Last August, I was spending a lot of time doing my favorite thing – running!


I was training for my second marathon (which, please excuse me while I dust my shoulders off, I crushed), and many, many hours each week were dedicated to training, stretching, and fueling with one goal in mind: 26.2 miles. 


These days, I am spending more time doing this:


In fact, lately, I haven’t been up to my normal active standards.  And I wanted to share why!


Since I started to exercise five years ago, I’ve come to understand that you cannot – and should not – do it all.  When you exercise, your body perceives it as stress.  In many ways, it’s a good form of stress because exercise makes us stronger and healthier.  But if there’s a lot of other stress in your life – like, say, writing a book – there’s a point of diminishing exercise returns. 


You only have so much energy to give to life.  And to expect that you’ll always be able to do everything, all the time, is silly!  I spoke a few weeks back about how my current mantra was “do less, so I can do more.”  Temporarily cutting back on exercise has allowed me to do so much more in other ways.  Not only can I do more, but I can put more of myself into my work. 


I love running.  I love racing.  I still have races on the calendar.  But I’m choosing not to set myself up to fail by signing up for a race that would require a bigger commitment than I can readily give right now.  It’s pointless to compare myself to my past and think that I should be capable of doing the same thing; I’m not in the same place!  And that, my friends, is what I believe being healthy is all about – true balance, in all areas of life, not just diet and exercise. 


So instead of working out, today I worked my brain.


And took self-photographs with Maggie.


And made a delicious lunch.  Part #1 of lunch was consumed around 11.  I had rice cakes with goat cheese and hummus.


And Part #2 of lunch was baked sweet potato and steamy greens.


Drizzled in olive oil and a little honey!  Try it, it’s good!


How do you find balance between your work and family obligations and your exercise goals?  Anyone else taking a step back so they can ‘do more’ in the areas that count right now?



  • Becky August 30, 2011, 1:28 pm

    What a great post, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect! I’ve been struggling with this exact issue recently – there just aren’t enough hours in the day, and I feel like I can’t fully focus on any one thing. Thanks for reminding me I don’t have to be Super Woman!

  • Ashley O. @ The Vegetable Life August 30, 2011, 1:31 pm

    Thanks for this post, I needed it today. I find it hard to balance it all. I think I too need a step back so I can re-adjust and move forwards.

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen August 30, 2011, 1:31 pm

    The whole concept of “stepping back to be able to do more” is a hard one to grasp. Kudos to you for figuring out how to balance it all and being able to come to the realization that an intense workout schedule is not possible right now for you to be able to do other things. I constantly struggle with balancing it all when I’m so busy and I guess the real lesson is that I can’t. Now I just need to work on being ok with that when that’s the case. 🙂

  • Jenn August 30, 2011, 1:33 pm

    Story of my life.

    I had such a hard time balancing home/work and active life.. It becomes very draining. Finally, I knew I had to do what was best for me. If that means skipping a workout so be it.

  • Bee Goes Bananas August 30, 2011, 1:33 pm

    I find that when I’m stressed for a long period of time, I tend to exercise less. That’s likely because I’m burning all my energy on other things instead of good exercise. On the other hand, when I’m super stressed at a single period in time, sometimes it helps to go to the gym and burn it all off. It’s a double edge knife!

  • Victoria August 30, 2011, 1:37 pm

    considering my doctor put the smack down on me for long distance running, yep, cutting back. I’m in the middle of fertility treatments and there isn’t any way I can do both right now without stressing my body out.

    • CaitlinHTP August 31, 2011, 9:37 am

      i read your post – i am so sorry that you’re struggling with TTC. I really wish you the best! Good luck and baby dust!

  • Lisa August 30, 2011, 1:40 pm

    When I got injured running last year I was upset at first. Depressed, stressed out, sad. Then I pulled myself together and switched to weight lifting. It was the physical and mental break I needed from running and switching to weights changed my body in amazing ways. Having a break, and balancing out activities makes a world of difference!

  • Whitney August 30, 2011, 1:41 pm

    I am training for my first marathon right now and it’s definitely difficult to work all day, train, sleep and spend time with the hubs! I am fortunate that hubs has been very supportive with my training and does not give me grief when I have to go to bed at 8pm for a 5am run. Supportive spouses really make it easier. 🙂 So I guess I am doing the opposite.. putting my exercise goals ahead of other areas in my life right now. 🙂

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg August 30, 2011, 1:41 pm

    Yes — I stepped back from blogging to make time for more important things. I used to blog every day — now I blog 3 days per week and that has taken a lot of stress away. Now I can focus on other things.

  • Dana August 30, 2011, 1:47 pm

    I so appreciate this post and it comes at a good time for me! I’ve taken on way too much recently and have been missing workouts. I’ve been hard on myself about for the past few weeks…especially since I’m getting married in 5 days I want to feel my best and I’m feeling a bit ‘gross’ 🙂 BUT, I realize that something’s gotta give and you can’t do it all!

    • CaitlinHTP August 31, 2011, 9:37 am

      Focus on eating healthy and I promise you will look great and FEEL great on your wedding day. Happy wedding!

  • Aimee August 30, 2011, 1:49 pm

    This is so timely for me right now as I am training for my first marathon while trying to balance family and work. I have a training schedule and I stick to it as much as possible, but I told myself at the beginning of this journey that I would not beat myself up over missed mileage or runs. My training has to be flexible or it will not work for me. So far so good. Doesn’t mean I don’t try to do it all some days and then get frustrated because I can’t. That’s when I grab my little guy and go run around the yard, go for a walk or crank up the music and dance around the kitchen. I’m learning (very slowly) that everything doesn’t have to get done today.

  • Faith @ For the Health of It August 30, 2011, 1:50 pm

    I feel you on the balance, and I love your guilt-free approach to cutting out exercise when necessary for the body and soul. Today is the first day in about a week that I’ve felt like I can handle a workout without seriously compromising the rest of my responsibilities – and you know what? Instead of dreading the thought of it like I have the last few days when I tried to rationalize squeezing one in, I’m actually excited to get into the gym and give it 100%! Letting other things take priority when it’s truly necessary is just as important as training properly for an event or fueling up appropriately!

  • Cassie @ Back to Her Roots August 30, 2011, 1:51 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I’ve always struggled with overcommitment. Part of it is driven by the fact that as a society, we tend to praise people that can “do it all”. I love hearing, “Wow, how did you have time do this amazing thing?” It makes me feel superhuman. But the consequence of that is that after I come down from the high of the compliment, I feel stressed, frazzled and worn out. And that feeling lasts a lot longer than the high.

    I’m starting to learn it isn’t worth it. But it’s a hard road.

  • katie @ KatieDid August 30, 2011, 1:51 pm

    I can definitely relate with you here. My classes start today, along with an internship, waitressing at night, my skating team practices, and trying to blog.. and oh yeah have friends… exercise is taking a back seat but I fit it in by biking everywhere I need to go. Life is a constant ebb and flow of all sorts of activities and balancing acts! I think its great that you can find the positive in having to cut back on exercise.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat August 30, 2011, 1:52 pm

    This post definitely resonates with me right now. Like you, I’m pretty committed to my workouts and unfortunately right now I’m dealing with a bit of an ankle injury that I just can’t seem to shake. I can do cross training activities, but I can’t run which is hard because right now it feels like every part of my body is screaming for it. However, like you said, sometimes we have to do less of one thing in order to make room for another. There are tons of things I want to do, including getting some quality rest, so I think this might be my body’s way of telling me that it’s time to do just that!

  • Shaya (Eye Girl Eats) August 30, 2011, 1:57 pm

    Finding time to exercise is a challenge for me as a very busy student. But I know that getting in just a little is great for stress-control and making me feel better. However, this is just movement with less emphasis on prepping for a race or making time goals or whatever. This is how I keep my healthy balance and my priorities in the right place for me at this time- school being foremost.

  • Leanne (Bride to Mrs,) August 30, 2011, 1:57 pm

    August was a crazy (fun, but crazy) month for me and my husband. We got married in the first week, had our honeymoon in the second week, went back to work in the 3rd & 4th weeks while trying to figure out how to settle into life again; needless to say, we ate a ton of unhealthy food and other then walks here and there, I haven’t been active.

    I was stressed out about it at first and then after talking it over with my hubby Tyler, we decided that August was a write-off! Instead of putting pressure on ourselves to be perfect, we decided that it wasn’t the end of the world and we would give ourselves the month to just do whatever we felt like.

    We are both looking forward to September (2 more sleeps) and have plans of working out, eating healthier, etc. We spent this past weekend cleaning out our house & getting organized which feels great… September is going to be stellar 😀

    • CaitlinHTP August 31, 2011, 9:38 am

      Happy belated wedding!

  • Kim@ Wonderings of a Twenty Something August 30, 2011, 2:00 pm

    I have definitely been trying to work out the balance. My husband is finally understanding that I only have so much to give and has quit nagging about working out. Walking the dog has been enough for now. Hope I can find some balance soon.

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats August 30, 2011, 2:06 pm

    This post is so true for me right now. I’m trying to keep up with all the exercising and blogging I was doing before school started, and I’m only in week 2 of classes and feeling really stressed! I need to realize I can’t do it all at once!

  • Ashley @ Thefitacademic August 30, 2011, 2:13 pm

    What a great reminder to all of us!

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) August 30, 2011, 2:22 pm

    You’re so right. Forget trying to do everything you did in the past. You can pick it up knowing that you’ve done it before.

  • Alexa @ Simple Eats August 30, 2011, 2:25 pm

    I completely understand what you’re feeling! I’m working 10+ hour work days lately, and I made a commitment to myself that at least 3 times a week to get a work out in. If I can’t fit it in, fine! Keeping your sanity is the most important thing.

  • Lauren August 30, 2011, 2:31 pm

    You know, I really admire you for having this philosophy, and being so open with it on a public forum. Way to go! 🙂

  • Jessica @ Jess Go Bananas August 30, 2011, 2:39 pm

    I try to set a time away in the morning for me to execise that way I can get it in if I want and if I don’t – well I can enjoy the beauty of the morning! =]

  • Sarah @ Simply Dove Simply Life August 30, 2011, 2:45 pm

    I find that I naturally take breaks from certain things in order to focus on another area. I usually go through phases where I’ll be REALLY into running, and I make my workouts a top priority. Then I’ll get really into something else, like reading, or sewing. That’s when my running takes a back seat to my other hobbies. For me, it’s just how I work, and I’ve come to terms with not being a super active runner all the time and doing races every weekend. Everyone needs a little break every now and then! 🙂

  • Callie @ The Wannabe Athlete August 30, 2011, 2:51 pm

    YES! This is EXACTLY how I’ve been feeling. I’m a mother of a 12 week old, working a busy full-time job – sometimes I have to cut myself a little slack. It’s okay that I’m not running 10k’s. It’s okay that I haven’t lost all the baby weight. Life is too short to beat myself up. Thanks for the post – I needed the reminder today! 🙂

  • Cassie August 30, 2011, 2:52 pm

    I can’t exercise at all now because of personal reasons. It shatters me

    On a different note, I like the hummus and goat cheese combo on bread.

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me August 30, 2011, 2:55 pm

    It’s great that you recognize this fact. My weight loss “schedule” fluctuates vastly over the months. I seem to be more motivated come winter but during the summer I like to be out and enjoy it. It doesn’t panic me or upset me because I know I’ll get back to it eventually. No biggy!

  • Colleen August 30, 2011, 2:56 pm

    Just this week decided to allow myself to sleep in (until 6am) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Up until this point I was making myself get up M-F at 5am to walk the dog, workout on the elliptical, do sit-ups, etc. before getting myself and my three kids ready for the day. Let’s just say I hated those mornings. It is only day two and I am feeling so much better. This morning I got up, took the dog for a quick walk around our two blocks, got ready, packed my lunch, had coffee and breakfast, put some laundry away, and got the kids up and ready before the bus came at 805.

  • Kathryn August 30, 2011, 2:57 pm

    Hi Caitlin, I have a nutrition question.
    I notice you eat greek yogurt which I love, but is very expensive. Since I eat a lot of yogurt, I often buy cheaper varieties and opt for fuller fat kinds. What do you think about this?
    Also, I eat chocolate every day and I’m having binging episodes, particularly with carb-filled foods and I can’t control myself. Or I can but I won’t or maybe don’t want to. Do you have advice?

  • Mia August 30, 2011, 2:59 pm

    I fit in exercise during a time of the day I know I won’t be doing anything else productive: 6am. As much as I love waking up early, I can’t work on my dissertation or teaching that early in the morning, so I use the first hour of the day to exercise. That way, I am able to start doing real work by 8am. if I had kids, it would be more complicated, but with a husband and a dog it works.

  • Sarah @ w30 August 30, 2011, 3:02 pm

    Love this! I definitely struggle with finding the right balance, and can tell from reading the comments I am in good company.

    My approach is a bit abstract, but here it is: There are areas of life we just must do – work obligations, family responsibility, etc – although we can create healthy boundaries to avoid crossing over into workaholism or martyrdom.

    But when it comes to the areas of my life I have more personal control over, like blogging or exercising, I try to avoid the mentality that I *have* to do something. Sometimes I need to push my butt out the door for a morning run, but I don’t want that to become just another obligation. So when I’m finding myself stressing out over fitting it all in, or find that I’m sacrificing the “extras” (that, frankly, aren’t really extras – we need to enjoy life, too), I try to determine if it is because there’s a more pressing short-term need (someone is sick and needs me, I have a book to write – just kidding) or if it’s because I am martyring myself for my obligations. Then I know if I am doing the right thing by turning my attention to a pressing need, or if I need to re-balance and take more care of myself. Does that make sense?

    • Caitlin August 31, 2011, 9:45 am

      I love this comment.

  • kalli August 30, 2011, 3:02 pm

    caitlin, this is such a great post and hits home for me in a big way. last year i advanced up in my professional career from teaching to being a high school asst. principal. it was so tough because with teaching i felt like i had so much more time to do all the exercise i wanted. as it turns out, i pushed myself to do too much last year and injured my back and hips from running. i also think my body was YELLING at me to take it easy. any way a new school year has just started again and i truly believe you must exercise to be happy when you are busy. so i run when i want, i walk when i want and i relax alot! i think i am in better shape for it now anyway. thank you for a great post 🙂

  • Wendi @ A Southern Yogi August 30, 2011, 3:04 pm

    I appreciate this post! A lot of times, people think they have to do all things all the time and it’s nice to have a positive message out there!!

  • Trish August 30, 2011, 3:05 pm

    You’re so smart! Seriously. Balance is such a good thing. Of course, it can be hard to remember that. I sometimes feel guilty for not working out. But you make a valid point – skipping a workout is actually, on some days, a good idea. It can be an added stressor at times, you’re for sure right about that. Great post. I love how you offer such sensible ideas – and you’re living proof that we don’t need to go to extremes to be healthy and happy. We can take a day off and still be amazing – you prove it! 🙂

    • Caitlin August 31, 2011, 9:46 am

      Thanks sweetie 😉

  • Kate August 30, 2011, 3:11 pm

    While my doctor has given me the all clear to begin running again after a not so fun injury (stress fracture in the femoral neck) and I have started up again. (btw – It feels great, love those walking breaks too.)

    I’m opting not to attempt any big distances for a while since I am going back to school in a few weeks. MBA baby here I come! With a part time accelerated program while working a full-time+ job the stress/focus of training is just not something I am choosing to add into my life at the moment. I’m also really enjoying the feeling of just rebuilding my stregnth and my health.

    • Caitlin August 31, 2011, 9:46 am

      Good luck with your MBA!

  • Baking N Books August 30, 2011, 3:17 pm

    I really needed to read this today…really. Thank you.

  • Ally August 30, 2011, 3:22 pm

    I’m struggling with that right now, too…I’m in training for my first 1/2 marathon and finding the time between that and my new teaching responsibilities is really hard. But by saying to myself that if worse comes to worse and I can’t run the 1/2 marathon, that’s okay…it’s definitely decreased the pressure I felt!

  • Laura @ My Reason to Tri August 30, 2011, 3:29 pm

    very good post! i have never thought of the physical stress/mental stress connection and how your body just cant process both. i have very stressful times with my daughter and feel like i need to spend more time concentrating on her, but i also feel like i cant give up training either because i need it to cope with the stress or im so OCD about my training goals, i feel like i have to fit it all in. maybe i should step back and stop trying to do it all and give my body a break!

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga August 30, 2011, 3:39 pm

    “Drizzled in olive oil and a little honey!”— yum! I love honey on tofu or potatoes…so good.

    And cute camera strap! I have one that’s similar that I bought from a lady on Etsy. It’s even more padded I think than yours b/c my camera with lens is sooooo heavy! I need all the neck cushioning I can get 🙂

  • Caroline August 30, 2011, 3:46 pm

    Great post! But speaking of exercise… did you ever post a winner for the Ramblin’ Rose half marathon entry? I’m sure I just missed it, but I don’t see it anywhere!

    • CaitlinHTP August 30, 2011, 5:02 pm

      OMG thank you so much for reminding me. I totally spaced and forgot. Will draw and announce tonight.

  • Erin August 30, 2011, 3:51 pm

    I used to do everything. Notice I don’t say “try”, I seriously did everything which meant that I barely ever had time to relax or get a good night sleep. After doing this for a couple of years and dealing with anxiety attacks and mental breakdowns I knew there had to be a better way.

    At this point I started to realize that my time was valuable and needed to be well balanced or else I would end up burnt out over and over again. So I started scaling back on committments by learning how to say no and saying yes to things that I really wanted to do. Then I went a step further and began scheduling ME time first. I started off each week jotting in workouts, coffee breaks with friends and even “quiet” time where I could read or go for a walk.

    Suddenly I started having more energy and feeling better. My mind didn’t feel torn in a million directions and I began to really enjoy life, in the present.

    I belive living mindfully can help balance out life because when you really focus and give your attention to the person or task at hand you start to see where your energy goes.

    I actually just wrote a post ( about this today (good timing LOL).

    Anyways, kudos for realizing when you need to focus on one aspect versus trying to do everything. Keep it up 🙂

    • Caitlin August 31, 2011, 9:47 am

      Great post Erin!

  • Sue @ Sue In Training August 30, 2011, 4:04 pm

    Absolutely! I’ve stepped back from blogging and working out lately, because my personal life is kind of crazy right now. Well, I’m getting married in 4 days! And I’m trying hard not to freak out about it. Yikes!
    Good to know I’m not the only one!

  • Rachel August 30, 2011, 4:17 pm

    I really admire your ability to recognize when you’re doing too much. I often don’t realize until it’s too late!
    I’m currently trying to balance exercise with reaching a healthy weight. It’s hard to give up things I love, like running, but it’s worth it.
    More mental work is a good idea. I’m not doing much of that these days either but I think it would help get my mind off other things!

  • Laurie August 30, 2011, 4:35 pm

    Thank you! Great post! Oh, sweet Maggie, I wish my dachshund would let me hold him like that!

    • Caitlin August 31, 2011, 9:47 am

      Is he squirmy???

      • Laurie August 31, 2011, 1:31 pm

        YES! If I try to pick him up like you do with Maggie, he is wrestling/squirmy, and I don’t know why! Now my husband can scoop him upside down (if he is laying on the sofa)and he don’t mind that! Weird!

  • Jillian @ sprinkle massacre August 30, 2011, 4:39 pm

    I think that I really just learned to balance the 3. I would find myself planning my time in my head, which would stress me out even more. I have learned to let go of longer workouts, and be happier with whatever I am able to fit in. 30 minutes is better than nothing at all. I juggle my job, blogging, and spending time with my guy after an hour commute each way to work. I’ve learned to take a step back from the blog world when necessary, but also that when things are important to you, you make it work, you make it happen.

  • Jessica @ Bake a Little August 30, 2011, 4:40 pm

    I really love this post because I truly believe that sometimes people forget the importance of taking care of their mental health, as well as their physical health.

  • Tiff @ Love, Sweat, and Beers August 30, 2011, 4:42 pm

    Too true! I can’t exactly apply this the same way to my life since I’m no marathon runner, but I totally see where you’re coming from. I know how much I need to work out to consider myself “fit enough”, reduct stress, and keep a little muscle tone, and I also know when I reach the point of diminishing returns.

  • Julie August 30, 2011, 4:44 pm

    Gah, this is brilliant. Thank you for writing this. I just came home from an endoscopy today. (I am getting tested for celiac) and I had to close my workout studio for two days because of it. I fought with myself to try to get the procedure AND still go to work… I need to remember I am not superwoman, take a step back a breathe.

    • Caitlin August 31, 2011, 9:48 am

      I hope your test results come back with good results!!!

  • Amanda August 30, 2011, 5:14 pm

    What a perfect time to read this post while in the middle of training for a half marathon, doing hot yoga, applying to graduate school, applying for jobs, and volunteering in labs! Obviously I have a problem with letting go of something to make room for another, but there really is wisdom in letting something take over some time that something else, exercise for example, would take up. I struggle to let things go because I’m afraid of doing too little as well. Finding balance is hard. I’m still working on it. I really appreciate you talking about this, Caitlin, because there are a lot times when I feel like a successful person wouldn’t take a break from anything. But you’re obviously successful, so you make a good role model for me 😉

  • Rebecca August 30, 2011, 5:14 pm

    You make a really good point here and hit on one of my passions.

    The community of “healthy living” focuses almost all energies on being physically and sometimes spiritually healthy. But what about mentally/intellectually? I think this is a big, big part of health–one that definitely impacts our everyday lives. But how many of us spend, say, an hour a day exercising our minds–deliberately, purposefully thinking?

    I would love to see more of a focus on intellectual health. I think as citizens its our responsibility to stay mentally alert and aware, to think critically. It’s also part of being a healthy human.

    • Rebecca August 30, 2011, 5:17 pm

      Agghh. It’s. Looks like I need to work on my intellectual health!

      • Caitlin August 31, 2011, 9:49 am

        bawhaha i think you seem pretty smart 🙂

  • Leah @ Why Deprive? August 30, 2011, 5:16 pm

    This post came at the absolute best time. In exactly 1 week, I will have to cut 3 days a week out of my exercise routine so I can go back to school. I was stressed about it at first, but its just a matter of deciding whats most important to me. Getting an education is more important to me right now than being able to workout whenever I want to. It would be great if I could do it all, but its just not realistic, or healthy.

  • Rosa - Fitness, Food, Fulfilled August 30, 2011, 5:17 pm

    I have the worst time doing less. My days feel packed from beginning to end, but I always try to stay fueled and hydrated, get enough sleep, and take rest when my body tells me too. It’s hard though. I’m not a good relaxer.

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife August 30, 2011, 5:23 pm

    True–healthy living is ALL about true balance and happiness 🙂

  • Johanna B August 30, 2011, 5:23 pm

    “It’s pointless to compare myself to my past and think that I should be capable of doing the same thing; I’m not in the same place!” I think this is my favorite sentence I’ve ever read. It’s so effin’ true. Thanks for the grand reminder.

  • Sonia (the Mexigarian) August 30, 2011, 5:29 pm

    I’m a Libra so I am constantly not balanced. I try to do so many things at once or I focus so much on one thing that nothing really gets done. :\ In my mind I can do everything,l but in reality, that just isn’t the case. I have to let things go and not worry so much. Still, I just want things done!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) August 30, 2011, 5:30 pm

    Well said!!! it really is about balance isnt it! 🙂

  • Mandy @ The Fat Girl's Guide to Life August 30, 2011, 5:32 pm

    “You only have so much energy to give to life.” This is an important point that I think so many of us on the weight loss journey forget. I wasn’t able to commit fully to losing weight and changing my habits until I cut some major stressors out of my life, including some very unhealthy relationships.

    It takes energy to change habits and more energy to exercise. No wonder it’s tough to lose weight! I know you aren’t talking about weight loss per se. But you make a good point that applies to healthy living. One thing at a time, right? I look forward to my “healthy tipping point,” when it doesn’t take so much energy anymore. Thanks for this. 🙂

  • Whitney August 30, 2011, 5:36 pm

    One of my favorite quotes ” To just be is enough”.

    • Caitlin August 31, 2011, 9:49 am

      I love that quote. So powerful and simple.

    • Amber K August 31, 2011, 1:17 pm

      I need to write that down!

  • deva (voracious vorilee) August 30, 2011, 5:37 pm

    I totally agree. I had to take a step back from my workouts as well as my blog so I could adjust to a different day-to-day schedule. I hated it, but I felt better when I was able to get back to the grind. Now, I’m just working on not overdoing it – there are only so many hours in the day!

  • Tracy @ Tracy's Treats August 30, 2011, 5:37 pm

    When I have a bajillion things to do, I put something on the backburner. I focus on the most important things first. When family obligations or work gets super-busy, I will forgo workouts occasionally. I think this is perfectly normal and healthy! Gotta keep the priorities straight!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss August 30, 2011, 5:40 pm

    I used to do the same thing and dedicate the majority of my time with exercise..and while it still is a huge part of my day (training for a marathon myself), I’m limiting how much I do. Like, when first starting to train..I’d go to the gym on the same days I’d run. Now, I stagger weight training between running. It’s much better that way!

  • KatieG @ Just Roll With It August 30, 2011, 5:47 pm

    Finding balance is tough because I am away from home from 6am-7:30pm each day, and that’s just if I workout in the morning and do nothing else but go to work. If I want to do anything after work (an evening workout or plans with a friend), I am not home until 9pm or 10pm sometimes leaving no time to get things done before it’s time for bed again. It’s tough but I try to make time to spend with my bf(he tells me when I’m gone too much), and do things with friends and family on the weekends. Sometimes it’s good to take a break and declare a “not doing anything but relaxing” day…those are the best!

  • Molly @ RDexposed August 30, 2011, 5:53 pm

    Maggie must love days like this!! Hope she’s in a belly rub coma.

  • Sophie @ threetimesf August 30, 2011, 6:03 pm

    Awww, those self photos with Maggie are so cute (read: please post more!)

  • Ali August 30, 2011, 6:07 pm

    perfect post for today! Thank you for the reminder to “do less, to do more”… I’ve been in a phase of obsessively scheduling workouts and feeling like I need to do it all…. I need to remember it’s ok to slow it down a bit and not be perfect.

  • Brandy August 30, 2011, 6:30 pm

    Well said! And so timely. I recently finished my first Ironman triathlon and am having a hard time finding “normal”. As much as I’m ready to have time back I don’t want to lose all these fitness gains!! Thanks for the reminder to have perspective- those “losses” are some other gains 😉

    • Caitlin August 31, 2011, 9:50 am

      Wahoo! Congrats on your Ironman 🙂 That is pretty epic, Brandy.

      • Brandy August 31, 2011, 12:54 pm

        aw, thanks. It was pretty amazing. one and done for me – the training was pretty all-encompassing and I feel that I have more I want to do than train train train. 🙂
        PS, I adore your blog. 🙂

  • Army Amy* August 30, 2011, 6:34 pm

    Great topic! Now that my husband is deployed, I find myself getting tired more easily. I’m doing everything that I used to do, but with no help. It’s hard! And emotionally draining! Like you, I try not to over commit myself or set myself up for failure.*

  • Brooke @ Tales of a Bride-To-Be August 30, 2011, 6:35 pm

    Great post! And who wouldn’t want to take photos with Maggie?! I’d say thats a good productive day.

  • Tessa @ Amazing Asset August 30, 2011, 6:41 pm

    Awesome post as usual lady. I wrote a post today on my personal “addiction” to exercising and how I am allowing it to rule my life. Working to change this, and this is a great post to remind me of this!

  • Katie August 30, 2011, 6:47 pm

    This is what I think sets you apart from so many other fitness writers. Your goal is to take care of your whole self – not just your body, but your mind and spirit too.

    • AmandaonMaui August 30, 2011, 10:31 pm

      I couldn’t agree more!

      • Caitlin August 31, 2011, 9:50 am

        Thanks, girls!

  • Emily August 30, 2011, 7:14 pm

    I loved this post! It is so true that you have to look at your overall stress and not just your exercise stress in terms of daily energy. I feel this way during school; when my classes are super busy and my work load is really heavy I have to make time and energy for that more so than a workout. Good luck with all the writing 🙂

  • Ashley @ My Food 'N' FitnessDiaries August 30, 2011, 7:20 pm

    I like this post. I appreciate your “realness” and recognizing that sometimes things in life have to take a break or be put on hold to allow for other things. Thanks for sharing!

  • Mary August 30, 2011, 7:40 pm

    JUST what I needed to hear today… I really feel like you and I are always on the same page when it comes to running! And I’m the same age as you, so I really feel like I can relate 🙂

    • Caitlin August 31, 2011, 9:51 am

      We’re twinsies 🙂

  • Kristin @ STUFT Mama August 30, 2011, 7:58 pm

    Oh man. I struggle with this everyday. I always try to do it all. I SHOULD follow your example and rest. 🙂 It’s sooo soo hard as a mom to find the time. Thanks for putting in perspective. I forget that exercise is an added stress for my body and right now I think my body needs some serious r and r. 🙂

  • sarah@spinach and spice August 30, 2011, 8:27 pm

    Love honey on my greens, or maple syrup!
    Balance is the key to life, and you seem to always do a great job of it 🙂

  • Kaitlin @ Montgomery Minimalist August 30, 2011, 9:09 pm

    Right now, I’m getting ready to run my first marathon on Sunday, so I haven’t exactly been taking it easy lately. However, I have been feeling the stress of trying to do everything–starting the school year (I’m a teacher), keeping up with running and strength training, and trying to take care of everything else that needs to be done (including making almost all of my meals from scratch). I need a break, and am looking forward to slowing down and taking it easy on myself in the next few weeks. Thank you for this post–it made me realize how I’ve been burning the candle at both ends lately. I needed a little perspective!

  • Jennifer@ knackfornutrition August 30, 2011, 9:19 pm

    I wrote a pretty similar post today. I dropped out of the Disney Marathon because the timing just isn’t right to train. Work and life responsibilities come first right now. I’m bummed about it but I know that one day I will finish 26.2.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin August 30, 2011, 10:05 pm

    Yes! I couldn’t agree more! I’ve been exercising a lot less than usual lately because of my summer job at a farm. I spend 9 hours of my day on my feet and carrying big bushels of vegetables, so I’m too exhausted for any extra physical activity. It’s been a nice change, but I’m excited to get back to regular running again once I’m back at school!

  • Selena August 30, 2011, 10:13 pm

    I think I needed to hear this. I’ve never really exercised but I started running a few months ago. It isn’t easy to fit in but I’ve started feeling like I should do more…something every day like I see the ladies on the blogs I read doing. However, you’re right, we only have so much to give and I simply can not exercise every day and be a functioning person. I work full time and manage a team of people, I’m a mom of 3 little girls who want me here after being at school/daycare all day, and I’m a wife, friend, daughter…I need to be able to do things for and with my family too. So, between work and family commitments, I really shouldn’t feel bad about only exercising 2-3 times/week. It just is all I can do right now.

    Yet again, thanks for your post!

    • Caitlin August 31, 2011, 9:52 am

      You are awesome – look at that long ass list of things you do. You should be SO PROUD to fit in two or three days a week. You are amazing!

  • AmandaonMaui August 30, 2011, 10:29 pm

    I’m back in school again, and I’m balancing all of my regular house stuff with house hunting, a trip in two weeks and gearing up for that, my new fitness regimen, and studies. Two of my classes are self-driven online courses so I have a LOT of reading to do for them.
    I can do this!

    • AmandaonMaui August 30, 2011, 10:30 pm

      Oh, and let’s not forget social obligations!

  • Stephanie @ Food and Fitness 4 Real August 30, 2011, 11:04 pm

    I have learned there is no balance and I can’t do it all. I just prioritize the top three each week and see where the rest of the pieces fall. Right now it is family, my full-time job and blogging. Half marathon training fell through the cracks last week, blogging will have to take a backseat this weekend while I go on a family vacation, and I only think about work during work hours.

  • Teresa August 30, 2011, 11:13 pm

    I’ve been trying to be Superwoman at work lately, and it left me really burnt out. I just took a 4-day weekend to take a break from being at the office, and it really helped my mental state. I went to work today feeling refreshed and ready to go again!

    Sometimes it’s hard to forgive myself for not being perfect. Glad to see that I’m not the only one who struggles with it. I need to strike a better balance and not expect myself to “do it all.” Thanks for the reminder!

  • Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] August 31, 2011, 12:12 am

    mmmm – love the looks of that tater and dark leafy greens. #health

  • Angela @ MyPinkyToes August 31, 2011, 12:28 am

    I love how you are always talking about balance on here. Living a happy and healthy life is so much about balance, and sometimes you just have to prioritize! I cannot wait to read your new book when it comes out because I know that you have worked so hard on it and it will be great!

  • Khushboo August 31, 2011, 12:52 am

    LOVE this post! It’s all about striking a balance- as much as I adore the healthy living community, it can raise the bar for what we expect from ourselves! Compared to the average American/what is recommended, you are still doing pretty damn good!

  • Sarah August 31, 2011, 3:27 am

    Absolutely! A while ago I wrote to ask you whether I could train for a half marathon in a few months, to which you encouragingly said it was possible. However, I decided not to for the same reasons as you taking a step back from running. I desperately want to run one but right now my dissertation is my priority. And I have a similar take as you- currently I’m pushing my brain beyond its percieved limits, and once I’m done doing that I will push my body beyond its percieved limits by training for a half 🙂

    Oh, and rice cakes= LOVE them. They are my gluten-free saviours.

  • Marijke August 31, 2011, 5:05 am

    Awww Maggie’s little belly!
    I’m currently training for a half marathon on October 9th (signed up on a whim a couple of weeks back) and have faced a few obstacles so far! I just figure that, if I can’t fit in all of my long runs then it’s not the end of the world. Having a flexible training plan is much more important than having to shy away from spontaneously family fun! I’m off on my honeymoon for 9 days in September so timing-wise a HM wasn’t the best choice! I don’t actually mind if I don’t get a PB- I’m just going to run the damn thing anyway 🙂

  • Emily Eats and Exercises August 31, 2011, 6:54 am

    I used to struggle a lot with comparing my running pace and endurance to others and managed to make a lot of progress in that regard. Much harder? Remembering not to compare my current abilities to my fitness last year (pre year-of-injury.) Good reminder and great post.

  • Hillary August 31, 2011, 7:12 am

    I think this is something I think about on a daily basis. I guess I just decide what my “non-negotiables” are, and I stick to them the best I can. Those non-negotiables change from day to day (sometimes I really need an extra hour of sleep, or a break from working out, or a super HARD work out to work off stress, etc), but I’ve gotten very good at prioritizing and not apologizing for what I need to stay sane!

  • Brittney August 31, 2011, 8:33 am

    Yup, I’ve been stepped back for a while now since trying to conceive has been my primary goal. I still like lighter workouts, but no marathon training for me right now!

  • Sara @ OurDogBuffy August 31, 2011, 9:00 am

    I feel all of my obligations at work and to my family consumes more time than I have in a day, so finding time to exercise period, is really hard. I try to just do little things here or there–take the stairs, run/walk with the dogs for a bit, do lunges while vacuuming … and when I have time, throw in an exercise DVD or go for a longer jog/run and use the stationary bike. You gotta do what you gotta do!

  • Joey August 31, 2011, 11:20 am

    Another great post & a reminder that health is about more than training for a race! 🙂

  • Kristin @ eat healthy. be happy. live well August 31, 2011, 1:59 pm

    You totally put into words what I’ve been feeling lately! I have been too busy with other things to get proper workouts in. I like how you phrased it that it would just be additional stress on my body right now. I’m focusing on eating healthy and being a good dog-mommy and wife 🙂 The workouts will come again once things slow down. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Tanya @ Vegan Faith September 2, 2011, 3:21 pm

    Caitlin, I love this post and totally agree. I think about it like this…working out (hard) is to get us in shape physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally for those tough weeks when maybe even one workout is pushing the time limits! I stay consistent with working out so that my fitness level is where it needs to be when a crazy week strikes and it takes everything out of me. And then I jump right back in afterward to continue to “train” for the next crazy week that pops into my schedule.

  • Heidi September 5, 2011, 9:34 am

    This is such a good point and one I myself would do well to remember. Life is about finding a balance in everything. In spending time with those we love, our work, our hobbies, and of course exercise. Sometime finding balance means that we may have to sacrifice one thing for the benefit of the other. That doesn’t make you a failure, that makes you smart!

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