Morning!  It’s Monday…. again.  I had such a good weekend, and I’m really disappointed its the work week again.  My workload is insane right now!

 

Breakfast was super easy—with no messy clean-up!

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Last time I made waffles, I made two extra and put them in the freezer.  It was so nice to just pop two WW waffles in the toaster this morning instead of dirtying up pots and pans!

 

My waffles were extra special because I smothered them in pumpkin butter instead of syrup.

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It was divine!

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On the side, I had banana with blueberries.

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Ask Coach Jenny

 

Ask Coach Jenny is a column on Runner’s World, and this week’s question was very interesting!  Jenny’s answer was so thoughtful that I wanted to share it with you!

 

QUESTION:  I am running my first marathon in March (the SunTrust National Marathon in DC), and I am very excited about it.  I’ve been working very hard over the past few months to get in shape: I’ve been logging in many miles, and taking up yoga, pilates, and some lifting as well.  However, I’m wondering if it is normal to be constantly thinking about training.  I’m always trying to figure out when to fit my runs and workouts, and I tend to feel a little anxiety if I can’t fit one in.  Is this normal?  I just want to do well and make sure I don’t get hurt, but now I’m wondering if I’m over-thinking everything.  Is this common?  Any advice for a newbie? Thank you so much for the advice you give to your readers – we all really appreciate it.  Best, Vanessa, Washington, DC

 

ANSWER:  Hi Vanessa, welcome to the wonderful world of marathon running!  Finishing 26.2 miles is a challenging goal and as you know, one that requires a considerable amount of training.  It is quite normal to be consumed in thought regarding your training, especially with this being your first marathon.  Any first-time experience carries the mystery of the great unknown which can stir up fearful thoughts.  What if I get hurt in training?   What if I don’t finish?  The key is to manage the fear and harness the excitement.  Here are a few mindful strategies for the next few months of training.

 

  • Avoid looking at the whole marathon training program at once.  It’s tempting to look ahead at the 20 miler and get paralyzed in thought of how the heck you are going to run that far when you can only cover 6 miles now.  Break down your training into smaller, more digestible pieces and focus on one week at a time.  It’s motivating to run one or two miles longer than you think you can.  However, it’s daunting to think your way through a run that is three times longer. 
  • Plug your runs into your planner so you can merge your every day life with training.  The more specific the time and date for each run, the calmer you’ll be in knowing the run will get done. 
  • If you miss a run, all is not lost.   Marathon training has it’s ups and downs and its never a perfect journey.  You’ll have weeks where you get in every workout as planned and life will be great.   You’ll also have weeks where you struggle so much you wonder why you’re training at all.  Go with the ebb and flow of the season.  One workout does not make a marathoner.  The sum of all workouts is what gets you across the finish line.
  • Accept the fear.  If marathoning were easy, everyone would be doing it and the medal wouldn’t mean a darn thing.  Fear is a normal part of the process and an important survival tool.  It makes us respect the distance and more importantly, prepare for it.  Allow yourself to feel the fear, but put a limit on it. 
  • Marathon training is a lot like conducting an orchestra.  A lot is happening all at the same time and you are in charge of managing it.  Focus on the things you can control and let go of the things you can’t.  When you sit in fear, review your log and have faith in preparation.   You’re already doing the hard part (training), the race is the celebration.

 

Happy Trails,

Coach Jenny Hadfield

 

Are you very focused on your exercise program, or do you kind of take-it-as-it-comes?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of your approach?

{ 45 comments }

 

  • glidingcalm February 2, 2009, 5:38 am

    your waffles look amazing Caitlin!

    happy Monday! šŸ™‚

  • VeggieGirl February 2, 2009, 5:40 am

    I always adore your breakfasts!! šŸ™‚

    My trainer keeps track of my training for me, so I don’t really have to worry about over-training or any of that, thank goodness.

  • ashley (sweetandnatural) February 2, 2009, 6:02 am

    Yummy waffles!

    I’m a take it as it comes kind of girl. My work schedule isn’t predictable enough to make any detailed training plans around it. So I just do what I can when I can!

  • haya February 2, 2009, 6:14 am

    i am trying to be very focused! training for a big race is a lot like investing, i think. you have to come up with a plan and stick to it without getting distracted by noise (like new training plans in magazines or little ups and downs in the market). if your plan was a well thought out one, your best bet is to stick to it as much as possible!
    that said, i think a good training plan should have enough flexibility that it can fit into your crazy/hectic life without having to sacrifice anything on either end.

  • Nicole (anotheronebitesthecrust.wordpress.com) February 2, 2009, 6:30 am

    I’m definitely a take it as I come kind of girl. I like to just go with the flow, in all aspects of my life, actually šŸ˜€

    Good idea with the waffles, it makes it so easier to make a bunch and freeze them!

  • Annie February 2, 2009, 6:34 am

    Hey Caitlin! Happy Monday!

    I was wondering what flavor of Muscle Milk Light do you use? Have you tried any others?

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point February 2, 2009, 6:39 am

    anne – i have a big old jug of the cookies and cream flavor, which i really like. however, i only have 1 scoop left, so its time for me to buy something new!

  • therunningaddict February 2, 2009, 6:57 am

    Caitlin that breakfast looks SO.GOOD!
    Great post on marathon training!

  • Justine February 2, 2009, 7:01 am

    I’m a pretty big planner, so I’m pretty focused on my exercise program. And now that I’m in the middle of training for a half-marathon I make sure to get all of my runs in…especially the long ones! I know that if I slack off I may not make it to the finish!

  • Kailey February 2, 2009, 7:02 am

    Beautiful breakfast! The schmear of pumpin butter really makes ’em. As far as training goes…luckily one doesn’t have to train if all she uses is the elliptical šŸ™‚

  • emilydh211 February 2, 2009, 7:02 am

    I always try to just listen to my body and go with the flow when it comes to working out. I try to push myself to at least get into the gym about everyday, but once I’m there my workouts and workout lengths really depend on how I feel.

  • brandi February 2, 2009, 7:04 am

    Right now, I’m just taking it one day at a time.

    We try to workout 3-4 times a week, which includes running plus bodypump (once a week) and I’ve been trying to do more yoga, as well.

    I haven’t done any races over a 5K, so I’ve never really had a real “training schedule”, but sometimes I wish I did!

  • Erin February 2, 2009, 7:16 am

    I just take it day by day. I may eventually start using a more thought out training schedule, but for the time being I’m happy.

  • Mica February 2, 2009, 7:19 am

    I haven’t done a serious training program in awhile because I rarely race. That said, I hope I don’t get CONSUMED with training thoughts as I work up to my first marathon. We’ll see.

    Pumpkin butter “with port”? Mmmmm.

  • lauren February 2, 2009, 7:27 am

    the breakfast looks scrumptious.

    I love having a training program to follow, but understand that stuff comes up in life, so, if I dont follow it exactly – all will not be lost.

  • Amanda February 2, 2009, 7:33 am

    When I trained for my half-marathon back in Nov, it was my first race and I really let it consume me. Although I pretty much just had the 4 times I needed to run each week with the mileage, I ALWAYS talked about it to my boyfriend (a non-runner), insisted on going to bed early, and got really cranky if I missed a run. Needless to say, I think he’s really glad I’m done with the race.

    It was great to have a plan, but I tend to get obsessive about things. So I think it’s important to make a conscious effort to not let it rule your life. The only problem is that with training, you want to be healthy, limit alcohol, and sleep well. I basically felt like the “not fun girlfriend” for a few months!

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point February 2, 2009, 7:35 am

    amanda – wise words indeed! i try to remember im not an olympic athlete and it doesnt really matter if i beat my PR or not, just that i live a balanced life. i feel like the “not fun” wife all the time, because i hardly ever want to drink with the husband or go out. but thats because im an old lady.:P

  • ksgoodeats February 2, 2009, 7:38 am

    Where did the weekend go?! I’m totes disappointed it’s Monday šŸ™

    Fabulous breakfast though!

  • Bec February 2, 2009, 7:47 am

    I love freezing leftover waffles and pancakes, they make a quick yummy breakfast later! As for my training in the fall through spring I have a general outline of what I want to do for workouts each week and when I want to up weights, speed, etc but in the summer I just relax and do ‘fun’ summer activities for exercise. Though this does include long trail runs, 2km swims, 20-80km bikes and several rounds a golf a week but it never feels like a work out!

  • Meg February 2, 2009, 7:52 am

    That pumpkin butter looks beyond delicious.

  • robinbb February 2, 2009, 8:00 am

    I over-analyze my training way too much. I am already nervous about how I am going to run a 20 miler while on vacation in Orlando next month. I am so strict and hate missing any runs.

  • Diana February 2, 2009, 8:00 am

    Breakfast looks delish! I’ve never tried putting pumpkin butter on my waffles before, but it sounds like a great idea! šŸ™‚

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point February 2, 2009, 8:02 am

    robinbb- there are some decent trails in orlando! look up the wekiva trail online – its 14 miles long and has mile markers, so you can run from the trailhead to mile 10 and back. šŸ™‚

  • Betsy in Pittsburgh February 2, 2009, 8:13 am

    Thanks for posting the column – a half marathon is definitely in my sights for this year, and I’m sort of clueless in regards to training…

    And we did end up rioting in Oakland last night!! The bottom windows of Hillman library were all smashed in with chairs, among other acts of vandalism. It was insane. šŸ™‚

  • RhodeyGirl/Sabrina February 2, 2009, 8:22 am

    did you write yet today?!?! get to it missy! šŸ™‚

    those waffles looks delicious. love it.

  • Victoria February 2, 2009, 8:34 am

    I’m totally a planner. I feel like I ave no much going on, that if I don’t know specifically when I’m going to do something (like a run), it doesn’t get done. I defintiely find planning to be a stress reliever.

  • Colleen February 2, 2009, 8:47 am

    I go with the flow as far as training…but it’s weird I almost always end up with the same mileage at the end of the week. Working full time and going to school 4 nights a week makes it hard to exercise (I have to do it at 5am), so I’m careful not to beat myself up if I choose rest over exercise. Great topic and marvelous breakfast!

  • Sarah W. February 2, 2009, 8:58 am

    I am very focused – especially now that I am training for a 10miler at the beginning of April – my FIRST 10miler…I’m also hitting PR’s on mileage because the most I ever ran was 4 miles a few years AGO.

    I make sure I get my training in – I’m pretty strict in fact and it works for me. I’m also tryingn to lose weight at the same time.

    I have my long run on Saturday and that is super strict. So I do not drink at all on Friday night, and go to bed early. and Saturday night is usually dry too.

  • mytastytravels February 2, 2009, 9:12 am

    I usually plan my workouts the weekend before to make sure my schedule doesn’t conflict for that week. I do tend to get obsessive about getting my gym time, and I feel guilty or off if I don’t go. But, sometimes it’s good to have a day off!

    -kristen

  • Sarah (lovINmytummy) February 2, 2009, 9:24 am

    Pumpkin butter w/port?! It’s never to early in the morning for a little wine infused treat!

    I enjoy have a training program, i.e. for an upcoming race, because it gives me some direction and changes things up from day to day so I don’t get bored. BUT I also take the liberty of switching it up and I don’t beat myself up if I modify the program to fit my needs.

  • lilveggiepatch February 2, 2009, 9:52 am

    Those waffles looks GREAT! Pumpkin butter with port is such a good idea… There’s no flavor like liquor.

    Runner’s World columns are the best, whether you’re just getting started or going for the long haul. Thanks for sharing!

  • BOBBI McCORMICK February 2, 2009, 10:03 am

    mmmm love the waffles, yesterday in the PREGAME show I heard them say Tipping Point and thought of you!!!

  • elise February 2, 2009, 10:04 am

    pumpkin butter!!! sign me up šŸ™‚

    i can relate to feeling anxious about not getting in a good workout, i used to feel horrible if i missed a day, but thats one of the things ive been working on lately…now i exercise less often (like 4 days a week), but the days i do go are much more productive and energized…eventually i hope to get the balance of work and exercise down, but for noe, i still cant go to the gym after work – its just too abusive for my body!

  • Erin February 2, 2009, 10:10 am

    I saw some of that pumpkin butter this weekend and debated buying it but wasn’t sure how I’d like it. Is it as tasty as other pumpkin butters?

  • D10 February 2, 2009, 10:48 am

    I love pumpkin butter!!

  • greendogwine February 2, 2009, 11:07 am

    That breakfast looks dayyyyum tasty! šŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing that article – that was really helpful to hear!

  • robinbb February 2, 2009, 11:25 am

    Thanks for the recommendation on the trail in Orlando. Would you consider it a safe trail that I could run on by myself? Looking at the pictures, it is exactly what I was looking for….You saved my workout!

  • Robin February 2, 2009, 12:25 pm

    I loooove blueberries – and great tips for marathoners!

  • HangryPants February 2, 2009, 12:36 pm

    I take it as it comesm, but I wonder if I were training for a specific event if I would be more scheduled.

  • Leah February 2, 2009, 12:39 pm

    Hey Caitlin, did you find you were starving all day after your 11 mile run? On Saturday I did just an 8 mile run and I felt famished all day long! Just curious how you feel your appetite changes after you run that far the day of & do you find its back to 'normal' the day after?

  • Andrea of Care to Eat February 2, 2009, 12:52 pm

    I’ve never had a regular training schedule until I started doing the Hal Higdon’s 10k plan (which I found via your site BTW!) I like knowing what I’m doing every day so I’ll probably keep going this schedule even after my 10k. Sometimes, though I’ll miss a workout, then I tweak the schedule a little bit. So, I guess I would say I’m mostly schedule, but will roll with any changes that I choose to make šŸ™‚

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point February 2, 2009, 12:59 pm

    robin – i wouldnt go realllly early in the am (like before 6 am) but there are usually lots of people on the trail so it is pretty safe.

    leah – yes i was starving when i got home from that run! i usually am pretty hungry after long runs. i try to eat a BIG meal afterwards because id rather just satisfy the hunger right away and then go back to normal eating for the rest of the day. but if you “enjoy” stretching out your extra calories, you could just graze all day long, too. i just think its important to make a conscious decision about refueling after a long run, no matter when you do it. its important to make up the calories, but you dont want to go TOO overboard! šŸ™‚

  • dailygoods February 2, 2009, 1:02 pm

    thanks for showing the question/answer about training! it is good info to know. It’s hard not to get overwhelmed and too wrapped up in your training when all you want to do is reach your goal. Thanks again!

  • Meghann February 2, 2009, 4:15 pm

    I love making waffles and freezing them for later enjoyment šŸ™‚

  • jane February 2, 2009, 5:56 pm

    I don’t really worry too much about training. I don’t like following training programs cause then i get stressed if I miss a run or something- I like being flexible and not bound to a schedule. I want running to be something enjoyable, and I can enjoy more when I decide whether I want to run 3 miles that day or 7 miles! After all, how does a pre-written program know how your body feels on any given day? But I also make sure I put in the important training runs- the long runs. Even if I don’t feel like it, I will definitely log the long run days because they are most important in prepping for what I’ve trained for, half marathons.
    I suppose if I was a more competitive runner (like if I cared about speed haha) then I might adhere more strictly to an actual program.

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