamefully slow runs to get myself to the point where I can be proud of my progress again!

  • Aimee August 3, 2011, 2:22 pm

    I got a ridiculously good deal on my Garmin 205 ($89) and I love it most because I no longer have to rely on running routes that I already know the mileage of or the treadmill. It’s easy to get focused on the pace. Overall I simply want to enjoy running. Sometimes I enjoy running faster and other times my legs just aren’t feeling it so I allow myself to run at a pace that feels right. Two years ago I didn’t run. Now I run 4-5 times a week. As long as these legs keep moving then I try not to worry too much about how fast they are going.

  • kwithme August 3, 2011, 2:22 pm

    I have started occasionally leaving my Garmin at home or not looking at it. I like carrying it so I have a record of my run. It is akin to writing “ran 3.2 miles” in a journal. I do use it for training runs like the first time I ran six miles, I used it to remind me to take a walk break. I also wear it if running a new course so I can check distance.

    Today’s reading was pretty demoralizing. It was hard. I felt like the numbers did not reflect the effort. I noted on that run that it was HUMID and raining and that I had done a glute/adductor workout yesterday so all reasons that it was not my best (or even kind of average).

  • Steph @ Running in the Kitchen August 3, 2011, 2:24 pm

    I always do because I’m a numbers girl, but I totally know what you mean about loving it more the faster you are! In my opinion we should focus on the fact that we got exercise and moved rather than get hung up on what the numbers say. Now if only I can follow my own advice…..

  • Amanda August 3, 2011, 2:28 pm

    I just recently got a Garmin and then got injured just a few weeks later! Now that I’m back at running, I’m slower, but I’m just SO happy to be running again. I rely on my Garmin more for mileage purposes than pace at this point. However, I am someone who easily gets caught up in the numbers. I actually had to force myself to stop wearing a heart rate monitor because I got pretty crazy about the calories burned number and it made working out a LOT less fun!

  • Kristen (inspiredbydooce) August 3, 2011, 2:30 pm

    I like the garmin so that I can just leave and run where I want without having to plan a route. Can you change the display on the 305 so that it shows distance as the big number and not show pace? I know the 405 has many options about what output style you use so maybe the 305 does too?

    Right now I’m training for a half marathon and I’m training to PB- so I’m running based on certain times and the garmin really helps with that. BUT- when I do have a “bad” run and I’m not hitting the paces I think I should, it can sometimes be a struggle not to catastrophize them… The numbers game isn’t always kind…

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:29 am

      I am definitely going to change the display. Other people suggested that too… you guys are geniuses.

  • Helen August 3, 2011, 2:32 pm

    I completely understand where you are coming from Caitlin! I’ve been trying to increase my speed and distance so I’ve been using my gps tracker on my phone and sometimes I just want to throw it on the ground and have a car run it over. I found that sometimes, I just want to run and not know my pace and time. So today, I hit up the track with just music and banged out a quick mile. Sometimes, a girl just wants to run!

  • Kim @ girlevolving August 3, 2011, 2:34 pm

    I wear a regular cheapie watch. The reason I’ve avoiding getting a Garmin is because I thought I would become too obsessed with pace on EVERY run and it would start to burn me out.

  • Heather August 3, 2011, 2:34 pm

    I have never work any kind of pacing device. I run because I love it!

  • Kara August 3, 2011, 2:40 pm

    I love my Garmin, but I don’t wear it when I run with the stroller. It frustrates me to get my mile times all messed up when the baby throws a toy or needs something!

    Trail running has helped me be ok with being slower. Now that I’m training for a 50 miler, it’s really more about getting the run done than how fast. 🙂

  • Becky August 3, 2011, 2:44 pm

    I always wear my garmin, but I don’t always look at it – I wear it more to keep track of mileage than anything else, and if I’m getting too frustrated with seeing my pace, I turn it to a different screen so I can’t see it. I’ve found that the heat affects my pace A LOT (and I don’t mean makes me faster), and it’s been a pretty hot summer. My guess is that the weather may also have more to do with your pace than you are realizing, especially if you’re spending more time inside in AC and doing fewer workouts outdoors (e.g., not doing so much “heat training” as you have in the past). But given your current stress level, leaving the watch at home seems like a great idea – why turn an “outlet” into a source of irritation?

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:28 am

      why turn an “outlet” into a source of irritation?

      AGREE. seriously. agree.

  • Anne G. August 3, 2011, 2:45 pm

    I feel much of the same way! So much pressure, especially compared to my running self of a few months ago!

    I think I’m gonna go into the menu and change my garmin so that it only shows me the distance on ALL three screens. That way I can know how far I go and not worry about how fast and slow it was. That should help with “listening to my body”, something I really, really struggle with!

  • Mary August 3, 2011, 2:49 pm

    I love my garmin 405, because I like to see the numbers. Actually , I just wrote a post about this because I did the same exact thing the other day where I was staring at my pace and got SO upset with myself because I was struggling.

    don’t worry, it’ll come back, you’re so right, life and fitness ebbs and flows it’s not all peaches and cream.

    I’m just glad to know you’re a real person 😉

    • CaitlinHTP August 3, 2011, 2:51 pm

      Haha tis true, i am real!

      • Mary August 3, 2011, 5:17 pm

        haha! Maybe if you’re still “slow” we can meet half way and run a race together somewhere in NC this fall 😀

  • Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats August 3, 2011, 2:49 pm

    I wear a Garmin 405 on my runs. Sometimes it feels like my best friend and other times I feel like I am beating myself for not going fast enough. It just depends on the day! I am definitely not as fit as I have previously been.I feel like I felt more fit in the past because I had almost dangerously not enough weight to carry around.

  • Kathryn (Flopoodle) August 3, 2011, 2:50 pm

    I never ever wore a watch while training. I simply ran at the pace that I was comfortable with and left it at that. I decided to borrow my BF’s Garmin for my half marathon, but I wish I’d left it at home because I was ready to take it off and throw it in the bushes through the whole race! Running just for the sake of it feels best to me.

  • Kristin @ eat healthy. be happy. live well August 3, 2011, 2:53 pm

    I like wearing my Garmin when I want to keep on pace because it is good motivation for me to try a little harder. I don’t find it to be too distracting, although it can be frustrating at times when I feel like I’m already trying hard enough!

    My workouts and fitness totally ebb and flow. Right now I’m trying to get back into things because I know it will help me stress less at work!

  • Freya August 3, 2011, 2:55 pm

    You are the most healthy Healthy Living Blogger out there- what a fabulous attitude! I really admire you 🙂
    I wear my Garmin 95% of the time, and it does SUCK if I’m having a bad day. If I have more than a couple in a row, I tend to leave it at home for a session so I don’t stress about pace. I always come back refreshed 🙂 I also mentally prepare myself – I allow myself to have slow, easy days where I won’t worry if my pace hits x:xx, and fast days where I know it’ll be tough – but I just love loooveee seeing my running improve. I’m hoping to knock 50mins off my marathon time this time round :p

    • Freya August 3, 2011, 2:57 pm

      Oh, and maybe you need more of a break? My pace slowed by 1.5mins per mile over the course of 3 months, cos I was just pushing too hard. When I came back from my shin spints, I’ve been the fastest I have been since early 2010! The speed / running break’ll be doing you good 🙂

  • Alett August 3, 2011, 2:56 pm

    Caitlin –

    I know that it can be discouraging to see your paces now compared to last year. As a few others noted your paces will differ based on a myriad of factors. ADDITIONALLY! Please note that the steps you ran today are healthy steps TOWARDS where you were before! : ) yay!

    Have you considered heart rate training? I have started doing my training based on heart rate and have seen significant improvement. Additionally, I do not have the obsession with checking pace on my garmin b/c I have it set to “time” and “heart rate”…

    happy wednesday.

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:28 am

      When you do heart rate training, what rates do you aim for?

  • Mary @ stylefyles August 3, 2011, 2:56 pm

    I totally know what you mean about pace and about work getting in the way. 5 years ago, when I was still in college, I used to crush it on runs. I could go all day, and at a super speedy pace to (at least, according to me). Once I started working full time (3 years ago, after 2 years of grad school where I worked out decently, but not as much as college) it got harder and harder to maintain fitness. Who has the energy to go for a run on top of an hour commute (total) and 10 hour workdays? Not me! The one thing I CAN do is soccer…..I think the team atmosphere definitely plays a role…….so at least there’s that! But when I do manage to go for a run, it’s always sad to see the difference between now and 2006. And I wonder if I’ll ever get back to that fitness level again (I hope!)

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:26 am

      Soccer sounds so much fun 🙂

  • Rachel August 3, 2011, 2:59 pm

    i don’t wear a Garmin or anything like that (most of my runs are indoors) but i feel your pain. we get so caught up in trying to one up ourselves that we lose track of the real goal; overall fitness! i always try to tell myself that, at least i’m doing something! it’s not like i’m a lazy lump, sitting on the couch eating ice cream all day. but now my biggest hurdle/frustration is caused by my pregnancy! man oh man, you do not know tired until you attempt to run w/ morning nausea at 6 weeks preggo! oy. but i’m still at it, so i’m proud of myself for that. i have 2 races in the next couple of weeks; a 5k & a 10k. and i’ve definitely had to adjust my goals (i signed up way before i found out i was pregnant). think of it this way, you can’t be that bad, you’re competing in triathlons, for pete’s sake! mad props for that! and remember comparison (to others or yourself) is the thief of joy.

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:25 am

      Congrats on your pregnancy 🙂 Have fun and be safe!

  • Orla August 3, 2011, 3:00 pm

    It took me a good 6 weeks to get used to my garmin when I got it first. I was constantly checking it. And while now i have a pretty consistent pace for my runs I find if I have a bad day or a run where i am not feeling it, I tend to curse the garmin. However, i soon forget about it and use the record of “bad” runs to show how far I have come or how one day out of 5 or 6 good ones ins’t actually bad. Once you are getting out there are doing it, pace is completely personal.

  • bakingnbooks August 3, 2011, 3:04 pm

    Crushed your soul? Yikes, when I say that about work, it’s related to my hatred of my work…I assume that it’s worth it for you though? You enjoy it?

    Leave it home! Seriously – what ever happened to a watch..like a $10 watch from WalMart?! 😉 – Technology has ruined us. We can’t just be and know what it’s like to just be and do normal stuff or feeling it – we always want feedback or communication.

  • Erica August 3, 2011, 3:11 pm

    Sometimes I wear my garmin and change the settings so that I can’t see pace or speed. You can change it so that you can look at total time, distance (which I ind helpful because I never plan a route, just run until i get the miles I wanted).

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:24 am


  • Khushboo August 3, 2011, 3:13 pm

    I used to be obsessed with knowing my pace. Now I’m focusing on making sure my heart is being worked out for at least 30 mins…who cares what speed that requires!

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) August 3, 2011, 3:14 pm

    I’ve pretty much lost all speed I gained over the past few months, so I wear my Garmin for distance purposes only!

  • DadHTP August 3, 2011, 3:15 pm

    some years I just left the computer off the bike so I wouldn’t obsess about mileage.

    Most of my PRs were set when I was – 56. It was a good year and I had lots of time for training and racing.

  • Mallory August 3, 2011, 3:17 pm

    I wear my Garmin when I run outside (which with my knee is pretty rare right now) but mostly so I can track my miles and all that. I am not a huge must-hit-a-certain-time person.

  • Heather @ Dietitian on the Run August 3, 2011, 3:20 pm

    I have these Ebbs n’ Flows after almost every “training period”. I reach peak shape, get excited/anxious for a race and then let it run its course (ya know – some good, some bad – race day woes & triumphs!). I always feel the need to “capitalize” on the fitness I’ve gained, but have learned the hard way, more than once (which I guess means I didn’t really LEARN), how important recovery is!

    Starting from a new “base” every time is humbling and keeps it interesting. I bring the garmin with me on almost Every run, but that’s only because I have zero concept of how far I go if I don’t 🙂 The pace? Sometimes it matters, but most of the time it doesn’t. If I feel great, I’m happy. If I feel tired, I realize there’s probably a reason. If I run slow…it’s only one day, and one workout, but at least it’s done!

  • Jodi August 3, 2011, 3:20 pm

    Caitlin – thanks for being honest and writing this. For me numbers can be the bane of my fitness existence. I’m struggling through a big plateau in my weight loss. I know the reasons, my eating isn’t as clean and my workouts not as consistant (i’m currently trianing for my first Half but i have completely let the strength training portion of my fitness go and i see the difference). it’s really hard not to focus on how much slower of a runner i am and on whether or not i’m gaining a pound or two (or not losing for that matter). I find myself obsessively thinking about it during the day (and even started tracking calories again – blech). the point is, it’s not who i am to be this way and not who i WANT to be. I still get out and run 3-4 days a week and practice yoga 3 days/week. i think it’s easy to beat yourself for “shortcomings” instead of praising ourselves for making the efforts we make at all. this is a great reminder. thank you! 🙂

  • Ali August 3, 2011, 3:21 pm

    I went through a period where I was running super slow (I had internal bleeding in my body and I had no idea that was the case). Having the Garmin on made me feel really shitty. So, I stopped running with it and it helped me out a lot. I am all about numbers, so when I saw that I was running a slow pace I would get so frustrated. Take a break from the and just run for fun. It felt great when I did that!

  • Tashia August 3, 2011, 3:22 pm

    Numbers are not a measurement of your worth. Think of how far you have come after your last injury when you couldn’t run far without knee pain. Sure you may not run as fast but you can probably swim better than you could last year, and are def a tri beast lol. Mad props for deciding to leave your garmin at home, if all you are going to do is feel bad about your time you will smush your love for running in general, and after all isn’t that why you run in the first place, because you love it. Well at least most days : )

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:22 am

      Thank you Tashia 🙂 I needed this!

  • Michelle@Crazy*Running*Legs August 3, 2011, 3:42 pm

    I’m sure the hot weather isn’t helping. At least that’s what I’m telling myself!

    I admit, I am stressing with time right now myself. When I was training for my half marathons I felt myself getting faster and faster. Now that I’m training for a full, I feel myself getting slower and slower. I am still doing my tempo runs and sprints, but the long runs are SO much slower than my half marathon pace. I know I can’t keep up a 9:00 pace for a full, but my brain doesn’t fully “get it.” It’s hard to give up speed – especially when you worked hard on it! But you know – this too shall pass!

  • Krista August 3, 2011, 4:03 pm

    I’m 3.5 months pregnant, so almost immediately ditched the Garmin when finding out so that I’d listen to my body, not get annoyed by my pace. It’s tough getting slower but it’s not like every run should get increasingly faster either! Otherwise after 1.5 decades of running I should be lightning fast. 😉

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:22 am

      Yay! Congrats on your pregnancy Krista 🙂

  • Amanda August 3, 2011, 4:04 pm

    I think what you are doing with Operation Beautiful is so amazing..it wouldn’t matter if you crawled six miles this morning! (Actually, that would have been pretty impressive lol…) Work does make it hard to stay motivated, but you should be so proud of all the wonderful things you’re doing. As Tony Horton (P90x) would say, “Do your best and forget the rest!” 🙂

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:21 am

      Thank you Amanda 🙂

  • Sophie @ threetimesf August 3, 2011, 4:06 pm

    I’ve started leaving my watch at home when I run because I found that I was constantly watching the time and my pace instead of focusing on my form and technique – I’m so glad to hear that it’s not just me!!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss August 3, 2011, 4:11 pm

    I have a HRM to keep track of time then track my run online to get the pace from there. But I am about to get a Garmin!! I can’t wait! As for more harm than good, I think it does more harm if you’re actually not trying to work on speed/distance or anything..but if you’re in training it can really help.

  • Marci August 3, 2011, 4:12 pm

    I stopped wearing my Garmin for now. Can’t get down on doing what you can! Right now, it’s better for me to not push it and exercise when I’m feeling good (8 wks prego but not public yet !) Understanding that fitness comes and goes now more than ever.

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:20 am

      Congrats Marci!!!

  • katie @ KatieDid August 3, 2011, 4:12 pm

    I was addicted to my garmin during my marathon training, and I haven’t touched it since the day of the race. Just like that, I had no desire to know anymore and it’s soooo much more freeing. I’m not training for anything, so I’ve given up knowing distance, time, pace.. everything. I run freely and have never enjoyed running more.

  • Corrie Anne August 3, 2011, 4:15 pm

    I hate running without a Garmin. I can’t stay motivated. I get frustated during slow points too, but I just keep powering through. 🙂

  • Tiff @ Love, Sweat, and Beers August 3, 2011, 4:38 pm

    I wear my Garmin, but not 100% of the time. It can be frustrating and motivating, so I wear it when I feel good but leave it when I can hardly lift my legs.

  • Tiff @ Love, Sweat, and Beers August 3, 2011, 4:39 pm

    I wear my Garmin, but I don’t bring it along 100% of the time. There are days when I’m not really feeling it, and if it’s one of those days, it’s better to just go with the flow and not frustrate myself with all those numbers.

  • Melissa @ TryingToHeal August 3, 2011, 4:41 pm

    You know, that’s the exact reason why it took me years to buy a garmin, knowing my pace and calorie counts. Now a days, I use gmap pedometer to track my distance for runs and it works well. I did buy a garmin, and only use it on long run days so i can make sure i’m getting in the correct mileage. On the shorter stuff i wear a watch but because i can’t do math without pen and paper i never know my pace until I get home. 🙂

  • Ange August 3, 2011, 4:42 pm

    I’m totally struggling fitness-wise right now. I signed up for two half marathons and then got injured, once I recovered from the injury I’ve now been battling stomach problems for 5 days. Everyone knows you don’t run with stomach problems!

    I’m just to just relax and focus on eating healthier rather than exercising hard. I’m also trying to get other “life” stuff organized while I’m sidelined (my blog, our house, meal planning) so that when I’m ready to go, I can.

    I also wear my Garmin but only use it for walk breaks. I force myself to run at whatever pace is comfortable for me and just….deal 🙂

  • Kristie August 3, 2011, 4:46 pm

    I used to wear my Garmin all the time and LOVED it, but lately I have just loved the freedom of running with just a regular old watch. With the summer heat a lot of times I am running at a much slower pace, but sometimes on less humid/hot days I surprise myself with the pace I hold. But the beauty of it is I have no idea until I am back at home and the run is done, and by then the running endorphins have kicked in and I don’t care if the pace is slow, on pace or fast :).

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen August 3, 2011, 4:52 pm

    Good for you, leave that damn thing at home! I’ve started using it less and less recently, especially when I run after heavy lifting days. I’m so sore that inevitably my runs are slower and I hate the constant reminder the Garmin gives me of that fact. I’m not training for anything specific nor do I have any time goals in mind so it’s just not necessary right now.

  • Sue @ Sue In Training August 3, 2011, 4:53 pm

    I only have a cheap and simple watch that only measures my heart rate and the time. So I don’t know my pace until I’m back and enter my run on dailymile.com. I prefer to go by how I feel. And if I want to do a proper speed work run, I use the treadmill.

  • Meesh August 3, 2011, 4:57 pm

    haha love the after pic!

  • Ellie@fitforthesoul August 3, 2011, 5:37 pm

    That’s a really good point Caitlin~
    I don’t own a watch myself, but I can see how that would be a motivation–until it becomes a bit of an obsession/extreme checking up on the #s. I think it’s great that you’re “fasting” that and running with more freedom! 🙂

  • sarah k. @ the pajama chef August 3, 2011, 5:48 pm

    i’m with you on the garmin thing. i basically only use mine for workouts (i.e. intervals/repeats) and long runs, then only to track distance…or if i’m in an unfamiliar area and have no idea what routes to use. the rest of the time i just use a regular digital watch. though i time myself, i don’t (usually) get too crazy about the pace and such because it’s not staring me in the face. a total time is, but that’s a different story. (for me at least)

  • Raya August 3, 2011, 5:48 pm

    I completely understand what you’re talking about! I am a SLOW runner, I believe mostly due to the fact that I’m still carrying more weight than I should be for my small frame. I “ran” my first (and only so far) half marathon in 3 hours-that is SLOW. I tell myself all the time that at least I finished, etc…but the truth is I’m still ashamed to tell people my time when they ask. I think to myself “real runners will know this is slow” so I don’t mention it. I forget that even though my pace might be slower than some, I’m still exerting effort. At times, it feels like A LOT of effort. But I really need to remember that comparing myself to other bloggers/runners and their pace doesn’t help me at all. I can only be me. I just wish “me” was faster. LOL

    • Sonia (the Mexigarian) August 3, 2011, 6:14 pm

      I’d often compare myself to other bloggers/runner as well and it was very discouraging to read “I busted out so many miles in this speedy pace”, but I kept running and managed to surprise myself that I am fast for being who I am at my fitness/health level. I might always wish to be faster but I am happy with the fact that I am even able to run.

      And congrats on completing your 1/2!! It’s something that I think I would like to do, but the mileage just scares the bejesus out of me. lol.

      • Raya August 3, 2011, 6:24 pm

        You should do it! 13.1 is not as bad as it sounds! I want to do a full within the next year. Slow or not, haha 🙂

        • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:17 am

          Raya, You rule. Seriously. 13.1 is amazing, period.

  • Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun August 3, 2011, 6:00 pm

    I certainly agree there is an ebb and flow and we go in phases. i would likely feel and do the same as you are. Heck….its part of what I’m speaking on at HLS even. LOL

    Which reminds me – I’ll be getting my stuff to you for the presentation tonight. 🙂

  • Sonia (the Mexigarian) August 3, 2011, 6:10 pm

    I bought my Garmin two weeks before my 10k. I was surprised at my pace and how “fast” I was going. I seriously thought I had been running slower. And when I ran my 10k after injury, my pace continued to surprise me. I haven’t run in almost a month due to injury, but am looking forward to building my pace up. Tomorrow I am set to do my first easy run, without the Garmin, just to not put any pressure on myself.

  • Kristin August 3, 2011, 6:29 pm

    i am so glad to read that someone else is in the same boat as me! it does suck and ive been running without my garmin for the same exact reasons! i really do blame a lot of it on the heat though! it really wears u down!!! like you said, all that matters is that you are out there running, what does status really matter 🙂 thank you!

    • Kristin August 3, 2011, 6:31 pm

      PS- this is my second day wearing a diva cup and its been great!!! thank you for the suggestion!!! 🙂 im so excited about all the tampons ill be saving this earth from!

      • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:17 am

        Yay for Diva!!!

  • Elizabeth @ reads recipes runs August 3, 2011, 6:40 pm

    That’s one thing I struggle with a lot, judging myself against myself, but it’s natural to have ebbs and flows like you were saying. At least you are out there rocking it 🙂

  • Sarah August 3, 2011, 6:41 pm

    Caitlin! I LOVE this post. Really cool topic and totally relevant. I think its definitely true that everybody is more or less fit at different times of their lives. Even competitive athletes they are at peak shape at different points of the year (periodization). You are totally right to say that you would’ve probably burned out. Nobody can be at their fittest all the time, it just wouldn’t work! I’m definitely dealing with this a bit right now because summer is the off season for collegiate rowing. Now that summer is ending I need to start upping my training again. I cross trained but nothing like the 2-a-days I was doing this spring. I think that its been great for me though cause now I’m excited to go back and not burned out! You are totally my favorite healthy living blogger <3

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:17 am

      I am totally just doing the periodization thing. 🙂 Thanks for giving my ebbs and flows an official name!!!

  • Robin August 3, 2011, 6:45 pm

    Just roll with the ebbs and flows. You are working so hard. You should just be proud that you are still fitting in exercise. I don’t have a Garmin. I just go. Some days are great, and some aren’t, but my goal is to exercise consistently and that’s what I do!

  • Lindsay Loves Veggies August 3, 2011, 6:52 pm

    I’ve been leaving my Garmin at home lately, as well! I find that running for set amount of time, rather than trying to run a certain distance as fast as I can, makes running less stressful for me. I absolutely love my Garmin, but like you said, since I’m not in the best running shape that I have been, sometimes it can be a bit of a burden!

  • Emily @ Comfortable Home Life August 3, 2011, 7:03 pm

    You know what? Last night I ran without my Garmin and it was one of the most enjoyable runs I’ve been on. A lot of running, for me (and I would think for most people!), is mental, and I’ve been playing the whole comparison game for way too long. I’m a slow runner, yes. But does that make me any less of a runner? No! I just signed up for my first marathon and my only goal is to finish. I’m going to have fun and if I get faster in the training process, that’s dandy. But I’m going to focus on running for running’s sake and not because I want to compete with XY and Z.

  • Jennifer August 3, 2011, 7:31 pm

    I always wear my Garmin, but it’s more for the distance and heart rate that I wear it. I’d be lying if I said that I don’t watch my pace at all, but I’m a slow runner and have come to terms with it. I might never be as fast as some, but at least I’m out there getting the job done!

  • Carol August 3, 2011, 7:36 pm

    Alternating running and walking on a knee that until a month ago ached every day & I’d faced up to having surgery on, I only care about tracking distance. I love being able to wander through my neighborhood but still know how far I’ve gone. (helps with not overdoing it too) Pace doesn’t matter a bit.

  • Katheryn August 3, 2011, 7:40 pm

    I’ve been a runner for 6 years now and have run numerous half and full marathons. I’ve never used a Garmin and have survived. I’m definitely a number person and I know I would obsessively watch the watch, compare, and push myself when I shouldn’t, or slow down when I shouldn’t. Instead when I run I focus on my body and what feels right for that run. Sometimes I’m fast, sometimes slow, and that’s alright. My fastest marathon was run in 3:52, and am working on getting qualified for Boston.

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:16 am

      Baller. Hello? You are awesome.

  • Sarah @ The Strength of Faith August 3, 2011, 7:46 pm

    I try to live by the mantra, “Don’t let yourself be defined by a number.”

    Easier said than done, of course. 🙂

  • Shayla @ The Good Life August 3, 2011, 7:56 pm

    I love this post…I deal with fitness ebbs and flows by remembering what you said…life has it’s highs and lows and we can’t always have a spectacular day of eats or exercises, it’s definitely all part of life 🙂

    I don’t run much so I don’t have a Garmin…but I do take spin classes and our bikes have computers which track our RPM’s, Watt’s, Calories, etc., and I hate turning it on! Whenever I do I end up regretting it b/c the numbers either put me in a good or bad mood…so I just don’t turn it on anymore. Numbers suck, hence why the scale sucks too!

  • R. Chandra August 3, 2011, 8:00 pm

    this is such a great attitude, caitlin! 🙂

    i have a garmin 305 & personally i love it and always use it, but it doesn’t stress me out at all. i honestly could care less about my pace – i just lovvee knowing “exactly” how much distance i covered. i’m probably the least competitive person on the planet – when i exercise with others it even discourages me – i run/walk, sometimes just walk, only run when i absolutely feel like it, but just make sure i get the mileage in no matter what because that’s where i find satisfaction. it works for me! 🙂

    • R. Chandra August 3, 2011, 8:11 pm

      hmmm.. actually the time when i most pay attention to my pace is when i WALK vs. run (i’ve always run at 9:00 – 10:00 min/mi, no desire to go any faster 😛 ) – i think walking’s really cool! 😛 the other week i did 13.1 miles (half marathon for fun heh) in 2:50-something. it’s fun to see how fast i can walk! 🙂

      wow i’m a dork

  • Lee August 3, 2011, 8:26 pm

    I have a love/hate relationship with my Garmin. I like knowing the stats but I almost always get upset with myself for not running as fast as I want to be.

  • Molly @ RDexposed August 3, 2011, 8:31 pm

    my ichip makes me feel like a bum when I start trainings!

  • *Andrea* August 3, 2011, 8:35 pm

    aww don’t get discouraged!!

    exercise should bring you happiness for the fact that your BODY can allow you to be recreational and active! i don’t look at stats at all anymore. what’s the point? weight is supposed to be in flux, same with fitness. life’s too short to let the numbers rule you. when we let these things affect us i strongly believe it’s an outlet and that something else is really bothering us: are we not giving ourselves enough rest? do we need more time to relax or meditate or spend time with loved ones? are we looking outward rather than inward for self love?

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:13 am


  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin August 3, 2011, 8:42 pm

    Yes! Sometimes wearing my Garmin makes me so frustrated for not running faster… when really I should just be proud of myself for running at all!

    Nice job on the 6 miles. That’s amazing, no matter what your pace!

  • Amanda August 3, 2011, 8:52 pm

    I think running 6 miles is pretty cool : -) Pace is so relative… we all have slow days and fast days, taking a break from the garmin is always a good idea!

  • Katherine August 3, 2011, 8:56 pm

    I totally have done the water dump before!

  • Julia August 3, 2011, 9:04 pm

    This is such a ernest post. It sucks to be out of shape, whether it is just a few seconds off because of half-a**ed training or because you gained 30 lbs in a year (that’s me!).

    It is so hard to work and run and eat write and maintain healthy relationships and be sane. You are an inspiration in all that you do, and no one is perfect all the time.

    Thanks for sharing your frustration.

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:12 am

      thanks sweetie 🙂

  • Kristen, Sweetly August 3, 2011, 9:28 pm

    well said, lady. i have such trouble sometimes accepting it, but everything about life ebbs and flows. just gotta go with the flow… 🙂 thank you for sharing it.

  • Melissa R. August 3, 2011, 9:42 pm

    I stopped wearing my Garmin when my husband was diagnosed with cancer. I just run to feel better. I’ll put it back on again since I’m getting back into training but it sure did help to just put that thing away for a while!

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:11 am

      I’m sorry about your hubby 🙁

  • Maren August 3, 2011, 9:42 pm

    I totally feel ya. After my IT Band injury, I just started running again last week for the first time. I haven’t even been blogging because I started my blog like the week before I got injured and I’ve just been so discouraged this summer. I’ve gained weight, I’m not as happy-go-lucky, etc., but I ran twice last week and I have once this week and I’ve had almost no pain at all!! It’s crazy what two and a half months off from running can do!

    Hang in there. You are so awesome for doing tri’s!! Remember, you’re a better swimmer and biker now!! Running is only part of your fitness abilities! And 6 miles! That’s amazing!

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:11 am

      Yay Maren! Congrats on getting back into running. It’s hard to come off an injury but it sounds like you’re being smart about it.

  • Mary August 3, 2011, 9:58 pm

    I watch my Garmin 305 the same way and get down when my pace is slower than I was running at the beginning of the summer. But I just decided that I am training for a new distance now (first half marathon with my sister) and if I need to go slower to do it then so be it. I am concentrating more on distance on the Garmin now, and am having a great time on training runs with both my sister and best friend.

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:09 am

      Yay! I am so jeals of your training buddies. Sounds pretty awesome to me.

  • Sarah @ w30 August 3, 2011, 10:26 pm

    Hear Hear! You recently said that sometimes it’s all about adjusting expectations. I think it’s great that you are embracing where you are right now and finding ways to enjoy it! Wouldn’t it be boring if we were always on top of our game? We would never have a reason to be impressed with ourselves. 🙂

  • Christina August 3, 2011, 10:56 pm

    I have the same Garmin and usually I don’t mind it. I know that I’m a slower runner so it *usually* doesn’t bother me to see 4 digits in the pace section. But I did my first sprint triathlon last weekend (awesome!!!) and I did not wear it and I’m so glad I didn’t. I actually think I would have run slower with it than without. I didn’t have a lot of training due to lots of set backs, so I had it in my head that I NEEDED to go slow for the run otherwise I would have to walk (my only goal was not to walk the 5K). But I actually finished faster than I expected to and I probably would have slowed myself down had I seen my “fast” pace.

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:08 am

      Interesting! Maybe I’ll ditch it for the race, too!

  • Luv What You Do August 3, 2011, 11:52 pm

    I love my HR monitor…in fact I am obssessed with it, but there are definitly times that I need to go out and get a run done and don’t want to stress about how hard I am working so I leave it at home. I think it is healthy…it’s like the days you choose not to step on the scale because you know how you feel already. BTW, I am totally impressed with all of your triathlons!!! That is huge acomplishment, pace aside…or as you said…pace schamse!

  • Sarah August 4, 2011, 3:20 am

    Hi Caitlin! I know the feeling. Studying has/is crushing my life and taking away my soul right now. Like you, I’m generally relaxed about this until I let pesky figures come into it. I’m ignoring the scales and HR monitor until I have the energy and time to workout as I would want to. Life’s like that sometimes, isn’t it. However, there are days when I get really frustrated and fed up with studying deadlines. I’m currently ploughing my way through my dissertation. At times like this, I keep my standards of myself and my fitness goals realistic and I just try to be kind to myself, reminding myself that this state is only temporary and life is always changing and cannot stay the same. Anyways, it’s still pretty amazing that you’re a triathele so you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself 🙂 (easier said than done, I know as my husbands tells me the same when I bemoan occasional unhealthy/not-so-healthy aspects of my lifestyle). Ok, enough of my babbling. Lots of love xoxox

  • Catherine August 4, 2011, 4:35 am

    Yeah, pace can be so frustrating, but in the grand scheme of things, REMEMBER where you started. It’s so easy to say “I was once a better runner than I am now,” but on the same note, aren’t you also a better runner now than you once were?! I think it’s a wonderful idea to try running without timing yourself. Make running fun again!

    PS: A wise woman (you!) once told me via comment “Progress, not perfection.” Stop being so hard on yourself and take your own advice! 🙂

  • Lisa August 4, 2011, 6:02 am

    I am also a little bit less fit than when I finished my first marathon three months ago, both due to being a bit worn out from running and from going back to school to change careers, including taking an intense six week biology class (that just ended!) But changing careers is on the top of my goal list, so if my fitness takes a hit, it will be OK. Basically, I just try to work out enough at this point in my life that I will have energy and feel good while I’m doing everything else I’m doing.

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:07 am

      Congrats on your first marathon 🙂 How exciting. Relish the glory!

  • Sarah August 4, 2011, 7:50 am

    Of course you’re not in the shape you were in in October – it’s July! Life doesn’t stand still and neither do we. You work out regularly, you’re going to compete in an OLYMPIC TRIATHLON (seriously, you’re totally badass!), you eat healthily and you have a full life. What numbers can tell you that? Screw the numbers – you rock!

    I honestly don’t care about the number on the scale when I’ve put in a good week of workouts. When my body is telling me that I’ve pushed it good and fed it well, what else is there to do but feel GREAT?!

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:06 am

      AMEN SISTER!!!

  • Dana August 4, 2011, 8:05 am

    I love my Garmin, but it can definitely be a head game at times. I have the forerunner 110 and I find it’s most effective for me to go by my HR. No matter my pace or sport, I can easily tell whether I’m working hard or just phoning it in.

  • Ali @ Around the VeggieTable August 4, 2011, 8:52 am

    When I started running I didn’t use anything other than an occasional glance at my watch to see how I was doing–I already know I’m slow so there’s no use drilling it in. I still don’t have a garmin, but now I’m using this iphone app called runmeter which for $5 is exactly like a garmin. The great part about it though, is that I stick it in my spibelt and don’t look at it until I’m done! So I still know how far I’ve gone and how fast and my splits, but I don’t stress about it the entire time I’m running. 🙂

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:05 am

      Oh, what a fun app!!!

  • My Blonde Moments August 4, 2011, 9:24 am

    I’ve been ignoring my pace lately too because I’ve fallen out of running shape in the hot summer months. I just haven’t been running as much as I should because it’s too darn hot to go outside! So for now, I’m just happy when I get runs in and I’m trying to ignore the fact that they’re much much slower than they were this spring.

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:04 am

      That’s true, maybe it’s a weather thing…

  • Stacy August 4, 2011, 9:55 am

    Yes! I used to love my Garmin. Then I had a baby in May and it all went to pot. I only have time to run on the weekends and because it’s been many months since I have run I am sloooowwww. I wore my Garmin for the first time this weekend (runs were strictly on the treadmill until that point) and I wanted to punch it in the face. It was really demoralizing seeing a pace that was a minute slower than my marathon pace. Next time I run outside, I’ll take a page from your book and leave the Garmin at home.

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 11:04 am

      Congrats on your newish baby!!! 🙂

  • Kaitlin @ Montgomery Minimalist August 4, 2011, 10:00 am

    While I do really like my Garmin, I do become a little too focused on it. There have been times when I’ve finished what felt like a good run, and then been frustrated by the time on my watch. It’s been especially hard with the heat–what used to be slow takes a lot more effort these days. I just need to tell myself to keep it in perspective, and focus on the good parts of the run. It was especially hard when I was coming back from an injury. But, for some reason, no matter how slow I go, I always want to know the number–it helps me analyze what’s going on.

  • Bee @ B*tchy Bee August 4, 2011, 10:04 am

    I experienced the same exact thing with my Garmin the other day. I was out running for the first time in a WHILE and all I could do was look at the pace and get down on myself. I run sans Garmin for the time being! It’s the way to go 🙂

  • Karin August 4, 2011, 10:29 am

    Good for you Caitlyn…my sister wrote a post about this the other day!

  • Mary Marshall August 4, 2011, 10:50 am

    Love this post and the comments (though I haven’t read ALL of them!) I like to use my 305 to keep track of time or distance during my run…then look at pace, etc.. AFTERWARDS. You can select whichever screen you want to view during your run. So nice to hear your acceptance of “where you are now”. We all have lives that consist of more than just fitness. Great Work, Caitlin.

  • run run rachel August 4, 2011, 10:52 am

    this is exactly how i feel! i always run with my iphone and use a running app that tracks my distance and time via GPS. but i hate using it! I would rather map out a route, not look at what time i left the house, and just…RUN!

    mileage is mileage and you’ll end up in the same place no matter how long it takes you 🙂

  • Susan August 4, 2011, 12:25 pm

    I stopped running with gadgets a year ago and it increased my joy of running tenfold. I tried tracking my pace a few times since, and I would always finish my run feeling dissatisfied with myself, as opposed to sweaty and happy like I do without it. These days the only reason why I put on a heart rate monitor is for my HEALTH (can’t push it too hard!), I am sooooo done with being my own worst competitor when it comes to fitness.

  • Amber K August 4, 2011, 12:55 pm

    My fitness level definitely ebbs and flows. Mostly because I am much more motivated with cardio, then with strength and flexibility. And the latter two are what I really need to work on. My HRM definitely motivates me and it’s harder to convince myself to do the things that don’t make the numbers climb higher. Sometimes I think I need to give it up for awhile and see what I lean towards.

    I like the comments that mention that you are human. You definitely seem to have a leg up on the fitness thing, but even Olympic athletes probably have times that they just aren’t feeling it. It’s all good!

  • Lisa (I'm an Okie) August 4, 2011, 1:09 pm

    I ran my first half marathon with my Garmin, and tried to for my second, but the GPS was having trouble so I just turned it off. I LOVED IT! It was so freeing not knowing what mile I was on or what my pace was. I just kept running and enjoyed the moment. And guess what? I PRed by 10 minutes!

  • Kelsey August 4, 2011, 1:38 pm

    I just ran my first 5k after being diagnosed with “probable MS” and realizing that the time to do things I always wanted to do was NOW. Besides the frustrating symptoms, I was out of shape and overweight. It took me months to work up to running those 3.2 miles. It took me 39 minutes which is slooowww compared to the blog world. But after getting down on myself for not being super fast or skinny or having this looming disease, I decided to be grateful that I can run. I started running for me, to celebrate my body and what it can do. It makes me feel alive. What are you running for? I suspect more than a number on a GPS. Thanks for always being real Cailtin. You’re an inspiration to me.

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 1:39 pm

      YOU inspire me!!! Way to go, Kelsey.

  • Katherina @ Zephyr Runs August 4, 2011, 3:20 pm

    I’ve never had a Garmin and will probably never get one… I also don’t step on the scale or count calories. Those things don’t motivate me. I tried counting calories for a week and it lasted a day and a half. I love Kelsey’s comment – just celebrate that you’re willing and able to run and be healthy!

  • Kaitlin With Honey August 4, 2011, 6:13 pm

    The message of this post is so inspiring. We’re all going to find ourselves at the top of our ranges, but we’re also all going to find ourselves at the bottom. You are so right that we sometimes just need to prioritize — you WOULD burn out if you tried to do the same amount of fitness as you were before! Man, Caitlin — I never comment and now I’ve commented twice on your blog today! Great posts.

  • kristenq August 4, 2011, 6:23 pm

    ok. I completely understand the mileage thing. Amazing how a 9min/mile pace doesnt make you made but 9:30 min/miles do. But I will say YOU RAN 6 MILES!!!!!!! THAT in itself is awesome! so lets just focus on the positive haha(im an optimist haha)
    I do run wiht a garmin and I love it, but I tend to look at the pace too

  • Andrea August 4, 2011, 8:47 pm

    Caitlin, as always, your honesty is so appreciated. It really doesn’t matter what your pace is, what matters is that you go out there and did something active that made you feel good.

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