Under Pressure

in All Posts

I had some excellent eats this afternoon and evening!


Mid-afternoon snacks included granola:


And a fruit, cracker, and cheese snack plate:


I just love Laughing Cow cheese!  Mmm!


Dinner was an easy falafel wrap that was stuffed with green pepper, onion, and mustard:


With a side salad:


Under Pressure?


Megan had a really cute post today called Bloggers Are Normal People about feeling pressed to be "perfect" if you have a food/fitness blog.  The point of her post is that bloggers aren’t perfect, of course.


But her post got me thinking.  Lately, I’ve felt SO much pressure with my running (I never feel food pressure — this is how I WANT to eat).  I don’t think it’s because of the blog (I’ve ran more mileage and more intensely before), I actually think it’s the a combination of my marathon training plus my sucky schedule.


The marathon is a great challenge for me.  It’s something I never thought I could accomplish, and now I know that I can.  Because I’m running the race in honor of my friend Megan (who has cancer and is in chemo right now) through the Team in Training organization, I feel extra optimistic that I can do this.


But of course, 26.2 miles scares the shit out of me! ๐Ÿ™‚


Last fall, I was running 5 days a week for about 20 – 25 miles.  My schedule only allows me to run 3 days a week, MAYBE 4.  So I feel overwhelming pressure to run on my "run days."  I feel like every single run counts towards the marathon (intellectually, I know it doesn’t for an amateur like myself).


I know I don’t have to be "perfect" with my running, and I don’t set myself up for failure (by attempting to stick to a 4- or 5-day program when I know I don’t have the time).  But does any one have suggestions for how I can mentally shake the pressure?



  • Amanda August 3, 2009, 5:54 pm

    My best advice would just be to remember how important rest days are to your overall goal of running a marathon. On your off days I would just recommend going for a nice walk with the pups, doing some yoga/stretching/your PT exercises. Remind yourself why you are running and that you are SO lucky to be bouncing back from your knee troubles – don't stress, running should be FUN! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Meganerd August 3, 2009, 6:03 pm

    Thanks for the blog shoutout! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Just do what you can, with what you've got! Remember the reason why you run in the first place, to be healthy and relieve stress… so don't let it stress you out!

    Every time you are tempted to skip out a run, think of your friend, who might never have the chance to run. Be thankful for every mile.

    Love ya, Caitlin!!!

  • Britt August 3, 2009, 6:15 pm

    Marathon training can be overwhelming, especially when its your first one. You do what you can. I actually trained for my first marathon while planning my wedding! The marathon was a month before our wedding. Was it my best time ever…. no, but it was my first and I learned from it.

    Use the resources you can from Team in Training. Welcome the support of family & friends and when you have those days where the run feels like a chore, remember why you are doing this and who you are doing it for. Hang in there!!

  • Marissa {sparkles and fate} August 3, 2009, 6:15 pm

    Those berries look great!

  • recipesforcreativity August 3, 2009, 6:20 pm

    I am sure I have some awesome advice on avoiding the mental pressure, but now I'm feeling pressured to think of it, so nothing is coming to me ๐Ÿ™‚

    I'm sure you'll get what you need to done, you always do, and the pressure is coming from only you, so maybe you could try telling yourself to live in the moment and that you're doing everything you need to do? Or something!

    Have a great night ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ashley Lauren August 3, 2009, 6:21 pm

    I don't really have any advice, but just want to say that I can definitely relate! At this point, I'm on week 3 of the couch to 5k program, so I'm not on your level, but I also have a packed schedule. I really don't feel like letting myself down is an option. Every night that it's thundering (a lot of nights here in north fla lately) I get really frustrated. (joining a gym isn't an option). Reading everyone else's advice is super helpful!

  • Kimberly August 3, 2009, 6:22 pm

    You mean suggestions other than "lots of wine?" ๐Ÿ˜‰ But honestly, I would say just find your confidence and remember how capable you are. You've completed several long-distance races, organized an entire blog summit, scored a book deal, created Operation Beautiful… those were all daunting projects that you turned into successes, so why should this one be any different? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Whitney@whitsgettingfit August 3, 2009, 6:29 pm

    Caitlin, just remember how strong and capable you are. Like Kimberly said, look at all you have accomplished! This marathon will be no different. I am amazed at how quickly you have come back from your injury to run the distances you are. *cheers*

  • Kelly August 3, 2009, 6:32 pm

    I think you are going to have to remember to listen to your body even if it's a "run" day. As I've told you, I have similar knee issues to you and was training for a sprint triathlon this summer. I was really hard on myself on days when I could not do anything, but in the end I was completely ready for the race. You will be ready for the marathon too (as long as you don't skip all of your runs!) even if you take a few rest days here and there.

  • Kelly August 3, 2009, 6:36 pm

    I've been putting pressure on myself with running lately too. ๐Ÿ™ I love to run but having the added pressure makes it seem like a chore. When I feel too much pressure I decide to run what I feel like running instead of what I am "suppose" to run. Like a shorter mileage or a slower pace.

  • Pam (Highway to Health) August 3, 2009, 6:39 pm

    Try not to compare yourself to other runners. You are doing this for yourself and your friend. You CAN do it and you will do it in your own way.

  • Jenn Eats Nutritiously Now August 3, 2009, 6:46 pm

    Those berries look so pretty! I love LC cheese, too, but strangely I only like the light original.

  • MarathonVal August 3, 2009, 6:50 pm

    Caitlin, when I was training for my first marathon, for whatever daft reason I decided to use Hal Higdon's schedule – but the INTERMEDIATE instead of novice. I don't know what I was thinking, since I WAS a novice!!! lol.

    With this schedule I was running 5 days a week, with much more mileage than I would have had with the novice plan, and surprise, surprise, I got injured.

    I had to take 6 weeks off from training, which was extremely, extremely hard. Mentally I felt antsy and frustrated for not being able to run, and assumed that my body would not be able to respond physically after such a long period of time off.

    However, after 6 weeks somehow I was able to bounce just fine!!! At that time I did a few things that helped me greatly:

    1. Be flexible!!! I let myself cut down to just 3 days of running a week, which is what I do (successfully) to this day

    2. I only "fretted" about getting my long runs in… those are the most important!!! If you do your long runs, it's perfectly fine if you have to skip, or shorten, a short or medium distance run here or there

    3. Interestingly enough, I read that there is no difference, endurance wise, between running 18 miles in a row, or running 9 miles in the morning and 9 miles at night. This is how I would do a couple of my long runs once I had come back from the time off, and it worked great. Maybe you could try this method, if you need to, on days when you don't have the time to run your entire long run straight through, but you my have more time if you broke it up into 3 runs!

    I also find that when I only run 3 days a week, I enjoy and savor my runs that much more. I remember the excitement of training for my first marathon, and it's so easy to get caught up in the hype and think you have to be running every minute of the day, but this just isn't the case. Unless you are trying to run Boston, it's much more important to go at your own pace and to do what works for you.

    The week before I ran my first marathon I was actually in the audience at the Oprah show, and I got the chance to talk to Oprah. I asked her what her advice was her for (she had run the Chicago Marathon many many years ago), and she said, simply, to "Run your own race".

    It's great advice!

    Sorry for the uber-long post….. happy running! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Susan August 3, 2009, 6:50 pm

    Maybe you need to stop looking at it as marathon training, and just work on hitting your weekly goals. I can see how 26.2 miles would seem pretty darn daunting. But if you keep your thinking (and training) in the present, it might help keep the freakout in check.

  • Paige@ Running Around Normal August 3, 2009, 6:54 pm

    Good eats for sure! To shake the pressure, just keep in mind that it's for Megan! She won't care if you run the marathon in record time or if you're the last one to cross the finish line! Hey… You're training for a marathon! That in itself is incredible!!

  • Lauren August 3, 2009, 6:58 pm

    Try to remember that everyone here is going to support you and never judge. I know it's easier said than done, because we all feel that unaviodable sense of judge by revealing so much of ourselves each and everyday.

    Caitlin, you are so inpsiring to so many girls, and the mere fact that you are committing yourself to this marathon for the reasons you are is entirely admirable in itself. So what if you only ran a mile today and intended to do 5, the point is, you are trying. You give it everything and your heart is in the right place.

    Keep your head held high because you have so much to be proud of!

  • inmytummy August 3, 2009, 7:02 pm

    Marathon training is tough. Remember that it's like that for everyone. I trained for a marathon a few years ago and definitely skipped some runs and you know what, I was still fine come race day.

  • Rachel August 3, 2009, 7:12 pm

    Training for any specific goal sometimes brings out the pressure monster. I don't have any wonderful tips from getting away from that, but I will say that I'm positive your readers appreciate your sharing not only the "good" running days but also the days you have trouble! Since we ALL do – and part of the reason *I* personally love reading blogs is the variety of experience I can relate to. So maybe on the off days when you're feeling the pressure, you can focus on what you can get out of the alternatives to running you can do on those days (other types of exercise, or something different altogether that you can do w/ your time), write about it, focus on the positive! Hope you get some good tips ๐Ÿ™‚

  • chandra August 3, 2009, 7:15 pm

    I'll give you the advice I give myself when I start feeling pressured or freaked about getting in mileage. This is what I say to myself:
    " I know you want to run that whole marathon. You know you can with proper training. But IF b chance you can't run the whole thing, doesn't mean you won't still complete it an make a big accomplishment. Remember, walking is just a slower version of running and run/walking the race or even a training run will still get you those miles, those accomplishments, and get you across that finish line with you own two feet. Do what you can and be proud of what you do."

    Honestly, I give myself that pep talk all the time… and last week was kind of proof for me that even if you can only do 2-3 4 mile runs during the week and then a long run, you'll be fine. I did a 3 mile, a 4 mile, a 2 mile walk, and then a 16 mile run. And I dominated. As long as you get some mileage during the week and build up properly you'll do fine. You can do it Caitlin, your two feet will carry you across the finish line, I have no doubt about that. ๐Ÿ˜‰ รขโ„ขยฅ

  • Oh She Glows August 3, 2009, 7:23 pm

    I can relate to how you are feeling…I have my first half coming up in September and each run now feels like it MUST serve a purpose and I must run 'x' amount of miles or it is useless. I hate thinking like that because we know it isn't true at all!
    I always think of my friend that I lost when I am feeling stressed with workouts…I remind myself that I am LUCKY- damn damn lucky- to be able to run and race. I also remind myself of my injury. I think if you thought back to when you were on your hiatus and how you thought you may not run again…that might help. It does for me, but of course everyone is different!

  • Island Girl Eats August 3, 2009, 7:30 pm

    I am training for the Disney marathon as well. Obviously I have more time on my hands than you do. So I am running 5 days a week. It is hard, but I make myself do it.

    In regard to the 26.2 miles scaring the 'shit' out of you – this is how I think about it – the 26.2 miles is the celebration of all my hard work. It is all of the training that is killing me! The celebration bit is what calms me every time I get a bit freaked out! If 26.2 miles was easy, everyone would do it!

    Keep up the good work! You are strong and beautiful!

  • Andee (Runtolive) August 3, 2009, 7:33 pm

    You should take it easy on yourself. I ran 40-50 miles/week training for my last marathon that I got so burned out that now I can't stand running long distance outside anymore. I've been on a running hiatus since May only doing 20 miles now and only running when I feel like it. Don't feel pressured to go out just to "make the miles" for each week. Gradually, now that I'm doing more x-training, I'm getting into the training program again, without being so obsessed with hitting the 40/miles a week like I used to do. Do whatever works best for you, but remember to still making running enjoyable for yourself!

  • burpandslurp August 3, 2009, 7:56 pm

    Caitlin, you don't run for us…you run for yourself! You run for the enjoyment. If running becomes stressful and a chore, then it is no longer healthy for you. But I know what you mean by a marathon being overwhelming. SOmetimes I wonder how you can keep up with your work, and your blog, AND your running, so don't worry, you are perfectly human, and allowed to feel overwhelmed at times…but still, I have a feeling you'll pull it off! But ultimately, do what makes YOu happy!

  • Chellie has Issues August 3, 2009, 10:15 pm

    I love reading all of these comments since I too am training for my 1st marathon and it's very overwhelming. Especially since I've been feeling terrible my last couple of long runs.

    I think I'm goin to try Val's advice about splitting the long run. I have been stressing about fitting in 14 miles this week and it seems easier to handle running 7 and 7.

    I know on Runner's World self generated training log, they have plans that are just 3-4 days of running. I think as long as you get in a tempo run and a long run each week you should be OK. Just don't quit!

  • roseyrebecca August 3, 2009, 10:40 pm

    I love Garlic & Herb Laughing Cow!

    I think the best way to shake the pressure is just to focus on the fact that you are running for a good cause and that's all that matters! There's no way you can possibly fail when you're helping someone you care about.

  • WholeBodyLove August 3, 2009, 11:58 pm

    I agree, 26.2 is some scary stuff. Team In Training is great motivation. As for shaking the pressure, I am too new to running to give advice on that.

  • Joelle (The Pancake Girl) August 4, 2009, 12:18 am

    Although I have never been training for a marathon, I can most definitely relate to that pressure associated with running that sometimes pops in… the important thing to recognize is that it'll all you- you have no one to prove anything to but yourself, so there's no one out there to make you feel like every run needs to be great or like you have to measure up to anyone else. All you have to do is be the best possible version of yourself each day/each run, and if that means taking an extra rest day in order to preserve that sacredness that should belong to your running, then so be it. As others have said, running should relieve your stress, not add to it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Tami August 4, 2009, 2:01 am

    stick with your training schedule and if you need to skip a day for added rest do so. you know you can do it, it seems overhelming because you have never run that far. i am training for a marathon in October, a few weeks ago I ran my first 20 miler and it was horrible but i pushed through. last weekends 18 miler was much much better.

    don't stop, is something i think about when i am running. your friend can't stop her treatments and you can't stop training and running (unless you have a rest day) you can do it

  • Michelle August 4, 2009, 5:36 am

    This is such an interesting blog post. I was reading through it..and also your twitters.. (feel stalked yet) and then a wave of emotion ran over me. I feel so overwhelmed with the 30lbs that I have to lose…that I've gained back. It feels like I am constantly batteling this. Finding ways to sabatoge myself. Are we afraid of not being able to do it? Or are we afraid of being able to do it?

    I don't know if I have the answers. But it's such an interesting thing to be in. A place where comfort zones are pushed, where mental agility is pushed and old habits of boundaries and routines are challenged constantly. I guess thanks for writing this. It enables me to really focus on the fact that I am not the only person who gets overwhelmed with things. However, we both know that we can do it.


  • seesaraheat August 4, 2009, 5:37 am

    Yay, falafel!

    I don't know if I have any tips other than just breathe ๐Ÿ™‚

    Best wishes for your training!

  • HangryPants August 4, 2009, 5:41 am

    Well I think self induced pressure is part of your very nature, but you also have confidence so you have to allow the moments of confidence to shine through. You can't worry about disappointing others. You are doing something amazing just by raising the money and making an effort to run it; something I am not doing and many other people will never do.

    Physically, you will be able to do it. You are determined and you will run enough. You are a strong, active person who will take care of yourself and do your best. Also, with your knee running more probably isn't the best. More is not always better.

  • Anna August 4, 2009, 7:49 am

    I can definitely relate- I'm also prone to setting very high standards for myself. It's tough, but remind yourself that the fact you're even ATTEMPTING marathon training is amazing in itself. You're doing something few people do! And for extra encouragement/reminder of your awesomeness, take a look at the loads of race medals and numbers you already have. You've achieved a lot!

  • platipus329 August 4, 2009, 9:44 am

    I think a little pressure in everyone's life is a good thing, because we DO go through tough times and we need to be prepared when things get REALLY tough. But overall I would say picture yourself a year from now, or even 20, and see if things that seem like a big deal now really are. I always find it silly when people get bogged down after a night of indulging or something. I just think, "over the next 20 years, I'm going to do a lot of moving, and a lot of eating, so anything I do today really doesn't matter, it's how I live my life overall that matters"

  • Julia August 4, 2009, 9:58 am

    I think my best advice is to stop thinking of running as a "should". Think of running as a reward, as something you WANT to do. I can only run 3 days/week too, and I have been managing 25 is miles a week. Honestly, the best thing that helps me is I pump myself up all day for the run. I think about how good it will feel to not sit at the desk, how good it will feel to get that runners high, etc. I don't think about 26.2, just the end of the street, the stop sign, etc. The marathon is far away. Have the confidence to know you will excel, and enjoy the ride. ๐Ÿ™‚ You got this, Caitlin!

  • Paige August 4, 2009, 10:00 am

    Hi Caitlin! I am running my second marathon this October in Chicago. With the tremendous heat lately, it has been difficult for me to get in long runs. That puts pressure on me; knowing that I have a marathon coming up.

    In my training, I always make sure that I can cover double the distance of a race within a week of training. For example; if I am running a marathon, then I want to be sure that I can cover at least 52 miles in a week's worth of training. That gives me plenty of time on my feet; and gets my legs ready. This is not scientific by any means, but it has worked for me for distances from the 10K to the marathon!

  • tracik August 4, 2009, 10:55 am

    Feeling stressed is not good for the mind or body. A great book I recommend is How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. Pretty good read about managing stress and worry. I find if its a run day for me but its like 90 deg and 100% humidity out I just do something else: Kayak, tennis, yoga. As long as I'm moving my body I happy! I don't want to feel pressured to do the run because I don't ever want to come to dread it! Just do the bes you can each day and stay positive. Good luck Caitlin and love your Blog!

  • eatingRD August 4, 2009, 11:42 am

    that's funny I just did a post on perfection recently too ๐Ÿ™‚ Don't stress too much and do what you can, what's best for you. You are such an inspiration and nothing you could do would let anyone down because you go the extra mile all the time ๐Ÿ™‚

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