Category Archives: Training

Fitness after baby (five months post-partum)

I’ve written a little bit about my fitness journey since having Jasper, but I thought I’d do a full post on just that topic.

I’m working out 5-6 days each week. It’s usually a combo of running, HIIT, and biking (mountain if I’m in the mountains and trainer if I’m in the city).

I took seven weeks almost completely off and am so happy I did take that time away. It was a good break for my body and gave me a chance to recover well post-partum.

So how is it going? Great…for me!

Running
I’ve been upping my mileage at a glacial pace. My longest run has been 1 hour, 20 minutes. Most of my runs are in the five-mile range.

I’m running a combination of trails, stroller runs on the pavement, and a few treadmill runs when Jasper is napping.

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I don’t wear a Garmin, so on the trails I have no idea how far I go. However, I do go slow. I tried going faster one day and bit the dust hard! Over four weeks later I can finally kneel lightly on my left knee.

The good news is I’m running lots of hills and feeling strong. I’m pretty sure I could run forever but I know I couldn’t go fast!

I’ve done a few hills with the stroller and let me tell you, that builds endurance! One hill took me 12 minutes to climb and I hope to incorporate that into my usual running.

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I’d like to continue slowly increasing my run times but don’t want to increase too much when I’m not training for anything since I easily get injured.

Biking
I’m trying to mountain bike once in a while and I’m still gaining confidence. It gets my heart pumping like crazy when I have to climb, and it’s so great to be on the trails for ‘me’ time.

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I’ve started riding the trainer again when Jasper is napping. The good news is I make each trainer ride count and get off dripping sweat. The bad news is I don’t ride for longer than 30 minutes since he’s not a great napper and I never know how long I have before he wakes! (And I prefer to shower before that happens 🙂 )

HIIT
I love making up my own HIIT workouts and kicking my butt. These workouts are the easiest to do since they give me the most bang for my buck! I breathe heavy, my legs and arms are shaky, and I’m toast at the end of a 20-30 minute workout. I always incorporate strength and core into them.

Hiking
I never really used to count hiking as a workout although it can be HARD. Now that I sometimes carry Jasper, I certainly do count it! We don’t go often and we don’t go for long (that darn hot sun!), but it’s so fun and he’s turning into a little mountain lover!

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SUP
I’ve SUPed a few more times and still love it. If I lived closer to a body of water, I’d make it a regular part of my routine.

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Race plans?
I’ve always loved to train, but…I’ve never loved to race whether it’s strictly running or triathlon. (I took almost five years away from racing before with only a couple races on a whim thrown in!) So, I don’t feel a need to get back into it right away.

I hope to run one trail race in September and am tossing around some ideas for next year. For now, I love running to run, biking to bike, etc.

The mental challenge
The only tough thing about this is the comparison trap—comparing to my former self and to others, mostly through social media! (I love baby_fitgym on Instagram, but darn she makes me want to work out all the time and chisel my abs!)

None of my old pants fit. My thighs are a lot bigger. And I’d be lying if I said I was happy with my hips/stomach area.

However, I constantly remind myself that I had a baby five months ago. It’s worth a little extra skin and fat! I’m still exclusively nursing (he’s up to 18 pounds, 14 ounces now!!), and I’ve heard your body hangs on to fat a bit more. I’m not sure if that’s true, so I’m not banking on it!

Basically I’m not satisfied with how I look but am trying to practice grace and treat myself kindly. I love being active and fit and so long as I’m healthy and getting in some sweat sessions, I should be happy!

I’m still working with Jasper to nap more consistently and for longer. Hopefully when (if?) that happens I can start to get in longer workouts. Until then I’m really happy with how everything is coming along and love to incorporate Jasper into some training, whether it’s on a run, a hike, or strength training.

Oh, and Jasper’s learning to love exercise, too!

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The best rattle!!

What’s your next big race? 

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Weeks fly by

Now that I’m not working, I don’t keep track of time in Monday-Friday workweek and weekends format, counting down days until the next holiday.

I now look at my life in terms of weeks. Jasper is 14 weeks old, I’ve been back running for seven weeks now, another week until we are back in the mountains, etc.

With that being said, it’s hard to believe it’s taken me six weeks to write a blog post. I have lots of ideas for them but just don’t take the time to sit and write. It’s a good thing since I’m enjoying my time being a mama! But I do miss writing.

I’m also still really enjoying running!! Stroller runs are so much fun since I’m a proud mom, and running in the wind or pushing a stroller uphill is hopefully making me a lot stronger! We ‘run’ errands, and I like doing that since it gives me a little break partway! Just today we ran to the library to return some books.

I’ve been lucky to spend more time in the mountains and have gone on a few amazing trail runs and a few mountain bike rides.

Trail running
The trail running has been kicking my butt. I went on my longest run of 1 hour, 10 minutes on the trails a couple weekends ago. The trails I took have a lot of elevation change. By time I finished I was seriously going a snail’s pace. But, man did it feel good!

The last couple runs I’ve felt fatigued. I’m chalking it up to lack of quality sleep.

I’m still running Garminless and on the trails I have no idea how far I go. I like it this way! No comparisons or pushing myself. For now I’m still really loving running just to run. (However, I know how long it took me to run up this one hill and pregnant I could run up it in 16 minutes…two weeks ago it was still taking me 16 minutes!)

On my favourite run a couple weeks ago, I ran 45 minutes on the trails and ended at the hot springs for a soak. It would be pretty amazing to get to do that after every run 🙂

Mountain biking
I think I only mountain biked twice last year. Since I can’t run every day (my body won’t allow it) I want to work on my mountain bike skills. I love to ride but would much prefer to ride on the trails than a busy highway or road.

My first ride back was daunting. I’m always a cautious rider but even more so after taking a lot of time away from it. I am more confident with each ride I take. I’ll never be a fast rider or choose technical trails over easier ones, but it’s a lot of fun to just be out there.

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I also got a pair of Pearl Izumi shoes specific for cycling (without having to be clipped in) and it’s made a big difference!

SUP
On Mother’s Day we packed up my inflatable SUP board and went to the lake. Kelly took Harold and Jasper for a walk while I had a peaceful hour on a quiet lake with stunning mountain views.

I don’t think I’ll get to SUP much this summer so it sure was nice to paddle around.

Life
Life is moving right along. Jasper is over 14-weeks-old and just amazing. At this age it’s crazy how quickly he changes is size and development. He’s smiling a ton and it still melts my heart every time. We took him swimming for the first time on Mother’s Day weekend. I hope to start taking him more; I want him to be a water baby!

Harold turns eight-years-old next week! Unfortunately we’ve noticed a big difference in his energy levels from last summer. He tires quickly and isn’t handling heat as well either. Luckily we won’t be going on long hikes this summer so he won’t be left out!

Harold on a short hike two weeks ago!

Harold on a short hike two weeks ago!

Lets hear a life update from you!

Getting high – my first run back and post-partum exercise

The sun was shining. The day was warm. I was beyond excited. It was the day I got to lace up my runners and go for a run!

It was a whopping 13 weeks and three days since my last run (but who’s counting?!).

That is by far the longest I’ve ever gone without running. (The previous record was about six weeks in the summer of ’02, but that’s another story for another day!)

During pregnancy, I missed running but knew it was best not to when it started cause me pain. Post-pregnancy, I was shocked that I didn’t have the desire to run right away.

I think I knew my body had just been through an amazing experience and needed time to recover from it.

I started to get the itch around four weeks.

I started walking about two weeks post-partum and went on a couple longer walks and a hike at three weeks (the hike didn’t feel great). I started some hip exercises and did a lot of kegels.

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At almost six weeks I started body weight exercises and went on another couple hikes.

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I also carried Jasper on a hike for the first time. Let me tell you, climbing a mountain with him strapped to my front was tough!

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On his seven-week birthday I decided it was the day to try out a run. I was a little nervous. Would I pee my pants? Would it hurt? Would I even be able to run?

I tentatively took my first steps and was instantly happy. I was running again! I did a quick assessment and realized nothing hurt. My insides weren’t jiggly (another concern I had), my hips felt good, and my pelvic floor felt ok. I nursed and then pumped before I left the house, so thankfully my chest didn’t hurt either!

I planned to run/walk, but I felt so good I kept it at a slow run the entire time. I was happy that I felt strong cardio-wise, but I kept the pace really easy so maybe that’s why? I went about 5km but felt like I could go forever! It was farther than I planned, but I don’t think it was too much.

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#runhappy

By time I was finished, I had such a runner’s high!!!

I’m not sure when I’ll run again, but I want to try and really ease into it. I’m writing this the next day and my left hamstring and groin are a little tight. I better watch that. I’m also recommitted to doing a lot of strength and taking care of my weak muscles to prevent injury.

I’m using exercises from Deb’s (Deb Runs) blog post, Exercises to keep me in top running form. I’m also following professional runner Stephanie Bruce’s advice on rebuilding the core.

I know it’s going to be a long road to get back to where I was pre-pregnancy. But, I have no race plans and just want to run again for the love of running. I can’t wait to get out there pushing Jasper in a running stroller! Until I start exercising consistently, I plan to walk a ton. I hope to slowly incorporate some HIIT training and get back on my bike, too. And I can’t wait to use the TRX I got for Christmas!

What’s the longest you’ve gone without running?

If you have kids, how long did you take off before running again?

Workouts and running through pregnancy – third trimester

The third trimester goes from week 28 to technically 42. Baby Jasper was born at exactly 38 weeks, so my third trimester ended early.

This could also be called the trimester it fell apart for me! I was really sick for almost two weeks and did zero activity. Here’s a rundown (in a bit of a different format from the first and second trimester updates) of how everything else felt…

Running
I ran once in week 28 and once in week 29, both five miles and both on the treadmill since I didn’t want to risk running outside and slipping or having to walk home in the cold if I had to stop. I was surprised at a relatively good pace (in the 8:40s) considering I wasn’t out of breath or pushing the pace!

I was sick for a couple weeks and it felt fabulous to sweat and run in week 31 (another five miler in the 8:40s).

31 weeks and four days

31 weeks and four days

Sadly I had to break up with running after this. I celebrated my 31st birthday the following week and aimed to run 3.1 miles (5km). After a mile it just did not feel right so I stopped and walked, shed a tear, and said farewell until I’m ready to get back into it post-baby.

Although I greatly missed running, I felt really good about my decision and wasn’t upset like I get when I can’t run due to injury.

What felt good?
Throughout the entire third trimester, I felt great strength training- this included both weights for the upper body and body weight exercises for the lower body.

37 weeks

37 weeks

(photo taken after a 40 minute strength workout…as you can see…the strength workouts kicked my butt!)

On average, I strength trained four times a week. Sometimes it was all I did and other times I did a short session after a bike. Some days it was part of a higher intensity circuit, which I’ve really started to love!

I also continued do A LOT of hip work, which I read is really important throughout pregnancy and afterwards.

What was different?
I still kept up my biking on the trainer two to three times a week, but at some point (that I don’t remember and didn’t write down) it got pretty uncomfortable to even lean onto my foam roller. I don’t think baby loved it either, as his bum would really pop out in my upper ribs! So, I basically rode sitting straight up and then it felt fine.

Some days I rode steady and some days I added in a few faster intervals. The maximum time I rode for was 45 minutes. 

What didn’t feel good?
Running stopped feeling good, so I stopped. If something didn’t feel good on any day, I didn’t do it.

I was hoping to walk a lot once I couldn’t run anymore. However, that nagging pelvic pain I’d feel when I ran reared its head when I walked, too. So I never walked for exercise, and would just go when it was warm enough (and not slippery) to take Harold.

Lastly, I still followed along with some of the Tracy Anderson prenatal DVDs (there’s a DVD for each month of pregnancy and they’re split into arms and legs/hips/butt). I loved her arm workouts but towards the end the lower bodywork hurt my hips so I stopped that portion. 

Everything else
I kept up with prenatal yoga at least once a week, but some weeks I’d practice up to three times. I mostly used a Shiva Rea DVD. I remember when I followed it in the first trimester it was a breeze. By the end, I got quite fatigued doing it!

I cross-country skied nice and easy twice at the beginning of the trimester. It felt awesome since it’s so easy on the joints and it’s easy enough to go slowly! After that, I felt too off-balance to do it anymore.

Overall
I was happy to workout basically right up until the end of pregnancy. (I took a few days off beforehand to conserve energy for labour.)

Would’ve I liked to have ran more and for longer? Most definitely. Did I miss tough sessions and really sweating? Heck yes. Did I fall into the comparison trap sometimes and see what other pregnant women were doing/running/etc. on social media? Of course.

Do I regret how I played it? Not in the least. I wrote a post about learning to listen to my body, and I really think I did a good job of listening to it, and honouring it, throughout these 10 months.

I also loved the comments I received from moms on other posts who were so encouraging about running through pregnancy and afterwards. The blogging community really is a great one!

Thanks for following along. I hope to write a few posts about post-partum fitness once I’m there. I’m going to just go on easy walks and do some easy physio exercises to help prepare my body until I’m cleared for exercise (hopefully) at my six week follow-up appointment.

Any questions? Let me know in the comments or send me an email!

Running {and workouts} through pregnancy – second trimester

I realize I should kind of write these as time goes by instead of trying to remember after that fact (I’m just past 28 weeks/seven months). I did write some crib notes throughout the trimester, and I tracked all my workouts, so at least I can remember some of it properly!

The second trimester is from week 14-27. Man, does the beginning of that seem like a long time ago!

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I’ll keep the same outline as I did for the first trimester update. I’ll talk about running first and then the other exercise I kept up.

Of note, my longest run was 1:10 with most around 45 minutes. I haven’t used my Garmin since February, and that was just for holidays runs. Essentially I haven’t used it since Ironman Canada in summer 2013!

So needless to say I didn’t know my pace for a long time, which I think is the best way to run: by feel. On my treadmill runs as of late, I’ve definitely slowed but by less than expected.

What felt good?
In all honesty, not a lot felt good about running after week 19! I ran twice a week until week 17 and then dropped down to once a week, with some weeks of no running.

In week 17 I ran a 12km/7.5 mile trail race. I took it easy and barely breathed heavy. In retrospect, I’m sure I could’ve run a lot harder. But I wanted to play it safe with both the tripping factor and pushing it. I think my biggest success was that I didn’t stop to pee during the race 🙂 Although I didn’t run hard, I was still pretty fatigued the next day.

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The race fell on our anniversary, and I hope we can make it an annual event!

The other thing that fits the ‘feeling good’ category is my Gabrialla support belt. I got it in week 21 and noticed a huge difference in comfort of my belly. It completely supported it and just felt right. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is running while pregnant. (Of note, I got a sized up and it fits really well.)

What was different?
There isn’t really anything new to add to this column. I still pee a lot more than normal, am a lot thirstier during and after, and need to eat before a morning run. (My record high is six pees on a six mile treadmill run!)

What didn’t feel good?
Week 19 was where running started to fall apart for me. I would get really bad hip flexor/groin pain at the end of a long run. It would last for the remainder of the day. Kelly and I went for a long trail run during week 19 and I had to walk the last km, and then I couldn’t walk for the rest of the day without serious limping.

Two weeks later I successfully ran but afterwards had bad back pain, and the next day my groin/pelvic area was extremely sore.

This is kind of how it’s been going ever since. I should really stop running but the stubborn part of me doesn’t want to yet.

During week 22 I knew I couldn’t run after a couple minutes and then the next week felt good. During week 24 I had to stop after 10 minutes because of serious back cramps (something totally new to me).

Week 25 was another upswing. I ran two days in a row, which I haven’t done in a really long time! They were both on the trails, so I went nice and slow. Surprisingly, I felt a lot better on the uphill than the down!

Since then running has been touch and go. I’ve limited my max run distance to 5 miles/8 km and that seems to be a sweet spot. Nothing hurts while running, and afterwards, at that distance, my groin/pelvic area doesn’t hurt.

I *may* try running once a week until it acts up again. At that point, I think I should force myself to stop.

I don’t want to continue running to stay in shape or to bounce back into running faster afterwards. I just honestly love it and don’t want to go so long without it (the remainder of pregnancy and then however long afterwards). But, if it’ll do me more harm than good I need to stop.

Everything else
I biked a lot this trimester, all on my trainer. I don’t remember exactly when, but we propped a foam roller on my handlebars when it started to get uncomfortable to lean over.

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Awesome solution, and essentially free since we already had it!

I ride a steady pace, and I still do some interval workouts too. It feels good to breathe a little! My longest bike ride has been 45 minutes this trimester. And that’s more than enough!

Other than that, I’m keeping up my strength training, incorporating some strength/cardio circuits into my routine each week, and doing Tracey Andersen prenatal DVDs every couple of weeks.

I got in a few awesome hikes, mostly at the beginning of the trimester. One weekend we hiked over 20 miles but that was absolutely all I did that weekend!

Floe Lake

On the last true hike we went on, I really tired on the way down and despite wearing my support belt, my stomach was very heavy.

I continued with yoga once a week, and in the last few weeks I practiced 2-3 times a week.

I’ve also been lucky enough to cross-country ski a few times!

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Twice was on holidays and then I went once here at home. Unfortunately I started to feel the same pain as when I run, so I cut my last ski short.

Overall I’ve been keeping up my weekly workout sessions (five or six days a week) but they are much shorter and with a lot less intensity.

I can tell you that in the third trimester this will definitely decrease as time goes on. I’m starting to feel more fatigued (not sleeping well…at all). And I’m really starting to notice the extra weight. I don’t really know what I weighed when I got pregnant, but I would estimate I’ve gained 20 pounds already. That feels like quite a difference with everything except biking and yoga!

 If you worked out/ran through pregnancy, feel free to chime in with tips, suggestions, how you felt, etc! 

If you have any questions, let me know!

How was your year of running?

This is the third year I’m linking up with Miss Zippy to look back at my year of running (see my 2013 and 2012 reviews). Head over to her website to check out a bunch of other people’s reviews!

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Best race experience?
I participated in four races this year and only three running races: a 10km race on my 30th birthday, a surprise 10 miler in Del Mar, California when we were on holidays, a SUP race this summer, and a trail race on our sixth anniversary.

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Del Mar, CA

I loved them all for different reasons, but since this is about my year of running I guess I’d have to say the race on my birthday. It was a small, local race, Kelly ran it with me (instead of ahead of me!), my parents walked the 5k, and my sister and her family unexpectedly came out to cheer!

Passing my parents!

Best run?
Any trail run from this summer was phenomenal.

But, I think my best run was a 10 miler I did in Laguna Beach, CA where I ran along the beaches of Crystal Cove State Park and came across this little cutie. IMG-20140222-00394I remember not wanting to turn back, but I didn’t want to worry Kelly by going for too much longer than I said!

Best new piece of gear?
Remember when I said I am indecisive? I think that comes out in this post! I have two answers for this one.

I bought my Gabrialla Maternity Support Belt at 21 weeks pregnant. It has seemed to really help with the heaviness of my belly as time goes on.

The second item is Japanese Mint Oil. My prenatal acupuncturist recommended it for my aching hips that keep me up at night. According to their site, it helps promote circulation, relieves tight muscles, and is useful in injury rehab among many other benefits. I’ll continue to use it post-pregnancy, too!

Best piece of running advice you received?
I really, really would love to run throughout pregnancy but I think I’m going to have to stop soon.

When I told my girlfriend this she reminded me that it’s such a small blip of time in my running life. I’ve been running for 18 years and hope to do it forever. In the grand scheme of things, taking a few months off  is far from the worst that could happen!

Most inspirational runner?
I have quite a list, but the most inspirational this year have been moms. I love seeing what women are capable of after their world has been completely changed, when they juggle a lot of balls, and still manage to run and stay fit.

A couple professional athletes that top that list are triathlete Beth Gerdes (returned to racing, an Ironman no less, four months after giving birth to her baby girl) and runner Stephanie Rothstein Bruce (who is so honest about her body and comeback, #journeywithsteph).

Beth's second Ironman stats…less than seven months after having a baby!

Beth’s second Ironman stats…less than seven months after having a baby!

Otherwise, I read a lot of running blogs written by moms who inspire me in almost every post they write. In no particular order, here are a few of my faves:

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Humbling, relaxed, and freeing.

Tell me about your year of running and link up with Miss Zippy!