I found myself spinning on my indoor trainer until 9:30 PM last night, and then I woke up and did a 6 mile run with Henry before I took him to swim school.  And I’m due to get back on the bike tonight.  Oh my.


My new motto is “STRONGER WITH EVERY WORKOUT” because I really, really can feel myself making improvements.  When I signed up do to the Half Ironman, I kind of thought, “Dang, how will I ever do that?!” but now I’m starting to see how it’s possible (the secret: a lot of cardio – like, a ton. Oh, and a lot of strength training.  And a lot of yoga, too…).

photo (90)

Coach Marni is doing the Lake Placid Ironman this weekend – pretty cool, huh?  I’m excited for her.  She’s an old pro at Ironmans (this will be her SIXTH!), and I’m sure she’ll do great.


I thought I’d be fun to show you all my latest e-mail exchange with her…


And here’s what she wrote back:


Your should be kicking.. but not overkicking. Think of a nice, steady flutter kick. Every swimmer has a style of kicking in terms of the beats of kicking relative to the arms, but think about “nice, steady” kicking – from your glutes/hips as you are reaching and rolling.


This is an issue for many – the hips drop in the water and the feet do all the work. So think about a string on your belly button pulling you to the ceiling and try to swim downstream.  This may  help position your hips a little higher in the water.


In a triathlon race, you don’t want to overkick. You want to swim efficiently, as even swimming hard with your arms will expend a lot of energy. The key is to be as efficient as possible on race day.  So when you are in the pool, think about having good form and being comfortable without having to do a lot of "work" to move forward.


So perhaps my new mantra should be “NICE AND STEADY!”  I like that one, too. Winking smile


What’s your workout mantra?



  • CB July 24, 2013, 12:13 pm

    You might want to consider learning to do a “two-beat kick,” which is an easy, steady kick mainly used for rotation and not propulsion. That way, you give your legs a rest during the swim portion of the tri. You can find all sorts of explanations and videos of the two-beat kick with a Google search. When I do open-water swims, I tend to use a big kick at the start, when trying to surge past someone, and at the final sprint to the finish. But otherwise, I’m mostly doing an easy two-beat kick. Good luck with the training!

  • Katie July 24, 2013, 12:23 pm

    My training mantra is “you race how you train” my racing mantra is “one step at a time” I try not freak out about what is left to do on race day, instead I just take things as they come. I really like Coach Marni’s thoughts on kicking, I’ve definitely heard the “use your arms” tip, but it just didn’t seem smart.

  • Megan (The Lyons' Share) July 24, 2013, 12:30 pm

    I like “you got this” or “I choose to run,” which reminds me to feel grateful that I am physically able to run (or work out) and that I have made the choice to do so. Way to go for those back-to-back workouts!

  • Laura July 24, 2013, 12:32 pm

    Mine is “you are stronger than you think you are”. I tell this to myself during tough workouts/races when I feel like walking or giving up and it does the trick for me!

  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun July 24, 2013, 12:42 pm

    I just wrote a post about this yesterday! My current workout mantras are:

    1. How bad do you want this?
    2. Pain is only temporary
    3. You are stronger than you think!

  • Mandy @ Eat Pray Grow July 24, 2013, 12:49 pm

    I just learned how to swim (freestyle) since I found out I was pregnant, and a constant issue I have is sinking in the water. I’ll have to try this – it sounds counterintuitive to “swim downstream” in order to keep yourself properly afloat, but I can see how having your hips higher could really help. Thanks, Coach Marni! 🙂

  • Katie July 24, 2013, 2:06 pm

    I always say “roll into it” when I’m running, especially for the first mile. I don’t know when I came up with that, but it’s how I remind myself to not resist the run. The first mile is always the hardest, when if I remind myself to just roll into the run I always sink into the rhythm faster.

  • FitBritt@MyOwnBalance July 24, 2013, 2:47 pm

    I had no idea that you were supposed to do steady kicking as opposed to kicking hard for tri races. I definitely made the mistake of kicking hard in my tri last summer because I thought it would make me go faster and my legs are stronger than my arms. I guess it was only a sprint so it didn’t really matter. Good to know!

  • Pauline July 24, 2013, 2:55 pm

    I don’t have a workout mantra (I probably should get one since I just started training for a half!), but I read this article the other day, and loved that what this epic runner said: “The best was that I got to do something I loved every day. I never thought, “I have to get in my run today.” I always believed, “I’m so lucky to be able to run today.””

    Your new header with lil Henry on the beach… SO CUTE!!! 🙂

  • Lily July 24, 2013, 3:13 pm

    Just wanted to let you know: I just signed up for the Ramblin’ Rose in Chapel Hill! I am pretty excited; my then-boyfriend-now-fiance and I trained for a sprint triathlon two years ago, but there were storms and flooding the morning of the race, and we couldn’t do the make-up one. This is a long time coming! After reading so much about your triathlon experiences, I am extremely motivated to get back into swimming and biking! So, thanks for that 🙂

    • Caitlin July 24, 2013, 6:32 pm

      Yay! I am so excited for you and I can’t wait to meet you on race day!

  • Melissa July 24, 2013, 4:40 pm

    I really like that mantra! Mine is, “This too shall pass,” meaning that if it is uncomfortable at first, it will get easier.

  • Jessica R @ FromtheKitchentotheRoad July 24, 2013, 5:27 pm

    Right now my workout mantra is “One step out the door.” All winter and up to my May marathon I would pop out of bed the second the alarm went off to go run. I am struggling getting up these days. I remind myself (when I am thinking clearly) that all I need to do is take one step out the door and then I will be happy and into it.

  • Logan @ Mountains and Miles July 24, 2013, 7:53 pm

    I often find myself using “you can”

    You can run up that hill

    You can run one more mile

    You can do one more squat

  • Sierra @ Always, Sierra July 25, 2013, 12:22 am

    I just took swimming back up recently. I’ve only ever dabbled, and it’s never been my strong suit. Definitely have noticed the whole hip dropping thing though, and can’t wait to try out the whole belly button string tip.

    Whenever I’m tempted to cut a workout short, I say to myself “You don’t stop when you’re tired, you stop when the workout’s done.”

  • Ginger Herrick July 25, 2013, 6:44 am

    Ahh, swimming. My arch nemesis. Lessons (and practice) fell by the wayside when my daughter got out of school. I need to start again. Thanks again for posting what I really need to read. 🙂
    Mantra: Just keep swimming.

  • Ali July 25, 2013, 8:38 am

    Which 1/2 are you training for? I must have missed it in an earlier post.

    • Caitlin July 25, 2013, 12:34 pm


  • Luv What You Do July 25, 2013, 8:56 am

    Nice and steady is a good one for sure!
    During tri’s, I usually say to myself ‘this is your race’. It reminds me not to focus on those around me and work from within but push myself a little harder because it really is MY race. Kind of random but it’s the head game that gets you through…right?

    Out of curiosity, how many hours a week are you training now and at the peak?

    Good luck marni!!!

  • Vikki July 25, 2013, 11:24 am

    My workout mantra: It doesn’t matter what you look like. It matters what you feel like.

    I’m a hoopdancer (if you use the term loosely). When I’m hooping, I feel like I’m beautiful and graceful and good at it. I LOVE that feeling. Alas, if I video myself, I do not look the way I feel. I look as klutzy and as out of rhythm as I do in real life. AND THAT’S OKAY. I feel great when I’m doing it.

  • Sara @ Zero to Sixty July 25, 2013, 12:41 pm

    Wow what an awesome coach. My biggest problem swimming is I tend to not swim straight! Which makes my swims when I have to share a lane horrible. Keep up the good work!

  • Claire July 26, 2013, 5:59 am

    I got my mantra from an elite runner only I can’t remember who, otherwise I’d give credit: I do in training what others won’t, so on race day I can do what others can’t.

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