4 Things I’m Doing to Prepare for Marathon Training + A High-Protein Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie Recipe

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

As a Stonyfield blogger ambassador, I was compensated for writing this post as part of my partnership with the brand. The thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and all my own. Go Team Stonyfield! 

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I had a glorious 75-minute run yesterday afternoon. Woohoo! It felt so great to just throw on my sneakers, listen to some tunes, and enjoy some ‘me’ time. It was seriously so fun, and I felt like I was flying at times!

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Now that I am in the swing of things with running again, I wanted to share what I am doing to prepare myself for marathon training, which officially starts right after the holidays. (Holy crap, it’s going to be here before we know it!)

Slowly increasing my mileage.

To get us ready for the upcoming marathon training season, our Stonyfield marathon coach recommended that we work our way up to 90 minutes of time on our feet for our long runs. In the past, I would be all gung-ho about marathon training and ramp-up my mileage too quickly. This meant, I would inevitably hurt myself, so this time around, I am taking it slow and steady. My plan is to only increase my running time by 5 minutes each week and then “step back” every three weeks from now until the New Year to help prevent any sort of overuse injuries.

Getting twice-monthly sports massages.

I am injury-prone when it comes to long distance running, so I am working with a sports massage therapist to help prepare my body for marathon training. Currently, I am getting a 60-minute massage every other week and will likely continue with monthly massages once marathon training officially begins to help keep my chronic muscle imbalances in-check. My massage therapist also suggested that I foam roll my quads and stretch my hips as much as possible between appointments, so I’m doing that after every run and every-other-night while watching TV.

Thinking about training logistics.

The shorter, colder days + having a little one definitely makes coordinating training logistics a little trickier, but not impossible. If there’s a will, there’s a way! I’m trying to figure out the best day of the week to do my long run as well as my other workouts (i.e. CrossFit) + coordinate with Mal and his schedule for watching Quinn. I’m also thinking about the frigid cold temps and snow and considering the best option for tackling my outdoor training. Right now I am leaning toward mid-morning Saturday runs after Mal gets home from CrossFit. That way, he can still work out on the weekend and I’ll be able to take advantage of the warmest part of the day. We shall see.

Paying attention to my diet to best fuel my runs.

One of the biggest mistakes I made when I trained for my first two marathons was not properly fueling my runs, especially when it came to recovery. I’d finish a long run and then chow-down on all sorts of unhealthy foods, like pizza, beer, and cupcakes. I figured I could eat whatever I wanted, but I wasn’t making the healthiest choices. This time around, I really want to dial in on my diet and make nutritious food choices that will help with recovery and keep my body healthy. One way is making sure that I select a post-run meal/snack that has a good mix of healthy carbs, protein, and fat. Smoothies, in particular, are a quick, easy, and delicious way to get all of these components in a single glass.

This High-Protein Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie is one of my very favorites since it’s made with protein-packed Stonyfield vanilla Greek yogurt, rolled oats, banana, almond butter, pitted dates, and cinnamon. It’s so incredibly tasty, it’s almost like sipping a dessert (kids will love it too!), but it’s loaded with essential nutrients for aiding in muscle recovery and repair, so it’s the best of both worlds. This smoothie has 34 grams of protein!

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High-Protein Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie


  • 1 container (5.3 oz) vanilla Stonyfield Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup Stonyfield 1% milk
  • 1 small banana
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 4 pitted dates
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Direction: Combine ingredients in blender until smooth. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving 

Questions of the Day

Runner friends: What else should I do to prepare myself for marathon training?

What’s your favorite post-run meal/snack/smoothie?

P.S. Speaking of running, be sure to check back tomorrow for a SWEET giveaway!!!



  1. I’ve got 2 favorite post-sweat snacks right now. One is an oj, vanilla protein, and fresh pineapple smoothie- it’s so good it practically begs for an umbrella -and maybe a shot of rum;-) The other is a dark chocolate protein mug cake- yum!

      1. @Tina: well don’t claim you are a healthy eater
        eating healthy is a choice to the person but we all know bacon and dessert every day is not
        don’t pretend to be something you are not

        1. @kim: HEY HEY HEY…..say what you want about Tina but leave bacon out of this! LOL JK Tina but I had to bring some humor in to the nonsense 🙂 Keep real 🙂

      2. @Tina: @Tina: Hey Tina, I’m with you. I eat healthy, but there’s nothing wrong with enjoying some bacon! I read yesterday that following an 80/20 diet (80% totally healthy foods, 20% not-necessarily-super-healthy foods) is totally fine and great for your overall health.

      1. Bacon is high in cholesterol and saturated fat, which in combination have an alarming effect on your blood cholesterol. If your diet is high in cholesterol and saturated fat, your low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol can go up, increasing your risk of heart disease

        BUT if you have it in moderation, sure, why not? I just wouldn’t label it ‘healthy eating’….I didn’t even see where Tina mentioned bacon on this post

        1. @Stacy: Which is exactly what Tina does: eat bacon in moderation along with training for a marathon and drinking delicious high-protein oatmeal cookie smoothies. How is that not ‘healthy eating/living’? I believe her approach is even more healthy (both mentally and physically) than the end-all-be-all totalitarian ‘clean eating’ paradigm because she is able to sustain it long term without depriving herself and stay in FANTASTIC shape without being a nutjob headcase. Cheers, Tina!

          1. HI Stephanie, I wasn’t the one questioning why or why not tina was eating bacon. I don’t really care what people eat! LOL! 🙂
            I didnt’ even see it mentioned on this blog post! I was commenting on the other post above from Kim

          1. thanks Robin, I took a peek at the wiki page. oh and I know what got me fat and then I lost 40 lbs! it was wonderful. Staying away from horrible junk, sugar, “lean cusines’ food. etc. I ate clean, whole foods, fruit, nuts, veggies, etc…I did what worked for me. 🙂

          2. @Robyn @ Robyn’s Living Life: I’ve read “Why We Get Fat”, but that’s besides the point. Stacy said it perfectly in the last statement ‘I did what worked for me’. Obviously, eating bacon daily is working out great for Tina. Just because you ate ‘clean’ and lost weight doesn’t mean it’s the right way for everyone. I lost a large amount of weight not eating cleanly, but that’s what worked FOR ME. The best diet for anyone is one that they can stick with for the long run, the end.

    1. @kim:I’m just curious when healthy bloggers became expected to have perfectionistic eating and behavior simply because they have a healthy lifestyle blog and also when did it become ok to make rude, judgmental comments about what a person chooses to eat? Some people choose to eat a treat every day. Maybe bacon is her treat. Or maybe bacon is just part of her lifestyle. There are probably hundreds of articles both singing bacon’s praises or condemning it completely so I think there is little room for one ignorant person’s opinion on what someone should or shouldn’t eat. Blogs obviously open themselves to discussion and differences of opinion but there is no room for judgement and bad attitudes. If you disagree with a particular blog or its author, stop reading and take your negativity elsewhere.

  2. man that smoothie sounds awesome! good luck preparing for the start of your marathon training! kudos to you for getting amped up for another one 🙂 i’m running my first in a few weeks but have definitely not trained properly according to “the books” so we’ll see how it goes! at least i can look forward to getting a nice tshirt 😉

  3. Lots of cross training which you’ve got with Cross Fit but I always tell people Stair Climber once or twice a week is a must for runners. It helps strengthen glutes and hamstrings which can be injury prone areas hmfir runners. And if the course is hilly it will prepare you better.

  4. Stonyfield makes the best greek yogurt, no question about it! Even their plain, which is the one I buy, is terrific compared to the other brands..Anyway, my fave postrun meal is cold cooked oatmeal mixed with plain greek yogurt, fruit and peanut butter. Perfect combo of fat, protein and carbs to recover the muscles, especially when eaten within that thirty minute postrun time frame.

  5. My biggest advice is assuming you have a solid training plan, focus on recovery and nutrition more than you might think you need to. Staying healthy during marathon training can be challenging and a lot of people overlook the need for rest and recovery, especially when you’re a mom and distracted most of the time!! When life gets busy and sleep isn’t ideal it’s even more important. Also, maybe obvious but for marathon training, running needs to be the priority, with maybe only a day of cross training activity and plenty of rest in between.

  6. So excited to follow your marathon training! To run a marathon is my number one goal 🙂
    This may sound crazy, considering it will be frigid this winter, but after every cross country practice my senior year of college, we took an ice “bath” after foam rolling. It considerably helps with muscle soreness. And of course the “bath” doesn’t need to be all ice and thankfully, just 7ish minutes does the trick.

  7. When I started attending boot camp in my area, I was sore ALL the time. Foam rolling saved my life. It’s really painful but it was short-lived and meant I recovered so much quicker. I also got massages more often and that really helped too – but were too $$$ to do as much as I wanted.

    I’m hoping to try a run/walk program over the winter this year. I’d love to start the spring in better shape than going into the winter for once! It’s challenging with the long Wisconsin winters.

    Giveaway time: http://peachesandfootball.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/three-cheers-for-cocoa-a-giveaway/

  8. Great job taking things in baby steps toward Boston. I am following a similar plan… working on my base/endurance before jumping into the bulk part of the training. 🙂

    Yummy smoothie recipe. I will have to try it 🙂

  9. must be nice to get massages all the time! 😉 I’ll see if I can con my husband into giving me one as spending that kind of money is not in the cards for us at the moment!

  10. Love reading your posts about running and having to schedule with the hubby, I totally relate! I also love reading how you fuel your workouts! Thanks, Tina!!

  11. Monthly massages/twice monthly massages sound amazing! I love foam rolling, and when I can, I love a good massage. It’s so key for injury prevention.

    I’d also say to stay on top of weight training in general–not crazy amounts, but it helps so much for running. I’m sure you will, but that’s what I’d add 🙂

  12. One thing I will mention is to be very realistic about training for a marathon and having a very young child. I just finished a marathon training cycle and my plan was the basic, minimal amount of running to just complete the marathon as I have an almost 3 year old and have very limited time. Pushing him in my jogging stroller is no longer an option – so I had to run when I could. As someone mentioned above – you may have to make running your “fitness priority” once you get into your actual training weeks.

    I will also warn you that pregnancy can mess up your running form. I felt like I had to learn how to run again because everything just seemed out of place. Although it may seem fine right now – injuries can pop up, especially when you ramp up the mileage. You already have cross-training down – but maybe some running form drills? I second the sports massages – they really helped me!

    Lastly – from another “mother runner” – you also need to make sure to plan for sufficient rest. Rest is just about as important as training runs are in my opinion. I may not be breaking and speed records, but at least I’m having fun running!

  13. Do you have a marathon training plan? Indeed you are going to be very busy with Mal, work. and Quinn. How serious do you take runs? As in, are they all long, slow distance? Will you do speed work? What do you consider healthy(ie. Low fat?)

  14. Wahoo! The smoothie sounds SO good. I’m going to pick up some more stonyfield yogurt today…I plan to do some baking and parfait making with it. You’re doing great with the training. I’m trying to pay a lot of attention to what I eat the night before and the morning before my long runs. Last week I made a bad decision and my 20 miler was MISERABLE!

  15. That smoothie sounds delicious! I may have to make that later in the day! My favorite post-workout meal/snack is egg white oatmeal with banana, peanut butter and some greek yogurt! Good mix of good carbs, proteins and fats! I usually work out in the morning so it’s meal I look forward to when I get home!

  16. Hey Tina! I wrote a guest post for you a while back on marathon training for beginners. Glad to see you’re getting back into running! My tip: Get plenty of sleep. I know it’s crazy with a newborn, but if I go running on less than 6 hours of sleep, I really drag. Rest up for your big runs!

  17. I always reach for a high-quality protein shake right after a workout, but don’t run very often (unless you count all the treadmill running I do at Barry’s or in the group fitness studio). I think massages and foam rolling are ESSENTIAL when you’re preparing for a race. Don’t forget that roller. 🙂

  18. Hi Tina! I’ve been reading for a few years now, and I have got to say – this smoothie! Oh my goodness it is great. I want to run out and buy your book now. I just made the smoothie in this post before I head to a Cafeteria Thanksgiving dinner at my son’s pre-k. I wanted something to hold me over. This smoothie totally will.

    Also, I noticed you mentioned muscle imbalances. I don’t have the financial resources to get massages, etc. (And I do not begrudge those who do, so please don’t take what I said as such) but I’m super interested in muscular imbalances and how we can strengthen our weaker side, etc. Is that a post you’d care to write? I’d love to read it! God Bless!

  19. I hear ya on the injuries! I really slacked on yoga and massages during this marathon training period. The result? I’m injured and missed out on a marathon last month. When I make time (and money) for both, I do so much better and most importantly, am NOT injured. And a smoothie that has the word cookie in it is always a good thing!

  20. Great post! I would love for you to post what you are eating once training starts up. I am getting ready to run my first 1/2 marathon next week, and even though I am ready, I know I could have made better food choices along the way. Sometimes though, after running 12 miles all I wanted was ALL THE FOOD! Didn’t matter what it was! 🙂

  21. I ran an April marathon in 2011, which meant I was training over the winter. (It was an especially horrendous winter, so that was fun). I definitely recommend tackling your longer runs in the afternoon, when it’s (hopefully) warmer, and investing in thermal leggings if you don’t already have them. (Gore makes some fantastic ones).

    Due to ice storms that winter, there were a couple days where I was relegated to the treadmill for my long runs – sometimes 15+ miles. Not ideal, but I found that downloading a new album right beforehand (or finding a new album on Spotify, as the case may be now) was SUPER helpful in motivating me to keep at it while at the gym.

  22. I am doing 3 marathons this fall (2 down 1 to go) and I think you are going about it the right way. A healthy mix of cross training (which you are obviously doing with the CrossFit) with a solid base of miles being built slowly the months leading up. I see people go full into marathon training but seriously the prep part is so imperative. 6 marathons later and I’m injury free (and probs jinxing myself!). I am also totally on the massage bandwagon and find incorporating some yoga is also helpful!

  23. 2 things:

    1) my Bob jogging stroller has an excellent weather shield. Kees baby toasty warm if I dress him correctly and use a warm blanket. Even on very cold runs. (I’m a New Englander too). He sleeps soundly while I run and his hands and nose are don’t even get the slightest but chilly so I know the shield is doing its job. He’s not overly warm either for that matter! See if your stroller has this accessory.

    2) I have some tips on how to dress a baby for winter running. These were for my first child before I had the shield but I still dress my new baby just as warmly…three layers of fleece of increasing sizes (for example: a 9 mo body suit under a 12 month footed outfit under an 18 month winter fleece outfit. Along with winter hat and blanket). Here’s the link: http://www.iamamess.com/bundle-up/

  24. I’ve never done a marathon, but my half was helped by a LOT of foam rolling. I think massages and foam rolling as recovery are more underrated than they should be.

  25. That’s a great plan going forward for training. I love that you’re already thinking of preventing injury. As someone who’s been injured three (3!) times, I would suggest looking at stretches and strengthening moves for muscles and joints you’re not even thinking about, such as your feet and ankles, knees, etc. We often never know about imbalances until something starts to hurt. I personally love physioadvisor.com.au as a reference for joint and muscle mobility exercises.
    Post-workout I like myself a nice PB/protein powder/cocoa powder/banana smoothie! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  26. Thanks for the great advice as I am going to be doing much of the same in preparations for Boston as well. So excited! Investing in cold running gear for our long runs is crucial as well. I still haven’t found gloves that keep my hands warm. I have even tried wearing two pairs. Do you have any suggestions? If not, no biggie…

    1. Caitlin – I have the same problem. I found that it helps if I wear a pair mittens over a pair gloves. The mittens seem to keep the heat in.

    2. @Caitlin F.: Pear Izumi makes a great pair of gloves with a reflective, windproof mitten flap that covers all fingers except the thumb. Works to layer under heavier mittens or over glove liners.

  27. So I’m totally intrigued with running for time instead of miles. I’ve never done that before but I can see how it would totally take the pressure off. My question.. how do you plan it out as far as getting back home in exactly 70 minutes or however long? Do you just run away from your house for 35 minutes then run back? Just trying to figure out how I would do this! Thanks!!!

  28. I’m wondering if you have any runner friends who are planning to run Boston, as well? One of my fave marathon training strategies is to schedule my long runs with a friend (or two). Like you, I trained for my first full marathon with Team in Training. It was a huge change for me because I’d always been a solo, alone-time-is-precious-to-me kind of runner. I’ve learned that I’m happier with a partner for any run over 10 miles!

  29. My favorite recovery smoothie!!! : 1-1.5 banana, 1.5 cup chocolate almond milk, big scoop nut butter, coconut shreds! Almond joy! Yummy!

  30. A classic peanut butter banana smoothie is my all time favorite post-run snack…

    Frozen banana
    Blob of PB
    Handful of oats
    Splash o’ Milk
    Drizzle of honey

    Exact measurements totally unnecessary. Easy peasy and always hits the spot!

  31. Like you, I never paid much attention to my post-workout meals and like you, my body paid the price! Lately, I’ve been enjoying a protein shake after my morning workouts. After bootcamp this morning, I used a scoop of chocolate shakeology and a scoop of chocolate whey, water, a half cup of soaked rolled oats, and 6 ice cubes to make 2 smoothies (1 for the other half). Sometimes I use hemp or soy milk instead of water and I usually add some frozen blueberries and/or spinach or kale, but we didn’t have either this morning. I’ve noticed less cramping since I started my post-workout protein smoothies, but as the weather gets colder, I’m transitioning to “proats” – oatmeal with some whey stirred in! 🙂

  32. I can’t wait to try this smoothie!
    I’m going to try something adding 5 minutes each long run, I’ve always had wicked IT band problems with too much of an increase, maybe this will help. Will you update us on what works for you in the coming months?
    Along with foam rolling I really suggest yoga. I can’t afford classes so I use my mat and YouTube videos before and after some of my runs and on off days. It helps so much!!
    Good luck!

  33. I definitely recommend the massages or a chiropractor. For my last half-marathon I had weekly or bi-weekly adjustments done to realign myself after my runs and I had zero injuries. Alternating with yoga or cross-fit also really helps cut down on injuries. Good Luck!!

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