Sunday, February 5, 2012

Running While Pregnant

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've kept running since learning I was pregnant.  Upon seeing those fabulous pink lines on the pregnancy test, I called my ob/gyn to ask if pregnancy tests were reliable because I had a 50 mile race in a week and I wasn't going to do it if I was pregnant.  She told me the tests were reliable, but she also said I could keep doing what I was doing.  I wondered if she had heard me.  I wanted to say, "I said 50, as in 5-0..." but I left it at that, knowing I would not run a 50 mile race with a brand new little blueberry forming in my belly, even if a doctor said I could.  Maybe it really would be fine, but it took me a long time to get pregnant and I was not going to risk it.  I also knew Jason was uncomfortable with the idea and it was his baby too, so I wanted to respect his concern.

Still, she did say I could keep doing what I was doing.  That meant I could keep running.  I don't know about other pregnant runners, but my constant fatigue became a problem when it came to the weekly mileage I had been logging up to that point (averaging mid 40s usually).  Once I got pregnant, I could run an 8-miler at a good pace, but it took me a day or two to recover from it, as if I had run much farther.  When I noticed this, I started spacing out my runs so that I had a day between each one for my body to recover (and so I would not fall asleep in meetings at work...which happened once).  Getting up at 4:45a.m. also became a challenge, but I pushed through it when I could.

After a few weeks, I began to slow my pace in order to go the distance I wanted, which was usually 6-7 miles.  If I ran a sub 9:00 pace, I'd end up only making it 3-5 before my legs felt tired and rubbery.  Now, at week 13+ I am still running 6-7 miles every other day and if I run in between those days, the distance is shorter.  My comfortable pace is anywhere between a 9:40-10:30 and I can usually last the distance if I slow to that pace.  I've also found that I run stronger in the afternoons than I do in the mornings. My weekly totals now range from 20-30 miles each week, which would be almost half of what I was running before pregnant.

In the earlier weeks, running helped me feel so much better, especially where the nausea was concerned.  When I ran I felt the closest to normal and I loved it.  I loved being able to run, feel good and strong, and a few times I felt that my body still contained the 50 mile training it had done up to that point.  It was (and is) my time to get the exercise that is SO important for both mothers and babies, to feel good and to feel like me.  For those moments I was not tired or flabby or nauseated, I was just me running down the road with a tiny little being forming inside. 

In addition to the running, I purchased a set of DVDs for prenatal pilates, yoga, and weights.  The yoga was a little boring and slow, but the weights video was perfect. I have yet to check out the pilates but still plan to do so.  In 48 minutes, I can work most of my muscle groups and in a safe way according to my current trimester.  I try to do this workout 2-3 times a week, between my running days.  Soon I will probably have to purchase another DVD so I don't get bored and quit (which is easy for me to do where weights are concerned).

As long as it is comfortable and safe, I plan and hope to keep this up.  I think it will get a little easier as it gets warmer, however, once it gets hot I will not be allowed to run outside and may turn to swimming or the treadmill.  Each day I run feels like a tiny triumph over fatigue and it seems to push further back the days when I might not be able to do so.  I count each run a blessing.

From Run the Edge, this picture will be my inspiration as I continue to pursue fitness throughout this pregnancy.

I've also found a new bit of inspiration and information at NYC Running Mama.  Reading of her experiences running through pregnancy has really encouraged and inspired me to run on!


  1. Yay Jane! Keep runnin', Momma :)

  2. Hope you are able to keep running for months to come!