Sunday, March 18, 2012

Goal Setting for the Pregnant Runner

I've mentioned before how things have had to change with my running since I became pregnant.  It is all very new, so the most I can do is check with my doctor, read up on exercise safety for pregnant women, and reassess what my goals can and need to be.  As a runner who usually pays attention to daily and weekly mileage and pace, I've had to sort of shift my mindset to a new way of thinking.  It has taken a little time, but I think I'm getting there.

The new goal for me has been to get at least 30+ minutes of exercise a day.  Usually I do more than that, but this also gives a tired pregnant girl an easy out on a rough day.  I can wrap even a tired brain around the idea of 30 minutes.  This is the suggested amount for pregnant women who have or haven't been exercising before they became pregnant.  Most women think that if they weren't doing anything before (which we all must admit is unfortunate) they can't start anything new once they get pregnant.

WRONG!  New studies (and I've included links in several blogs below) are showing that pregnant women need to move it!  That doesn't mean they need to start a half-marathon training regimen, but it does mean they need to start walking or doing water aerobics or prenatal pilates and yoga, anything to get some exercise.  Many of these articles suggest water workouts and swimming because it is low impact on the new mama's softening joints and it works all the muscle groups while getting that heart rate up.  Exercising while pregnant helps prevent gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and it holds the possibility for an easier labor (sign me up for that!).  That doesn't take into account everything it does for the baby, either. 

Still, with a busy schedule, getting ready for the baby, and the tiredness that accompanies carrying one - some days exercise can seem like a HUGE challenge.  That's why I have the 30 minute goal.  Here is an example of my workouts last week.

Monday - Pilates and Weights in the morning (35 minutes), 3 mile run in the afternoon (28 minutes)

Tuesday - Run 3 miles in the morning (38 minutes), take Chance for a walk in the afternoon (15 minutes)

Wednesday - Pilates, Weights and a 2 mile walk/jog with client in the morning (68 minutes), Run/walk 1.5 miles with 5k training group (25 minutes)

Thursday - Run 4 miles after work (40 minutes)

Friday - Walk 2 miles with Sis in the morning (35 minutes), Pilates, weights and walk Chance in the afternoon (50 minutes)

Saturday - Run/walk 4 miles with Mom (50 minutes).  Followed this up with housework and shopping.

Sunday - Pilates (20 minutes), walk Chance (15 minutes).

That is more than 30 minutes a day, but my goal remains the same.  It is something specific and something reasonable.  It is a goal I can face even when I am worn out.  While I can no longer focus on my mileage and pace like I used to, I have found something on which I can focus that will get me through this pregnancy and hopefully help me to come out on the other side of it healthy, strong and ready to train once again.

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