Hey!  It snowed while we were away.


The dogs are freaking out.  Maggie is only three inches off the ground.  She does not like snow!



In the mix:


  • 1/2 cup raw oats
  • Greek yogurt (honey)
  • Banana
  • Cinnamon
  • Canned Pumpkin


Thanks so much for offering up tips for getting over my mental and physical athletic rut.  Yesterday, I wrote, “Exercising, while I still love to do it when I’m out there, feels like such a chore initially.  I’m not sure if it’s post-marathon blues, my first winter in Charlotte, burnout, a nagging minor IT band/knee injury, or what – but I cannot get myself mentally excited about exercise lately!” 


Here is a selection of the advice in the comments section (click to read more)!:


  • Beth:  I find that when I set small, very attainable goals for myself, I am super motivated and usually exceed them. For example, I normally shoot to workout 4-5 times a week, but because of the holidays I’ve brought that goal down to 2-3 times a week. When I was still aiming for 5x a week, I was barely going at all, but now that I’m aiming for 2-3 times, I’m going 4+ a week. I know its kind of strange to try to mentally trick myself, but it works for me!
  • Katie (+ Many Others):  I’m wondering if exercising with other people would be a boost? I just discovered a boot camp in my area and I’m loving it. Getting up early (class is 5:30-6:30) is challenging. But there are all these other women there doing the same thing. And just like me they have to run off at the end of class to get kids up and to school and then get themselves to work. So, the group inspires me.
  • Ilana: Put a moratorium on running and try something new, something challenging. My trick is to try something I don’t necessarily think I’ll be good at.
  • Jennifer:  I make a playlist of songs that I know will get my butt moving. Songs that I used during my first half when I didn’t think I had anything left to give usually do the trick. They make me think about that time and how proud I was of myself.
  • Michelle: There have been many times when I did not feel like running, and it went on for weeks. So I dialed back the running big time! If I didn’t want to run, I didn’t want to force myself. It’s ruts and times like this (when you don’t want to run) that make you eventually really enjoy it when you get back into the swing of things! So maybe for a week you should NOT RUN at all.
  • Molly: To make the treadmill or elliptical exciting for me, I plan my gym workouts around a show I want to watch. I actually got rid of my tv a few years ago, so if I want to watch, I better get my butt down to the gym. It works great because every night I can watch House Hunters from 7-8 or catch the news in the mornings (or sometimes just watch VH1 and listen to new artists on Jump Start).
  • Kathy in Chicago: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” Yesterday it was 25 degrees in Chicago, and I went for a wonderful bike ride. I usually ride in a long sleeve T & a heavy sweatshirt, & a turtleneck scarf that is made of something like polar fleece. My bottoms are these awesome super warm athletic pants. The only thing that pulls me back inside are my cold hands, but I use cashmere lined gloves & I’m toasty. I can ride in this outfit for about 45 minutes even when the temperature drops to 10 degrees.


Regarding the theories that I should not “force it” and just “take some time off,” I’ve pretty much been doing that since my October 30 Marathon (when the slump began!).  I do think giving our bodies rest is super important, but its been two months! I also believe in the theory of reverse workout inertia, which means you have to start establishing (or re-establishing) the workout habit consciously to get the ball rollin’.   Within reason, of course.  


So this means that even if I feel like I’m in a rut, I just have to force myself to do the workout schedule I want to do for two weeks or so, and then I start to internally motivate myself to do it when I feel the benefits.  If I just sit around waiting to get internally motivated, it will never happen (House Hunters is way too exciting). That’s just how it works for me, though! Everyone is different.


Do you believe in reverse workout inertia?  Or do you prefer to let internal motivation kick in first?



  • Baking 'n' Books December 28, 2010, 9:03 am

    I like Molly’s TV idea 😉

    You did have a white Christmas after-all! I’m currently stocking up on pumpkin cans too before it’s all gone from the stores….!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey December 28, 2010, 9:10 am

    Like Nike says, Just do it.

    Honestly – that’s the way I look at it. I mentally focus on how I will feel after I workout or if I don’t work out at all. Usually I will feel better working out, so I just go for it.

  • michelle December 28, 2010, 9:11 am

    I tell myself how much better I’ll feel after a good long run and that usually does the trick!

  • michelle December 28, 2010, 9:11 am

    I tell myself how much better I’ll feel after a good long run and that usually does the trick!

  • Blog is the New Black December 28, 2010, 9:11 am

    Love the pics of your bfast in the snow! 🙂

  • Amy B (Second City Randomness) December 28, 2010, 9:13 am

    I totally believe it- sort of goes along with the whole idea that it takes a certain amount of days to create a habit, right?

  • Stacy @ Every Little Thing December 28, 2010, 9:13 am

    I didn’t post this last time, but music helps me also. If I know I have good music to listen to, I’m way more likely to actually work out. I’m in love with music though 🙂

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) December 28, 2010, 9:16 am

    For me, I had to change my thoughts on why I work out. I do it for strength and a mental release. So, if you are forcing it, you are just causing more stress on yourself. Working out should never be a chore. I think it is funny, most people think that only over weight people feel that way, when in reality, we all start to feel the burn out of working out. You definitely need to focus on something else that gets you moving. Even if it is less aerobic than running. Oh, I don’t know if I ever mention Core Fusion to you before, but that is another workout that I love doing. It is very relaxing, but VERY effective.

  • Katie December 28, 2010, 9:17 am

    I like Ilana’s suggestion about trying something totally different than running. Sometimes I used to get to competitive with myself with running and then when you try something else for a bit, it’s like there is no pressure.

  • Marci December 28, 2010, 9:18 am

    I think December is a tough time in general to find motivation. It’s ok to have downtime and recharge! I’m doing the same right now and know I’ll bounce back when I’m ready. I trust that my body is doing what it needs by telling me to take it slower and then I’ll pick it up.

  • Ali December 28, 2010, 9:19 am

    After my marathon I definitely got into a rut. I just didn’t have anything to work towards or goals to achieve. I just signed up for a local race series which include smaller distances. It helps to motivate me. Good luck! 🙂

  • Kristina @ Life as Kristina December 28, 2010, 9:19 am

    It all depends…what are the reasons you’re trying to “make” yourself workout for. Find the drive behind why you want to work out-determination will take over and make you WANT not NEED to work out:) Or at least I hope so!

  • April December 28, 2010, 9:19 am

    I have found that if I wait until I “want” to do something or “feel like” doing something, I rarely take action – at least not with 100% effort. This is true for almost all areas of personal growth. When someone asks me how long they “have” to do something (whether it’s working out or attending business meetings) my answer is always the same, “until you want to.”

  • Ashley December 28, 2010, 9:23 am

    I loved the tip about planning gym workouts around favorite TV shows! I far prefer running outside rather than on the treadmill, but if I’m doing an elliptical workout I seem to always gravitate towards the Food Network, lol. For some reason I love seeing food being made/showcased/devoured as I exercise – it’s somehow motivating!

  • Courtney December 28, 2010, 9:24 am

    It’s hard to get out and run when it’s cold! I just got the JM shred it with weights dvd and a kettle bell. It’s a good workout and a nice change of pace from running. Good luck!

  • Alina @ Duty Free Foodie December 28, 2010, 9:29 am

    I think reverse workout inertia is definitely a real thing! But I think even in reverse workout inertia some activities will work better than others. For me, going to the funner classes at my gym or to yoga classes works the best because these have a scheduled start time (so I can’t put them off “just 5 more minutes”) and it’s fun to work out in a group setting. Then, when my body is all over exercise again, I can do things like running or my own circuits.

  • Amanda (Eating Up) December 28, 2010, 9:31 am

    Maybe you should try working somewhere other than your home. I know when I’m at home all day, I find it difficult to get outside and do things. If you change into your workout clothes, go somewhere else to work and then work out before settling back at home, maybe you will find you have more energy and motivation to exercise! Although, I do know that you also work at the clinic…going from an office job to exercising/going to the gym has always been difficult for me too.

  • Anna from Always a Benanna December 28, 2010, 9:32 am

    I definitely believe in reverse workout inertia. Its very easy to get distracted by life, but if you set small goals and force yourself to get up, you eventually remember the workout high that most athletes love. Sometimes I’ll tell myself I’ll just run for 15 minutes – then at that 15 minute point I decide to keep going because what I’m doing feels good. (Of course, sometimes I stop at that 15 minute point. But hey – they at least I’ve gotten 15 minutes of a workout in!)

  • Ally December 28, 2010, 9:39 am

    I’m totally feeling you on the rut. I gave up running because it was triggering some bad habits in my mind, but now all I do is the elliptical and yoga. I ADORE yoga but I can’t do the elliptical every day, so I feel like I need something new. I recently began kickboxing again, and it’s starting to help. However, I feel like I need a day off from working out. I tend to go for weeks without a day off, and my body rejects it when I try to relax! 🙁

    • Caitlin December 28, 2010, 9:51 am

      Take some time off – I think your body probably needs the break. No one should really work out everyday!

      • Ally December 28, 2010, 10:00 am

        Definitely. I’m also trying to give up coffee, so my body is definitely feeling weary and sore. 🙁 I should gift myself a day or two off a week, it seems only right since I like to push myself extra hard when I do work out!

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin December 28, 2010, 9:40 am

    The other thing I just thought of is, training for that half marathon (I’m running it too!) starts next week if you’re doing a 12 week program. That should help!

  • Camille December 28, 2010, 9:42 am

    I definitely believe that sometimes motivation hits after you start working out. Yesterday, for example, I bitched and moaned for like, an hour, about how I didn’t want to go run. But once I finally just did it, I ended up having one of the longest runs I have had in a very long time!
    The snow looks beautiful, by the way!

    • JenATX December 28, 2010, 2:03 pm

      You are so so right.. I will dread some workouts, hate it for the first 10 minutes, but then i won’t want to stop once I get going.
      Regarding the workout intertia or forcing it, I think that doing something for three days in a row makes it a habit that is less easy to stop. So just tell yourself u only have to do it for 3 days & see how it feels.

  • Danielle December 28, 2010, 9:43 am

    I love the tips! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    The pictures of the snow are wonderful! It flurried in Saint Augustine the day after Christmas but since we were down south we didn’t get to see it. I was so bummed because I’ve never seen snow before!

    • Caitlin December 28, 2010, 1:09 pm

      I love St Augustine! We got engaged there. I cannot believe you had flurries.

  • Ilana December 28, 2010, 9:46 am

    I forgot to mention: I always have to make it intellectual for me, find a mental motivator beyond the physical action. This is a trick left over from the days when I used to act. I always try to find SOMETHING new in the same ol’ same ol’ to keep things feeling fresh and exciting. While going to dance classes has been a really interesting test of my fitness and my patience with myself, I’m a Pilates instructor and I personally practice Pilates every day in addition to teaching. I always have to consciously focus on making things new and interesting; even though I may teach the same exercise series for several hours in a row, each time is a chance to find something fresh in the repetitive.

    I hope you bust out of the rut soon!!

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow December 28, 2010, 9:50 am

    Oh I’m all about reverse inertia at times…it’s easy to forget how good a workout can feel when it’s 1- been a while and 2- you feel like it is a chore!

    During those times I turn to my old friend: MUSIC. I bust out my favorite tunes, pick one activity (spinning or running for me usually) that feels good and I go. I tell myself to take it one minute at a time. I don’t set myself up for a huge time commitment, I do what feels good and I let those endorphins kick in.

  • Lindsay December 28, 2010, 9:55 am

    I think part of what makes us “athletes”, is that we push through those times when we don’t feel like getting out there. What makes us healthy, is that we are smart in our choices of where and how to push. I’ve had my share of injuries and post-marathon lulls. The thing that has helped me the most is taking a step back, not to rest but to reorganize my plan of attack and approach my journey to wellness from another path. I try to use the month as my short term goal, I set a weekly plan and stick with it for 1 month. Then I step back and create another plan with new goals for the next month. This approach has really helped me to be proactive in injury prevention and be able to take inventory of my strength and endurance to better see where my weaknesses are. This has made running for me SO much more fun, not to mention improved my times! I’m pregnant now for the first time and this has created a WHOLE new mindset for me. Workouts are different, but ultimately I have learned that listening to my body and learning balance is greater and will take me farther than any single exercise program ever could.

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) December 28, 2010, 9:55 am

    Sometimes I lack motivation to work out, but I remind myself how good I feel afterwards. Yesterday I really didn’t want to go out for my 3 mile run because it was cold out. I am tapering for my first half- marathon, so it is important that I get the mileage in. I told myself that I have come too far to give up now and 3 miles will take me less than 24 minutes to complete. 24 minutes out of 24 hours…I can do that.

  • Nicole December 28, 2010, 10:03 am

    I just had to say, dogs in the snow are one of the cutest things to watch! I can’t imagine little Maggie frolicking through the snow! My dog pokey is probably quite a bit larger and it covered up to his legs here. He loves it through and loves digging into holes. So cute!

    • Caitlin December 28, 2010, 1:13 pm

      Maggie doesn’t frolick ever. 🙂

  • Sara @ OurDogBuffy December 28, 2010, 10:05 am

    I am trying to just tell myself I need to work out most every day of the week even if it is just something small. Then I’m hoping I will see the benefits and stick with it. So far, so good. The elliptical and stationary bike seriously bore me to tears but I try to remember how good I’ll feel after and I am hoping after a few weeks it really does catch on easily! The tips in this post were good!

  • Morgan @ Life After Bagels December 28, 2010, 10:05 am

    I might be totally in love with that fact that you took your breakfast pics in the show 🙂

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) December 28, 2010, 10:12 am

    Hey you know what works for you – so go for that reverse workout inertia …thing 😛
    Poor Maggie in the snow! Niko’s the same way. It burries her!

  • Sarra December 28, 2010, 10:15 am

    i totally believe in reverse workout inertia. I know I have to push myself initially to start working out, and after that it becomes second nature. if i waited for “internal motivation” i would never get anything done 😉

  • Jen December 28, 2010, 10:20 am

    I want to add another way to get motivated; it’s kind of strange, but I remind myself of situations where it could be imperative to be able to run, like if someone car-jacked me and I had to run to safety or if I had no other mode of transportation and needed to get somewhere urgently (like if I left the stove on or needed to get to the train station before the last train left for the night).

    This is actually what got me into running in the first place; when I was a sophomore in college, I could barely run a mile and then I thought, it’s very possible to *need* to run a mile and quickly! My dad’s a cop so maybe this has something to do with it haha, but I find it helpful to keep myself thinking of running as a necessity, not just a hobby that I can replace with something else.

    • Caitlin December 28, 2010, 1:15 pm

      Hahah I love this comment.

  • Gabby (Quest for Delicious) December 28, 2010, 10:21 am

    Pretty snow and great tips! One tip mentioned working out with other people in a class, but I think having a workout buddy in general is a great motivator. Easy accountability. (:

  • Jenna H December 28, 2010, 10:28 am

    I’m a big runner like you are, but I’ve recently felt mega burned out. For three weeks straight I’ve only managed to drag my butt out for a run 2 times a week, when before it was 5 times a week without much mental effort. I asked for Insanity for Christmas and love it. I’ve only done 2 of the workouts (I started Sunday) but I love how they’re not super long (under an hour or an hour) and you feel like you’ve gotten a killer workout. I also like that you don’t need weights or anything, it’s cardio based with body weight strength moves. There’s also a fit test you do every 2 weeks to track your progress so you have something tangible to keep you motivated. I think I’ll do the 60 day insanity program to give myself a break from running, but if I feel like running after I do a DVD, I will. But because I want to, not because I feel like I have to.

  • Whitney December 28, 2010, 10:35 am

    For me, internal motivation does not exist. I make myself go to the gym when I do not want to because I know it’s just me being lazy. I am so glad that I do because I feel like I’m on cloud nine when I leave. Also, 9 times out of 10, I get to talk to other people in the gym about running, working out, etc and it always motivates me to see others exercising. If you never have that push, you will just sit on the couch and get content with it! 🙂

  • Jessie Bea December 28, 2010, 10:39 am

    I love your breakfast photo! What a great way to embrace the snow. The picture is beautiful and the snow makes an excellent background- all sparkly and magical 🙂

  • Kacy December 28, 2010, 10:42 am

    I agree. If I’m in a rut I take one to two weeks off and then I feel like I have to start forcing it or it will never happen. Right now I’m still in a bit of a rut so I’ve just been doing fun workout videos and going to yoga. It’s fun and even if it’s not incredibly challenging or difficult I know it’s enough for me for right now.

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table December 28, 2010, 10:51 am

    I have loved reading everyone’s suggestions – thanks for posting a recap. I’m off to the gym right now! 🙂

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) December 28, 2010, 11:01 am

    I usually start my workout no matter what and if I am still not into it within 10-15 mins I just stop and quit and try again the next day 🙂 95% of the time time just getting going is the worst part and then i find my groove. But sometimes…grooves are hard to find 🙂

    I love that you took that food shot..in the snow! That’s a dedicated food blogger for ya!

  • Lana December 28, 2010, 11:03 am

    I have to force it for the first time back, but after I get that rush of running/working out I’m able to fall back into the routine fairly quickly. I start small and work my way up from there. “just run one mile,”…I might end up running two. “workout for 30 min.”…I might do one hour because I’m already at the gym, etc.

    My suggestion for you: get a good nights sleep and get your workout done as early as possible. Have your clothes lined up and a snack ready. You will feel great for the rest of the day! (it works for me anyway!)

  • monicanelsonfitness December 28, 2010, 11:06 am

    I try to REALLY listen to my body and it is always trying to tell us something, most of us just don’t listen as good as we should.
    However, I find after the first 5 mins of any movement, I feel super excited to follow through. I try to make it as fun as possible, not mindless movement. 😉

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) December 28, 2010, 11:12 am

    I agree that once you get into the habit, you’ll probably be more internally motivated because of how much better you feel. It can be hard, but you’re a trooper!

  • carlee December 28, 2010, 11:13 am

    Girl you just love that pumpkin yougurt bowl!!
    oh and about the pear thing maybe I am allegric! that i smy only symptom though! But its not a good one!;)

  • Morgan December 28, 2010, 11:38 am

    Take classes at your gym… we have some pretty hard ones-but there are always ways to make the classes harder (ie using heavier weights, adding an extra riser to your step) which makes me feel more athletic and stronger- basically don’t be a wussy! (Ladies, it’s ok to pick up a weight heavier than your purse!)

    One class that is so fun and it WORKS YOU, adult gymnastics. See if you have a class near you.

  • Martha Lilian December 28, 2010, 11:53 am

    I’m not going to lie…I am in a bit of a perma rut when it comes to working out. I can eventually, every now and then, drag myself into the gym but I just don’t have the passion for it that I’d like to have. It is great reading these comments and seeing that other people struggle with this and have ways of getting over it!

  • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks December 28, 2010, 12:00 pm

    If I waited to just “get motivated”, I’d probably never go running or hit the gym again. Just gotta push through and eventually something clicks and it feels good and becomes routine.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing December 28, 2010, 12:06 pm

    I love the snow! It’s still on the ground here too.
    I have to wait to get motivated. I didn’t exercise for about a month due to a crazy schedule and i’m gettig back into it now and SO excited about it!

  • Mimi (Gingersnaps) December 28, 2010, 12:07 pm

    I really like these tips! I’ve been in a rut too, so this came at a good time for me.

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In December 28, 2010, 12:43 pm

    I think there is definitely some element of force that needs to happen first. You can’t figure out that you love the accomplishment and endorphines until you MAKE yourself go first!
    Whenever I need to get back into the swing of things I start with an easy elliptical session and a great magazine – easy but enough to make me sweat and remember why I love it:)

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin December 28, 2010, 12:56 pm

    I just have to push myself to go to the gym and once I get that workout high, I’m reminded of why I love exercise and I feel motivated to get back into a routine!

  • Natalia - a side of simple December 28, 2010, 1:01 pm

    Poor Maggie! I would be terrified too if I felt like the world was building up around me (oh wait, come finals time that’s exactly what happens..) Good luck with the exercise rut. Trust me, though, it’s nice to know I’m not alone when I just don’t “feel” into it.

  • Amber K December 28, 2010, 1:07 pm

    Just getting myself to the gym and starting to work out usually motivates me. Yes I have to FORCE myself sometimes, but I give myself the option of quitting if I’m really not feeling it. Some exercise makes me feel better than none!

  • Lisa December 28, 2010, 1:30 pm

    Sometimes I just need a break so I’ll take a few extra rest days!

  • Lacey @ Lake Life December 28, 2010, 1:41 pm

    Don’t take this the wrong way but my co-workers and I got a giggle out of you putting your breakfast bowl in the snow. We wouldn’t even be able to find our breakfast here right now if we tried that! 🙂

    • Caitlin December 28, 2010, 2:09 pm

      haha but it looked so pretty!

  • Jess@atasteofconfidence December 28, 2010, 2:09 pm

    I usually have to make myself to get back in the routine- but I also don’t think you have actually been taking 2 months off from reading your blog!

  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations December 28, 2010, 2:11 pm

    I love that you photographed your food in the snow!! So great!

  • Michelle @ Chasing Ambulances December 28, 2010, 2:42 pm

    I hope you get out of your rut! I did suggest taking time off because for me it’s really a matter of days before I’m itching to run again. I can respect that you are different! For me, lifting weights really helps. I love the feeling of being strong. 🙂

  • Julie December 28, 2010, 3:42 pm

    I have been reading your site for a couple months now. Being real about your struggles is so refreshing! I am 41 with 6 kids. I have run many races…the longest being a half marathon. I know that there are weeks where I really struggle to stay motivated! I will usually change it up when that happens….maybe focuse more on strength training. I tell myself just 20 minutes and if I feel better I do more. There has only been 1 time that I stopped at 20 minutes!! Thanks again for all the time you put into your blog!!

    • Caitlin December 28, 2010, 5:17 pm

      Thank you so much Julie!

  • Keri December 28, 2010, 3:47 pm

    I LOVE that you photographed your breakfast with the snowy background. It looks so lovely and the colors are so much more vibrant!

  • Lauren December 28, 2010, 5:45 pm

    These tips are great. In the winter, I snowboard a lot and decrease my running, which feels weird at first, but I really enjoy the different workout.

  • Jen G. December 28, 2010, 9:24 pm

    I’d also recommend evaluating your diet. I’m a vegetarian too and went through a stretch where I struggled to workout for months. Then I found out I wasn’t getting enough iron! A Green Monster for breakfast and pumpkin seeds throughout the day made all the difference.

  • Alyssa December 28, 2010, 11:54 pm

    I think the best think to do is just think about how you feel afterwards…you know you’re going to regret it if you dont. So just get er done!

  • Lorin December 29, 2010, 1:57 pm

    Read Born to Run. That book motivates me to run; it provides an interesting view point on running. I definitely recommend it.

  • kettlebell workouts December 2, 2011, 9:42 pm

    I am extremely inspired with your writing abilities as smartly as with the layout to your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway stay up the nice quality writing, it is uncommon to peer a nice weblog like this one today..

  • Grace July 22, 2012, 5:56 pm

    I was just going through some of your old posts when I came across this one. I ran my first half-marathon two months ago and haven’t had the motivation to run since. I feel totally out of it all the time and I’m constantly arguing with everyone. I know the problem is that I quite doing what I love. I just need to get back out there! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Caitlin July 22, 2012, 7:10 pm

      Good luck!

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