Since we are a group of stroller pushing runner moms, chances are that at any given point there are moms either anticipating pregnancy, currently pregnant, or navigating the postpartum world.
One thing I remember vividly from my pregnancy days was the idea that my running (or lack of) was something that would go by the wayside during those 10 months.
The good news is that being on the other side of multiple pregnancies now, I’m here to say that your running doesn’t have to drastically suffer just because you are pregnant. Also, I want to give you a short pep talk and tell you that if you find yourself pregnant and unable to (or under doctor’s orders) run, that is completely okay!
By the way, I’m not a doctor and don’t know your specific situation, so please take this post with a grain of salt. These are just observations I had during my experience of running during my pregnancies.
My hope is that if you are considering running during pregnancy, that you would find some encouragement and maybe even helpful tips from this post.
Before my last two pregnancies, I was running consistently and had a solid mileage base and specific pace. By consistently, I don’t necessarily mean a huge amount of mileage but I was consistently running and was comfortable with my routine. This means I had a solid base established and wasn’t going to be starting something new, once I found out I was pregnant.
Mileage varied with each of the pregnancies but overall, the main thing for me was that I wasn’t looking to increase mileage very much if at all. Pace also varied a lot (honestly, every run can feel so different!) but I always again made sure to tune in and listen to my body.
One of my first thoughts when I found out I was pregnant, was “thank goodness I’ve been running consistently!” Don’t get me wrong, there were much more important thoughts happening but in regards to exercise, those were my thoughts.
Thinking back, it was a validating moment for me as a runner. I’ve been a runner for 11 years now, so knowing that I could continue running in this new phase of life was encouraging. Seeing other moms who were pregnant and still running (even while pushing double strollers) was also encouraging and motivating.
During those first few weeks of the first trimester, being sick all day long is almost an automatic recipe for not having the desire to peel yourself away from the couch or toilet, lace up your shoes and go for a run.
Mentally, I had to tackle each day as it came. I knew that once I started running, I wouldn’t feel sick anymore. One tip to have a strong mental game? Don’t talk yourself out of it. Even if you get sick before and after a run, knowing you’ll be just fine during the run helps your mind stay strong in getting that run done.
Another mental roadblock that you might encounter as a pregnant runner is the comparison to others of distance/pace/duration/a previous pregnancy/you name it. Just the fact that you're out there, running during pregnancy and pushing a stroller is AMAZING. Don't sell yourself short.
Hydration was super important in those early weeks of pregnancy, as were plenty of snacks. Depending on the time of year and climate where you live, this could look like a bunch of extra ice water or a thermos of hot tea/coffee. Snacks are just as crucial and this can certainly vary from day to day and person to person. Find something that works for you, have it on hand and eat it before you start feeling sick.
Part two of this series will cover running during pregnancy in the second trimester, more practical tips and always some encouragement.
Until then, happy pregnant running!
Disclaimer: I’m not an expert, just a girl who loves running and has been doing so for over a decade. Everything I share about running during pregnancy is what has worked for me and what has been okay for me to do during my pregnancy. Always check with your doctor before starting or continuing an exercise regimen.