Running while pregnant is certainly not the same as running while not pregnant. In fact, for first time moms like myself, there may even be a very steep learning curve. And can we just take a minute to bow down to all those women who continue walking/running/wogging/working out while pregnant? It’s not easy, that’s for sure.
First off, pace. I’ve learned very quickly that you must check your ego at the door and realize your body is not the same as it was before. A woman’s heart is working 40-50% harder during pregnancy and then if you add running on top of that, things are bound to slow down. Add to that extra weight, achy joints, and overall tiredness and you’re really going to add some minutes to those miles. Perhaps that is why so many women are so much faster after they have children. Their hearts are stronger, their bodies are stronger, and their determination is stronger than ever. But before those post pregnancy runs arrive, you must be okay with being slower. There’s isn’t really any way around it.
Second, clothing. As your body changes, so too does your ability to fit into those tiny running shorts or tight little running capris from lululemon. And sports bras? Yeah, those too are going to get a little snugger. But word to the wise… Target sports bras are NOT even close to the same as Nike, lulu, or Athleta. Last week I decided if I needed a bigger bra, it was better to get on from Target than to spend $60+ on a good one that I might not be wearing a year from now. One workout later and I can promise you it would have been worth the extra money. Maybe my skin is super sensitive, but that sports bra was harsh! Lesson learned.
Along with sports bras, pants may be another struggle. I absolutely loathe tight clothing. I always have and probably always will. The thought of a pair of pants digging into my belly makes me cringe. The solution? Pull them way up over my belly. I have one word for this new fashion statement: awkward. To solve this problem I purchased a pair of maternity running capris. They are the ones with the material that will practically cover your entire belly and chest completely. One run in those pants and I can tell you that if your belly isn’t big enough, the extra material and everything else is going to slide right down to your butt. (I cut that run short, by the way.) Luckily shirts have been the one thing that haven’t caused me any uncomfortable wardrobe moments. A plus!
Third, the bathroom. People tell you when you get pregnant, that you’ll have to go to the bathroom all the time. But I don’t think I fully understood the extent of this situation until the 16 week point. How is it possible to go to the bathroom, leave the bathroom, start running and two minutes later feel like you have to go again? I’m not sure, but it happens. And the only way I know how to fix the problem is to embrace the treadmill or plan my routes very strategically. Unfortunately, I think my days of running out at the Tobacco Trail have come to an end, especially since the leaves have fallen and it’s impossible to hide behind a tree without someone seeing you. Oh, I do love you Baby T-Rod. :)
Finally, the need to have control. Some days are going to be great runs and some days your body isn’t going to want to run 1/2 mile. That’s okay, and it’s what your body needs at that moment. I’m not training for anything right now and I’ve come to realize it’s all about perspective. From the end of April 2014 to the end of April 2015, I will not run one single track workout, complete one run over 13 miles, or even think about signing up for a race (unless it’s for fun). But I’ve come to accept that because I know that it is only for one year in my very long running career. I plan to have at least 30 more years ahead of me. I can give my body a break for 365 days and just enjoy running, for the sake of running. I call this my reboot year.
I’m only at the 18 week point and hope to continue running into the third trimester. Of course, I realize by that point I’m really going to slow down and I’ll probably be walking more than running. However, at this point, being pregnant and 7 months post titanium rod, I’m more than grateful to simply be running.
Happy Trails and Happy Running,