While I know I can survive without working out, it’s something I genuinely enjoy doing. Oh- and it makes me feel good. No shocker there. I don’t want to delay my recovery for literally one minute, but my doctor gave me the green light to do upper body and core exercises. After a few weeks of consistency, I figured it was time to do a little check-in. Obviously, my doctor’s recommendation isn’t universal for all injuries so talking to YOUR doctor is crucial. What works for me, might not for you…and vice-versa.
What can’t I do? No running, jumping, skipping, hopping, biking, swimming, stepping,
laughing. My injury is the best excuse I’ve ever had to avoid burpees. Although, I guess I could try one-legged burpees. I laughed typing that because we all know I would do one and stop. As for swimming, which is typically the injured runner’s go-to form of non-impact cardio, my doctor said it would take longer to heal if I swam (because of the placement of the fracture). Therefore, not swimming was an easy decision to make.
No cardio? Yes, and six weeks strong. I guess I’m doing ok with the whole lack of endorphins because I’m still happy and haven’t shot my husband yet.
So, what can I do? Weights, mainly upper body. I can do squats, clamshells, donkey kicks and things that don’t involve me pointing toes or standing on one foot.
Side note: I fortunately/unfortunately got a long-term sub for my spin class. I could teach off the bike but it’s better for the class if the instructor rides (I think).
I was actually a little conflicted on how to get back into it after time off. Here’s what I was thinking: getting back to running after time off is one thing, getting back to other forms of exercise, which I admittedly neglected during 10 weeks of marathon training, is another. I knew I wasn’t at the level I deemed “fit,” but reminded myself that you have to start somewhere and focus on what you CAN do. This means that my dumbbells were lighter, workouts were shorter and everything was done with ample rest.
I’m not a personal trainer or “qualified” to give workout recommendations, but I’d like to share what I’ve been doing and what I’ve found effective. Also, many of my workouts have been done in my apartment. I have minimal equipment (kettlebells, an exercise ball and yoga mat) but those pieces, combined with body weight moves, can make for a good workouts. Just bodyweight moves are super effective, too.
Here are a few of my go-to moves lately:
-Lateral pull downs
-Ab rolls (?) on the ab roller
Instead of the usual 3 sets of 10-12 reps, I sometimes vary the programming to avoid boredom. I like doing pyramid sets (4 reps, 8, 12, 16, 12, 8, 4) and drop sets (perform an exercise until failure and then reduce the weight and continue).
For the past 3+ weeks I’ve strength trained 3-4x a week and focused on one or two body parts per workout. The fact that I’m in and out of the gym in less than 25 minutes makes me want to question the effectiveness of the workout, but I know very well that you don’t need to camp out in the gym to see results.
My legs have lost muscle and I’m sure my endurance is shot, but both WILL come back. Until then I’ll be up in the gym just working on my (upper body) fitness.
Kerri Mcgrail says
Love the Legally Blonde and Fergi references :) Injuries often leave me finding new workouts to do and I realize areas that I need to strengthen which is a blessing in disguise i think. I have been doing a lot of the ab roller lately too! Love it. I also love using the bosu ball and free weights.
Kerri Mcgrail recently posted…Edamame Miso Soup
I’m so glad you got my pop culture jokes ;) I love the bosu ball too!
Heather @Fit n Cookies says
My workouts have gotten significantly shorter through pregnancy, and I’m sure that will be the deal still now. I think you’re doing a great job strength training! Also, I bet you don’t lose as much from not running as you’d think. I know it’s not much, but after being pregnant and not running for the last 5 months, then having her, I was running 2 miles straight 2 weeks later. I know, only 2 miles is a lot different compared to a marathon, but it showed you can keep up strength with strength training!
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No, that’s really encouraging to hear about your running! My mom said they same thing about my endurance but I feel like I won’t be able to believe it until I try. Stubborn me :P
Margaret @ youngandrungry says
I have a feeling that you’ll come back stronger than ever. Lauren Fleshman used to take a couple weeks off after each season while most other runners didn’t and she attested that to her longevity in the sport so I say the more time off, the longer you’ll be able to run in life!
Margaret @ youngandrungry recently posted…Wade’s Big Adventure 18-mile Trail Race Recap
I didn’t know that and that encouraging it hear :) I want to run forever so anything I can do now to help that is great.
Sarah @pickyrunner says
I love that you’re taking this time to get stronger in ways you wouldn’t normally focus on, like weights. I’m the worst at that stuff, so in some ways, if (okay when, if we’re being honest) I get injured next time, I think I might take a break from cardio and focus on strength training. It’s hard to wrap your head around, but you’re being smart and you’ll be better in no time!
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Noooo *IF* not when ;) It’s something I hope will become routine for me once I start running again, but I can’t make any promises.
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
I think you can get pretty creative and it forces you to try some new strength moves which will be so good in the long run too! Can you do push ups? or no pressure on the toes like that? You should do handstand pushups! Those are the best!
Favorite core work is ALL the planks. But not just the boring normal plank, ALL the variations! I could do them all day!
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I’ve been doing push-ups with my feet draped over an exercise ball or bench! Oh gosh if I could do a handstand that would be a huge feat in itself.
Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie says
I think everything you are doing now will make you come back to running a whole lot stronger. I know that when I try to get back into other forms of exercise after two months of pretty much just running, I am going to feel pretty out of shape when it comes to lifting weights and such, but you have to start somewhere. I especially love kettlebell swings since they are a total body move that make you sweat like crazy!!
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I really hope so! Kettlebell swings are the best because it works everything (heart rate included).
Im sorry to hear you’ve had to change up your workouts due to injury. When I tore the ligaments in my ankle I HATED giving up so many different workouts. But, you have a great attitude! Finding other ways to get your fitness and sweat on is great. And who knows – this might actually be the best thing ever. You might build up some awesome muscles which could help to improve your running – or just get you to fall in love with some different forms of exercise!
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Thanks, Kat :) I hope the consistent weight lifting sticks around post-injury. I feel really good doing it!
Oh no! Missing out on working out because of an injury sucks sometimes. At least you can work on your upper body and core – your abs and arms will be amazing! Plus, when you get the a-okay from your doctor to do lower body again you will totally get that muscle back! Btw, one legged burpees are quite difficult – I’ve tried haha! and I’m a tad jealous you have an excuse to not do burpees – they’re killer!
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Seriously I avoid burpees at almost all costs so I’m milking this now while I can.
as always you have a good attitude here ! it will be interesting to see your upper body strength increase over these next few weeks. u should take a before and after shot of your biceps LOL !
and by the way…per your orders i did a bit of self care this weekend and didnt feel selfish at all :)
Haha I didn’t take a “before” shot but I think they have grown (slightly). So glad to hear you had a nice weekend!!! I hope you enjoyed every minute.
Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me says
If you do try out the one-footed burped, I need a video of this please.
Favorite core move: plank holds!
My workouts take about 20 minutes.
Have a fabulous Monday, Emily!
Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me recently posted…My Legacy & What I Leave Behind.
If I ever make myself to do one I will definitely post it. Planks are so effective!
Dani @ Dani California Cooks says
You’re going to get so strong!! Will be kind of interesting to see how your cardio is impacted by this time spent on strength.
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Let’s hope so! Ha…I’m interested too.
Laura @ This Runner's Recipes says
You’re going to be so strong from this, and I bet the upper body and core work will give you great running form and fatigue resistance when you are able to run again. Kettlebell swings are one of my favorite exercises – they work everything from the shoulders to the glutes and are fun to do! My favorite core exercise right now are weighted v-sits or Turkish get-ups with the kettlebell.
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I can only hope so! I agree about the kettlebell swings…and they get my heart rate up a tiny bit.
Planking all the way! If you can do some yoga though, I always find headstands and handstand give my core a good work out and you can kick-up into them off your good foot.
Glad to hear your recovery is progressing though and i’m sure you will be back stronger than ever!
That’s exactly what my mom suggested! I think I’ll give it a try (and hopefully not fall on my face!)
I love doing planks! Since last April I’ve made a nightly practice to do a 3 minute plank each night. I have missed some nights due to working late or exhaustion, but I’ve largely been successful. It helps with my running posture and I bond with my cat while he climbs on my back ;-)
I’m happy to read you’re healing. Soon you’ll be on the way to your next marathon.
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3 minutes is so impressive! I haven’t timed myself in a while but I’d be happy if I made it to 2 minutes.
Lately I’ve been so impatient and had super quick workouts. I’ve also been super slow to get out of bed so I’ve had to cut them off short so maybe 30 minutes.
I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to be injured and not have the choice to rest or not. I hope if that ever happens to me I’m able to deal with it with the same grace that you are <3
I’m actually doing most of my workouts in the afternoon or late morning instead of getting up early. Because they are shorter and I’m not super sweaty after I can go straight to class (true life).
Rebecca @ MyEagerFeet says
I’ve tried doing longer weight workouts when I’m marathon training (like 45-60 minutes), and it’s just too much! I’m going to try some 25-30 minute workouts next time, I think. I’m glad to know that’s not the “lazy” way out.
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