Excited to continue running throughout your pregnancy? What to know what to expect from the new little runner in you? Read more for pregnancy running tips from our Ambassador Isabel Rivera, The Running Teacher, as part of our Ambassador Spotlight series:
Keep in mind that everybody and every body is different. So please consult your physician before starting any exercise program and make sure that it’s safe for you, especially when pregnant.
The Little Runner in You: Running for Two
Runners are a stubborn breed. We revel in temperatures so cold, icicles hang like Christmas ornaments from our noses. We Instagram any and all battle scars. Multi-colored toenails are our calling cards. We run through rain, snow, sleet, mud, rivers, and the list goes on. It’s no wonder that some women find it hard to adjust when they discover they’re running for two.
Perhaps your pregnancy is planned. Perhaps it’s an Oopsie like mine! Most likely, you haven’t thought about how pregnancy will change your body and how changes must be made to your running routine to compensate for your wee babe and blossoming body.
Here are a few pregnancy running tips to keep in mind.
Enjoy the Scenery. Ease up on your pace. Shift your focus to easy runs, rather than speed-work. Easy pace means something different to everyone, but a good rule of thumb is to keep the pace conversational. Consider these next few months a perfect time to take in the scenery and the changing seasons. Understand that with each subsequent pregnancy, your ligaments will loosen more and more. If you experience round ligament pains, rein those horses in and take walk breaks as needed. When we found out I was pregnant, I was in training mode for my first 24-hour race. Now, I have a different 24-hour race ahead of me. My focus went from increasing the distance of my long runs and from increasing my weekly mileage to finding my happy pace. I’m currently in maintenance mode. Your goal should be to maintain, not push, your current mileage. Eventually, you will need to cut back. Let your body be your guide.
Be Flexible. Remember that training program you spent countless hours obsessing over every single detail? Tuck it away…for now. Take a hint from nature, how the trees sway and bend to the power of the wind. If a back-to-back run leaves your ligaments excessively sore and your legs dragging for days, take the day off. Some soreness after runs is expected, especially as you enter your second and third trimesters; however, your workouts should not leave you sore and aching for days.
Cross-Train. Now is the time to increase the amount of time spent cross-training to help strengthen your ligaments and muscles. This is also a great time to expand your cross-training routine to include into yoga, Pilates, cycling, or swimming. Always be sure to check with a certified instructor, as certain activities have poses that are risky during pregnancy. In your second trimester, your obstetrician may ask you to say good-bye to core work that involves laying on your back; however, planks still provide an awesome workout!
Keep an eye on your fueling. It’s easy to become dehydrated during pregnancy. Monitor your intake and remind yourself to sip on fluids every five minutes or so while running. You may want to plan your runs to include areas with several pit stops, so you can…um, relieve yourself. Be sure to watch your calorie intake as well and recover properly with a recovery drink or a small meal afterwards. If you’re a mid-to-long distance runner, pack a few snacks to give yourself some extra calories during the run. Be sure to recover properly afterwards and eat within thirty minutes to an hour after your run.
Pregnancy is an exciting time, and it’s important to remember that you’re no longer taking care of just yourself. You’re taking care of another human being, who is dependent on you. Staying active and healthy is a great way to prepare for birth and to help keep excess weight off. At the same time, remember to respect your limits and to let your body be your guide.
Isabel Rivera is a full-time mami to a precocious three-year old, wife to a supportive husband, an elementary school teacher, and an ultrarunner. Along with running for Hammer Nutrition, Isabel is currently completing her certification as a personal trainer and also trains beginning runners. Isabel also enjoys spending time with her family via hiking and other outdoor activities. You can read more at her blog, The Running Teacher.
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