Training for a Marathon while Injured

long-run-marathon-route-selfieSooo I wouldn’t exactly say marathon training has been going *well*…

In my last update I talked about a bit of an emotional breakdown due to overextending myself with work. I thought a positive attitude had gotten me through that but turns out a smile doesn’t change the fact that I was simply doing more than my body (and mind) could handle. I was rundown and constantly tired with no signs of slowing–it was a breeding ground for injury.

Week 7 Recap

MONDAY | 10-Mile Run

frozen-charles-river This was the first training run I did along the marathon route. I took the green line out to Newton and then ran home. I actually live on the marathon route, right by the end of the course, so I quite literally ran home. It got me so excited for race day! And Heartbreak Hill isn’t too bad … when it comes at mile 4. 😉

I felt great during this run but it ended up being slower than my other two 10-mile runs because of the snow on the ground. Once I got onto Comm Ave it was clear, but the first two miles I was tip-toe prancing in 4 inches of disgusting snowy slush. I couldn’t really avoid it by getting off the sidewalks either because Washington St. is a major road. I would encounter this same problem every time I neared an intersection as well. That aside, I felt great, which is the most important thing in my book.

TUESDAY | Strength Training Double Session (Btone + BodyPump)

I took a Btone class in the morning and then that evening went to check out BodyPump at BSC for a blog project.

I would say this is when I started to notice something was a little off with my right knee. I didn’t think much of it though because it felt kinda like I just had a bruise on my knee cap: tender to the touch, hurt if I kneeled directly on it, but wasn’t affecting my range of motion and didn’t seem bothered by impact or movement. I figured I’d just bumped into something.

WEDNESDAY | Active Rest

I had a busy teaching day, which I think only aggravated my knee more. When you demo some exercises for the class, you mimic the megaformer on the floor by kneeling down and sort of dragging your lower body across the floor (this sounds totally bizarre if you’ve never taken a Lagree Fitness class, I know, haha). Every time I demoed wheelbarrow or cobra, my knee was NOT having it. Still, it didn’t seem to affect other activities so I wrote it off as a bruise.

THURSDAY | 3-Mile Run + Yoga (YogaWorks)

running-comm-ave-mallIt’s a cool marker of how far I’ve come with the training that running three miles feels like NOTHING. It doesn’t even mentally register as a “real” workout (even though it most definitely is). Crazy! Knee felt fine during the run, but it yelled at me a few times throughout the Hip Hop Yoga class I took at YogaWorks that evening (any time I kneeled on it). When I walked home from yoga, it felt achey. Ok, starting to worry …


swollen-kneeYeah, yeah, my pinkie toes are weird. I’m aware, and I embrace them.

I taught four classes Friday morning and that was the last straw for my knee. When I got home, it started to stiffen and swell up, and by that evening, it looked like I was smuggling a softball under my skin. Because of the swelling I could barely bend it.

Normally, my reaction would be immediate despair and anxiety. But–as weird as this sounds–I honestly felt a little relieved by it. My body was telling me I needed to slow the hell down and I just looked at my throbbing, swollen knee and said a silent thank you to it. You’re right, I need to pump the breaks.

Rest, frequent icing, elevation–I cancelled all my active plans for the weekend and instead devoted myself to healing my knee. By the end of the weekend the swelling was pretty much gone and I could walk normally, but I still couldn’t bend it deeply (quad stretch = no way) or put pressure on it (kneeling = not happening).

Week 8 Recap

It was a no-brainer that I’d take the week off from running. The notion made me a little nervous–a natural reaction when you’ve committed yourself to training towards a goal with a set-in-stone date. But as I talked to more and more people, I felt reassured and even good about skipping a week of running.

I was told stories of people who’d done their entire training for the marathon on an elliptical to lessen the impact on a bum knee. Other people told me they only ran once a week for their long runs and then did other forms of low-impact cardio the rest of the week to avoid injury. People reminded me that overall physical fitness is a huge part and I’ve been committed to regularly working out for years. I can do this. A week off is good. Don’t push your knee or it’ll just end up worse.

MONDAY | Spin (Recycle) + Strength (Btone)

giant-plank-to-pikeI was itching to workout after three days of barely being able to move. I took a spin class at Recycle, sitting in the back corner so that I could modify if needed. I knew the seated stuff would be fine but wasn’t sure how riding in third would feel. I was elated to find that I could do 90% off the class without my knee speaking up at all! Quick jumps from first to third were the only moves I had to skip.

After spin I walked across the street to take a Btone class, and while I had to modify all the kneeling positions, I know that machine like the back of my hand at this point so I was comfortable in knowing what moves to substitute. Again, I just went off to a corner machine so that I wouldn’t distract the class during the exercises I had to adjust.

TUESDAY | Spin (Recycle) + Yoga (YogaWorks)

Feeling excited after a double of classes the day before, I again went to a class at Recycle followed by yoga at YogaWorks. I modified some of the yoga flow to avoid kneeling on my right side, but otherwise was able to do everything pain-free. Yay!

WEDNESDAY | Quick Core Workout

In between teaching classes, I put myself through a 10-minute core workout on the megaformer. Self motivating on that torture device is no easy feat haha. Here’s a little video I posted to Instagram that shows part of what I did. In real life everything is done much slower and you stay on each movement for a minute.

THURSDAY | Spin (SoulCycle) + Yoga at Hotel Marlowe

yoga-hotel-marloweSoulCycle had a Super Bowl Halftime Show class (Beyonce!!) conveniently following the two classes I was teaching at Btone that morning so I walked over to spin. Later in the day I checked into Hotel Marlowe for a blog project. As part of their Feel OMazing package, I got a private yoga lesson in my suite! I’ll be sharing all the details tomorrow or Tuesday.

FRIDAY | Strength (Btone)

I took the Btone class right before the night shift I was covering.


SUNDAY (today) | Test Run, Literally

charles-river-run-3I AM SO HAPPY. I subbed a couple classes in the North End this morning and decided to run home afterwards to test out the ol’ knee (it’s been feeling 100% the past couple days). No irritation AT ALL! I felt so good I contemplated continuing and just doing the long run I have planned for tomorrow. But to be safe, I think it’s best not to jump the gun and see how it feels tomorrow. Discipline doesn’t always involve doing that which you don’t want to do; sometimes it’s equally important to hold back when you want to go all out. I ran an easy three miles today, spent a lot of time foam rolling and stretching, and iced my knee afterwards just to be safe.

WOOOO I’m back in action! :)

Have you had to train through an injury?

P.S. I honestly don’t even know who’s playing tonight, but go Beyonce!


Doing the Best You Can with What You Have (Marathon Training Recap Weeks 5&6)

Boston Marathon Training Recap: Weeks 5 & 6Good morning from a cozy nook of Starbucks! Boston finally got some snow last night and I used it as an excuse to stay in and binge watch Sons of Anarchy. And before we go any further into this post–I just finished season 6 … WHAT THE FUCK DID I JUST WATCH. What Gemma just did to Tara?! What? WHAT?! Are you kidding me?? I’m just gonna leave it at that.

I decided to combine the past two weeks of training because they fell in a similar theme. Just kidding. I’m a huge procrastinator and didn’t feel like blogging last weekend. But they do go well together in one post, so my laziness is partially justified.

Recap of Week 5 (Last Week): Negativity

Last week was such a work-life-balance failure. You know when your to-do list is so long and overwhelming that it practically paralyzes you and instead of chipping away at it, you just say fuck this and take a nap instead? That sums up last week.

I see my life as a balancing act between personal life (my own workouts/health, my family, friends, etc.), the blog and teaching. On any given day, I can do two of those things really well and the third usually gets deprioritized. Every day is a little different though, with a different focus, so it usually works out well overall. Welp, not last week.

I’m taking on seven additional classes a week through mid March because another instructor is traveling, and I definitely underestimated the strain it would put on my schedule and just the sheer amount of energy it’d zap out of me. In total, I’m now teaching 15+ classes a week and adding marathon training into that mix along with running a blogging business all on my own and … ahhhhh. BUT mindset is really everything. Last week I got stuck in that snowballing gloom of focusing on the negative and it was awful. This week, I changed my attitude and thinking. My work/class/training load didn’t change, but my experience juggling it all did a complete 180. Positive thinking is some powerful shit, my friends!

MONDAY | 10-mile Run

10-mile-southie-runThis was the first week my long run was actually a step back from the previous week and it felt good to cut down a little. Since I’ve already tackled the 10-miler, I looked at my previous stats so that I could have a pace goal in mind before setting out. On December 28th I ran 10 miles in 1:34:41 with an average pace of 9:26. I improved on that by a little, finishing this run in 1:31:38 with an average pace of 9:07. Even if it’s small, it feels awesome to see progress.

TUESDAY | Strength Training (Btone)


yoga-video-grokkerIn between classes at Btone, I did a recovery yoga video that a reader suggested (thanks, Wendy!). It’s basically a guided stretch so it was perfect for sore running legs.

THURSDAY | Most Pathetic Gym Workout Ever

Joe got me a guest pass to come with him to Equinox, but by Thursday I was already in the beginning phases of I-Give-Up-Gonna-Nap-All-Day-I-Hate-Everyone Meltdown Mode so it ended up being really special. The intention was to run 5 miles on the treadmill, work on my chin up & pull up game (I still can’t do an unassisted pull up, but it’s on my list of goals for the year!) and then spend a solid chunk of time foam rolling and stretching. LOLLLLLLLL

This is what actually happened (warning: strong language, sorry, Mom):

Front desk person asks me to fill out my contact information in exchange for a guest pass. Look, homegirl. I’m not going to sign up for your overpriced bullshit gym membership and don’t want your annoying ass salespeople calling and emailing me every goddamn day so how about NO.

*Writes down contact info*

Locker room is super crowded. Get the fuck out of my fucking way. I hate you all.

Treadmill I want is taken. You sonofabitch.

Run 1 mile on second-choice treadmill. This sucks. I hate treadmills. Why is this guy next to me running so fast–relax, hardo. Ohgod what is that smell? Did this bitch in front of me seriously just fart? Get me the fuck out of here. I hate everyone.

*Dramatically tears emergency stop magnet off the treadmill and storms off*

*Doesn’t whip down machine in flagrant display of defiance*

*Realizes she has no idea where anything in this gym is and angrily stomps in circles hoping no one notices she’s lost*

I find a corner with foam rollers and sit down to roll out my legs when Joe walks up to me and asks if I’m okay. OBVIOUSLY I’M NOT OK!!? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?

*Cue the tears*


So in other words: Awesome gym sesh, most romantic date night ever, and I am basically the poster child for emotional stability.

FRIDAY | Meltdown Day 1

After finishing up a morning of teaching, Joe and I drove up to Maine to spend the long weekend at my parents’ place. This was the “take a nap instead” phase of my overwhelming week. We were active during the day snowmobiling and skating, but other than that I didn’t workout at all. I went to bed at like 8PM every night, lounged in front of the fire and did jigsaw puzzles on my iPad (I’m addicted … it’s embarrassing).

SATURDAY | Meltdown Day 2

SUNDAY | Meltdown Day 3


Recap of Week 6 (This Week): Positivity

I love teaching. Sure my class load is a little heavy right now, but I never leave a class in a bad mood. It always sets a positive tone for the day and if I go to the studio stressed, I leave feeling relieved. Plus, hello extra spending money! I made the conscious decision to focus on the positive this week and the result was increased productivity and decreased stress. This is the mantra I continually repeated to myself:

I’m going to do the best I can with what (time) I have. And that is enough.

If I don’t get a blog post up every day because I need to put my own wellbeing first, that’s ok. If I’m exhausted after teaching and decide to do yoga instead of an intense bootcamp workout, that’s ok.

MONDAY | Rest / Drive Home from Maine

Because after all those workouts I did over the weekend, I really deserved a rest day …

TUESDAY | 13-mile Run

This was the hardest long run I’ve had so far. And not because it was the longest distance. The temperature had dropped to 20 degrees and snow from the previous weekend left the ground icy around Boston. But 13 miles on a treadmill? No. Not even an option. The air was so cold that my eyes ached. Significant portions of the running path around the river were iced over so I had to practically tiptoe across them. My hips started tightening up from the cold and the weird ice-shuffle thing I adopted so my stride became awkwardly short. It took me 2 hours and 15 minutes to finish the run. A full TWENTY minutes longer than when I ran my first half marathon.   running-snow-marathon-training-boston

BUT when I finally walked in my apartment door, I felt so proud of myself and the discomfort of the run quickly got pushed into the background. I didn’t stop, I didn’t decide to put off the run for a warmer day (although I thought about doing so no less than 500 times haha), and I finished what I started.

WEDNESDAY | Core Workout & Foam Rolling

Just like last week, I used the time in between classes at Btone North End to do my own workout. My legs were sore from the previous day’s run so I revisited this Quick Bodyweight Ab Workout I posted two summers ago (13 minutes long and challenging)  and then spent a full 30 minutes rolling out my legs, hips and shoulders. I felt AMAZING afterwards!  

foam-rolling-fabletics-leggings leggings are Fabletics

THURSDAY | Strength Training (Btone) & Yoga (YogaWorks)

YogaWorks was on Gilt recently so I bought a 5-pack of classes for $35. I love doubling up on classes, taking a Btone class and then just walking across the street to YogaWorks. So convenient!

FRIDAY | 5-mile Run

It’s pretty cool that 5 miles seems like a short run to me now!

SATURDAY | Strength Training (Btone)

I taught a class at Btone benefiting my Boston Marathon fundraiser for a bunch of my friends (so fun!) so I took the class before that to get in my own workout.

SUNDAY | Upper Body/Core Strength Training

I have my long run tomorrow so I don’t want to do anything too exhausting for my lower body, but I’d like to get a sweat in today. When I get back to my place from Starbuck’s, I’m going to put together an upper body/core workout I can do at home. 

And that’s that! BTW I loved your comments on my last training recap post–it’s been awesome to get so many tips from those of you who’ve done a marathon before and are waaaaay more experienced runners than me. Thanks for creating such a supportive, encouraging community for me as I train! :)signature

You can donate to my marathon fundraiser benefiting the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired here. I’m giving away awesome prizes over the course of the next few months as a thank you to donors! I’ve been holding off on January’s giveaway because I’m waiting to secure an *awesome* prize. Stay tuned–it should be up early this week! :)

Hill Pyramid Workout with Strength Training Tabatas

Hill Repeat Workout with Strength Training Tabatas (focusing on core and upper body)Hello from Maine! I’m up at my parents’ place enjoying a final morning of beautiful views before heading back down to Boston. There’s no phone service up here and I only get wifi at a couple places in town so it’s a forced unplugging that I need once in a while. :)

Hill Repeat Pyramid with Strength Training Tabatas

The running part of this workout is as hard as you make it–if your hill is long/steep, it’ll be a doozy. If you want more of a quick cardio blast in between the tabatas, pick an easier hill length/grade. I did this outside in the North End between teaching classes Friday on a short but steep hill (it probably took me 25 strides to get from the bottom to the top).

The hill sets get shorter and shorter as you go. First set = 5 repeats; next set = 4 repeats; all the way down to one. Sprint up the hill and jog down. If you’re doing this on a treadmill, you’d just reduce the incline and speed in between each sprint.

In between each hill set, you’ll do a tabata superset that focuses on the core and upper body. A tabata is 8 rounds of 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest. You’ll alternate between two exercises in each tabata. For example, 20 seconds of marching plank, rest 10 seconds, 20 seconds of push ups, rest, and so on for a total of 4 minutes. Full detailed breakdown below the image.

Hill Repeat Workout with Strength Training Tabatas (focusing on core and upper body)



  • Marching Plank | You’re essentially just moving from low plank to high plank, up and down. Starting in a forearm plank position, press up into a high plank, one hand at a time. Reverse the movement when you’re in a high plank, lowering onto one forearm at a time.
  • Push Ups | I’m working on push ups with my hands close to my body rather than wide (because I’m bad at them and they need improving!) so I did them like this: Start in a plank position with your hands stacked underneath your shoulders. From here, roll forward slightly onto your toes so that your hands are now a little further back, aligned with your ribs (this will allow you to bend elbows to 90 degrees). Keeping your elbows close to your body, lower down to a low push up position and then press through your hands to rise back up, straightening your arms.



  • Full-body Crunch | Start laying on your back with legs outstretched and hovering a couple inches off the ground. Arms should be outstretched overhead and hovering as well. From this starting position, crunch up, bringing your knees in towards your chest as you wrap your arms around your knees like a wide hug. Extend back out, lowering to starting position. The goal is to never bring the legs to rest on the ground when you extend back out.
  • Triceps Pulses | Start sitting down with legs outstretched and palms pressed to the ground by your sides. From here, press into your heels to lift your butt up a couple inches and forward a couple inches so that there’s space for you to bend into your elbows, pulsing your body up and down. Keep your elbows pointing straight back when you do these; don’t let them bow out to the sides.



  • Forearm Plank | Most of us are familiar with a plank, so just a couple form queues: think of stacking your joints, elbows directly below shoulders. Pull the lower abdomen in to protect the low back (think of pulling up your jeans’ zipper). Squeeze the quads above the knees—notice how engaging these muscles helps straighten out your body even more. Tuck the tailbone slightly and then fire up the entire abdomen by pulling the forearms and balls of feel in towards each other (you won’t actually move, you’ll just contract the muscles). Need more explanation? I did a whole post on common plank form errors).
  • Low Push Up Hold | For this, I want your hands close in to the sides of your body (tricep push up). To get into the hold with proper alignment, start in a plank position with your hands stacked underneath your shoulders. From here, roll forward slightly onto your toes so that your hands are now a little further back, aligned with your ribs (this will allow you to bend elbows to 90 degrees). Keeping your elbows close to your body, lower down to a low push up position and hold there with your body hovering off the ground, abs held in tight.Modify by holding the push up from your knees. Just make sure your hips are still lowered so that your butt isn’t sticking up into the air. Think of lowering from your knees rather than your hips to achieve this.



  • Mountain Sliders (alternate) | Start in a plank position with wrists aligned underneath shoulders, abs engaged and spine straight. From here, lift your right leg and bend your right knee in towards your right wrist, making physical contact if possible. From this starting position, you’re going to slide your knee up and down your arm, zipping it towards your armpit as you pull your abs in and round your back slightly up towards the ceiling (think of a mini-cat stretch) and then sliding it back down to the wrist. At the bottom, you want the knee at a hover; try not to rest it on the floor. The goal is to keep the knee lightly touching your arm the whole time, but just keep the knee pulled in as close to the arm as possible.
  • Side V-Ups (alternate) | Start laying on your side, balancing on that bottom hip/side butt area with your bottom hand on the floor in front of you for support. Top arm is bent with hand behind your head and elbow out wide; legs should be extended and hovering off the ground. This is your starting position. From here, you’re going to crunch up and in, bending your legs and bringing your knees in towards your top elbow as you lift your torso up and in to meet them. Use that bottom hand for support, but try to push off it minimally. Slowly lower back down and extend back out to a hover.


Get 15% Off My Outfit with code PUMPS15

Hill Repeat Workout with Strength Training Tabatas (focusing on core and upper body)The leggings and sweatshirt I’m wearing in today’s post were given to me by my friends at ALALA (. I love them! This is my second pair of their leggings and the fit and function are great. The material is shinier (more spandex-y, if you will) than, for example, Lululemon leggings, so they’re great for sweaty workouts. You only need to be traumatized by butt sweat showing up in a group fitness class once to agree with me that this is an important detail to include in an activewear review. I’d finish that sentence with a “LOL” or “haha” but I’m currently having flashbacks to the time I taught a row class in dark pink Fabletics leggings …

(I really like Fabletics leggings BTW, but for yoga and Pilates–would only wear the *black* ones for cardio).

Anyway, ALALA performance aside, the design is so on-trend. The print with sheer panels on the leggings is perfect and THE FISHNET THUMB HOLES on the hoodie–don’t even get me started. I feel like I’m both a trendy fitness instructor and an 80’s rock band member.

ALALA skews on the pricier side of the athleticwear spectrum, so I’m excited to give you all a code for 15% off: PUMPS15 Hill Repeat Workout with Strength Training Tabatas (focusing on core and upper body) Hill Repeat Workout with Strength Training Tabatas (focusing on core and upper body)

Enjoy the last bit of your long weekend for all those who have the day off today!