Running is definitely a big part of my life, I really do LOVE it. I’ve been running for 11 plus years with a 39 minute 10K and a 3.04 Marathon time under my belt. So although I’m no Paula or Kara, I was still pretty good for an amatuer. I say ‘was’ because I really don’t feel like the same girl, the girl that popped on her running shoes for a pre-work 40 minute 6 minute mile paced run. The girl who jumped on the treadmill to race Russ on a 5K time trial! It’s all very different now and I don’t even know if i’ll be as good as I was again.
I knew things would change when I got pregnant, and being a worrier I have done a hell of a lot of research into the effects of moderate exercise, specifically running when pregnant. I have found nothing that concerns me whatsoever but rather have been inspired by other pregnant runners and the major health benefits that remaining fit and healthy throughout pregnancy brings with it. Of course I’ve had to make changes and adapt to my changing body but keeping up with running has kept me sane and healthy in my first 5 months! Well almost……I’m pregnant after all!
Here’s how I’ve continued to run:
I mentioned it to both my doctor and midwife. Both were happy for me to continue.
I’ve had to explain to the worriers. So some people are really shocked by a pregnant runner whilst others are like, ‘oh cool’. This is pretty hard when you know you are doing nothing but good for yourself and baby and a few people remain concerned and sometimes alarmed! So to the worriers I explain how slow I now run, that I’d never push myself, how good it is for me and baby and that it really IS healthy. No one’s spat on me yet as I’ve jogged on by, lol!
My Goals have shifted big time. It’s no longer about the times and the fitness but rather the fresh air, endorphins, blood flow and pure enjoyment of getting out there. No GPS needed.
Gosh I’ve slowed down! To be honest I could still run a lot faster than I am but it’s like a mental running block, I just can’t and won’t go my old pace and don’t believe that would be healthy for me or my baby. Anyway there’s been something rather liberating about just running for the sheer fun of it with no timers and no measurements whilst just taking it all in.
During the first month or so of pregnancy I was running pretty much my average times but after 6 weeks or so I slowed to an 8 minute per mile pace and at 5 months I’m now averaging 8.5-9 minute miles. For me this feels right but of course everyone’s different. I can still chat rubbish as I run and generally enjoy the time I spend outside in the mornings but still have that post exercise endorphin rush. Winner.
I diitched the watch- it was hard seeing my time go slooooooooooower and slooooooooooooooower so I quit timing and all that. It’s been so much more enjoyable.
I cross train more often- I don’t feel like I can or want to run as much as my former pregnant self did but I enjoy the cross trainer, walking, yoga and resistance as an alternative.
I make sure I stretch and do those pelvic floor exercises- I am so paranoid about peeing myself that I am actually pretty good at doing these and stretching post run helps with lower back pain and wards off extra soreness too.
I go with how I feel- if it doesn’t feel right or I’m way too tired, I don’t run.
I’ve learnt to let go. Let go of being fast, catching other runners up, racing when I want and looking like a runner. Russ is racing a 10K with my brother at the end of April and I’m only a tiny bit jealous.
I’m now at that point where I need a bigger bra. I’ll be purchasing a new one asap as my ‘new’ boobs are making running a lot harder for me!
Some people think pregnancy is a time for relaxing and slowing sown and I’m one of those people which is why I still run. It’s therapy to me, it’s me time, fun time and at times bliss but there are so many other reasons to keep active whilst pregnant and these are mine:
Why I run during pregnancy?
- Because above all I’m a runner and with a few adaptations I can continue safely.
- Maintaining my fitness has positive effects not only throughout pregnancy but for labour too.
- It’s good for heart, circulatory, digestive and mental health and a healthy Mum = a healthy little one.
- Endorphins! I have given up my coffee habit, a few weekend beers, the odd glass of wine and I refuse to give up running albeit a slowed down version of my former self. Running simply makes my head feel great.
- SLEEP- my sleep is not like it used to be pre-pregnancy and the difference in sleep quality and length between run and non-run days is unbelievable.
- Circulation- although running has a myriad of health benefits I specifically have noticed how my body feels mighty sluggish since I’ve been pregnant and running has been my saviour for a better digestion and overall feeling.
- Fresh air and bonding time with my baby. I really do feel quite connected to her while I am running in the early morning peace and quiet.
- Energy- sounds funny but on run days I’m more energised for the day ahead.
- Reduces the excess weight gain, cellulite and varicose veins that pregnancy seems to bring with it!
Running is really working for me so far and as long as it remains painless, I’m injury free, at a healthy weight and my baby’s growth targets are on track, I’ll continue to do so. Similarly, when she’s here I will continue to run as it truly does make me a better and nicer person and I believe I’ll be a better Mum for it.