Tag Archives: running

Returning to Running After An Injury

Over the past month, I was unable to run due to a quad and tendon injury in my left leg.  In January, I had started training for the NJ Marathon which will be held on 4/30/17, in an effort to try to qualify for Boston. I started speed workouts, tempo runs, etc… I hoped to get faster and PR on race day. Unfortunately, the Universe had other plans for me.  I am not sure how I got hurt or why. I was following a plan, running smart, doing warm ups, cool downs, stretching, eating well, but yet I still got injured. When I first got hurt, I tried running through the pain, but that only made it worse. I was forced to stop running. Out the window went my marathon and any hope of a BQ.

At first, I was devastated. I didn’t want to accept it, didn’t want to rest, and went to three doctors in an effort to find someone who would tell me what I wanted to hear… no such luck. My only option was to rest and give my leg some needed time to repair itself.  This was a wakeup call/reality check reminding me to slow down and not push so hard. I had to listen, whether I liked it or not. I needed to accept the fact that I needed to rest, because the more I tried to push through, the longer it would take my leg to heal. I immediately started various therapies to help get me back to running: stretching, foam rolling, massage, acupuncture, stim, ultrasound therapy, and rest.

During the time, I kept asking myself, what was I going to do if I didn’t run? The answer, swim and some strength training (obviously, I couldn’t use my legs so no squatting, jumping, etc…). I focused on core work and upper body. This made me feel good and somewhat productive, despite not not being able to run much.

After a month, I started to notice a difference. I had more mobility in my leg, I could walk without limping, didn’t have to use the railing going up and down the stairs, and with doctors approval I started to run a few miles. I was super excited, but I needed to still remind myself to take it easy and not push too hard because I certainly didn’t want to hurt myself again. Coming back from a running injury stinks. But, it stinks a lot less than the time spent actually dealing with the injury.

The last thing you want during a comeback is to re-injure yourself, or to get a new injury, so keep the following in mind as you return to running.



The first and perhaps most important thing to keep in mind when getting back to running after a long hiatus is to be grateful for every mile. Every mile is a gift. It’s more about being out on the road than anything else, the rest will come!


When you get the green light to begin running, do not jump full-force back into where you left off. It is important NOT to rush things, as patience pays off in the end. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend running and supplement the rest with cross-training.


If you start to notice some injury symptoms creep up, reassess right away. It may mean you have to take a few steps back and not increase your running that week. This is not a sign of defeat; if you catch it early, you’ll avoid anything more serious. Coming back can take time, be patient.


You may have been able to run a sub 8 min. mile, but when you come back from an injury,  it’s not likely you’ll be at your previous fitness level. Don’t be discouraged if you’re running a minute or more slower. The speed/fitness will come back! You’ll need to drop pace and mileage, so try not to get hung up on what once was.


The biggest deciding factor in how well you can come back from an injury is your perspective. Look forward to the runs and more miles as they come and don’t forget that each mile is NOT a given. Be grateful for them and, as you are able to run more and are back to full training mode, remind yourself not to take them for granted. This will help you remain patient and keep your eyes focused on your long term goals.

Enjoy the act of feeling like you’re a runner again, it’s one heck of a high. So smile and have faith that muscle memory will eventually kick back in!


Don’t expect your body to return in same time frame as someone else with the same injury. Just because your friend was running after a certain time period, doesn’t mean you will. Reassess the goals you had before your injury and take it one day at a time.


I.e. swimming, lifting, rehab (especially the rehab exercises)- Keep doing it! This is all stuff that’ll make you a better runner, plus you’ve started a new routine, stick to it!


Assess your training. What were you doing before the injury that could have lead to you becoming injured? Did you over train? Run too many races? Not enough rest?  Not stretching enough? No warmup/cooldown? Whatever the case may be, think about it, analyze it, and make a plan to not have history repeat itself.

Happy Running!

Be Ready on Race Day!

The Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon/ Half Marathon is only 4 weeks away!!! With race day on the horizon, here are a few training tips and things you need to know in order to ensure you’re ready on race day!!

Four weeks out:

  • This is when we start to second guess ourselves. We ask ourselves “Have I trained enough?” “Should I squeeze in one more long run?” -These are some common worries we all have, but from what I learned, less is more. It’s not the time to do anything crazy. It’s the time to let the body start to recover and build its strength up for race day.
  • The training you do today takes 2-3 weeks to have a real long-term effect on your fitness. So keep everything the same for the next two weeks. Then once you’re two weeks out, you reach a point of diminishing returns if you are not careful. Run smart, follow and trust your training.
  • Focus on maintaining your fitness and not injuring yourself so that you can feel good  on race day.
  • Your longest run should take place either 3 or 4 weeks out from the race. After that, start to taper.
  • Two weeks before, begin to reduce your weekly miles.
  • One week before, make your runs EASY.

One week away:

  • The final week is a crucial time. All those tough weeks of training need to count, so look after yourself and your body.
  • Tapering is all about balance. You don’t want to run too hard where you’ve exhausted yourself, but you don’t want to completely rest either or or may feel sluggish on race day. Your body loves routine so stick with yours. However, instead of going hard, try for more easy and relaxed runs with friends.
  • Surround yourself with positive, supportive people who are going to make you feel good and excited about the race!
  • Be sure to get lots of sleep. Protect the immune system and take care of yourself.
  • Avoid heavy strength and conditioning or gym workouts this week. More time does not mean starting a new lifting routine. Wait until after the race.
  • Stay hydrated!


  • Don’t ruin your hard work. Remember, you can’t out run poor nutrition. So just eat normally and gradually reduce the volume and intensity of your training,  this is a natural carb load.
  • Your body needs the quality calories to keep your glycogen (carbohydrate stores) topped off so you feel great in training and on race day.
  • Be sure you’re choosing to eat healthy snacks and well balanced meals.
  • Eat your normal pre-race or pre- long run breakfast. Don’t suddenly change your diet. This is not the time to experiment with something new. You don’t want to feel sluggish or sick.

The final 24 hours

  • Go for that 2-3 mile jog to loosen the legs and calm the nerves. Try to release any anxiety you may have.
  • Look at the weather and be sure to wear clothing that will keep you cool and comfortable. Do not wear new clothes that you have not run/trained in. Go for comfy pre-washed clothes you know will help you feel good.
  • Pack your bag with all that you will need on race day – safety pins for your race number, warm clothes for before and after, toilet paper, chapstick, glide, snacks, fluids, you’re running watch, and iPod.
  • Avoid spending lots of time on your feet walking with family or friends and sightseeing the day before. Put your feet up and rest. (I’ve made this mistake before and paid for it dearly during the race.)
  • Snack on small meals throughout the day and stay well hydrated. I can’t say that enough… hydration is critical!
  • Eat your last main meal between 6-7pm. Look for easily digested carbs.  Don’t go to bed stuffed.
  • Get to bed early. Try your best to rest and relax!

Race day

  • YAY!! It’s finally here. Now is the time to be excited. Trust your training and know that everything will be ok!!
  • Try to stay relaxed and calm.
  • Eat the race day breakfast you have practiced in training approximately 1.5 – 2 hours before the race start.
  • Make sure you have your bib, GU/gels/blocks, your bag for after, etc… all the essentials you need before you leave the house.
  • Know your pace and split times, don’t rely solely on your GPS. The arm bands they hand out at the expo are really helpful.
  • Some people like to jog or warm up before the race, while others use the first 1-2 miles as their warmup. Do what feels right for you.
  • Hand in your post race bag and head to the corral about 20-30 minutes before the start. Keep your warm clothes on before you go. When you get the go, enjoy the your 26.2 journey. You’ve trained, you’re ready, now is the reward for all your hard work. Enjoy it!!

Race strategy

  • Don’t start too fast, ease into your pace.
  • Run at the pace you have practiced. After building into your target marathon pace, pay attention to your splits to help ensure you’re on track.
  • Try not to bank too much time in the beginning. This can hurt you at the end and make you unable to maintain pace. If you’re feeling good after the first half of the race, then pick it up.
  • Slow down at water stops and sip your sports drinks and/or water.
  • Remember to smile, take time to relax and draw in the atmosphere! These memories are sure to last a lifetime. Enjoy every step!

Wishing everyone an awesome race! Enjoy your time and the shore. Take in the sights, breathe in the ocean air, and smile at all the spectators there to cheer you on along the way! Have fun, run happy & strong!


The Need for Speed

I have never incorporated speed work into my marathon training before this year. I was always intimidated by track workouts and was too afraid to push myself beyond my comfort zone, where I had difficulty breathing. I am more of a slow and steady kind of gal.  I could go on forever, but hate short bursts of speed. However, I have set a goal for myself to qualify for the Boston Marathon and in order to do that, I need to get faster.  So for this training cycle, I’ve decided to give speed work a try.   Continue reading The Need for Speed


Yoga for Runners

For me, yoga and running have always gone hand in hand. Yoga has many benefits on both a runner’s body (improved flexibility, range of motion, muscular strength, prevent injuries) and mind (more focus, less stress). Yoga is a great way to help runners improve performance and prevent injury. Yoga also helps to relieve soreness and tension in your muscles and restores range of motion so you can run better the next time you’re out on the road.

Many people often ask how I can run so much, while minimizing injuries. For me, the number one reason why, has been yoga. Yoga has helped me in countless ways over the years, both physically and mentally.  No one wants to get hurt; injuries are not only painful, but can sideline you for months. I couldn’t even imagine what I would do with myself if I couldn’t run. Therefore, it’s important we remember to be smart and train smart.  Smart training can help make sure that injuries don’t stand in the way of your training. Therefore, spending some time on your yoga mat might be your best bet and just what the doctor ordered, it certainly has been for me. Practicing yoga asanas (poses) can help keep muscles limber, and yoga’s emphasis on mindfulness can bring about increased focus and awareness. So why not practice? Today is a great time to start- no time like the present as I like to say!

So why strike a pose? Studies have shown that yoga decreases stress, helps with weight loss, eases pain, helps people stick to an exercise routine, and even improves running times.

Here are some other reason runners should try yoga….

Yoga is a great partner. Training for the NJ marathon? Yoga can help you stay injury free by cultivating a balance between strength and flexibility in the body.

Yoga helps you become more present and aware of what your body needs. One key way yoga can help prevent running injuries is by cultivating mindfulness. The more aware you are of how your body feels from day to day or from pose to pose, the more likely you are to notice tight or injury prone areas that need attention.

Competitive and endurance sports like running encourage us to override the internal voice that wants us to stop, especially when we hit the wall in a marathon. However, sometimes when we ignore this voice, we can get injured. However, when we start to listen, as we do in a yoga class we can align and support ourselves in a more kind and mindful way.

Build mind-body awareness. Runners can use yoga practice to balance strength, increase range of motion, and train the body and mind. Asanas move your body through poses while teaching you how to coordinate your breath with each movement. Eventually your body, mind, and breath will be integrated in all actions.

Yoga helps you stretch smarter. Yoga’s combination of active and passive stretching is one way to help keep injuries at bay.

  • Active stretching—moving and stretching the body dynamically creates warmth and mobility to the tissues.
  • Passive stretching—holding a posture for a minute or more in a way that’s relaxed, allows muscles to lengthen even more.

Yoga allows you to stretch your feet. Flex, point, or fl-ointing your feet, allow them to feel good! Hitting the pavement again and again can take its toll on your feet, so it’s essential for runners to make time to care for them. A typical yoga practice stretches, strengthens and brings increased awareness to the feet.

Yoga helps build strength in the body and allows you to conquer chronic injuries. Yoga helps you find a state of equilibrium in your body that helps prevent chronic injuries and illnesses.  In yoga, you’ll work your core, quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, & IT band (amongst other things, but these areas are extra important to runners). Working, stretching, and strengthening these areas will help you to run more efficiently and stay injury free.

Your hips will be happy. If your hips are tight, your mobility becomes limited, which can cause IT band pain, knee pain, as well as extra and unwanted stress to the back of your legs and feet.  Yoga will open your hips, keep your muscle in peak condition, and allow you to run pain free.

Yoga can help bring your body into balance. The pain most runners feel is not from running alone, but from imbalances that running causes and aggravates. Yoga can help you balance them out, so you can keep running long and hard for many years to come.

Yoga can be the ultimate cross-training for runners. Poses that mimic the running stride, for example, lunges, can help you stay flexible through the range of motion you use to run.

Yoga helps you to be humble. It can take years to learn and truly master yoga poses, so don’t go to your first several classes and expect to learn everything immediately. And certainly don’t go and worry about what the person next to you is doing. So what if you can’t do what they can, just focus on you. Yes, you may be a great runner, have had tons of PRs, have won races, whatever… but on your mat, none of that matters. Yoga is not about winning or being better than someone else, it’s about being the best YOU in that moment. Accept and appreciate your body and mind for where it’s at and don’t’ be so hard on yourself. Allow the movement and stretching to feel good.

When you’re ready and the time is right for you to start, be sure to shop around and find a class that is right for you. There’s no single style of yoga that’s best for every runner, but it’s important to find one you enjoy.  Find a studio (i.e. Empower Yoga) or class that makes you feel good, has a good vibe, good instructor, etc.. and just keep going and doing it.  Practicing yoga consistently is more important than what type of yoga you practice.




Best Outdoor Activities to Rejuvenate You- NJ

No time like the summer to remind yourself to get outside and take a breath of fresh air. Stepping away is always the best option for a fresh perspective.

Nature offers one of the most reliable boosts to your mental and physical well-being. So get outside and enjoy some of the wonders that nature has to offer. 

Here a few of my favorite outdoor activities:

faculty roadRunning: I enjoy running around the streets of Princeton with my friends, but the Delaware and Raritan Canal (D & R) has a lot to offer. The D & R Canal is one of central New Jersey’s most popular recreational corridors. You can jog, but also canoe, hike, bike, and even horseback ride. The canal and towpath are part of the National Recreational Trail System.  With nearly 36 miles of the main canal and 22 miles of the feeder canal, you’ve got plenty of miles for your running pleasure.  

bikingBiking: I have recently taken up biking and have quickly grown to love it. I’ve been enjoying spending time outdoors with my husband. I always look forward to our weekend rides together.  I feel fortunate that we live where we do, because Central NJ has a lot of wonderful places to bike.  Somerset County parks offer bikers many trails for biking recreation. Whether you are a novice or expert, using a mountain bike or a ten-speed, they’ve got you covered.


Hiking: The Somerset County Park Commission offers many miles of trails throughout its park system, many of which meander through pristine, picturesque settings. The trails give hikers a chance to seek solitude, watch wildlife, and enjoy the great outdoors.

You can visit: Little Brook Sanctuary, Lord Stirling Park, Center Trails, Natirar, Skillman Park, Sourland Mountain Preserve, or Washington Valley Park.

beach handstandGoing to the Beach: New Jersey has so many incredible beaches.  With 130 miles of coastline, spanning from Sandy Hook to Cape May, NJ offers many white sand beaches that are sure to please.  Along the coast, you will find barrier islands, bays, majestic lighthouses, fishing villages and of course many scenic views. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy the sun, sand, surf, fun and excitement that the Jersey Shore has to offer. Find a beach that’s right for you: http://njmonthly.com/articles/jersey-shore/best-beaches/

No matter what you enjoy, you’re sure to find something outdoors in New Jersey to help you recharge!


You’re More Than a Number

scaleA few years ago, I use to be fixated on what the number on the scale said and at times, I let it rule my life. I was obsessive about wanting to lose weight and  would weigh myself constantly; when I got up, after I went to the bathroom, after a run, before bed, etc… I created this notion in my head that I had to be a certain number in order to feel good, pretty, fit, or overall happy. The scale became an unhealthy obsession for me, so a few years ago, I ditched it. I started to realize that I was more than just a number and that I didn’t want the number on the scale to control who I was or how I felt about myself. So I started to workout for me because I wanted to live a healthy life and be my best and strongest self.  When I want to see improvements in my body, I don’t need the scale to tell me, I can see it by how my clothes fit, how much faster I can run, or how much more I can lift. Those things let me know that I am making progress.   Continue reading You’re More Than a Number