Running for Two: One Avid Runner Slows Down (a little) for Pregnancy


by For Two Fitness

Today, we are honored to introduce Jen, an ultra-fit mom-to-be (who also happens to be a health writer). Jen shares how her pregnancy has impacted her previously very vigorous routine, and plans to check in with us for the rest of her pregnancy so we can hear more. We are looking forward to those updates, Jen!

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A few short months ago, I was the girl who couldn’t get enough exercise. Long, hard workouts and two-a-days for triathlon and marathon training were how I rolled. I always thought if I was lucky enough to conceive, I’d keep up my current fitness level.

Then I got pregnant, and realized I could not be more wrong…

Before I saw the second pink line on the pregnancy test, my runs felt off. Then, my doctor asked me to stop running for three weeks until my first ultrasound.

THREE weeks?! I haven’t had that long of a running hiatus since an injury sidelined me five years ago. But I happily obliged because nothing meant more to me than the health of my baby.

Finally, I was given the green light to lace up my running shoes. But running felt completely different:

  • My pace is much slower. I run about 1:30- 2:00 minutes slower per mile than I was running pre-baby.
  • Walk breaks are a must. Your heart rate jumps a lot higher in pregnancy. Walk breaks literally allow me to catch my breath so I can enjoy my workout.
  • Water is always needed. I used to only carry water or a sports drink with me on mid- to- long runs. Now, I need to chug the H2O every few minutes.
  • Thirty minutes is enough. My shortest runs used to last 45 minutes to an hour. But the first trimester has knocked me on my booty. A 3.5 miler now feels like a 12 miler. After a half hour, I’m ready to call it quits.
  • Runs must happen at 6:00 a.m. or not at all. It’s been in the upper 90’s in the Carolinas for the past month. My doctor is very wary of me exercising outside since overheating is risky during pregnancy. I’m only allowed to run first thing in the morning, so there’s no hitting the snooze button.
  • Rest days are required. I used to follow my training plan to a T and not take any unscheduled rest days (unless I was sick or really sore). But pregnancy has taught me that you can’t plan anything, and you must respect your body. Some days I wake up and don’t feel well, so running gets pushed to the curb.

Though my weekly mileage is only a quarter of what it used to be, and my pace is slower than my former “easy” runs, I could not be happier with my running during pregnancy experience. I even ran a race at 11 weeks pregnant!

Pregnancy does crazy things to your body and mind. But pounding the pavement reminds me that I’m still me. I also know so many women aren’t able to keep up their fitness routines during pregnancy and would love to be in my (running) shoes. So I will savor every mile, no matter how many walk breaks I need :)


Jen has run more than 30 races. She’s due with her first child on December 14, 2011. Jen blogs about running, triathlon training, infertility, pregnancy, her Ironman husband, and adorable dog at www.runnerstrials.com. Follow her on Twitter, too!

 




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