Right now I’m in a season of easy, stress free running. Possibly the best season there is. The pressure is off. There is no thought of time or pace. The only thought is the beauty of being out there running for your mental clarity. Pregnant or not, running is my therapy and I'm so thankful I’ve been able to run through all three of my pregnancies so far.
It’s not always pretty though; pregnant running is hard.
Don’t let any picture on instagram fool you. It’s almost as though the day you find out you’re pregnant, your heart rate increases on every run and you start feeling tired. Though you don’t gain much weight or even look pregnant until 12 weeks give or take, that first trimester is no joke. So you slow down and you enjoy it for what it is. And you walk when you want to walk.
You hit the second trimester and you start feeling like yourself again. You start feeling a little normal on your run, but it’s still hard. Then you hit the third trimester and it gets harder. But it’s also more fun. You are now so visibly pregnant that you kind of feel like a badass just for being out there running at all.
Now that I’ve done this a few times, I thought I’d share some advice for first timers.
- Don’t ever compare yourself to anyone else getting their pregnant run on. Everyone is different and the most important outcome of this entire situation is a healthy baby right? So if running doesn’t jive with your pregnancy – move on and find something else that gives you joy. This is temporary!
- Listen to your body. For some reason, I always want to hit at least three miles to make it a “real run” in my mind. But that’s not to say that there haven’t been days that I get out a half a mile and just walk because my body isn’t feeling it.
- Find a route that has plenty of places to stop if you need to pee. Because you will pee right before you leave and the second you start running, you will have to pee again. It’s basically a proven fact. If I’m running any further than 3 miles there better be a bathroom on the route. Even that is stretching it.
- Take your time on the comeback. There’s no reason to rush the running or the fitness post baby. You’re going to be tired. Really freaking tired – because although newborns sleep a lot, they don’t sleep a lot just at the time you want to sleep. And that’s normal. You just put your body through something crazy. Let it heal and enjoy the rest. The most likely thing that will happen if you try to ramp up training again too fast is you will get injured… and that would suck.
I’d like to think running through my pregnancies have made recovery and comeback easier, but I don’t know if it’s totally true. I have nothing to compare it to. I know that those first few weeks back are hella hard even though I did run to the very end of each pregnancy. Take it one day, one run at a time and adjust to the new normal. You’ll get back to where you were and then some, it just takes time.
Disclaimer - This is all based on my personal experiences and I acknowledge that every pregnancy is different. Consult your doctor before exercising while pregnant.