This Runner's Trials

How I’m still running in the third trimester

My body and I have had our ups (PRs, getting pregnant) and downs (stomach issues mid-marathon, infertility). But when I look at the big picture, I see how truly amazing my body is.


Case and point: I'm currently 30 weeks (+5 days) pregnant and my runs are going just as well now as they were in the first trimester. In fact, I may even be a bit faster now that I'm lugging around an extra 23-24 lbs. My average pace at 20 weeks pregnant was 9:43 minutes per mile, but at 30 weeks I averaged 9:00 minute miles.


So what's my secret? There is none! Like I've said before, being a pregnant runner is all about luck. I'm lucky that:

  • Running feels good on my pregnant body. I waddle and moan when I walk, yet feel great when I run. Figure that one out.
  • I haven't had any complications recently. Thank goodness my bladder pain didn't last. I haven't experienced round ligament pain, contractions, or any other discomforts that regularly bother me when I run.
  • Every practitioner- RE, Ob/gyn, midwife- I've seen throughout my pregnancy has encouraged my running. I ask at every appointment to make sure it's still OK.
  • I got pregnant in March. Running through the summer months in the Carolinas was tough. In June, every run felt hard and I was eventually forced to the treadmill by July. In late August, we were greeted with cooler morning temps so my runs have felt a whole lot easier since then. If I got pregnant earlier and had to deal with summer temps at this point in my pregnancy, I likely would not be running anymore.

The main reason I'm still able to lace up my Brooks is due to luck, but I like to think I've made a few smart choices along the way. So it's probably like 90% luck and 10% Jen's wise decisions. Sound good?


I didn't think I'd be running long enough into pregnancy to need the long-sleeve version of my favorite pregnancy running top.

I think I'm still running because:

  • I don't run that far. When I got pregnant, I was only running 4-5 miles a few times a week- which would take me somewhere between 30-40 minutes. After I finally got the positive test, it seemed foolish to increase my mileage. I still stick with 30-40 minute runs, which now equal 3-4 miles.
  • I don't run that often. Before 20 weeks pregnant, I was running 4 days a week. Then I realized I got pelvic pain whenever I ran on back-to-back days. So I cut my running days down to 3 a week. I only run 2 days in a row when I'm traveling and have no other way to exercise.
  • I swim. I've been swimming 2-3 times per week since the second trimester started. My swimming pace has suffered a lot more than my running pace, but I'm still getting in the pool regularly. I truly believe this non-impact activity is a huge reason why my runs are going so well. Swimming gives my sore pregnant joints a rest on days after they pound the pavement.
  • I accept that it takes my body awhile to warm up. If you want to learn how to run negative splits, get pregnant. My first mile is always around a 10:00 minute pace and my last is always around an 8:00 minute pace. In early pregnancy, I tried to fight the slow start, but now I just roll with it. I always look forward to the last two miles because I know they will feel so much better.
  • I don't give up. Some days I have pelvic pain, some days my feet throb, some days I need extra walk breaks, and some days I'm too tired to make it out the door. On days like that, it would be easy to throw in the towel and consider my pregnant running career over. But I always tell myself to give running one more try, and- so far- the next run is better. Bad runs are not exclusive to pregnancy. Like a wise woman said, when it comes to running you have to take the good with the bad. And until the bad days outnumber the good (or my midwife says to stop), I'm going to keep on running. :)


Please keep in mind this is just my experience. Listen to your doctor and your body when it comes to running during pregnancy.

Don't think because I can only run short distances that you're fated to also. Some awesome ladies are able to run half marathons or full marathons safely during their pregnancies. Also, don't think you're a failure if you have to stop running earlier in your pregnancy. It's not your fault, it's simply luck. It doesn't matter if you run one step during pregnancy or run regularly until your due date, you're still an amazing runner and mama-to-be. :)

Comments (33) Trackbacks (3)
  1. Those shirts are on sale on zulilly today!! I really hope my husband buys me one :)

  2. Your pregnancy running posts are so encouraging! I’m 13.5 weeks and am starting to feel a little better, so I think I’m going to give running a shot tomorrow. Wish me luck!

  3. It’s awesome how you can run while pregnant. I can’t run…and I’m NOT pregnant!

  4. Thanks for the shout, girl. I’m continually impressed with your running. Esp. your SPEED! Just FYI — I think of you every single time I run. No joke. This morning, I did a 3-miler . . . and you popped into my head around mile two. helped keep me going. :) These days, I’m doing about 3 runs a week between 3-4 miles. The cooler weather is definitely helping. I had some iffy weeks between 31-32 . . . but I seem to be OK now. It’s always an adventure, but you’ve offered up some excellent tips here!

  5. AHHH i’m so sad b/c i want that shirt and it’s out of stock!!! i agree the weather is helping so much. i’m ‘down’ to a 10 minute mile :)

  6. Hey so are you having any bounce or discomfort with the tummy? I’ve read a lot of ladies end up using a belly band as the weight of their bellies causes uncomfortable movement when they run. I’m hoping to keep running with my next pregnancy!

    • I haven’t had a problem with the bouncing or uncomfortable belly yet at all. I’m guessing since I have such a long torso, my belly doesn’t stick out as much as other women’s?

  7. you run because you’re AWESOME. i hope to be running for two just like you someday soon :)

  8. Again, you rock, Jen! :)

  9. It is certainly luck for sure! I feel lucky to still be running at 39 week (+6 days) pregnant, although I don’t think I’ve been as lucky as you have been! My runs went from being able to do a long run of 6-7 miles and running 5-6 days/week the first trimester, to now 30 minute run/walks 4 days/week and going 3 miles at the most. And I am totally opposite of the warm-up issue you have. My last miles are slooooow. I just get tired and my heart rate gets up too high. Pregnancy has definitely taught me to listen to my body when running. There is no way I would be still running if I was trying to push it faster and longer than it can handle. I thought I’d still be running 20-ish miles a week this far along, but I’m lucky if I get 10 miles in each week. You’re awesome Jen! Sending lots of preggo love your way and I hope in 9 weeks, you are still running strong!

  10. So jealous of and happy for you, Jen! I was shocked by how much and how quickly pregnancy sapped my run fitness, and I sometimes struggle with round ligament, but I still try to get out there for a plod occasionally to keep the love alive :) The rest of the time I’m in the gym or in the pool.

  11. Woo for still running! I had to give it up at 20 weeks – but I was able to keep spinning until 40+ weeks both times. I definitely felt lucky — and I do feel like it made both the pregnancies, L&D, and (especially) post-partum SO much easier.

    It probably helps that you have a long torso — definitely jealous of that. My babies were all crammed up inside of me. No place to go but out!!

  12. Just curious what your doc has said with regards to heart rate…I’m 27 wks and my OB has given me her opinion and is fine with my running still…another OB in te same practice gave mendrastically different heartrate info and doesn’t want me running at all–even though I have hadzero complications and I’ve been running for a long time. I’m always curious tosee what other docs opinions are. Thanks!!!

    • Oh weird. My practice follows the guidelines from the American Congress of Gynecologists and Obstetricians (ACOG). Years ago, the guidelines said to keep your heart rate under 140bpm. But the guidelines changed a long time ago to basically say you can continue your pre-pregnancy routine as long as your doctor says it’s safe- and there’s no mention of heart rate. Is this an older doc? Maybe he’s or she’s just not up-to-date on his/her stuff!

  13. Great to see you are running still! It is definitely about luck. My nausea was horrible and did not improve at all with running so I took the first tri off and returned. My belly stretched out from previous twin pregnancy so i was too large last semester to be comfortable. Great advice.

  14. love love that cute purple top! so glad you are still able to run.

  15. It is so awesome that you are still running! I really appreciate your openness about how pregnancy is changing your runs because it makes me feel more normal. I am also finding that it takes me forever to warm up. At first I was super frustrated, but I am learning to accept it. Thank you for sharing so candidly!

  16. That is so great that you’re able to run so far along in your pregnancy. If you can run while you’re pregnant, I sure as heck need to get my non-pregnant body out there for a run!! I am sure your body will thank you that you have been so active during your pregnancy. So many woman use it as a time to slack off and eat whatever, but I am glad to see someone taking care of themselves!!

  17. Thanks for addressing this. I hear so many mixed things and I am worried that running/exercising is one thing that will suffer when I do decide to try to have kids. I’ve worked so hard to keep it in my life I know that taking 9+ months “off” would set me up for a struggle to get back in the game. But this is good :)

  18. I miss running – but decided very early on in this pregnancy that running was not going to happen! Just lot sof walking instead!

  19. That first photo is surreal – good for you! My mom taught her step aerobics classes up to the day before she had me. You remind me of her!

  20. It makes me so happy to know that you’re still running and feeling good. I know how happy that must make you too- us runners love our roads =)
    Oh and you look darn right adorable in that purple top!

  21. Hi! I am 5wks pregnant with my 3rd child. I started running to lose weight after my 2nd child. So far, so good. Still running me regular routine. ADVICE FOR OTHER RUNNING MOMS-TO-BE: strike when the irons HOT. If you feel good one evening, take advantage and tie on your shoes. You may wake up so nauseated that you can barely get out of bed the following day. You’ll wish you’d DVR’d Grey’s Anatomy and run instead. TRUST ME.

    I just want to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to Jen for blogging your experience. I’m hoping to run the whole way through and keep my fitness. Running is the only thing that is JUST FOR ME and it makes me feel SANE and fixes my mental funks.


  22. THANK YOU! I am so glad I found your blog, through Healthy Tipping Point. Running has been an up and down journey during my pregnancy and I LOVE reading your posts! Thanks so for encouragement, your honesty, everything. I am SO happy for you, and super excited to read all of your now-mommy posts. Beautiful!

  23. Thank you for telling your story! I too am a 3rd trimester runner (31 weeks) and have been feeling guilty for it. I run because I love it, but get a lot of negativity and judgement for it. It has gotten so I hang my head and never say hello to people while running… unless they say hello first. Your post reflects my pregnant running experience and I too am running until my body or doctor says otherwise. Knowing other women are out there doing this helps me to feel proud of what my body can do… lucky too! So Grateful!

  24. Thank you for this blog! I am pregnant and still running as well. I loved that you mentioned the negative splits and needing longer to warm up. Some runs are good and some runs not so good. I am going to keep running as long as my body and doctor allow.

  25. Very inspiring words and encouraging for me! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. With my first, who is 17 months now, I ran until 3 days before he was born and we live at 9200 feet. I am now in my 28th week of pregnancy and ran a half marathon at 23 weeks. I’ve tapered it down to one hour runs at the most, but my body is starting to talk to me a bit here and there. I looked at your website yesterday for some insight. The bggest things I took away from it are to stop running back to back days and to cut back on my mileage a bit if I want to keep running as long as I did last time. I do bike and swim and hope to do a sprint tri at 30 weeks if I can. thanks again for sharing your stories! I too am impressed with your speed!

  26. We are planning to have a baby soon, so currently not pregnant! But i have started running this summer and i’m up to 30 minutes no stopping on treadmill at 5.8. Currently running 4 days a week. Since im still new to running would it still be safe to run when i get prego?!? We are planning on trying come March… I gained 60# with my other two and lost it all but it took so long! I am wanting to be active this next pregnancy.

  27. I ran my entire first pregnancy (was 34 years old) with our son and my pace stayed respectable; 9-9:30 mile through the last couple of weeks (sub 8 prior to pregnancy). I am now 37 and still JOGGING but at a slow pace of a 10:00 mile on the treandmill and 11:00+ when outside in our hilly neighborhood. I hate being so slow but I guess I need to count my blessings that I am still moving at 24.5 weeks. The age thing is working against me:)!

  28. Did you wear a support belt in the later summer months??? I feel like I need one but are uncomfortable to wear during the heat of the summer because they don’t breathe. Please share!

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