Slow and Fast

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It’s funny how training for a long event completely warps your perception of what a ‘normal’ workout consists of, isn’t it?  Under normal circumstances, I think of 1000 – 1500 yards as a normal swim; a 45 minute cycling class a normal bike; and a 3 – 4 mile run as a normal run.  But now… ooooh boy.


My friend Meghann (who’s training for a full Ironman) commented the other day on Facebook, “10 mile run! So happy for a short workout!” or something to that effect.  I laughed out loud because – man – I guess that’s what happens when you do the entire 140.6 mile triathlon.  I’m not quite as nuts with my Half Ironman training, but I am to the place where I think a 2500 yard swim is a normal swim, a two hour bike is a decent ride, and an hour run in no big deal. 


I have to say – I am kind of looking forward to going back to REALLY normal workouts. Actually, I think I may do something completely different, like a yoga challenge or kettleballin’.  We shall see!


Yesterday, I swam 2100 yards. I did a 100 yard warm-up and two sets of 1000 yards.  I was a little freaked out because the distant felt SO HARD.  It was just one of those workouts, you know?  My arms were heavy, I felt slow and cumbersome in the water.  It made me nervous because the race is going to be even further… and in choppy water… and I’ll probably be freaking out.  Me and open water are not BFFs.  Sigh.  I hope the next few swims before the race feel more positive.  I know my swim fitness is just as it was a few days ago, but those emotional ups and downs are a little unsettling.


Today, I woke up early and did an hour on the indoor training and a 3 mile run.  That was more like it – I felt strong and fast.  What a difference a day makes!


What’s your current perception of a ‘normal’ workout? Are you training for something?



  • Lauren @ Lettuce Eat Cake October 17, 2013, 9:09 am

    Ha, this is so not even in the same league, but I am running my first 10K on Saturday, and I went out to do a quick 4-miler on Tuesday for my last “long run” and my legs felt terrible. I could barely make it a third of a mile before needing to stop again. So I called it quits when it started to rain at mile 2.5. I think I may have worn out my legs a bit, so I decided to just rest until race day. I have debated backing out of the 10K so many times, even though I’ve been trying to train. I want so badly to be a runner, but my body just doesn’t seem to cooperate, and I never know if it’s going to be a terrible run or a good run. The only reason I haven’t backed out is the fact that the high on Saturday is 57 here in Indianapolis. Cool temps just might make this thing possible…

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats October 17, 2013, 9:13 am

    I felt the same way while I was marathon training! To me 3 miles is a normal run right now, but back during training I remember thinking how insane it was that 12 miles was a long run during a “cut back” week!

  • Ali October 17, 2013, 9:25 am

    It’s kettle BELL not ball 🙂

  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun October 17, 2013, 9:28 am

    Before I got injured a “10 mile run” was a short day – even though that has changed I can’t run right now so instead everything seems longer because I am JUST now starting to cross train and I am not used to doing any of these things – swimming, spinning, and rowing are all VERY new to me!

  • meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles October 17, 2013, 9:41 am

    I totally agree- perception becomes so skewed when training for such an event! Even for me, my routine runs used to be 3 miles…now my routine run has become 5 miles – anything less feels super short and rarely happens. Although, I still count my 10 mile runs as long! I give you a ton of credit for your training- looks so hard and you are doing amazing.

  • Emily @ The Good Era October 17, 2013, 10:13 am

    I’ve been debating getting an indoor training for the colder months since I really got into biking this summer. Would you recommend??

    Congrats on your awesome training…almost there!!!

    • Caitlin October 17, 2013, 10:50 am

      Yes I love mine. I have the bell motivator which is super cheap. I have nothing expensive and fancy to compare it to but I really love it n

  • Katie October 17, 2013, 10:14 am

    I’m doing a half marathon next weekend, but I didn’t train for it….I teach yoga sculpt 3 days a week, so I’m hoping that plus my short runs will be enough (yes I know I’m crazy). This winter I want to take swim lessons and take more spin classes so I can start the crazy world of triathlons, I totally have you and Meghann to thank for this inspiration!

  • Mandy @ Eat Pray Grow October 17, 2013, 10:31 am

    It makes me happy to see you kicking so much butt with this . A regular walk feels like a run to me at 25 weeks, and I remember you — a triathlete — felt the need to tone things in your pregnancy, too — so I don’t feel so bad about it! It’s encouraging to see what can be done later down the road, even if I feel like I can’t do much now!

    • Caitlin October 17, 2013, 10:49 am

      Happy pregnancy! Yes, I stuck to walks and swims when pregnant and that felt grrrreat. 🙂

  • Emily at Transitional Objects October 17, 2013, 10:40 am

    Taper time is a cruel beast because, as one feels weak and tired, one’s mental space — especially if it’s a mega-long race — feels uninhabitable. Just remember: feeling like crap during taper workouts means nothing. It’s normal, & you’ve trained so hard that you’ve earned an excellent half-iron.

    I’m still recovering from my first marathon, & it’s driving me bananas! But recovery, like the taper, is always a blessing in disguise for the body.

  • Stephanie October 17, 2013, 11:13 am

    I’ve been training for the NYC marathon for months and I cannot wait to go back to “normal” exercising….like 3 or 4 mile runs instead of 15!

  • Tawny October 17, 2013, 11:13 am

    So true! When I first started running I thought 5 km was SO long but now it is my go-to when I want an “easy” run. Funny how your perceptions change eh?

  • Andrea October 17, 2013, 12:19 pm

    I’m training for my first ever marathon which is in less than eight weeks! It’s funny because I used to be intimidated by half-marathons now I’m like 13.1 miles on the schedule?! No big!

    On that note I have a quick question. My knees and my ankles are NOT happy with anything over 15 miles. I don’t feel exhausted and I know in terms of cardio I can keep going but those two feel so stiff that I usually have to stop. I’m stretching, I know my shoes and form are good, I’m not 100% perfect on strenght training but I do some. I’m only 22, I don’t want to push myself too hard and then risk having an life-long issue so early down the road(my knees have hated me since 8th grade) so I’ve been considering dropping down to the half. It just annoys me because I’ve trained SO hard. I guess my question is, at what point is dropping down smart, not just giving up? I feel like I”m giving up but I know it’s not really, it’s just being cautious but at the same time I feel like a loser. Any advice?

    • Caitlin October 17, 2013, 9:49 pm

      Do you cross train? My life and knees changed when I became to regularly swim and bike in addition to running.

  • Jessica R @ FromtheKitchentotheRoad October 17, 2013, 12:28 pm

    To me a normal workout is at least 1 hour. Actually… right now a normal workout is me sleeping in. I am having issues with motivation. Overall though 1-1/2 hour workouts or runs are no big deal to me.

  • Ali October 17, 2013, 12:31 pm

    It is funny how perspective changes so much depending on what your training for or your current workouts look like. Right now, my workouts are short and 10 miles would be killing it for me! I hope to start training for a 1/2 marathon and then marathon again this year, so yes 10 miles will be short at some point! I love the coffee and biking picture!

  • Katie October 17, 2013, 1:04 pm

    Everything is relative – I used to be a competitive swimmer, so anything under a 4500 meter swim workout feels like a walk in the park to me. But a 5-mile run would do me in!

  • FitBritt@MyOwnBalance October 17, 2013, 2:15 pm

    I don’t really train for races so my normal workout is more similar to what you picture as your “normal”. I do like to change things up as much as possible though and that makes it more fun!

  • Lekki Frazier-Wood October 17, 2013, 2:45 pm

    Please do kettlebells and share it with us! I have decided that they are key to my post pregnancy fitness return, but I am clueless how to use them. Googling workouts just confuses me :-/

  • mary October 17, 2013, 2:49 pm

    I’m with your friend. IM Florida in a couple of weeks and I’m excited that my ride this weekend is “short”. Four hours is short for me now. 🙂

  • Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs October 17, 2013, 3:18 pm

    My perception of a “normal ” workout is pretty much anything that takes me an hour or less to do. Anything more than that seems like too much to me 🙂

  • Sarah October 17, 2013, 5:42 pm

    You should stop telling yourself that you are freaked out by open water swims… or it will absolutely come true! Instead of say over and over again, “I am freaked out in open water” you could change it to “I am STRONG in open water”. I’m pretty sure I learned that positive-thinking trick from this one blogger… oh yeah, YOU! 😉

  • Mary October 17, 2013, 6:03 pm

    I totally know what you mean! I actually felt guilty some days after half Ironman training was done when I would do a “normal” workout and feel like I hadn’t done enough for the day. Your perception of “normal” becomes totally warped! Good luck on your half…I can’t wait to read your recap:).

  • Dana October 17, 2013, 6:50 pm

    I’m training for the NYC Marathon, and just started my taper this week. In my “normal” life, I would do 5-6 mile runs several days a week, and throw a spin class in on the off days. This training plan has me running 8-10 miles on the week days, and up to 22 on a long day. To think I’ve adapted to 8 miles as a “short” workout is crazy! It’s funny that you said you were thinking of completely changing pace after the race, because I was thinking of doing something totally different as well and doing a yoga or Pilates challenge as well. Good luck, Caitlin! You’ll totally kick butt!

  • Luv What You Do October 17, 2013, 11:18 pm

    I laugh about this too!
    When I’m marathon training a 13 mile run is a training run. In my real life, that is a race and requires totally different prep and post run recovery!

  • Live Love Yum October 18, 2013, 6:39 am

    Normal is Relative Caitlin.

    What seemed normal to you before may have been a lot or little to others. And what seems “normal” to you now, but not normal compared to your past, may be completely normal for others.

    As said, normal is relative. It’s better to just go with the flow and be humble and blessed in whatever you can do.

  • Ashley October 18, 2013, 7:40 am

    Not training for anything (injured – stress reaction in my foot), so I’m just working out to stay in shape. Avg swim workout is 3000-5000m; avg bike is 20-40mi. I like exercise so I try to do about 90min of cardio 5-6 days/week.

  • Amanda - RunToTheFinish October 18, 2013, 12:58 pm

    yes, I’m right at the end of another marathon cycle and keep thinking I can’t wait til 12 miles isn’t the standard friday…back to half marathon training!

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