6 ways to stay injury-free in marathon

6 Ways to Stay Injury-Free In Marathon Training

Welcome to FRIDAY! I am really excited for this weekend. I am competing at the Lululemon Track & Roll and spending some time with Toronto friends as well as putting in another solid long run, this time WITHOUT chocolate pudding!

This week has been my highest mileage week before the marathon and I am HURTING. Some of the key workouts this week were a blistering interval session with 2 KM repeats to prep for my time trail on Monday with some wicked strength training, a 75 minute tempo bike session followed by a 10 KM interval session with 1 KM repeats and I have a 30 KM long run preceded by a one hour hard cycle this evening. [If you are interested in following my training, you can find me on Strava]. At this point, I am forgetting what it feels like to not have something hurting somewhere – when I laugh, my abs are sore, I cannot bound down the stairs two at a time and my feet look like gremlins.

The thing is, this is a key week. I am building strength and muscle for my hard efforts on marathon day. Will it hurt? YES. Will it hurt less because of the work I’m putting in now? Absolutely.

Putting in intensity and high mileage can be risky if you don’t do it correctly, especially for an injury prone runner like me. I thought I would share some tips and tricks on what is keeping me injury-free through this training cycle.
1. Running with People – Believe it or not, this helps me keep my mileage lower. If I were to train alone, I would push myself too far. This week, I cut a 12 KM trail run to 8 KM because I was running with a group and Wednesday night, I felt silly doing laps alone on the track when my team was through even though I was reaching a specific mileage. I communicate my training goals with friends and they are amazing at helping me to reach my goals.

2. I added in a rest day. I hate to rest. Even on the beach, I will lie on my towel for one second and I pop right back up to go throw a football or go swimming or sun myself vertically.

Vertical Sunning...like a meercat.

Vertical Sunning…like a meercat.

Adding a complete rest day has helped recharge me for my hard weekly workouts and given me time to get into a few good books.
3. I’ve slept. This is and always will be a tricky one for me. I am a very social person with The Fear Of Missing Out (what if something exciting happens when I am sleeping?!) but I have been focused and mindful on getting a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night and up to 9 if possible. This is probably the biggest one in my books.
4. I have eaten and hydrated well. I have been working with my naturopath over this training cycle and for the first time ever, she is thrilled with me. I take my supplements and my fridge is a scramble of spinach, probiotics and beet juice. I have cut out my afternoon coffee and I eat 6 times a day. Throughout this process, I have not cut out any of my favourite foods but just added in more good stuff (so you could occasionally see me eating a breakfast of sprouted toast with coconut oil……and nutella).
5. I have switched up intensity. Every week, I do two hard interval sessions, one trail run, 2 easy runs and one long run with built in tempo efforts. It allows me to strengthen as a runner but also recover on easier trail days.
6. I switch up surfaces that I run on. I had mentioned that I run pavement, gravel and trail an almost equal amount during the week, but this also applies to shoes. I will run any type of shoe and rotate through with everything from minimalist to mid cushion to maximalist. Over the last couple weeks, I have added a new pair into my rotation that I have never tried before from Topo Athletic. Because of the huge variance in terrain that I cover, I chose the Trail//MT , a hybrid shoe that is described as ” super-light, versatile, performing well on and off road with the traction and protection of trail runner paired with the weight and flexibility of a road shoe.” As a Prius driver, I am all about hybrids so I was thrilled with this one.

I dealt directly with the company and there was a bit of a mix-up with the delivery and I was unsure of how it was going to work out. The customer service was a dream: super responsive and had everything sorted within 24 hours. It is the most roomy fit of all of the Topo shoes and it is stylin’ enough that I would wear it to the grocery store. I took it on three test runs – one was on the streets of down town Toronto, one on the trails and one on the gravel road that I train on near my house. Each and every time, the shoe felt amazing, but considering I am not exclusively a minimalist runner, I did not run longer than 15 KM while wearing the shoes, just to ease into them.

The shoes retail for $100 and I would order them again – they are good looking, light and I love the versatility. Topo stands behind a mandate of developing products for athletes, by athletes. If nothing else, I love this company for their mission statement.

A quick look at their staff page shows they are all athletes and it was refreshing to do some back and forthing with someone who GETS it and was genuinely interested in my sport and training. In her words, “The shoes won’t make you better – YOU make you better. We are just here to help.”

What are your tips for remaining injury-free in high volume training?
What was the latest pair of shoes added to your collection?



Goals for July

Well this post is a little late. I would say I cared but I don’t. I really don’t.
We are in the midst of a Canadian long weekend and I am in full out vacation mode. I went camping this past weekend and I had a wonderful weekend with friends full of sunsets, long trails runs, beach days and delicious food.

There was one evening when we all walked down to the beach to watch the sunset and someone remarked that it was the very best that Canada had to offer. I am so fortunate to live in a country where I can ran, play and explore to my hearts content. Oh Canada.


It is hard to believe that we are on the cusp of July, but it is time to take a look at my past goals and focus on a few fresh ones for this month.

In my goals for June, I wanted to:

1. Learn a new sport. A+

Honestly, I did so much more with this one that I ever imagined. I learned how to golf – I played in a tournament and went to the driving range regularly with friends. I have set up a weekly golf practice with a friend and I am looking forward to playing in another tournament at the end of August to see how I have improved.


2. Take some courses for work. D
I have begun them and have been working away at them, but I am not going to lie, I have flagged a little. Work has picked up and I am focusing on keeping up more than learning anything new.

3. Focus on sleep. C
I did SO well on this at the beginning of the month, but last weekend ruined everything. A 2 hour night of sleep, followed by a 4 hour night, settled nicely into a routine of about 6 or less hours. Don’t worry, I have been properly chastised by my coach and I am hoping to get back on track in July.

4. Increase my savings. A+
I am now on a first name basis with my financial advisor and I have come up with a robust savings plan. I have some big plans to buy ALL the things in the future and I am focusing on being a bit aggressive with savings now, because we ALL know I would spend it on running shoes if I wouldn’t save it.

5. Complete my first triathlon. A+
Nailed it! I had such a blast and I know this won’t be my last one. Read more about it here.


Ok, July. So, if I could have one theme for July, it would be PREPARATION.

1. Prepare for my marathon in 7 weeks.

I haven’t talked much about this on the blog, but I have been chose to race on the women’s team for ENDURRUN in the marathon leg. It was a bit sudden so I only have a 7 week cycle to build, taper and race this thing as hard as I can. This means I will be addressing things like running all the time, sleeping 8-9 hours and eating anti-inflammatory foods like never before. Basically, good bye friends. See you in September!

2. See my friends and family more:
I know this seems counterintuitive given the point above, but when I am not training, I want relaxed evenings with family and close friends. I want to push living back to 3rd or 4th gear this month and just focus on enjoying summer. It is easy to get caught up in training and work life and I guess what I am saying is I want BALANCE.

3. Settle into my new volunteering role:

I have joined a local organization called House of Friendship on the PR Committee which focuses on helping those in the local community with addictions and social issues. I am meeting with the organization to understand my role and figure out how I can be the best asset to the company.

4. Take mini-vacations:
When I am not racing, I am peacing out on some weekend trips including a beach day, a kayak trip and a cottage weekend with some of my best friends of life. Being Canadian is amazing, but our summer is too short and I want to soak it up as much as possible!


Caught meer-catting on the beach this weekend. Not a single care shall be given.

5. Take to the lakes and trails to prep for my adventure race.
I am doing my very first adventure race in Michigan at the beginning of August and I want to be prepared. I am upping my mountain biking and canoeing and getting super excited! I already am pulling a team together for another one in November!

Now if you excuse me, I am off to tackle the list.

What are your goals for July?

Goals for May (2)

Goals for June 2014

Whew. What a fantastic weekend. It was my birthday and I celebrated at a Jays Game, with Super Heroes, a big birthday party with some friends and some of my favourite runners! It was also my very first double race weekend, so that was a new challenge. I know it affected both race performances, but I had FUN and that is the main point.


I was excited to meet a bunch of readers this weekend as well. Thanks so much for saying hi! I will be doing a race recap on both races this Friday. Today, however, we are looking towards June and what I want to accomplish over the next 30 days and looking at how I did in May!

1. Increase trail running for Sulpher Springs and 5 Peaks Series. C

I think I went on 3? Certainly not an increase, but I had a great trail race and I am looking forward to another trail race next weekend in Michigan. I am being cautious with these first trail races of the year and focusing on getting my “trail legs” ready before really racing hard.

2. Increase community involvementA+

I had a great session at Runners Choice last week teaching a local running clinic a lesson on Core for runners. I have booked for sessions in Toronto and Orangeville and have solified teaching a Learn to Run clinic at a local corporation in Waterloo.

3. Have a rocking race weekend on my birthday. A+

Well, I think I knocked this one out of the park. Also, I strongly believe in birthday MONTHS, so the fun keeps rolling for the next couple weeks while I celebrate with friends and family.

4. Take one night off a week. F



5. Spring clean! A+

My car has fresh summer mats and is squeaky clean inside and out. I also have swapped my winter wardrobe out for summer clothes and am ready for this beautiful hot weather!

 What’s on tap for June?

1. Learn a new sport

I have rounded up a couple friends who are teaching me a new and necessary sport. I will be sharing more of my experiences later!

2. Take some courses for work. 

I just began a new position at my job and there are some big learning curves that I was to tackle head on. I have signed up to take a course and I am hoping to complete it by the end of June.

3. Focus on sleep. 

I know I have made this a goal before, but it is slipping again for me. I want to get 7-8 hours of sleep at least 5 nights a week in June.

4. Increase my savings. 

Another goal I have made before, but I am planning on increasing it again. I have an appointment booked with my financial advisor and I am hoping to do some big saving for awesome things like travelling the world and to fund my running shoe addiction. The vital things, you know?

5. Complete my first triathlon. 

I am running my first triathlon at the end of this month and I really am not sure what to expect. I’ve never done one before so I am focusing on completing it in one piece!

Off to recover from my races!


What are your goals for June?


Part 2: It Band Syndrome – Treatment and Therapy

Well hello friends!

What a weekend it has been. I apologize for spamming your instagram feed all weekend with pictures of the race weekend in Toronto but I had so. much. fun! I will post an official recap of the race along with my official race time.

For right now, it’s time to dig back into the IT Band series that I started last week. I got a LOT of response on this post – so many of you have suffered from this and it is not joke. I was sidelined for an entire season in my last year of varsity cross country in university due to this injury, so I am no stranger to it as well.


So, you have felt that stinging pain in the lateral side of your knee or the entire band. Maybe it is even red or swollen. Now what? Start with things that you can do immediately.



This is the hardest piece of advice for runners to follow, but an IT Band injury is not one that you can run through. It will only continue to get worse and each run that you put on it will only delay your injury. It’s simple. If it hurts to run, don’t run.

2. Cross Train: My IT band injury was so severe in 2012 that I was not even able to cycle without pain, but if you are able to get on the bike, give it a try. Another great form of cross training is swimming or pool running. You do not need to stop training during this period, just do not run.


3. Ladies, ditch the heels. I love a good pair of heels as much as the next girl, but standing in shoes that move your feet from their ideal position is going to cause additional stress and inflammation. I actually don’t wear heels through my entire racing season for this reason, but at the very minimum, if you are injured, wear a pair of supportive flats like Vionic.


4. Foam Roll. Make this little critter your best friend. You will spend a LOT of time rolling around on the floor together, so you may as well make peace with it. Roll at intervals. I did 10 minutes in the morning and 10 at night as well as stretching and massaging the area.

4. Sleep More. Any time your body is trying to overcome something whether it is a flu, stress or an injury, sleep is both healing and restorative. Add an extra hour to your nights and reap the benefits of soft tissue healing.

5. Ice the area. Icing the painful area will help relieve the inflammation however, if it is the knee that is sore, be very careful not to put ice directly on the skin. You can do more harm than good if you freeze your knee, so wrap an ice pack in a cloth or apply a cold, wet compress to the area, which will provide the same results.

So you have done everything on the list and it still hurts? It is time to take the next steps:

1. See a physiotherapist. I email my physiotherapist almost weekly to check in with symptoms, training and periodization. It is important to find a professional that you feel comfortable working with and who is knowledgable and helpful. They will check out the area and provide treatments such as acupuncture, electrotherapy (which is much less intimidating than it sounds), strengthening exercises and will work closely with you to get you back on your feet in no time!

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 10.41.40 AM

2. See a massage therapist. At the end of the day, your fascia just wants to be stripped. Massage therapist was the NUMBER ONE way that I returned to running when I was down and out in 2012. I saw an incredible local therapist who wasn’t afraid to make me writhe in pain and she gave me some incredible stretches that I still do after every run.

Being covered in masseuse bruises not your thing? Consider getting Active Release Techniques. 

Good luck recovering!

Check back next Monday for my favourite stretches and strengthening exercises for the IT Band! 

Recovered from an IT Band injury? What therapy options am I missing? 

June Goal Check-in and 5 More for July

Happy Holiday Monday, everyone!

It is crazy to believe that we are already into the summer, but I am determined to soak up every bit of it! Right now, I am most likely on a beach or running the trails; soaking up, indeed!

The beginning of every month is also a time to check in on how I am doing with my monthly goals!

How did I do?

1. Keep the ball rolling with therapy and make yoga regular part of my workout routine. 

Well..I bought the one month pass to the yoga studio and used it a grand total of 2 times. Queen Street Yoga is a cute and happening studio right around the corner from my office, but I found I was just too busy to make it. I am giving myself a C because I was AWESOME at stretching, icing and foam rolling after my long runs, so that is almost like yoga…

2. Get some sleep.

This is the first time that I actually made progress on this goal. The nights that I was only able to get 5-6 hours, I tried to find space for a nap in my afternoons. I have felt significantly more rested this month. Fingers crossed that it all pays off on race days.

3. Complete an Under Armour challenge a day.

If it wouldn’t be for that silly qualifier of “a day”, I would have done better, but I have not been able to upload as many challenges as I was hoping. Again – due to that whole not having time thing..
I have filmed some videos for it and will be putting them up in the next week.

4. Increase my trail training and start running with more local trail runners. 

I have increased my running and have started ramping it up for my fall marathon, but I have done mostly back road running. I have reached out to more trail friends and actually July is full of trail training so it is coming a month late.

5. Keep the reading happening. 

Totally. I have been loving the extra time to read, with my surgery and the longer days. Here are a few books that I read this month:

This book has was an amazing read. It is a true story that covers the story of 26 men who attempted to cross the Mexican border into southern California. Only 12 made it out alive. Not a comfortable read; I found myself cringing, but it did make me want to run the Copper Canyon Ultra in Mexico someday. Absolutely recommend.

I loved the Life of Pi story, so when I saw this book recently, I scooped it up and blazed through it. A fast, beautifully written read that is full of mental gymnastics. It is a fictional autobiography of a young writer and traveller who wakes and finds his gender changed overnight.

[I feel I need to add: if you ever want a borrow a book I have read, I own them and would be more than happy to lend them to you!]

Ok. On to July.

1. Drink more water!

Despite getting a new hydration pack this past week, I still need to increase my water. I am aiming for 4 L a day and since I broke my favourite water bottle, I am planning on buying a new one. I have no idea what it is, but if I like my water bottle – I drink more water.

2. Have a stride analysis. 

After searching high and low, I have FINALLY found someone who will hook me up to a treadmill and properly analyse my running gait. After that, I am planning on booking in with a specialist who is able to make the adjustments I need. Race PRs, here I come!

3. Read this book: 

I have finally ordered it and am looking forward to improving my training tactics.

4. Focus on Megan’s wedding. 


That’s right! One of my favourite little misses is become a Mrs this month and I get an absolutely fabulous new sibling out of the deal. :)

She is having a beach themed wedding and I am looking forward to the last month of prepping, primping, adjusting, speech writing and organizing before the big day at the end of the month!

5. Begin marathon training | Follow a log. 

I am the worst runner for just running when I feel like, for as long as I want. Although the enjoyment factor is high, the strategy is low. I am planning on doing some longer races this fall, including the Scotiabank marathon in Toronto.

Although I can do high milage, my goal is to run a Boston qualifying time, so I will need to be disciplined with putting in the regular miles and not just hammering them all out on the weekend which has been the trend this summer thus far.

And that’s a wrap. I am headed out to go get started on my goals.


I want to know:
What are your goals for July?
What did you do for the long weekend?

The fur child and I

March Goals

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Mine consisted of a bit of work, a bit of reading and a lot of good food.

The fur child and I

The fur child and I

Light lunch and heavy reading. [or is it the other way around?]

Light lunch and heavy reading. [or is it the other way around?]

                       (Sorry. Dad joke)

I just had an exciting career move and I went in for heels and came out with these...go figure.

I just had an exciting career move and I went in for heels and came out with these…go figure.

It is the beginning of March which means I am taking a look at what I tried to do in February and make some goals for March.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

In the beginning of February, I said I wanted to:

1. Finish Midnights Children. 


4 gruelling months, people. I get an A + on this one.  I actually had friends sending me reminder emails. I couldn’t even ask them for coffee unless I had read my daily quota of the book.

But I guess that is why we are friends.

It was a struggle to get through, not because it isn’t well written and full of amazing literary tricks and techniques, but because I took too long to read it. I was lost, confused and a tad frusterated. Which aligned me perfectly with the main character of the book. More later.

2. Carve out time for myself.


Let’s just say it is a work in progress. However, it wasn’t an utter fail as my parents have been in Florida for the latter bit of February and I have been home to look after my youngest sister which allowed me a little more down time then usual. (Hence, the triumphant finished of Midnight’s Children.)
I also have made some pretty huge decisions that will help in making life a little bit less cluttered and a little more awesome.

3. Take a course in career development.


I guess this one hardly counts because I made it a goal to do something I was planning on doing anyway. But it has been a very rewarding course. It is taught by Christian Aagaard, who was a reporter and editor of a medium newspaper for his entire career. We are learning the ins and outs of journalism from a pro as well as learning how to create film narratives. February focused on story: how to tell it well and how to make sure your audience stays with you. March will focus on translating that to media, especially video.

4. Start juicing regularly.


This one flopped. It wasn’t because I didn’t try. But I wanted to do about 3-5 times a week, and my most regular juice week was three times. Juicing is fabulous and makes me feel wonderful, but it can be messy and takes a lot of time. Will I keep on it? Absolutely. I will cover my juice adventures in another post. (I can see some of you praying that I get a hobby. Unfortunately – you are looking at it!) My favourite ingredients so far have been carrots, lemons and apples. Also, the juice tasted much better than I was expecting. I find it is a fabulous way to take down my morning fish oils and apple cider vinegar.

5. Cut out all fried foods.


This went really well. I even ordered steamed broccoli at The Works one night. Until I went out for sushi with my coworkers and forgot that tempera is deep fried. So really, I should get an F. But I didn’t want to upload another photo…

So. With a slightly under average score for February, we foray into March with a fresh batch of dreams, goals and ambitions. Here is what I am thinking for March.

1. Make this reading thing a regular deal.


This month’s book is the Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. I have been told by many close friends that this is a must-read. And it is 300 pages shorter than Midnight’s Children so I think we have a winner.

2. Survive a month long detox.

You heard me right. It sounds crazier than it is. The other day, my health coach saw me reach into the corner and pull out my lunch which had been sitting out all morning and tuck into a cold plastic container of leftovers. She pursed her lips, left the room, and returned with a couple sheets of paper and said “Do this.” So I am. I want to be in tip-top shape for racing season, which for me, starts in April! I will be filling in details throughout the month, but for now, some of the things that are not appearing in my diet for the next 30 days are:

  • sweets
  • fried foods. (no tempura for me!)
  • wheat
  • dairy
  • yeast
  • etc.


3. Devote some extra time to community service.

This month, I am partnering with REEP and Greening Sacred Spaces to head up the first KW region-wide rain barrel fundraiser. It will be a lot of work with promoting and distributing, but I spend a lot of time on ME with work and commuting and family and friends and not a lot of volunteering any more. I am excited to roll up my sleeves and make it happen!

4. Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

This is one area where I have really slipped in the new year. People who are close me know that if I am sleep deprived or hungry, I only feel one emotion – anger. Which is not a great emotion to have at the best of times, much less when you are at work trying to sell advertising.

5. Organize my gym bag.

Sounds like a quick, insignificant task, but when your gym bag has swallowed your loufa, favourite perfume and probably (you can only hope) the beautiful gloves your boyfriend gave you for your anniversary last month, it is time to take action.

What are your March goals?