The comeback plan

Hey friends! I hope you’ve had a great week. I had my last physical therapy appointment a few days ago, and she laid out a comeback plan the next 5 weeks. There’s something really comforting about having a timeline when all I want to do is run, run some more, and run faster.


But lots of things need to happen first. I thought it might be helpful to share a glimpse into my workout routine lately and my recovery timeline. Either way make sure you talk to your doctor and/or physical therapist on the best way to approach running again since every injury (and body) is wildly different. But this has been my experience so far:

November 1st: Stress reaction on my 3rd metatarsal (top of the foot near my toes). You can read all about it here but in summary, I was tapering for the Philadelphia Marathon, feeling great, and had just finished a hard track + tempo workout. In the span of about 5 minutes, my foot went from “that feels funny” to “cannot walk another step.”

Remainder of November: I took the first full weeks off any real activity aside from bodyweight core and upper body exercises. I didn’t do any kind of cross training while I let my foot start to heal. I was also in a boot during this time. At the end of November I started to incorporate upper body weights and stationary biking.

Early December: I stopped wearing the boot, and I tested out the foot with longer walks. I continued weight training, biking, and started doing the Arc Trainer. The Arc Trainer is similar to an elliptical but it mimics running mechanics a little more closely.

Mid December: I added walking the stadium stairs with November Project. I also incorporated some lower body weights, mostly squats and deadlifts, 2-3 times a week.


Late December: I was cleared to start running right after Christmas, about 8 weeks after my injury occurred, but I began with a few sets of 2 minutes running / 1 minute walking, twice a week.

Now: I’m up to 8 sets of 4 minutes running / 1 minute walking (40 minutes total), 2 days a week. I’ll progress the running portion by one minute each week and eventually move to 3 days a week. About a month from now, I should be up to 5 sets of 8 minutes running / 1 minute walking. If I can do that pain-free, I’ll try running nonstop for 40 minutes.

When my physical therapist laid out this timeline, I was initially frustrated by how slowly it builds up. More than a month before I can run without walking? And to be honest, the runs I’m doing now aren’t particularly fun. It’s hard to sell a friend on joining me for a run with walking breaks, let alone walking breaks during the Boston winter. The runs I really miss – my run dates with Georgia and Kelsey, Fenspeed, and Summit hills – feel like a lifetime away, but I know I need to be diligent with this phase to get me there.

I’m thankful that I’ve really gotten into strength training, and I now have a legitimate plan that’s targeted towards my weaknesses. Not only am I lifting more than I ever have before, but I’m also doing form drills to correct over-striding, heel striking, and vertical displacement – all things that are causing extra impact and inefficiencies.

I think there’s no possible way I don’t come out of this a better runner because I’ve never worked on these components before, and it’s been eye-opening to see all my muscle imbalances. I’m confident the endurance will come back in time, and when it does, I’ll be a hell of a lot stronger.

So let’s look at an average week now, about 10 weeks out from my injury.

Monday: Run + Core


  • 5 minute walking warm-up, 3 minutes running / 1 minute walking x 5
  • 15 minute core work

I ran outside this day with Georgia and it made me so happy! Once upon a time our Monday runs were 10 miles but hey, we were still running together across my favorite bridge and it made me giddy the rest of the day. 

Tuesday: Cross Training + Weights

  • Arc Trainer – 20 minutes
  • Weights – 40 minutes cycling through a full body routine using dumbbells and kettlebells. More on strength later.

Wednesday: Stadium


I walked snowy sections with a few girlfriends and we had a great time chatting as we climbed the stairs at a solid clip. It felt like spring out there!

Thursday: Cross Training + Weights

  • Arc Trainer – 30 minutes
  • Weights – 45 minutes doing these things (as my PT recommended):
    • Squats
    • Reverse lunges
    • Lateral lunges
    • Deadlifts
    • Plank variations
    • Step-ups
    • Row variations (targeting the back muscles)
    • Hip mobility exercises using a resistance band

This workout was awesome. I never thought I’d enjoy lifting so much but I’m finding that I operate better following some kind of plan and I was getting bored with my usual weight routine. It was way more fun to follow my PT’s plan especially knowing that all these exercises will make me a stronger one day.

Friday: Run + Core

  • 4 minutes running / 1 minute walking x 8

My plan is to run the more reasonable hills in the neighborhood surrounding Summit Ave. Not quite ready for that hill.

Saturday: Rest

My Saturdays start early to get ready for Nomadic Run Crew so I’ll take the extra sleep! 

Sunday: TBD

I’m not sure what I’ll want to do Sunday. I may take another day off, I may walk some of the stadium or I may go to the gym. We’ll see but it won’t involve running since I’m only able to run two days a week for awhile.


Wildly different from my old norm, but it’s still a solid amount of activity and I’m thankful for that alone. November Project is hosting their annual Sunrise 6K on Monday, and I’m bummed I won’t be able to run it fully but I’m going to do my run / walk thing for half of it. This was one of my favorite mornings last year so I want to participate however I can.


Basically the last few months have been a huge lesson in tweaking things, setting new goals, listening to my body, and doing whatever I can that day. Hopefully this provides some comfort to anyone going through an injury now – it does get better, and a comeback plan goes a long way in feeling like you’re moving towards something positive. Let me know if you have any questions! Have a great night, friends :)

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