We're back with part two of the running during pregnancy series. Last time, I left you with some tips on how to battle the fatigue and morning sickness while still being able to run during early pregnancy. Today, I’m going to share some more tips that will likely become more important as your pregnancy progresses and will hopefully help you make the most of your running while pregnant.
1. Always carry extra water
This is easier to do when running with the stroller because you have a stroller to carry your water goods. It almost goes without saying, but treadmill runs fall in the easy-to-carry-water category as well. You know your pregnant body best, but during my pregnancies I noticed that on average I consumed 20-40 ounces more than when not pregnant. Finally, choosing running routes close to home or in an area where drinking water is more accessible is a smart thing to do.
2. Lace up shoes extra snug
This one seems obvious but I can’t tell you how much of a difference it really makes to have snug fitting running shoes. One day, I was running along but my feet and ankles felt a little off. I know at this point it’s not because of extra weight I’ve put on but then I had an “aha!” moment and sure enough, my laces were pretty loose around the tops of my feet. After readjusting them and making them tighter, my feet and ankles got instant relief!
3. Do a quick stroller tire check
Another random tip: if you’re running with a stroller, make sure the tires are properly inflated. Many times, I remember chugging along and feeling like the stroller was AWFULLY heavy. As in, heavier than usual and I couldn’t blame it on pregnancy weight or heavier toddlers inside said stroller. If your stroller tires have some ‘give’ when you press down with your fingers, they need air! Think of the stroller tires just like bike tires. Needless to say, I learned my lesson and was grateful to have one less thing to work against what was an already difficult task. Keep those stroller tires pumped up, ladies!
4. Take walk breaks if/as needed
Mentally, this one was hard for me with each pregnancy, especially by my third one because I had two heavy toddlers to push around in a double stroller. By nature, I’m not a walker when I’m out running. It just about kills me to stop and walk, so having to constantly assess whether or not I need to take a quick walk break while I was pregnant definitely was a mental game. Whether it was walking 30 seconds at a time or stopping a run early and walking for an entire mile, walk breaks were good to slow down my heart rate and also catch my breath when I could feel myself needing a break. After all, it’s not like it was a competition to see how fast I could run while pregnant AND pushing a double stroller.
5. Focus on breathing
Another tip that seems obvious, but during pregnancy it’s even more important to pay attention to your breathing while you run. I didn’t notice this being a big deal earlier on in the pregnancy, but starting in the second trimester it became more important. Your body continues pumping even more blood than usual and along with that, continues adding extra (healthy!) weight so breathing properly is crucial. It was helpful to focus on taking on deeper breath in and two to three short breaths out. Simply, focus on not robbing yourself of oxygen intake (i.e. breathing IN) because it’s a lot easier to exhale while running than to inhale.
6. Listen to your body
Finally, listening to your body is the undercurrent to everything I’ve listed here. It is so, so important that you know that while some aches and pains are totally normal and okay, there can be times where you need to just trust your instinct and stop if necessary. When in doubt, explain it to your doctor. Looking back, I definitely had that instinctive reaction and remember stopping my run to walk for a few minutes before resuming or even just calling it a day. Remember: you are no less of a runner because you listen to what your body is saying, pregnant or not!
Some Honest Encouragement
Have realistic expectations. Try to not let your mind think about how fast or how much distance you were running, before pregnancy. It’s a slippery mental slope that leads nowhere good. So give yourself plenty of grace and enjoy this time to run pressure-free.
Take your time in starting out each run. Remember that every single run will look different. Some days will be harder than others, just like when you run without being pregnant. Know that the more important thing is that you’re growing another human being. Those fast times and PR’s (personal records) can wait.
Can I remind you, dear pregnant runner, that even though it feels like forever, you will not always be running while pregnant? Yes, it’s true! Someday very soon, your baby will be outside the womb and (hopefully) snoozing peacefully in their stroller while you are running. Breathe in and be extra grateful that you are even able to run during pregnancy at all - a miracle within a miracle.
Until next time, 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.
wife to 1 fine redhead. momma to 3, avid runner + health enthusiast.