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.