Forest Park

Returning to the Trails After Pregnancy

By Jessica Green

It seems crazy to think back to this time last year - I had just given birth to my daughter and was in major recovery mode. At that time, all I could dream about was getting back on the trails in Forest Park, but I knew there was specific work to do before I laced up my running shoes and hit the trails hard. I knew this mainly because I am lucky enough to work with fitness professionals and therapists who taught me how to return to running the right way postpartum.

With targeted strength work, expert advice and a lot of patience, I'm running stronger and faster than I have in years. This week alone I hit the flat trails for speed, the hilly trails for a mid-distance run and am looking forward to a 20-miler this weekend which will include plenty of undulating trails. In the last month, I finally feel like I beat pregnancy!

A dear friend and amazing Pilates instructor, Frances  Darnell, once told me that it usually takes her clients about a year of hard work to feel comletely like themselves again after pregnancy. She was right in my case. She also had a lot more to say in the article that I wrote in this month's Trail Runner Magazine, "Hitting the Trails After Pregnancy." 

To all moms and moms to be, I highly recommend taking a look at the advice Frances and others offer in this article as you begin thinking about starting to run again after your pregancy. Here's a glimpse at the article if you don't have access to the magazine:



Marathon Training - Weeks 5 & 6


Track is back in my life. It's been awhile since I've done consistent track workouts and wow - those workouts are hard! Week 5 was a tough week because it was after the hilly half marathon and my body was fried. I recouped, slept a lot and had a lot less to worry about in my life so my runs were better. Monday was an easy recovery day, Tuesday was track and it was rough, rough, rough. I couldn't finish one of my repeats. The rest of the week was fine, did a spin class and but didn't do any strength besides core work. My hamstrings are really tight so I need to go back to doing MELT Method on a weekly basis and fitting in a yoga class.

On Saturday, Jessica and I met for a run. We did 10 miles in Forest Park which was awesome. First, it was great because we were back doing long runs together and secondly, I felt pretty good. The last 1.5 miles were hard but I survived.

This past week was a great week for me and running. I had some great runs by myself, a great track workout and an awesome long run. Jessica and I did a killer track workout: 2 x 1200, 2 x 800 and 2 x 400. It's a great track workout to test your pacing. We were both happy with our times because they fell on the faster side of our training range and because we were consistent. (I was NOT consistent the week before!) My long run was great as well. I ran 4 by myself and then met Jessica for 12 miles. We ran up Terwilliger and back down. Our last few miles were our fastest and we felt great. I also did 2 days of lower body strength work. I'm recommitting to strength because my hamstrings need it and my body feels better and more supported. I'm doing a lot of bridges, clamshells, backward lunges, side lunges, squats and dynamic movments to support my hamstrings.

I'm looking forward to week 7 which brings more track, an 18 miler and a long midweek run with race pace miles.

Trail Running Motivation

Jessica and I are fortunate enough to live in a city that has a park with 70 miles of trails - yup, you read that correctly! Forest Park, in Portland, Oregon, is a magical, inspiring, incredible and sometimes, well  most of the time, a humbling place! The hills can be unrelenting depending on the trail you choose. It's worth the pain because you feel as if you are a million miles away from cars, phones and noise. 

We love running in Forest Park however, early in our training season, it can take a lot of motivation to get us there. To keep us motivated, we signed up for a hilly half-marathon in July, thus we need to run hills! We also signed up for a trail race series. It's a fun, casual race environment but what is great is that because there's timing and a group of people, we naturally run faster.

During our trail race last week (and Jessica's first trail race!), we came up with our top tips for keeping us and you all motivated to hit the trails:

1) Sign up for a series or a trail running group - strength in numbers!

2) Start small - no need to conquer an 8 mile trail run or the hilliest route on your first couple of runs.

3) Sign up for a hilly race - this will force you to train on hills.

4) Take your watch off - don't let your slower pace distract you. Just head into the trails and run.

5) Instagram your runs - you will make all your friends jealous!

Have fun in the trails!