So despite being big, like big big already, I’m still chugging along more days than not.
Running while pregnant is hard. I see people excel at it much more so than I, but I still get out there. I’ve been running for 17 years now, and yet, in the words of my physical therapist I’m not built for any of this. Yet my body still goes along with whatever I throw it. I will say though, nothing makes that statement more glaringly true then when I’m pregnant and trying to maintain my personal status quo.
With Ellie, I ran until I was 32 weeks. I had a few periods during that pregnancy where I got slapped with a running restriction, but it was always lifted and I would head back out, four weeks off my pregnant feet, and struggle along like nothing ever happened.
With my loss, I ran again. I had no reason to think otherwise.
And now again, at 18 weeks pregnant, I’m still going strong (ish).
With Ellie, by 32 weeks, I would head out a few times a week and muscle through my single 13:30 minute mile and feel so done. I have no idea when I’ll begin to descend down that path again. That path of my body dictating my ability, but I know it’s coming.
Right now I can still run 5k, but that’s likely my max at this point. I’m not the kind of athlete who can go out and run a half marathon with my big swinging belly and hips swaying. My body just doesn’t work like that, and that’s okay. But I do have my second 5k of this pregnancy tomorrow and I’m hoping to see a faster finish time then I had two weeks ago. This course is flat, the exact same run course as Iron Girl Syracuse, of which I have completed four times now. My body is trying hard to slow me down right now, but I’ve been pushing back, at least until this weekend and this race pass. Then I will concede. But I will keep running.
And despite how hard I personally find running while pregnant, I’ve done enough of it at this point to feel like I’ve kind of figured things out.
1. Listen To Your Body- This is easily the big flashing neon piece of advice. Your body is doing a lot, a ton, hell, it’s growing an entire human being from scratch inside you. It’s pretty cool. Your body is busy and your throwing more busy work at it. You blood volume, while increased, has other things to do then fuel your run, so be conscious of that. Getting bigger? Know how you get winded getting into bed now sometimes? Ya, me too. Now times that by a hundred.
Your body is going to slow down. You will eventually start to not be able to run as long, as far, as fast anymore. You will have zero control over this. You will have zero control over when it happens, to the degree at which it happens, or to make it not so. Like, at some point your body will go well, this has been fun, but I’m ready to ease off a bit. And it just happens and you just have to roll with it. It’s important to know this is coming so it doesn’t frustrate the hell out of you.
2. Know Your Limits- This kind of goes alongside number one. Not only do you have to listen to your body, but you just have to realize that you have limitations now. Lighten you weight if you lift, shorten your long run, drink some extra water, and just know that you have to be firm with yourself here. I’m the kind of person who often times knows my own limits then says screw that and pushes myself anyways. Like running a marathon without properly training. Or coming off the bench of an injury and agreeing to run 10 miles for a relay team while in the throws of first trimester yuckage (my one and only race while pregnant with Ellie). Find your limits, know your limits, do not exceed your limits. You’ve got precious cargo on board; today is not the day for showmanship.
3. Recover Well- Running when pregnant is a lot harder on your body then when you’re only running for you. Make sure you recover after every workout, regardless of how short or seemingly easy it may have been. Stretch, foam roll, eat protein, down some water, put on your compression gear, whatever works for you. But do it. As pregnancy shifts your center of gravity your gait will change, which may then domino into a form change, which can put additional strain on your body. So even when you slog through only one sad, slow mile every other day or so, you still need to treat your body right afterwards.
4. Support Yourself As Needed- Figure out what kind of supports your body will need and stick with it. While pregnant with Ellie I managed to get by with full panel compression capris to support my growing belly. This go around though I’m already having a ton of SI joint pain, another fun thing I dealt with last time, but this is already worse. My compression pants are not cutting it, so I’m getting a support belt. The one I really want is currently back ordered until mid June (which it is *impatiently drums fingers) and at this point I may need to bite the bullet on something else. This pregnancy already feel more physically demanding, so I’m going to support it however I can to ensure I can keep logging my miles
Maintaining a running routine while pregnant is possible. I’ve done it once and I’m determined to do it again. And hopefully I’ll have a rocking race report for next week.