Let the insanity continue in Casa de Boyle.


I spent the morning juggling Healthy Living Summit work, writing a freelance article on personal finance (oh, the irony), and filming a segment about Operation Beautiful for the local NBC news in Charlotte (it will be on at 5:00 PM today).


It’s my personal goal to get Maggie and James in as many shots as possible.


After that madness, I called the Husband (who snuck away to Starbucks so he could get work done) and asked him to bring me lunch.  It was already 1:45 PM and my stomach was GROWLING.


Please and thanks!


I had a spinach salad with goat cheese, carrots, golden raisins, pine nuts, onions, and honey mustard sauce.


It really hit the spot.


Plus, toasty bread with real buttah:


Stepback Weeks


This week is a Stepback Week in marathon training.  I live for stepbacks. 


What exactly is a Stepback Week?  In any good training plan, every three or four weeks will feature about 25% less mileage.  Usually, you try to increase your overall mileage by 10%.  Two weeks ago, I ran 22.5 miles; last week, I did 23.5.  It’s not an exact science, but my training plan (and my body) is calling for a mileage reduction.


Stepback weeks are necessary for two reasons:


  • Physical:  Stepback weeks give your body a break and allow time for muscles to heal properly.  Avoiding injury is key, and stepbacks really give your joints and bones a break from the constant pounding of ANY distance training plan.


  • Mental:  Most importantly (to me), stepbacks give you a mental break.  Especially for a longer race like a half or full marathon, the training program is such a huge time commitment.  Stepbacks give you some breathing room and help boost your spirits.  I always come back from a stepback week ready to go!


When developing or choosing a training plan, look at your personal schedule and try to move around the weeks on the plan to accommodate big events, travel, or holidays.  I scheduled this stepback week the same week as the Healthy Living Summit for a reason!  🙂


Do you ever feel mentally or physically burnt out during training?  Do stepbacks help?  What other tricks do you use?



  • Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] August 11, 2010, 2:54 pm

    Real buttah is the only way to go!

    This week is a ‘stepback’ week in my (half) marathon training, as well, due to traveling to/from HLS.

  • Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries August 11, 2010, 2:56 pm

    I’m with Hillary. LOVE butter. Who doesn’t?!? I’m not a runner like you, but I do take one week off from the gym every three months because it gives me time to recoup..mentally and physically.

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday August 11, 2010, 2:56 pm

    I’ve never trained for anything so I wasn’t familiar with a stepback week. Interesting concept.

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) August 11, 2010, 2:57 pm

    I’ve never heard the term but while training for my 10K this spring there were weeks I didn’t feel like doing my long run. So I did another 5K instead and felt great.

    I love that Maggie and James are enjoying the spot light. And that picture of your husband is hilarious. I think he has a knack for the silly shots that make your blog so fun to read.

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs August 11, 2010, 2:57 pm

    Oohh so THAT’S why my plan goes something like 12miles, 10miles, 15miles! I thought it was weird but now I understand 🙂 I definetly think they’re useful. Long runs every week can be so draining!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) August 11, 2010, 2:58 pm

    I don’t train, but I think stepping back some in life is just as useful mentally! I am having one of those weeks where I have everything piled on me and I am really trying to get a handle on it by prioritizing (stepping back). What a sweet hubby! Thank goodness for being close by, right?! I hope you have a good afternoon!

  • Ali @ Food, Fitness, Fashion August 11, 2010, 2:59 pm

    I love that picture of you holding Maggie! You are are a busy lady. I love that your hubby brought you lunch, he is so sweet!

  • Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! August 11, 2010, 3:00 pm

    You are quite the celebrity–how exciting! I definitely take stepback weeks, although I’ve never heard them referred to that way. I often increase the amount of cross-training I do and scale back my mileage during stepback weeks to give my body a bit of a break. I’m looking forward to building up my mileage for my half marathon in November, though!

  • Kristina August 11, 2010, 3:01 pm

    AWESOME ! 🙂

    I LOVED seeing Maggie on the Today Show… doxies unite ! 🙂

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) August 11, 2010, 3:02 pm

    the pic of your hubby with the salad is priceless!!! what a sweetheart!

  • qualler August 11, 2010, 3:03 pm

    Hello! I am doing a marathon for the first time this October and found myself facing my first real mental hurdle this morning. I am on week 11 of 18 weeks of training, so next week is my “step-back”, but this morning I was scheduled for an 8 mile run that I could NOT get myself motivated out of bed for. Part of it, I think, is that I did 15 miles last Saturday and still feel a little tired from that, and another (bigger) part is the heat outside, even if I get out there around 6 am (in Minnesota, it’s not terrible in the early morning). So I did yoga over lunch today to gather myself up mentally and do some physical stuff, and I’ll go after 8 miles tomorrow!

  • Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) August 11, 2010, 3:03 pm

    Girl, you’re famous! I’ll have to turn on the ‘ol news at 5 to check out the segment.

  • Jessica August 11, 2010, 3:03 pm

    Real butter is one of my guilty pleasures. Yum yum! Right now I am so burned out in my training. A step-back is a good idea!

  • Nicole - yuppieyogini.com August 11, 2010, 3:04 pm

    You should make it your mission statement: make M & J famous 😉

  • stacey August 11, 2010, 3:04 pm

    Just wanted to tell you that I was so excited when I opened up Glamour at the chiropractor yesterday and saw the Operation Beautiful write up in the September issue.

    Did you announce this one on the blog? I don’t remember hearing it, but I thought that it was awesome that Glamour recognized OB!

    • caitlin August 11, 2010, 3:13 pm

      I did not announce it but I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  • Kelly August 11, 2010, 3:04 pm

    Stepback week for me also, loving it!

  • Brie @ Brie Fit August 11, 2010, 3:05 pm

    I am counting the days until my next stepback week! (10, in case you’re wondering!)

  • Amanda @Run4Ayden August 11, 2010, 3:05 pm

    I need to start incorporating step backs. I’m training for my first big run in November and am terrified of injuries!

  • Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete August 11, 2010, 3:08 pm

    Yes! Especially when I race a lot, I just need a mental break sometimes!! Those “stepbacks” are so important not only to rejuvenate the body but the mind as well. Most people don’t look at those break weeks as a good thing, but if done right they can so help with their training!!

    Good luck!! Your husband is adorable!! How could you not forgive a face like that?! lol

  • Nikki T August 11, 2010, 3:08 pm

    Off topic, but I wanted to tell you how excited I am that I FINALLY found the OB Book in my local bookstore! So cool to see my name in a book 🙂
    I can’t wait to read it!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman August 11, 2010, 3:09 pm

    Another news segment–so cool, although not as cool as the Today Show. Is anything? OK, Oprah. 🙂

  • Rachael @ Mrs-Adventure August 11, 2010, 3:11 pm

    Wow look at you go… enjoy it you deserve the spotlight!

  • Beth @ Will Run for Books August 11, 2010, 3:12 pm

    Most of my weeks are “laddered”. It definitely helps!

  • Ericka August 11, 2010, 3:15 pm

    I’m not really doing much of a stepback on total weekly mileage during my current marathon training, but I do little stepbacks within the different workouts! For instance, I might stepback the long weekend run one week, but then instead do slightly longer weekday runs of hills or speedwork. Then the following week, I’m ready for easier weekdays and more mentally equipped to tackle a long weekend run. It seems to be working well so far!

  • Anne @ the doctor takes a wife August 11, 2010, 3:15 pm

    I am definitely in a step back week. It’s post-vacation step back, but regardless.

  • Becky August 11, 2010, 3:17 pm

    It’s a step back week for me, too! Perfect timing! I love the break.

  • Marina August 11, 2010, 3:22 pm

    Your hubby looks so sweet on that picture 🙂 Such a puppy face.
    Seems like you had a really busy and interesting day!

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write August 11, 2010, 3:24 pm

    I think stepbacks are essential for anything you’re putting so much of yourself into. Not just training. So many people go until they drop from exhaustion. What does that prove?

  • Samantha @ Food Edu August 11, 2010, 3:25 pm

    I love the shot of your and your dog. Im a total softie for doxies =)

  • katie August 11, 2010, 3:27 pm

    I have never heard of a stepback week before, but that applies so well to everyday life too. Every few weeks, I need a day or so to relax and do little things that have gone to the wayside. Now when I plan “nothing days” or “catchup days” I’ll call them “stepback days” instead. 🙂

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape August 11, 2010, 3:31 pm

    Haha, that picture with your husband is hilaroius!!! My goodness, you are one busy person!! And good job on getting your dogs in as many pics as possible 😀

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing August 11, 2010, 3:38 pm

    I think they’re VERY important to prevent injury. Because an injury is the LAST thing we want!

  • Gabriella Roselli August 11, 2010, 3:45 pm

    setback weeks to me, in theory, sound amazing…less pressure to see the mileage go up, but in reality i usually end up feeling less accomplished. a personal hurdle i am trying to get over is feeling guilty about skipping those work outs…i reasonably know i need the rest and do it for physical health, but mentally it is challenge

  • Amber K August 11, 2010, 3:46 pm

    I had never heard that term before. I think it’s a great idea to keep yourself on track physically and mentally.

  • tanyasdaily August 11, 2010, 3:47 pm

    yes, and it was hard for me to deal with it.

  • Whit August 11, 2010, 3:52 pm

    imma watch you! Sorry about yesterday! 🙁 boo.

  • elaine! August 11, 2010, 4:00 pm

    Oh! That’s what’s going on with my half training schedule! It looks like there’s a step-back week, like, every other week. I might modify it to be every third or fourth week. I went the opposite and tried to push through, then ended up taking 1.5 weeks off… which was NOT a good idea. Should have kept up at least a few miles that week. Thanks for the info. Also, congrats on your sudden celebrity! Great job on getting your message out there!

  • Maria @ Oh Healthy Day August 11, 2010, 4:05 pm

    Whenever I feel myself getting too tired or worn out to fit in my workouts, I take a week off, or just do a week of lighter exercising. When I come back, I feel refreshed, motivated, and ready to go. That first hard workout back is always incredible 🙂

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine August 11, 2010, 4:09 pm

    HAHA, I love the pic of the husband with the salad- priceless! Whenever I’m feeling burnt out, I just do what my body wants. If I don’t take some time off every now and then, workouts become a chore!

  • Laura August 11, 2010, 4:22 pm

    Love the photo of your husband… I can almost hear him saying, “Your lunch m’lady”. haha

    Random question– is your husband’s name pronounced like “Kristen” or like “Christian”? (or something else)

    • caitlin August 11, 2010, 5:36 pm

      Christian 🙂 just spelled funny.

  • Stacey August 11, 2010, 4:28 pm

    I don’t know how you do it; you always seem so busy!!

    Have fun at HLS.

  • Nicole, RD August 11, 2010, 4:28 pm

    With marathon training those stepback weeks are as important as highest mileage weeks — and much appreciated!

    Congrats on the news coverage!

  • Jessica August 11, 2010, 4:29 pm

    Aww, man, I can’t believe I’m going to miss your local TV spot! I saw the one on the Today Show- you did awesome!Hopefully I’ll be able to look it up on their website. I emailed you a few weeks ago about meeting up, are you still up for it? I think we said the 17th or 18th.

    • caitlin August 11, 2010, 5:36 pm

      yes! your in my cally. wanna do drinks or something?

  • Emma August 11, 2010, 4:38 pm

    So exciting – I can’t wait to watch ya on the newz! 🙂

  • Lauren August 11, 2010, 4:39 pm

    i love how big you smile when you’re on camera! you look so pretty!

  • Kaci August 11, 2010, 4:41 pm

    I love my easy weeks…my knees and hips love them too! =)

  • Jackie (Peaces of Earth) August 11, 2010, 4:54 pm

    Backdowns were lifesavers during marathon training. I would definitely get to points of physical and emotional exhaustion and NEEDED them. Now, if I’m feeling burnt out I’ll take a couple of days or a week off and feel awesome because of it.

    CONGRATS on the news!! So cool! You are totally famous. 🙂

  • Mac August 11, 2010, 4:59 pm

    I have had my days where I feel mentally burned out, on those days I usually try something new or fun (ie: tennis, boot camp, basketball, etc.).

  • Tina August 11, 2010, 5:02 pm

    Enjoy your stepback week. Sounds like it is needed with your busy work.

  • Holly @ couchpotatoathlete August 11, 2010, 5:09 pm

    When I trained for my marathon I LOVED the stepback weeks. It really helped me (like you wrote) mentally and physically. It was so odd when 17 miles sounded “easy”…you know what I mean?

    Ugh, this is making me want to train for another marathon!

  • christina cadden August 11, 2010, 5:31 pm

    Look at you go! Your salad looks so good!

  • Ashley Solomon @ Nourishing the Soul August 11, 2010, 5:43 pm

    I agree that stepback weeks are so vital for me mentally. I have one coming up next week and I feel like knowing that is what’s getting me through this grueling week! It’s always important to give yourself a break – physically and emotionally!

  • Lisa August 11, 2010, 5:47 pm

    I’m training for Hood to Coast right now and I will DEFINITELY be taking a break from running once it’s over.

  • Therese August 11, 2010, 5:51 pm

    Last year I trained for my first 10k and I never took a break (I call them “active rest weeks”) and I burned out SO bad that I had to take two weeks off and then took over a month off after the race. This time I’m training for a half marathon and I built in active rest weeks on every fourth week. The verdict being half way through training? Best decision I ever made! I don’t feel burned out at ALL!

  • stephanie@Avocado Nation August 11, 2010, 6:02 pm

    I hear you. By the time I ran my marathon in May, I was so burned out on running that I didn’t think I would ever do it again! Yet, here I am. Still running like a fool. 🙂 I should have taken some step back weeks but I was definitely pressured to run more than I wanted some weeks.

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) August 11, 2010, 6:11 pm

    oooh totally agree that ‘step backs’ weeks are so important – not just for the body but also for the mind!!

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter August 11, 2010, 6:13 pm

    When I was training I would get burnt out for sure. I would cross train instead if I was.

  • Cyndi @ Weightless Life August 11, 2010, 7:16 pm

    I do feel burnt out during training sometimes. The plan I’m using now doesn’t incorporate any step back weeks but maybe I should look into that, because I have a couple extra weeks to play around with.

  • Camille August 11, 2010, 7:35 pm

    My burnout is definitely the mental kind. Sometimes you are just too tired to run! When this happens I allow the break and I am even more rejuvenated when I hit the pavement again!

  • Mama Pea August 11, 2010, 7:45 pm

    I think August is my stepback month. Go me.

    • Kaley August 11, 2010, 8:18 pm

      It’s the hottest one (usually), so it’s a good choice.

  • Stephanie August 11, 2010, 8:47 pm

    I used to NEVER want to take a day or 2 off, but now I can just feel when my body or mind needs to sleep in and call it a rest day. I woke up 2 mornings in a row with no motivation, but today I was jumping out of bed antsy to get my feet moving and had a great speed session. I always have superior quality workouts when I am not mentally or physically drained!

  • Lizz (leadingthegoodlife) August 11, 2010, 8:48 pm

    Yep, I suffer from mental burnout. I don’t want to train for a marathon if it means I’ll be suffering for 18+ weeks! Most training plans I found suggested running 5 days per week but I just can’t do that. I run 4 days…and sometimes only 3 if I’m really tired or busy at work. Just tackled a 20-miler so it seems to be working for me!

  • Amanda August 11, 2010, 8:49 pm

    I try to listen to my body, If I’m feeling sore, or tired….simma down and take a break. I love to do yoga on the tired days!

  • Deb August 11, 2010, 8:52 pm

    Not only is taking a break good for you, it is something to look forward to – a reward for your hard work!

  • Mary @ Running Wifle August 11, 2010, 8:59 pm

    This post really helped me out today! I have been dragging, probably from training too much and not taking enough rest days, and I finally convinced myself to take this week easy. It’s hard to get over the mental hurdle of resting when you’re focused on training, and the post reminded me that it’s good for me to take easy weeks!

    P.S. I just started my blog after reading so many awesome blogs like yours- stop by if you have a few minutes!

    • caitlin August 11, 2010, 10:54 pm

      welcome to the blog world!

  • Stacey@http://stacey-healthylife.blogspot.com/ August 11, 2010, 9:09 pm

    What a great looking salad. A salad with everything can make the day. 🙂

  • Jessica (Fit and Clean) August 11, 2010, 9:20 pm

    I think stepbacks are a really great idea. I have to do that every so often when I hit the gym really hard…because even though exercise is physically exhausting, it is mental as well. I tend to get really, really sore after lifting weights week after week so I’ll take some time if I feel that way to regroup. I bought your book at my local Barnes and Noble the other day! Can’t wait to read it 🙂

    • caitlin August 11, 2010, 10:54 pm

      thank you!

  • ashleigh August 11, 2010, 9:30 pm

    If I were on TV I’d want my kitties to be one as much as possible too 🙂

  • Lizzy @ LBBakes August 11, 2010, 9:39 pm

    I love taking some time to rest – usually it’s more physical for me – I’m lucky to be pretty disciplined. 🙂

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin August 11, 2010, 10:01 pm

    I’ve never trained for anything, but every so often I like to take a week where I go light on the exercise to give myself a break. I feel so refreshed for when I get back to my normal workout routine! 😀

  • Lee August 11, 2010, 10:05 pm

    I just thought of this, but my husband is a producer for the Atlanta NBC affiliate. I could ask him to pitch the Operation Beautiful story if you would be interested.

  • sarah August 11, 2010, 10:21 pm

    So happy for you and all the amazing things happening! Just popped on here because I just got my issue of Glamour in the mail and wanted to say congrats on the feature they did on you and Operation Beautiful – you really are everywhere!

    • caitlin August 11, 2010, 10:56 pm

      thank you!!!!

  • Wei-Wei August 11, 2010, 11:30 pm

    I’ve never trained for anything before but now that I think about it, a stepback week makes a lot of sense. I definitely had a big stepback week this week (I got sick, with some sort of stomach flu, and couldn’t go running or exercising at all.) Ah well, I’ll start building up my fitness again next week! 🙂


  • Sana August 12, 2010, 1:44 am

    I bet the doggies are loving their moments in the spot light!!

  • Erica August 12, 2010, 10:51 am

    How great!! Is your head spinning from the media blitz?! Mine would be! Great timing for the step back week. Enjoy the ride 😀

  • Liz August 13, 2010, 6:03 pm

    Caitlin –

    I’m one of your silent/non-blogging readers and an Operation Beautiful lover. This post is so fun though, cause my bro and sister-in-law work for WCNC – Charlotte’s NBC. I guess this as good of time as any to say how much you rock!

    • caitlin August 13, 2010, 11:25 pm

      **waves hi!!!** thanks girl!

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