Category Archives: strength

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!

The walk of shame

You know what I’m talking about…
…things didn’t go as planned.
…maybe you feel sheepish or a bit embarrassed.
…sometimes you even have to swallow back tears.

I’m not talking about that walk of shame.

I’m talking about when you go for a run only to find out you’re hurt or sick and have to walk the rest of the way home.

I’m no stranger to it: I’ve walked for long distances, I’ve called family to pick me up, I’ve walked in the middle of winter when my clothes are soaked with sweat and not nearly warm enough (one of the main reasons I always try to run with a phone now!).

It’s happened to Kelly, and I’ve run home to get a vehicle, we’ve called family, and he’s even hopped in a passing cab.

With the exception of one time (gut-wrenching cramps), it’s always due to injury-related pain that stops me from going any further.

I’ve had the walk of shame a few times in as many weeks.

Luckily I haven’t made it more than a block from home, so it’s been a short walk. That doesn’t mean tears of frustration don’t threaten to bubble out. Unluckily, it means I wasn’t able to go more than a block without intense pain.

After my IMS treatment, pain moved into the upper calf muscles of my left side. It was so sharp and severe I had to stop immediately. It felt like something was going to explode.

I talked to a few people about it. One physiotherapist thought it was just really tight calf muscles, so he gave me stretches to work it out. (Unfortunately, those gave me knee pain!) Another person thought it was a bursa sac bothering me.

I stretched the best I could, tried to roll it (so painful), used tiger balm, and wore compression socks.

IMG_4399

I’m not out of the woods yet, but it’s been feeling much better. I ran on the treadmill last weekend so I wouldn’t have to walk home dejected (again) if the pain came back. It was a success! I ran again on Wednesday on the treadmill, incorporating six miles into a circuit.

On Saturday I rode long (and at better watts than ever before for 80km/50 miles). I’ve been itching for a good run in our spring weather, so Kelly and I planned a Sunday morning date.  We went for about an hour and 20 minutes and my calf felt awesome!

My left hip and hamstring got pretty tight, but I’m going to baby them for a few days and stick to strength and cycling.

I miss doing all my workouts in the fresh air!

Kelly’s gone mountain biking the last two weekends, but I’m not brave enough to go in freezing temps. Hopefully soon.

Have you experienced the walk of shame? (Either definition…no judgment!)
Tell me about it! 

Training lately…

It’s been nearly five months since Ironman Canada. I have no 14 in 2014 race goals, no ‘A’ race on my agenda, and no races even on my calendar.

I’ve been throwing around tons of ideas but have yet to land on anything concrete.

Don’t let that fool you. I’ve been a training machine! I’m switching things up and loving it.

After my six weeks of strength and speed, I’ve made an effort to keep up some faster/anaerobic training. I use the bike for speed work. I try intervals (a variety of times/distances) and ladder workouts.

I am still thoroughly enjoying strength and although speed workouts are crazy hard for me, I feel really good once I’m finished them.

I’ve been on the bike trainer and running to keep up my endurance. I love to run outside and used to run in any condition, including ice. Not this year. I don’t want to risk falling and hurting myself! So I’ve spent a lot of time on the treadmill and actually don’t mind it. It takes me about 30 minutes to get into it, but then I can go for a while. (On Saturday I ran 13.1 miles for #megsmiles, and so did Kelly!)

treadmill

I focused on endurance and endurance alone for a long time. It’s my true running love, but I know I need to diversify.

I’ve still been doing circuit work with explosive and fast movements. Sometimes I incorporate treadmill speed and other times I stick to more of a HIIT session.

One of my newest things is barre in our bonus room! Kelly rearranged that room and moved our computer into it. Turns out wainscoting is a perfect barre replica! I just find a video on YouTube and have my very own class.

barre

After last Saturday’s race, I discovered a few more things I need to work on. My hamstrings were so sore, like bordering injury. I think it was a result of faster running, running outside (lots of treadmill lately), and snow underfoot. Although the conditions were good, even running fast on tightly packed snow can be tough.

My hips, and in particular my left hip, still need a lot of TLC. I do physio exercises a couple days a week but could bump that number up.

I also realize I need to work on racing and not simply running! After doing major endurance events the past couple years without time or placement goals, I’m just not that competitive. If I want to run shorter races, I need to get that edge back!

So, that’s what I’ve been up to lately!

What’s your cross-training of choice now? Does it change with the season?

I really miss cross country skiing but the conditions just haven’t been very good this year.

Operation strength

Unrelated note: Read Lauren Fleshman’s post from yesterday on Keeping it Real. Love this honest piece about body image.

Now back to the post…

I had a couple goals after a summer of endurance with two Ironmans: enjoy activity and try new things. I’ve tried a few different fitness classes and my husband and I are going strong with Toughen Up Tuesdays.

I’ve switched it up even more in the last few weeks.

I’m nearing the halfway point of a six-week program to work on my weaknesses. It includes a lot of strength and …what’s it called again? Oh yeah, anaerobic conditioning, which is something so foreign to me.

I rarely train anaerobic. Sad but true. I haven’t touched a track since my track days over a decade ago and I like running and biking for enjoyment, which is almost always at a conversational pace. (Minus some hills I did when training for IM Canada this summer.)

This program has really thrown my body for a loop. And I love it. A strength and conditioning coach created the program for me, so it’s well-balanced and expertly planned.

I have four anaerobic workouts a week. They range in length from 10 minutes to 45 minutes with the work, or hard, time always changing. They’re made for both the bike and the treadmill. Regardless of how long the workout is or whether I run or ride, I am drenched in sweat by the end.

TreadmillSpeed2

Nearing the halfway mark I feel like I can go faster and for longer periods than before.

During anaerobic training, the muscle cells improve the energy pathway resulting in the production of less lactic acid at the same intensity so we can exercise harder for longer. Cells also become more efficient at working with lactic acid. That is why it is important to do a variety of workouts when training for something, including endurance events.

I also have four strength workouts a week, focusing on my weak hamstrings, hips, knees and shoulders. I hope these help prevent my recurring knee issues from arising and keep my stubborn left scapula in place.

I am also keeping one long run in a week. I still have a little over three weeks left. It hasn’t been easy by any stretch of the imagination.

TreadmillSpeed

But it’s fun, and overall it’s going to make me a lot stronger.

Do you follow a strength program? Do you work both your aerobic and anaerobic systems, or do you always train at the same pace?

The return of winter running

Sore back, tight hamstrings and calf muscles, and a chill that won’t go away. That can only mean one thing: the return of winter running.

I went for my first true outdoor run of the winter season this weekend that included frigid temperatures, uneven snow, and some hidden slick spots.

I suffer growing pains at the start of every winter before my body adjusts. My sore body is a reminder to ease into it.

I woke up on Saturday to fluffy snowflakes falling. I knew I wanted to get in a long run and this was the perfect setting for it. So I donned my layers, threw on my shoes, and hit the snow. I am the queen of falling but managed to stay upright all run.

Regardless of whether I fell or not, I learned my lesson and should have eased into the winter running game instead of going full bore with a long run.

I wrote a couple posts about winter running last year (five tips to enjoy winter running and winter running wear) but want to touch on it again.

Eyelashes

I’ll call it tips to avoid the post-run pains of that first winter run:

  1. Strengthen. Make sure you include lower body strength into your routine to take care of those ankles, knees and hips. The uneven surface is tough on them and can pose a higher injury risk.
  2. Even though it’s sweater season, you still have to keep that core strong. Hidden icy patches can have you stumbling around like you are on your way home from a holiday party, really testing your core. Incorporate core exercises during the rest portion of your strength training, or search core/back workouts. My personal favourites are  under Get Focused on the Nike Training Club app.
  3. Slow down. Don’t expect to hold the same pace on your winter runs that you do in summer if the sidewalks aren’t clear. Pushing the pace will only increase your injury risk. Accept that you’ll probably be slower, and if you have a speed workout in the agenda, consider running it inside.

My next few runs will be shorter to let my body adjust before going long again! Happy winter, and happy running!

What are the temperatures where you live? What’s your favourite core routine? Share any links!