Last Week’s Workouts

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On balancing training and vacation.

photo (86)

Last week was a doozy.  Okay – so Week 2 of Half Ironman training was basically a repeat of Week 1 (preparation weeks).  However, we traveled to Philadelphia (by car) on Tuesday night and returned on Saturday, so my plans for an epic workout week got thrown out the car window.  Here’s what I managed to get done:


Monday: Swim 30 minutes + strength train

Tuesday: 1 hour bike ride (indoor) + 10 minute treadmill run

Wednesday:  Nada – traveling

Thursday: 30 minute run

Friday: 1 hour run

Saturday: Nada – traveling

Sunday: 1 hour and 20 minute bike ride (outdoors)


Totals: 30 minutes of swimming, 2.25 hours of biking, 10 miles of running, countless hours of “Are we there yet?!”


So…. not too bad in the grand scheme of things, but definitely not an epic Half Ironman kind of week.  Coach Marni says that when I can’t follow her plan to the letter, I should focus on my weakest sport, but my weakest sport is biking (followed by swimming), and neither were feasible on our trip.  And I hated ‘losing’ two days of training (and my life in general) to driving to Pennsylvania and back!


We did make a pit stop at Cracker Barrel on the way home, and Henry discovered how fun it is to take the golf tees out of the wooden triangle they keep on every table.  He spent the entire meal sorting the tees from the triangle to an empty sugar dish.  That was pretty cute.


I die. So adorable.


The other kind of ‘meh’ part of this week was eating.  Being outside of my kitchen + two long days of driving + catching up with all our old high school and college friends = Not the healthiest week.  I’ve been kind of revving myself up mentally to switch to really clean eating and little to no booze during training, but I just need to make the leap and commit.  I know nutrition makes a BIG difference in endurance, and I really want to tackle this race from all angles.


So now I’m taking a little look at the rest of my summer and trying to anticipate how I’ll balance training with fun.  We have quite a few vacations and day trips planned!  I always love that part about summertime, but I guess I feel nervous about straying from Coach Marni’s plan too much (or at all!) because I know the only way I’ll be able to swim, bike, and run 70.3 miles on race day is if I really, really give myself over to the process.  And I am already committed… but on the other hand, I like vacations!  And yet training only last 12 weeks, and I really want to do my best come race day – after all, that’s why I registered.  It’s a tough balance, I guess… Know what I’m talkin’ about?


Onwards and upwards!  I’m looking forward to another week of training (and another weekend trip – I’m going to go visit Kath in Charlottesville!).


How do you balance training and trips?  At least I love running around new cities and exploring different neighborhoods!



  • Jill July 21, 2013, 12:39 pm

    Um, I only walk (slowly) and I am not a great eater….so I think you are a rockstar. Not joking either.

    Henry is sweet.

  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun July 21, 2013, 1:07 pm

    Great week of workouts especially with all the traveling! I can’t believe how big Henry is getting! He is so adorable!

  • Jessica @ FromtheKitchentotheRoad July 21, 2013, 1:40 pm

    I try to cut myself some slack while on vacation. I exercise as much as possible but go in knowing that I most likely won’t get in as much as usual. Some exercise is better than none. Sounds like you did a good job balancing life with your training. An off day here and there won’t ruin anything. I think it’s the overal training that matters.

  • Ali July 21, 2013, 2:31 pm

    This is in regards to the last paragraph and I don’t want it to come out sounding the wrong way at all, but it sounds like training is causing you some emotional distress. You have A LOT going on this summer and you’ve already discovered that training for an Ironman on the road is really challenging. Why not just scrap the IM and spend time with your family and not worrying about fitting in training? Do you have to be an Ironman (Ironwoman)? I don’t understand the pressure it sounds like you’re putting on yourself because you really do have a lot planned in the next few months. Why not just work out when you can and how you feel like it instead of trying to stick to a really rigorous training schedule, falling short and then feeling anxiety over it?

    • Caitlin July 21, 2013, 2:52 pm

      Oh I’m not feeling distress 🙂 I just typed it melodramatically I guess! But thanks for the concern And this is great advice for many people!

  • Sarah July 21, 2013, 3:03 pm

    You said it all in the last paragraph. For a 70.3 you do really, really need to make sacrifices. Best of luck to you, and get ready to figure out how to get your workouts in no matter what (get ready for some 3 AM wake up calls!)
    (And as a side note- training for a Half will consume a great deal of your life. Not a surprise to you I’m sure but to think it wouldn’t is wishful thinking :-))

    • Caitlin July 21, 2013, 3:08 pm

      Haha I know! You know what I need? Days to have 26 hours! That would be perfecto.

  • Crystal @ TriFoodieMD July 21, 2013, 3:09 pm

    I know exactly what you mean about balancing life and training. It’s one thing to have a plan, but a whole different feat to squeeze it all in. I always get up bright and early before traveling and knock out my workout. It’s tough when that alarm goes off, but I’ve never regretted a 4am workout.

  • Alexandra July 21, 2013, 4:59 pm

    I hear you loud and clear on balancing workouts with traveling and family. Get to bed early and break out the work out gear in the AM. Might also need an extra eye on Henry during these training weeks to ensure you fit in all your workouts 🙂 Good luck!!

  • Sarahf July 21, 2013, 5:33 pm

    I’m training for a November marathon, which needs about a third of the training, I guess, of an ironman. It’s also insanely hot, so 5am starts are the latest I can do without giving myself heat exhaustion, so late nights are a bit of a problem unless I know I can go back to bed when I get back. I understand what you mean, and really, all you can do is your best, there are some sacrifices that are worth it (asking a friend to go for lunch after I run rather than dinner when I need to get up early) and some that aren’t (missing out on family time when I visit my folks next month) and I just have to prioritise. Easier said than done! Right now I need to lose the “hey I ran this morning, I can eat ALLLLLLL the food” mentality and give my body the fuel it needs. Good luck with the training, it’ll be worth it in the end!

  • Karen @ Runner Girl Eats July 21, 2013, 5:43 pm

    I can maintain running pretty well on vacation since there is no equipment but I rarelyyyy get in any crosstraining while away from home. I try to do some core work but that is usually nixed for more fun activities. I think you are doing a great job balancing it all and will fall into a rhythm soon!

  • Megan @ The Lyons' Share July 21, 2013, 5:44 pm

    Way to go for fitting that in! Like you, I find that running while traveling is the easiest. I currently travel 4 days/ week for work, so I squeeze in runs and enjoy exploring new parts of the country! Triathlon training while traveling is definitely a challenge, though – major applause to you!

  • Kinsey July 21, 2013, 8:23 pm

    Awesome job keeping up on your workouts! And Henry is just the cutest thing ever!

  • Kristi July 21, 2013, 8:33 pm

    I am just beginning to learn how to balance life, healthiness, fun, work, mothering… it’s a lot sometimes. I think whatever you decide works best for you is the only way to go. Adding more pressure to your plate sometimes doesn’t go that well.

  • Amber K July 21, 2013, 8:51 pm

    I always take it easy when I’m on vacation, but then I’m also never training for anything. So I just pick back up where I left off when I get home.

  • Aja July 21, 2013, 8:53 pm

    You’re like a rock star doing all that stuff. Trips are always hard even if you aren’t training. Also, Henry = adorable.

  • Dennis July 21, 2013, 9:20 pm

    When traveling (especially family vacations) sleep often suffers. If nutrition suffers, then expect your training to be sub optimal. Trying to do too much on bad recovery will lead down the road to fatigue and injury.

    Health and top performance are often mutually exclusive.

  • TanyaS July 21, 2013, 10:51 pm

    I finished my first HIM 2 weeks ago. The commitment is beyond massive. I had no social life for the last 6 weeks of training. Everything else was put off until I got my workouts in, especially long bike, runs and swims. Without question the HIM goal came as priority #1, it was a huge discussion with hubby before I even registered.

    The time commitment is just as big on your family’s part as it is yours. My hubby did alot of single parenting.

    • Caitlin July 22, 2013, 8:50 am

      SO TRUE. Kristien and I did have a big discussion about whether HE is okay with me doing this (back in May, when I signed up) because he really does have to sacrifice too.

  • Kerry July 22, 2013, 12:04 am

    I LOVE Charlottesville! You need to go to Bodo’s Bagels and get pomegranate seltzer, and a run through UVA’s campus is a MUST!! It’s absolutely gorgeous.

  • Mary July 22, 2013, 1:35 am

    That is a very cute picture of Henry!
    I always take along my running trainers when we go away, because running is never too difficult to fit in to a trip but I imagine swimming and biking would be much more difficult.

  • William July 22, 2013, 7:31 am

    Hi Caitlin!
    I’ve been following your blog for quite some time now, and have wanted to leave a comment so many times. Thank you for inspiring me to get my butt off the couch, break the habit of making an excuse and get focused on the goal.

  • laine July 22, 2013, 7:40 am

    I had flash backs to last summer reading your last paragraph. I had 2 triathlons that I was training for. And it ate into my summer for sure. Friends going on on a Thursday night? Oh, I’ll meet you after my brick workout. Friends going to the beach? Well, I’ve got to get my 15 miles in so I’ll bike there and then trek across the sand to meet you. And then bike home….

    Good luck! When you start to feel like you are missing out on things, you’ll know you are training the “right” amount. Get a bike rack for the car and bring that baby with you on trips. Have the husband drop you off 50 miles from the destination and meet the family there! (Isn’t that what (crazy, in a good way) Healthy Ashley did once to get her training in?

    • Caitlin July 22, 2013, 8:49 am

      These are awesome ideas! Thanks for the feedback. I totally love the idea of being dropped off 30 miles from our destination with our bike. And I really do want a bike rack… I keep on thinking of springing for one, but I’m feeling stingy lately (due to all these trips…). Maybe it would be for best though if I had one; it would sure make cycling in other cities a lot easier.

  • Ashley July 22, 2013, 8:05 am

    How? Um, just do it?

    Sorry, not to be cliche, but if you have a big goal then you have to be prepared to make big sacrifices. That means bringing your bike. Or finding a YMCA to swim. Or not going on multiple vacations. Maybe this isn’t the best time for you to be training for a HIM.

    • Caitlin July 22, 2013, 8:50 am

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful feedback.

  • Laura @ Mommy Run Fast July 22, 2013, 8:40 am

    It is definitely a tough balance! Running is by far the most convenient exercise to squeeze in while traveling. We’re in the middle of a cross country move and now I no longer have my gym membership so it’s been running and whatever cross training I can do with my own body weight and a resistance band!

  • Logan @ Mountains and Miles July 22, 2013, 8:53 am

    My trips (thankfully) are usually centered around exercise/outdoor adventures rather than work trips, so it makes it easy to fit in. I just got back from a two week vacation to my parent’s home in Colorado and I got to to do all kinds of trail running, hiking, kayaking and backpacking while there.

    When I travel to new cities or other places for work/other related things, I usually try to use runs as a way to explore new areas.

  • Claire @ Health Nut Claire July 22, 2013, 11:07 am

    Is that cheese or butter on your beans?! Lol.

  • Ebernst July 22, 2013, 11:24 am

    Training for (and racing) a Half Ironman is hard but not impossible. You are already in great shape and a lot of the race is mentally preparing yourself for a long day (of fun!).

    My first 70.3 was this year in Raleigh and I’ll be the first to admit that my training was less than stellar. I had a half thrown together training plan which I pulled from the internet. I was traveling an insane amount for my job (including 2 trips to South America during peak training weeks). I in physical therapy for my IT band. And I was still attempting to have some sort of social life (Let me go for an 8mi run after work and then grab beers!) Granted, I didn’t win the race (or even have an awesomely fast time), but I finished in under 8 hours, didn’t get injured and had a blast both training and racing!

    My advice is to fit in the training when ever possible with your schedule. Get in your long rides when you’re home. (I missed a flight in February because I decided to get in a 30mi Sunday morning ride). Run where you are (Went for a 6mi run after flying overnight to Chile to get in my long run for the week). Swim when possible and hit up open water (lakes, ocean, rivers) if you don’t have a pool nearby. Strength train while traveling if you can’t do anything else. Pack your foam roller in your suitcase (Totally did this!). Stress less and have fun!!!! You’ll survive! 🙂

  • 911shazza July 23, 2013, 2:26 am

    Balancing training and life is tough. Last year I did Ironman Canada and I got in all the big long workouts I needed. The main bike rides. The long swims. Running actually didn’t get much of my attention. I have two young boys (age 4 and 7) so they take up a lot of my time. I also work full time. As a result, I didn’t have as much time for training as I might have liked. I got it done though. And I finished. I wan’t fast, but I did finish. One of the best things I did was a weekend camp where I got to practice the course the race was on. It gave me the confidence to know I could do it, and a chance to focus on my training exclusively without kids around for the weekend. It truly was important. Figure out your priorities and plan accordingly. You can’t do everything, so something will have to sacrifice to fit it all in. Of course now I need to find some new motivation…

  • Ryan Archdeacon July 26, 2013, 5:36 pm

    I admire your determination and work! You’re doing great. Your posts are also motivating me to work harder. Thanks!

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