If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you probably know by now that running is my jam. I’m not a great runner by any means, but running has become such a form of therapy for me that it’s something I’m sure I’ll do as long as my body is capable. While Ryan was deployed, I trained for a marathon. I’ve run five half marathons, and I have big dreams of running more in the coming year(s). However, having had an invasive knee surgery in March, and since falling pregnant with our third child, my running goals and mindset have had to shift a bit.
One thing I noticed when starting to get back out there running this time around is that there are really no “how to run while pregnant articles” that give you actual training plans or the like. And trust me, I spent a lot of time searching for those. After a lot of research and reading this article from Runner’s World, however, I’ve come to realize that that’s simply because running while pregnant simply isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. There’s no real guidebook on how or what, frankly, you should do. That makes the challenge of running while pregnant even more evident. That being said, I’ve come up with five tips that keep me going running (and training) while pregnant – and I hope they help someone else, too!
1 // Throw out the pace clock.
This one is probably honestly the hardest for me. If you know me, you know I’m a competitor at heart. If I’m not racing someone, I’m racing the clock. Pregnancy isn’t the time to try to break all the records and smash all the goals though. It’s a time for your body to slow down, focus on the movements, and be conscious of what and how your body is moving.
2 // Breathe through it.
You’ll notice while your pregnancy progresses that it’s actually pretty hard to breathe. In fact, you’ll probably feel like you’re running at altitude nonstop. The fact is that your body is working for and supporting two bodies instead of one – not to mention the shift of your internal organs. Try to hold yourself to a pace where you can breathe comfortably, even if that pace is slower than you’d like.
3 // Triple the hydration.
I know I’ve mentioned it before that you need to hydrate while running. That old adage has never been truer than when running while pregnant. You should be hydrating more while pregnant anyway, but you’ll need to double your water intake during runs, and yes, you’ll likely have to pee more. Oh well. The key here is to hydrate before you’re even thirsty.
4 // Aim for a flatter, simpler course.
I’ve struggled with this one, as we live in a pretty hilly area. However, one of the biggest things that challenges me during my runs lately is the exertion running uphill vs. downhill. Whenever possible, I head to the track, or I’ll seek out a flatter course. By focusing on a less challenging course, I’m better able to monitor my exertion and adapt throughout my pregnancy. Also, let it be known I learned this the hard way. Running trails while pregnant ended in me tripping, falling, and losing all my dignity. Luckily, that’s all I lost.
5 // The three Bs: Bras, bathrooms & belly bands.
You laugh, but trust me, you’ll agree when you get pregnant enough to feel the changes in your body. Invest in a good, supportive sports bra. I tend to go from a small C-cup to a very large D while pregnant and nursing…and it’s super uncomfortable. A good bra offers support and keeps my back from hurting too bad. Next, find bathrooms or places to (ahem) pop a squat while running. You’ll likely have to pee, and there’s simply no way around that. Finally, get a belly band. As your belly grows larger and heavier, the weight gets harder to move around. A good belly band will help you maintain a neutral posture and keep pressure off sensitive abdominal tissues.
What sort of workouts do you do, or have you done/preferred while pregnant? I’m always looking to mix things up a little bit!