This Runner's Trials

Pregnancy vs. marathon training

I keep catching myself comparing this summer to last summer. This time last year, I was training for a marathon and my first Olympic triathlon. This summer, my body is in the midst of a new challenge.


Training for an endurance event and being pregnant may seem different. But they actually have a lot in common:

1. Your life will revolve around numbers. Mileage per week, the average pace of a run, the beats per minute of your baby's heart, how far along you are, how many weeks are left, etc. It's all the same. Rocking your first 20 miler of training or making it to the 2nd trimester will leave you grinning like a fool.


2. No matter how much you eat, you'll still be starving. Hunger will attack you from no where. If you go too long without eating (you know, like 2 whole hours), you won't be able to tell if you're hungry or nauseated. But it'll likely be hunger. For best results, inhale your food as quickly as possible.


3. You and the scale will become BFFs. Last summer and this summer have been the two times in my life when I've weighed in the most. Last year, I was trying hard not to lose weight. Two-a-days called for a lot of calories, but the heat took away my appetite. This resulted in a lot of cupcakes. Now, I'm trying my best to gain a healthy amount of weight for baby. This is resulting in a lot of cupcakes.


4. One minute you'll feel awesome, and the next you'll be SO tired. Training and being pregnant take a toll on your body. Weakness and fatigue can hit you like that. Relaxing is a must.


5. You'll fret about stupid stuff. You'll whine about running a "bad" 20 miler that wasn't even slow, or you'll worry because the scale didn't budge in a week. The horrors.

6. You may need unexpected medical help. The race organizers may call an ambulance for you after a hot, hilly half marathon, or you may find yourself in a hospital room one Sunday morning.


7. A lot of people will give you advice. Everyone who has done at least one marathon/ triathlon or given birth one+ times will tell you everything you can expect during the event. (I'm not hating, I do it too ;) ). But you know their stories are just their experiences and won't really help.

8. But their friendly advice will terrify you. You just keep telling yourself that no matter how much marathon or childbirth input you receive, you won't know what to expect until you've gone through it yourself. Oh and remind yourself that your friends are wimps and you have a way higher tolerance for pain than they do ;)


9. You'll wonder why you're doing this in the heat of the summer. You'll constantly be sweating, feel dehydrated, dizzy, and pray for a cold front. Then you remember that you hate winter. My doctor treats more pregnant women for falls on the ice in winter than for dehydration in summer.


10. You'll second guess everything. You'll register for a back-up marathon, you'll go back-and-forth on cloth diapering. But don't worry, a lot of people will tell you what to do. See #7.

11. You'll be consumed by the event. I think it's pretty obvious that marathon training and pregnancy both completely hogged my mind. Don't believe me? Compare this summer's blog posts to last year's.


12. You know things won't go as planned. Since you've DNF'd in a marathon, you know not to get too hung up on planning your perfect childbirth experience. In the end, you just need to do what's best for your body… and your baby :)



Comments (23) Trackbacks (2)
  1. I actually did what you’re doing in reverse order. I trained for my first marathon after my second was born and the entire time it seemed like training was one long metaphor for pregnancy and then the race, for birth. You even get a similar feeling at both “finish lines”.

    P.S. I cloth diapered and loved it.

  2. I’ve never done either (marathon or pregnancy) but I never thought about how similar they are!

  3. I love this post! I’m in the process of doing one of those for my first marathon! :)

  4. Aww you’re little baby belly’s growing! I love seeing your progress pictures :)

  5. I went from Marathon Training straight to pregnancy! My poor husband wants to know when he gets a break from it all! The food cravings, the instant need for a nap, the much needed foot rubs – my demands haven’t changed much between the two! I better go home and thank him today :)

  6. That was a really cute post. Having gone through all of this as a first-timer last summer it is like I am reliving all of the wonderful memories. With the difficulty you had getting pregnant I get so happy reading every one of your posts. Can’t say it enough- so happy for ya girl!

    Oh and can’t wait for next year when your posts are about getting back to your old running stats- it’s a fun challenge but I bet you’ll bounce right back =)

  7. I love this post! So true. I do find myself comparing this summer to previous summers when I was training for either a marathon or a half. While it’s difficult to not be out there fitting in long runs and speedwork, I’m so happy to be taking it easy to prepare for a baby in January. And you’re right – this is the time to RELAX!!

  8. I LOVE this post!! And someday, when my time comes, I’m going to refer back to it. Because marathon training I understand…pregnancy/childbirth, I do not…. :)

    Others (okay, my Mom) has also told me that completing a marathon is like childbirth. You go through all this preparation that leads up to a very painful event and at the end, you are so incredibly happy. You ride that high for a little while. And then, as is bound to happen, there’s a little bit of a letdown. Not because you aren’t happy with the fact that you just ran a marathon (or have a new baby), but because after all the heightened emotions you’ve just been through, regular life can be kind of blah.

  9. I know this may be beside the point, but that cupcake has a cookie on top of it. Niiiiice.

  10. I love this post! I’m working on some motivation to get back to being active in my second tri. My first was so rough I didn’t exercise at all and now it’s not easy to get back into the habit of it. I’m due in November and I totally agree with number 7 and number 10. In fact, I’m determined to be successful with cloth diapering because of all the nay-sayers that I’ve had tell me I can’t do it or won’t like it. =)

  11. great post!!! loved it! so true

  12. I’m a new reader/commentor, but i just had to chime in with one more similarity – after you give birth/run your race, you’ll feel the need to tell other people every detail of the event, good and bad. This is why #7 occurs. :)

    Congrats on your pregnancy! I cloth diapered my two kids (at the same time for almost a year!) and loved it! It’s not nearly as complicated as it seems.

  13. I loved this post! I can totally relate since I’m a marathon runner, and have gone through a pregnancy as well.

  14. I absolutely loved this!! I am training for a marathon and while I have never had a baby I can definitely appreciate some of the similarities. Thanks for sharing this!

  15. I LOVE this! So very, very true! Just follow your instinct… you know what’s best for you! And eat LOTS of cupcakes!

  16. This is an absolutely adorable post!! Reading each of these made me smile. It’s so interesting how 2 very different life experiences can be so similar :) Very creative, Jen!

  17. Love this. awesome post. like corey said, made me smile a lot. you are an amazing writer.

  18. Ahhhhh I love love LOVE this post!! I’ve heard a lot of people compare the two, but I’ve never heard the *actual* similarities spelled out like this!!!! Squeeee I’m so excited for you! (And I’m so excited to start my training for marathon #2 next week!)

  19. This is my favorite pregnancy post I’ve EVER read :)

  20. Wow, what a creative way to think about things! So cool. I love it : )

  21. Jen – this is SUCH a fun post and it really is crazy to see how many parallels there are. When you have a cute baby and get back on the marathon wagon, you can refer people to this post when they call you crazy for running them! ;)

  22. I loved the list idea so much, I created my own! So far two out of the three things have happened- just waiting on number three :)

  23. One key difference – I bet your toenails looks much prettier during pregnancy than marathon training (see photo from #4). hehe.

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