What are some important tips to keep in mind when running during pregnancy? Read these great tips from Erin. Erin is a fitness enthusiast who particularly enjoys running. She lives in Eastern Washington with husband Blake, and husky, Kia. They are anxiously waiting the arrival of their first baby due in February! She blogs at Living Made Healthy and you can follow her on twitter or facebook.
Running has been my solace for a few years now. In fact, last fall when I had miscarried twins, running helped me to heal. It was one of the few things I could control. I actually found out I was pregnant again the morning after running a 10k race. Although, it wasn’t my best or fastest race it will always be a favorite!
I was pretty sure that it would be ok to keep running since I’ve been doing it for so long, but I wanted to check with my midwife (always consult your doctor) and she gave me the all clear! She even said I could train for my first half-marathon if I felt up to it. It’s perfectly healthy for pregnant women to keep running, although there are few things to keep in mind!
Drink plenty of water! Since becoming pregnant I never leave the house without a water bottle, including during short runs. It feels a little bit silly to wear my water belt on a quick three mile run but it’s better to be safe rather than thirsty. During pregnancy water carries nutrients to the baby through your blood, so it’s important to make sure your body has plenty of water to keep both you and your baby hydrated.
Give yourself permission to take it easy when necessary. As runner my number one priority was to be better and faster than last time, now all of a sudden that’s not always possible. Oddly, I’m perfectly ok with it. There are new aches and pains and I lose my breath easier than before, these things make running tougher. It’s just a reminder that my body is changing to create this new tiny life and I kind of like it! I’ve had to adjust my runs to focus on effort and how my body feels rather than my pace, and walk breaks are almost always required.
Always warm-up, cool-down, and stretch properly. Speaking of those new aches and pains, pregnancy changes the body. The hormone Relaxin causes the muscles, ligaments, and joints to soften and loosen up especially the pelvic area; it makes birth easier but running tougher. It also means that it’s easier for pregnant women to get injured. A proper warm-up and cool-down plus stretching will help prevent those injuries.
Think safety first! Always take your phone. Wear bright colors and reflective clothing. Stay close to home or grab a buddy. Carry identification. If you’re running at night, run in a well-lit area. You know, all the things we should do as safety precautions all the time. Pregnancy is not the time to take extra risks, if you fall and hurt yourself or start having severe cramps, you need to be able to call a friend, a cab, or ambulance.
Listen to your body. The only person who really knows what’s going on inside is you! If you have a weird pain or something feels off, take a break and talk to your doctor. Every time I take a walk break I remind myself that there will be plenty of time to set PRs and conquer new distances after the baby comes, no need to push it right now.
Right now I feel pretty great about running, I’ve kept my mileage pretty low the last few weeks because I’ve been pretty sick (morning sickness is killer!) and busy with work. I feel confident with each run, and as much as I’d like to run all the way through my pregnancy I know that may not happen. Each women and each pregnancy is different. I’m just taking it one day at a time!
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