Here we go!


Today was my first official day of triathlon training.  I ran the Disney Marathon three weeks ago and am ready for a new challenge.


You might be surprised to here today is my official “start” for tri training because I literally began swimming and biking 4 days after the marathon.  But, I spent the last three weeks learning good form in the pool, fixing up my bike, and mentally preparing myself for a new race…. not really “training training.”  So much of training is the mental attitude behind it!


The race is March 14 and consists of a 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike, 5.6 mile run.


You can see my complete training plan on this spreadsheet (the weeks are broken up into different sheets – see the bottom left).  The spreadsheet is also available on the left-hand column on the blog under “Training Plan.”


I created the run and bike portions of the plan myself, and Ryan created the swim portion.  My plan for an Olympic Triathlon in 6 weeks includes:



Some thoughts:


  • I would reduce my running mileage (the run portion of the triathlon is 5.6 miles), but I hope to run a half marathon at the end of February.  If I decide not to do it, I will cut my mileage in half.
  • I’ve done one other triathlon and was disqualified because I panicked during the swim.  Ryan created a plan that has me doing tons of drills, sprints, intervals, and long swims (way past my 1,500 meter race distance) to ensure that I’m ready.
  • Yes, my plan is pretty intense.  🙂  I’m not really feeling comfortable with the idea of a triathlon right now, and I’m gearing up for the Century bike ride (100 miles) in May.  Basically, I need to whoop myself into really, really good shape for these events.  Would I recommend this plan to everyone? Well, no.  But I know what my body can handle and can’t handle, as well as what I need to do to succeed (and feel emotionally comfortable).  This plan will work for me, although it might not work for you, your goals, or your schedule.  I’m just sharing it for general knowledge purposes.
  • I am 100% sure I will not follow this schedule perfectly.  I will be swapping workouts to create rest days as needed, probably on a weekly basis.


Since it is still very snowy here, I trooped it to a gym near my mother’s house and plunked down a ridiculous amount of money for a week-long pass.  It’s a nice gym, but I almost gagged when they ran my credit card.


First up:  a run!  I did 3.0 miles on the treadmill in 27:00 minutes


Then, I headed to the locker room to change (and posted an Operation Beautiful note along the way):


And jumped in the pool!


I did a total of 1,150 meters.  As usual, I brought my “cheat sheet” in a Ziploc bag so I could remember what to do (the % is for exerted effort – i.e. 400 meters at 50% effort):


Whew!  ‘Twas an excellent workout.


Before the gym, I had a bag of pretzels (I took my uncle to a doctor’s appointment):


And afterwards, I snacked on crackers + 1 slice of deli cheese + hummus:


And 1 serving of whole wheat tortellini with pesto sauce and veggie soup.


I found the pesto sauce in my mom’s pantry and I must get some for myself!  Such a delicious change from red or cream sauce.


I better get some writing done – the day is slipping away!


If you’ve done a race before, did you follow a training plan?  Make one up?  Just wing it?  Do you keep your plan on the computer or use a paper calendar?  I’m always curious to see how people train!



  • megan February 1, 2010, 2:52 pm

    when i did my half marathon, I had a training plan and kept it on the computer. since then, I’ve only run a few 5ks and 1 10k – just for fun, not for time. so i didn’t really have a training plan. just making sure I could run the distance without stopping.

  • Shannon (The Daily Balance) February 1, 2010, 2:52 pm

    i think you are the only one who could make a swim cap adorable 😉

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg February 1, 2010, 2:53 pm

    Mmm…I love pesto!!! Looks like a great training plan– go get it, girl!

  • Evan Thomas February 1, 2010, 2:53 pm

    Right now, for my run, I’m just wining it and hoping it pulls through.
    Is 6 weeks much time for a tri plan? I know when I was thinking about getting a plan for my run in 8 weeks, everything wanted me to start 10-12 weeks early, which felt a little ridiculous.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet February 1, 2010, 2:53 pm

    Good for you on your plan! I know you will kick ass. And you are right – we all know what our body’s can handle. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise! 🙂

  • Sarah @ The Foodie Diaries February 1, 2010, 2:54 pm

    Hahaha I love the cheat sheet in the ziploc!

  • Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete February 1, 2010, 2:56 pm

    Oh heck yeah, I followed a plan! The book called Triathlon Training Basics has helped me through my triathlons so far. I LOVE that book. It has two sets of plans (one for not so fit and one for fit people), so it is perfect for everyone! Computer! It is much easier to organize and change around if you need to if it is on the computer. good luck! Your plan looks great! I know that you can handle it!

  • Krista February 1, 2010, 2:56 pm

    I like to make a general plan and a specific plan- for example, I know that Mondays are recovery days, Tuesdays are gym days, Thursdays are speed days, etc… and then every other week or so I’ll plan the specifics of what I’ll do each day. When I have a long term goal, like a race, I’ll make a large overall plan and then be flexible when needed. I find that keeping both a written copy and one on Google calendars works best for me. Good luck with your plan! It looks intense but I’m sure you can handle it!

  • The Hot and Fit February 1, 2010, 3:02 pm

    I have not ran one but I do have a plan and although I am not able to follow it completely, I do enough training (not necessarily running) to make me feel ready

  • Angela (Oh She Glows) February 1, 2010, 3:02 pm

    I made up my very first official training plan ever yesterday and I used your previous spreadsheet as a guide. It is AMAZING…cant believe I didnt do this sooner. You are a genius!
    I am quite excited about having a firm plan for each day…even though this is not typically the way I roll.

  • Elizabeth February 1, 2010, 3:03 pm

    I just started the couch to 5k plan yesterday.. my first plan ever! Your story of starting running definitely inspired me that I can do it, so thanks so much for sharing it. 🙂 Good luck on the triathlon, you will do great!!

    • caitlin February 1, 2010, 3:05 pm

      C25K plan is sooo great! You will have a great time getting 5K ready!

  • Emily Eats and Exercises February 1, 2010, 3:03 pm

    I’m really excited to keep up with you and your tri plan. Since I’m up North, my tri will have to wait until nicer weather and I’m also working towards my first half.
    I’m still a beginner racer, but I’m definitely a fan of training for extra distances – it just makes me feel more comfortable and confident. Of course I know you can’t do that for a full marathon.
    I’m going to do a few more sprint triathlons this summer/fall and then maybe work towards an olympic one? I definitely need to work some bike/run bricks – that was the part that killed me in my first race.
    Good luck. Cute swim photo. 🙂

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) February 1, 2010, 3:05 pm

    i’ve never done a race before, but this sounds super challenging to me! you’re right though, we all know what our body can and cannot handle, so i think you’re good to go!

    yummy lunch!

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat February 1, 2010, 3:05 pm

    I’m training for a half marathon right now. I keep a training plan on paper but I also keep the mileage schedule on my Google calendar. I try to stick to the program as much as possible but I also wing it because inevitably, life gets in the way of the schedule and I have to make some adjustments. Good luck with your training!

  • Freya @ February 1, 2010, 3:07 pm

    Wow that is one hectic hardcore schedule you got there!!
    I’m training for a half marathon atm (it’s on Sunday :O) and I read like, 6 different programmes, worked out what their basic point was, then just did my own thing. It’s worked really well! But for my *marathon*, I’m going to follow an official one I think 🙂
    Awesome lunch btw, stuffed pasta is to-die-for 😛

  • Tonyne @ Unlikely Success Story February 1, 2010, 3:10 pm

    I am a very scheduled person. I have a training schedule hanging on my fridge for my runs and I mark of each day as I complete it with my avg/mi, etc. and I keep what I am supposed to do for training everyday in my blackberry calendar so I always know. I find training plans online, for the 10k I’m training for now, I’m using Jeff Galloway’s plan, somewhat because of how highly you speak of his plans. 🙂

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite February 1, 2010, 3:12 pm

    I love that you left an OB note 🙂

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) February 1, 2010, 3:12 pm

    Woo hoo! You must be so psyched to “officially” kick off training. 😀

  • Bernadette February 1, 2010, 3:15 pm

    You are one tough cookie and I have no doubt that you will succeed!! The training plan looks awesome! I do have a question though, do you have any plans to do at least one practice swim in the open water before your Tri?? I personally think that there is no better way to mentally prepare for an open swim except to get out in the open water and swim. I had the same experience you did with my first Tri and know exactly the feelings that made me panic when I got out there.
    I can’t wait to go thru this training and Tri with you!! It’s so exciting!

    • caitlin February 1, 2010, 3:16 pm

      yes!! great advice. i am 100% doing an open water swim (or two). i need to put that on the schedule.

      • Bernadette February 1, 2010, 3:20 pm

        Yay!! I am so so impressed with you Caitlin and find so much inspiration in you!
        Thanks for sharing it all with us!

  • Katie@ Two Lives, One Lifestyle February 1, 2010, 3:20 pm

    You’re so motivating! I am gearing up for my first marathon in June and I’m going to work out a specific training plan this weekend. Good luck with the training schedule!
    PS- Pesto is really easy to make too!

  • Jessica February 1, 2010, 3:20 pm

    I started out following a plan for my first half-marathon coming up in a month, but got sidelined due to injury and snow. I don’t think you need to follow a plan to the letter to be successful. I just make sure to get in a long run, a tempo run, and some speedwork every week, and make sure I’m logging 30+ miles/week. I’m confident that I will do well in my half, without the stress of having to do a very specific workout on a specific day.

    I think I will stick more seriously to a plan when I start training for my full marathon, though…

    • caitlin February 1, 2010, 3:22 pm

      aww sorry you were injured!

      if it makes you feel better, i topped out around 20 – 25 mpw during my half marathon training, and i think i only broke 30 mpw towards the VERY end of marathon training. so if you can log 30 mpw, you are going to be more than ready for a half.

      • Jessica February 1, 2010, 6:25 pm

        Thanks for the encouragement, and good luck with your triathalon training! 🙂

  • Rachel February 1, 2010, 3:25 pm

    I see my question about an open water swim has been answered. Glad to see that you plan to do a couple before the tri.

    I don’t plan my workouts at all. I’m thinking of starting the couch 2 5k program (I can’t run a lick right now) once it warms up here (MI weather – it’s about 20 degrees right now). I think I’d rather run outside than inside on a treadmill.

  • Laura@FindingAHealthyBalance....after a 100+ Pound weight loss!!! February 1, 2010, 3:26 pm

    I follow a plan for bigger races (10K, 15K, etc…) and I have the plan on my computer at work, blog for my viewers & calendar at home.

    CONGRATS ON YOUR 1ST DAY!!! I know your training will go great……..=)

  • Jamie February 1, 2010, 3:26 pm

    whoop whoop glad training is going well! and I actually prefer pesto to any other sauce 😉

  • andrea February 1, 2010, 3:30 pm

    Just curious do you work a typical 40 plus hour work week? I only ask b/c I think it is so awesome that you have so much time to pursue these things and I just don’t know where you find the time.

    • caitlin February 1, 2010, 3:31 pm

      Honestly… no. I work about 30.

      • caitlin February 1, 2010, 3:32 pm

        However, I must say that 30 hours a week is pretty recent (like December). I did train for all my other races with a full (like 50 hour) a week schedule, but I think I would be much more drained if I was doing that with THIS particular schedule. You can def do an olympic with a full-time job, it just requires two-a-days or realllly early mornings at the gym.

        • caitlin February 1, 2010, 3:38 pm

          actually (sorry to pepper you with responses) now that i’m thinking about it, i definitely work at LEAST 40 hours a week because i work EVERYDAY (including weekends) on the blogs and on freelance. i think it feels like less than 40 hours because i can work whenever i want to and i really enjoy it.

  • Nicci@NiftyEats February 1, 2010, 3:32 pm

    I like to wing it, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to plan and train the right way. I’m trying to stick with my Half Marathon training right now. I had to change it up a bit, due to boredum.

  • Megan @ Eat.Scrap.Run February 1, 2010, 3:33 pm

    You are going to do great in your triathlon with all that training!! What half marathon are you considering? Gasparilla by any chance?

    • caitlin February 1, 2010, 3:34 pm

      YES! you?

      • Megan @ Eat.Scrap.Run February 1, 2010, 4:22 pm

        Yes, I am doing the Gasparilla half 🙂 I saw on one of your friend’s blogs that you linked to that they were doing Gasparilla, so I thought maybe that’s what you were considering. This is my first time doing it, but I hear it’s a really good, fun course with lots of people outside cheering you on.

  • Celia February 1, 2010, 3:33 pm

    Wow, your training plan looks awesome! Intense, sure, but as long as you listen to your body (which I’m sure you will), intense is good!
    I’ve done a few shorter races, and created my own training plans for them, just because I like the structure. Now I’m training for my first marathon with a team, because it’s nice to have company and the coach really, really knows his stuff (as in, he’s won the marathon we’re running).

  • Jenny Eastwood@ JennyLikesToRun, Teenager with a healthy twist on life :) February 1, 2010, 3:36 pm

    Sounds like an awesome plan you’ve got there! 🙂
    For me when I train, I follow my training plan almost PERFECTLY. I print it out and stick it on my wall and turn it into sort of a “star chart” 🙂 Sounds childish, but I love it and it’s a great incentive for me.

  • Beth @ DiningAndDishing February 1, 2010, 3:42 pm

    your moms gym looks really nice! best of luck with your training 🙂

  • Michelle February 1, 2010, 3:42 pm

    You’re triathlon training plan looks intense! Congrats to you for being so dedicated and such an athlete! I can’t wait for the Triathlon Recap post. =)

  • Brie (The Fit Bride) February 1, 2010, 3:47 pm

    I love plans. I am frankly really lazy and like having a spreadsheet that tells me what to do at the gym every day rather than having to plan it out and think about it myself!

  • Meg @ Be Fit Be Full February 1, 2010, 3:50 pm

    I am in awe of your dedication! I have only done 2 half marathons and 1 sprint tri. I followed training plans for the halfs, but not the tri because it was a very last minute decision. You look so cute in your swim cap! I always look like such a doof 🙂

  • Lauren @ Eater not a runner February 1, 2010, 3:53 pm

    That sounds like a serious training plan! When I trained for my half marathon I had a weekly plan written out that I kept at the office and checked off as I went along 🙂

  • Julie February 1, 2010, 3:55 pm

    I’ve only done 5k’s and I alwasy wing it. Probably why my legs always hurt like hell for days after…

  • RhodeyGirl February 1, 2010, 4:01 pm

    In the summer I make big batches of pesto and then freeze it in ziploc bags or in ice cubes. You must do that this summer! It is SO cheap and lasts a long time (and tastes better).

    I am buying my bathing suit, goggles, and swim cap on Wednesday (left my old ones in RI)! I can’t wait to start swimming!

  • Karla February 1, 2010, 4:09 pm

    Wow that’s an intense training plan but you’ll be a star! Your athleticism is really inspiring!

  • John February 1, 2010, 4:11 pm

    When I did my Oly I just winged it pretty much. I didn’t like following a plan too much. I did fairly well finishing it in 3:04:35. I will probably find a plan for the next one as I want to break 3hrs next time.

  • Erin February 1, 2010, 4:17 pm

    I usually just wing it then write it down on my calendar. I set a few weekly workout goals for myself but give myself the full week to complete them instead of setting a day. I feel that sometimes Ill get to the gym and want to do weights instead of running or vice versa. As long as I can continue to hit all my weekly goals, this is what works for me!

    Very impressive tri training schedule!!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) February 1, 2010, 4:17 pm

    Great looking training plan! I have a paper ‘plan’ on my pinboard at home – and I keep track of my actual workouts online (there is a link to my plan on my blog!). I am training for a few triathlons too!

  • Julie February 1, 2010, 4:17 pm

    I’ve never had a formal training plan or anything. Right now, I’m not training for anything specific but am running twice for around 15 miles. I’m running my first 10 miler race in June…and will probably research some plans for that. The furthest race I’ve ever run is 7.1 miles and I didn’t have a plan for that. I probably should have! Planning is not my strength. I really want to run my first 1/2 marathon sometime this year. Is there a website that you use for your plans or do you make them up yourself?

  • Lily @ Lily's Health Pad February 1, 2010, 4:29 pm

    I always go to and create a plan for myself. Typically, I keep track of my workouts in my daily planner.

  • Tara February 1, 2010, 4:29 pm

    Happy 1st Training day! It was mine as well! I am actually pre-training for my training plan – I need to really work on my swimming. I am going to do the Aflac Irongirl and they sent a plan along with the registration that is slightly more difficult than where I am – hence the pre-training. Good luck! Looking forward to following along…

  • Matt February 1, 2010, 4:31 pm

    I trained for a marathon by winging it 😉 I knew what I needed to do, and it let me do that with freedom.

  • Amanda February 1, 2010, 4:33 pm

    I like having a plan. I used the Half Marathon training plan on for my 1st Half. Now I’m using a maintenance plan from the Runner’s World website. I think even when I’m not training for a specific event I’ll stick with the maintenance plan because otherwise I’d probably either over do it or start slacking. I really want to keep my endurance at a level where I can go out at any point and run a Half Marathon without having to re-train.

  • Heather ODonnell February 1, 2010, 4:46 pm

    I have never used a training plan….mostly because I have only been running for less than a year and my longest race has been a 5K. But now, I am a runner (there is a difference) and I’m training for a half marathon. So, I talked with my SIL (who is a marathoner) and she helped me put a plan together. The only problem is that the official training doesn’t start until the middle of March, so I am just winging it right now.

  • Andrea February 1, 2010, 4:53 pm

    How is it that you can pull off a swim cap and goggles and still look so stinking cute? Whatev….Good job on training today!

  • Antonia February 1, 2010, 4:58 pm

    Today I was on the stationary bike and looking at the people on the treadmill thinking that I want to take up running. I actually hate running and rarely use the treadmill but it’s such a good work out!

  • Jessica @ Fit Chick Wannabe February 1, 2010, 5:01 pm

    I’m excited for you! Good luck with training. I’m sure you’ll do great!

  • Alisha February 1, 2010, 5:14 pm

    haha, hardcore, your nuts, God speed 🙂

  • Wendy February 1, 2010, 5:18 pm

    I’ve run lots of 5Ks, two half marathons, and am currently in training for two more halfs (they are a month apart). I never really followed a plan for the 5Ks, unless you count the couch-to-5K plan when I was getting back in shape after having babies. Otherwise, I ran them in the process of training for longer races. I’ve always followed plans for the halfs, though. 13.1 miles is nothing to mess with! I keep a “master” plan on the computer, but always write the workout planned for a certain day on my paper calendars so I know at a glance what I need to do that day.

    Good luck with your triathlon training! Two of my “someday” goals are to run a full marathon and to do a triathlon, so you are quite an inspiration to me!!

  • Amber K February 1, 2010, 5:57 pm

    I track all of my fitness on sparkpeople, although I’ve never actually “trained” for anything.

    That takes a dedication and motivation that I truly admire!

  • eatingRD February 1, 2010, 6:03 pm

    yay!! I’m actually trying to formulate a plan for learning how to swim. I can keep myself afloat, but need help with the mechanics. My first garmin attempt was kind of an epic fail, but it’s getting there! lol We also just found a new aquatic center about 4 mi from us, sweet!! good luck with all your training, I still need to buy a swimsuit *gulp*

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) February 1, 2010, 6:16 pm

    I’m training for my first 10K and half marathon. I’m doing the training plans I’ve found online.

    But when I run my marathon next year I’ll have to super extend the training to give my back a chance to adjust to the long milage.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing February 1, 2010, 6:16 pm

    Wow girl, that is an intense training plan! But like you said, you know what your body can handle. And if that doesn’t get you into shape.. nothing will!!! I wish you the best of luck!

    And I had a training plan set to follow for my half. While that is postponed, I am still going to go by the plan when I can run a race. I think a plan is the best way because it gives you motivation and something to do. You’re not just going out there and coming up with it out of thin air each day. It also lets you see how you progress.

  • Island Girl Eats February 1, 2010, 6:18 pm

    I am all about having a plan! I love a challenge and everything involved with it. I get excited about making a training schedule, crossing off my work-outs as I get them done, even getting up early is part of the excitment.

    It looks like a really nice gym.

  • Nicole, MS, RD, LD February 1, 2010, 6:27 pm

    Paper calender! There’s something about logging my exercise that I just love. My hubby and I keep a calender in our home gym and log our miles that way, I love it! But for training, I always follow a well-known program!

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers February 1, 2010, 6:31 pm

    The first race I used a training plan for was my triathlon last year…I looked at other plans then made up my own because I wanted it to focus more on swimming and biking. I just kept it in my planner since I knew I would look at that everyday for work.

  • Alison February 1, 2010, 6:46 pm

    I love that you’re spending time with family 🙂 That’s nice.

  • Lindsay Perrone (goodiesgalore) February 1, 2010, 6:51 pm

    You’re an animal dude.

  • Lee February 1, 2010, 7:23 pm

    I usually print my plan out and put it on the fridge and highlight what I’ve done. That way if I need to switch some days around, I can see what still needs to be done for the week.

  • Jolene ( February 1, 2010, 7:41 pm

    Your pictures are especially nice today 🙂

    I love cheese and crackers as a snack – I would have to say it is my favourite snack.

  • Kathleen February 1, 2010, 8:13 pm

    I just have to say that you are the cutest in a swim cap! You make those look fierce!

  • Nutritious Foodie February 1, 2010, 8:28 pm

    I definitely have a scheduled training program… It is already scheduled into my Google calender with an email reminder set.

  • Morgan @ Healthy Happy Place February 1, 2010, 8:39 pm

    that’s an intense training plan! I wish I could train for big races, but my work schedule doesn’t allow that much time for exercise. boo. another reason I’m jealous of your freelance life!

  • Tyler Ramey February 1, 2010, 9:01 pm

    Swimming STARVES me. It’s like I cannot eat fast enough after a good hard swim. Way more than running, for whatever reason. What about you?

    • caitlin February 1, 2010, 9:15 pm

      Hmm interesting! I haven’t had this problem, but I haven’t been swimming for long durations yet. It is a COMPLETE body workout, though!

  • Jen February 1, 2010, 9:06 pm

    I started training for my first half-marathon in January. I’ve never really been a ‘runner’, so I’ve given myself 21 weeks to develop the habit. I have the training plan posted on the fridge, written in my daily planner, and I post a weekly update on my blog so my friends that are joining me for the half know the workouts for the week.

    Good luck with the Tri! Looks like you will be mastering the swimming!

  • meg c. February 1, 2010, 9:18 pm

    i’ve followed trainin scheds before, but always give myself some flexibility and try not to wear myself down too much. your plan looks pretty hardcore! good luck

  • Jenna February 1, 2010, 10:52 pm

    Lunch looks yum!

  • bhealthier February 2, 2010, 11:58 am

    I decided to just “wing it” because i have trained for so many years that I feel really in tune with my body, I know when I can and should push myself and when to back off. So in November of 2009 I completed my first half marathon in 1 hr and 47 minutes… this year it will be a full marathon, but again, I plan on winging most of it. Obviously, I build up at safe increments but training schedules just don’t work for my lifestyle!

  • Jessica February 2, 2010, 2:07 pm

    My husband is training for his first triathlon. Swimming is the hardest part. Best of luck!

  • Susan February 2, 2010, 2:26 pm

    I’m awful for spending hours hammering out training plans, then completely ditching them. I would really like to be able to follow one though, as I know I’ll never get good race times if I don’t! At the same time, it’s important for working out to be FUN for me, and plans kinda suck all the fun out of it. I like waking up and being like “I feel like spin class!’ or “I feel like a random 5 mile tempo run!”

    You are so lucky to have Ryan making up your swim training!! I took lessons during my tri training, which helped A LOT, as my instructor was a triathlete herself. I also relied a lot on, which is a pretty sweet resource.

  • Heather February 2, 2010, 7:43 pm

    way to go on the disney marathon! I did the half and my goal is to do my first full there next year!

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