After Cancer Workouts

How I Ran a Marathon One Year After Cancer and a Baby

Hi all! I get quite a few questions about how you can possibly run a marathon 1 year post cancer. The truth is, there are no shortage of survivors adding a marathon to their journey. The thought of a marathon may seem daunting coming out of chemo. Especially when it seems like a struggle to walk to the end of the street. I’ve designed a program that starts you off slowly, combining running and walking intervals until you eventually start solid blocks of running time. This is a 28 week journey which is longer than a typical marathon training program but it is designed for people recovering from cancer. In the coming weeks I will be posting a user-friendly, printable calendar so the workout schedule is a little easier to navigate. I put this up for now because I have had a lot of demand for my approach and don’t want to keep anyone waiting.

Training Tips:

  1. Be sure to talk to your doctor before attempting to train for a marathon. Let them know your approach. Everyone is different and your doctor may recommend taking it easy for a certain window of time. For example, I did not start running until I was off of blood thinners.
  2. Have fun!! Running has an amazing ability to release stress and make you smile.
  3. Eat good food!! Whole foods! Stay away from the processed junk.
  4. Stay very, very, very, well hydrated with water.
  5. Get good shoes.
  6. Stretch every day, even on your rest days. It is critical to stretch pre and post runs.
  7. Find the coolest time of day to run. It will make your day much more pleasant.
  8. On days you feel like you can’t do it, get out there and do it anyway. Modify the schedule to how you are feeling. You can always break up the bigger time chunks of running with some walking. This isn’t a race back to health. It’s a journey.
  9. In reference to the workouts below, if you are finding you have hit a point where you don’t think you can increase your time the next week, repeat your previous week. Make it a 29 week training program. Depending on how you are feeling you can always repeat a week until you feel like you are ready for the next hop in time. Just be aware of your marathon date and be sure you are tapering off in time before the actual run. If you are struggling and need some advice on how to modify the workouts please feel free to contact me, I would love to assist.
  10. If you are experiencing signs of a stress fracture – back off. Get in the pool and swim some laps to maintain your endurance and do some sit ups. Keep moving but be smart. Listen to warning signs your body gives you about a possible pending injury. If cancer teaches you anything it’s how to be hyper-aware of your body.

Week 1

Day 1- 10 minute walk | 30 second run | 10 minute walk | 30 second run | 10 minute walk | 30 second run

Day 2- 10 minute walk | 30 second run | 10 minute walk | 30 second run | 10 minute walk | 30 second run

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 10 minute walk | 30 second run | 10 minute walk | 30 second run | 10 minute walk | 30 second run

Day 5- 10 minute walk | 30 second run | 10 minute walk | 30 second run | 10 minute walk | 30 second run

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 10 minute walk | 30 second run | 10 minute walk | 30 second run | 10 minute walk | 30 second run

Week 2

Day 1- 10 minute walk | 1 minute run | 10 minute walk | 1 minute run | 10 minute walk | 1 minute run

Day 2- Rest Day

Day 3- 10 minute walk | 1 minute run | 10 minute walk | 1 minute run | 10 minute walk | 1 minute run

Day 4- 10 minute walk | 2 minute run | 10 minute walk | 2 minute run | 10 minute walk | 1 minute run

Day 5- Rest Day

Day 6- 10 minute walk | 2 minute run | 10 minute walk | 2 minute run | 10 minute walk | 2 minute run

Day 7- 10 minute walk | 2 minute run | 10 minute walk | 2 minute run | 10 minute walk | 2 minute run

Week 3

Day 1- Rest Day

Day 2- 10 minute walk | 3 minute run | 10 minute walk | 2 minute run | 10 minute walk | 2 minute run

Day 3- 10 minute walk | 3 minute run | 10 minute walk | 2 minute run | 10 minute walk | 2 minute run

Day 4- Rest Day

Day 5- 10 minute walk | 4 minute run | 10 minute walk | 3 minute run | 10 minute walk | 2 minute run

Day 6- 10 minute walk | 4 minute run | 10 minute walk | 3 minute run | 10 minute walk | 2 minute run

Day 7- Rest Day

Week 4

Day 1- 10 minute walk | 5 minute run | 10 minute walk | 4 minute run | 10 minute walk | 3 minute run

Day 2- 10 minute walk | 5 minute run | 10 minute walk | 4 minute run | 10 minute walk | 3 minute run

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 10 minute walk | 6 minute run | 10 minute walk | 5 minute run | 10 minute walk | 4 minute run

Day 5- 10 minute walk | 6 minute run | 10 minute walk | 5 minute run | 10 minute walk | 4 minute run

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 10 minute walk | 6 minute run | 10 minute walk | 5 minute run | 10 minute walk | 5 minute run

Week 5

Day 1- 10 minute walk | 7 minute run | 10 minute walk | 6 minute run | 10 minute walk | 5 minute run

Day 2- Rest Day

Day 3- 10 minute walk | 7 minute run | 10 minute walk | 6 minute run | 10 minute walk | 5 minute run

Day 4- 10 minute walk | 7 minute run | 10 minute walk | 6 minute run | 10 minute walk | 6 minute run

Day 5- Rest Day

Day 6- 10 minute walk | 8 minute run | 10 minute walk | 7 minute run | 10 minute walk | 6 minute run

Day 7- 10 minute walk | 8 minute run | 10 minute walk | 7 minute run | 10 minute walk | 6 minute run

Week 6

Day 1- Rest Day

Day 2- 10 minute walk | 8 minute run | 10 minute walk | 7 minute run | 10 minute walk | 7 minute run

Day 3- 10 minute walk | 9 minute run | 10 minute walk | 8 minute run | 10 minute walk | 7 minute run

Day 4- Rest Day

Day 5- 10 minute walk | 9 minute run | 10 minute walk | 8 minute run | 10 minute walk | 7 minute run

Day 6- 10 minute walk | 9 minute run | 10 minute walk | 8 minute run | 10 minute walk | 8 minute run

Day 7- Rest Day

Week 7

Day 1- 10 minute walk | 10 minute run | 10 minute walk | 9 minute run | 10 minute walk | 8 minute run

Day 2- 10 minute walk | 10 minute run | 10 minute walk | 9 minute run | 10 minute walk | 8 minute run

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 10 minute walk | 10 minute run | 10 minute walk | 9 minute run | 10 minute walk | 9 minute run

Day 5- 10 minute walk | 10 minute run | 10 minute walk | 10 minute run | 10 minute walk | 10 minute run

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 10 minute walk | 11 minute run | 10 minute walk | 10 minute run | 10 minute walk | 9 minute run

Week 8

Day 1- 10 minute walk | 11 minute run | 10 minute walk | 10 minute run | 10 minute walk | 9 minute run

Day 2- Rest Day

Day 3- 10 minute walk | 11 minute run | 10 minute walk | 10 minute run | 10 minute walk | 9 minute run

Day 4- 10 minute walk | 11 minute run | 10 minute walk | 10 minute run | 10 minute walk | 9 minute run

Day 5- Rest Day

Day 6- 10 walk | 11 minute run | 10 minute walk | 10 minute run | 10 minute walk | 9 minute run

Day 7- 10 walk | 11 minute run | 10 minute walk | 10 minute run | 10 minute walk | 10 minute run

Week 9

Day 1- Rest Day

Day 2- 10 minute walk | 11 minute run | 10 minute walk | 10 minute run | 10 minute walk | 10 minute run

Day 3- 10 minute walk | 11 minute run | 10 minute walk | 10 minute run | 10 minute walk | 10 minute run

Day 4- Rest Day

Day 5- 10 minute walk | 12 minute run | 10 minute walk | 11 minute run | 10 minute walk | 10 minute run

Day 6- 10 minute walk | 12 minute run | 10 minute walk | 11 minute run | 10 minute walk | 11 minute run

Day 7- Rest Day

Week 10

Day 1- 10 minute walk | 12 minute run | 10 minute walk | 11 minute run | 10 minute walk | 11 minute run

Day 2- 10 minute walk | 13 minute run | 10 minute walk | 12 minute run | 10 minute walk | 11 minute run

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 10 minute walk | 13 minute run | 10 minute walk | 12 minute run | 10 minute walk | 11 minute run

Day 5- 10 minute walk | 13 minute run | 10 minute walk | 12 minute run | 10 minute walk | 12 minute run

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 10 minute walk | 13 minute run | 10 minute walk | 12 minute run | 10 minute walk | 12 minute run

Week 11

Day 1- 10 minute walk | 14 minute run | 10 minute walk | 13 minute run | 10 minute walk | 12 minute run

Day 2- Rest Day

Day 3- 10 minute walk | 14 minute run | 10 minute walk | 13 minute run | 10 minute walk | 12 minute run

Day 4- 10 minute walk | 14 minute run | 10 minute walk | 13 minute run | 10 minute walk | 13 minute run

Day 5- 10 minute walk | 15 minute run | 10 minute walk | 14 minute run | 10 minute walk | 13 minute run

Day 6- 10 minute walk | 15 minute run | 10 minute walk | 14 minute run | 10 minute walk | 13 minute run

Day 7- Rest Day

Week 12

Day 1- 5 minute walk | 30 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 2- 5 minute walk | 35 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 5 minute walk | 40 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 5- 5 minute walk | 45 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 5 minute walk | 30 minute run | 10 minute walk

Week 13

Day 1- 5 minute walk | 35 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 2- 5 minute walk | 40 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 5 minute walk | 45 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 5- 5 minute walk | 50 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 5 minute walk | 40 minute run | 10 minute walk

Week 14

Day 1- 5 minute walk | 45 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 2- 5 minute walk | 50 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 5 minute walk | 40 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 5- 5 minute walk | 60 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 5 minute walk | 40 minute run | 10 minute walk

Week 15

Day 1- 5 minute walk | 65 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 2- 5 minute walk | 45 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 5 minute walk | 35 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 5- 5 minute walk | 70 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 5 minute walk | 45 minute run | 10 minute walk

Week 16

Day 1- 5 minute walk | 70 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 2- 5 minute walk | 40 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 5 minute walk | 35 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 5- 5 minute walk | 75 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 5 minute walk | 45 minute run | 10 minute walk

Week 17

Day 1- 5 minute walk | 50 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 2- 5 minute walk | 80 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 5 minute walk | 45 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 5- 5 minute walk | 85 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 5 minute walk | 30 minute run | 10 minute walk

Week 18

Day 1- 5 minute walk | 50 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 2- 5 minute walk | 80 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 5 minute walk | 45 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 5- 5 minute walk | 85 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 5 minute walk | 30 minute run | 10 minute walk

Week 19

Day 1- 5 minute walk | 50 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 2- 5 minute walk | 90 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 5 minute walk | 45 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 5- 5 minute walk | 95 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 5 minute walk | 30 minute run | 10 minute walk

Week 20

Day 1- 5 minute walk | 50 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 2- 5 minute walk | 100 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 5 minute walk | 45 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 5- 5 minute walk | 105 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 5 minute walk | 30 minute run | 10 minute walk

Week 21

Day 1- 5 minute walk | 50 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 2- 5 minute walk | 110 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 5 minute walk | 45 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 5- 5 minute walk | 115 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 5 minute walk | 30 minute run | 10 minute walk

Week 22

Day 1- 5 minute walk | 50 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 2- 5 minute walk | 115 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 5 minute walk | 45 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 5- 5 minute walk | 120 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 5 minute walk | 30 minute run | 10 minute walk

Week 23

Day 1- 5 minute walk | 50 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 2- 5 minute walk | 120 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 5 minute walk | 45 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 5- 5 minute walk | 125 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 5 minute walk | 30 minute run | 10 minute walk

Week 24

Day 1- 5 minute walk | 50 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 2- 5 minute walk | 130 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 5 minute walk | 45 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 5- 5 minute walk | 135 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 5 minute walk | 30 minute run | 10 minute walk

Week 25

Day 1- 5 minute walk | 50 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 2- 5 minute walk | 140 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 5 minute walk | 45 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 5- 5 minute walk | 145 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 5 minute walk | 30 minute run | 10 minute walk

Week 26

Day 1- 5 minute walk | 50 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 2- 5 minute walk | 150 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 5 minute walk | 45 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 5- 5 minute walk | 155 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 5 minute walk | 30 minute run | 10 minute walk

Week 27

Day 1- 5 minute walk | 50 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 2- 5 minute walk | 115 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 5 minute walk | 45 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 5- 5 minute walk | 50 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 5 minute walk | 30 minute run | 10 minute walk

Week 28

Day 1- 5 minute walk | 50 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 2- 5 minute walk | 30 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 3- Rest Day

Day 4- 5 minute walk | 25 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 5- 5 minute walk | 25 minute run | 10 minute walk

Day 6- Rest Day

Day 7- 5 minute walk | 30 minute run | 10 minute walk

Now it’s time for the big day!! Good luck!! Please send me your stories. I would love to talk to other survivors that are running. If you are new to the blog and missed my previous posts about my first marathon you can read them here:

Cancer is Not a Roadblock to Your Dreams

My First Marathon- The Night Before

3 comments on “After Cancer Workouts
  1. Francesca says:

    Hi Trish,

    Love,love, love your blog! I am going into my LAST treatment cycle for ovarian cancer – so happy. It has been tough but I too am a fighter and “you can sit and ask why or get busy living” has become my new motto. I stayed off the web during my treatment as I wanted to censor any negative info on my diagnosis. However I wish that I had read your blog – it is the type of team coaching we all need! I suspect my son has been on your site as much of what he said to me early on sounds very similar to the things you have written…he wanted to shave his head and told me I should wear my baldness as a badge of honor!! He has been great and while I never reached the comfort level you did in my baldness….I never once considered defeat either.

    Thanks also for the great training tips. I am considering doing a 15 mile bike marathon in Oct that will benefit Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer center but did not know where to begin to get back into shape. I used to be an avid tennis player prior to this and have lost all conditioning – so I intend to start by following your regimen – thank you and keep doing what you are doing. It means so much to those of us out there looking for the positive coach who will cheer us to VICTORY!!

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