Are You Still Running?
It’s the first question I get after I tell people I’m expecting. Yes, yes I am still running. Some people congratulate you and say it’s great, others judge you.
I have firm beliefs when it comes to running and being pregnant, I’ll share them with you.
Running while pregnant is not bad. Pregnancy is one of those times when every Tom, Dick and Harry – or Tasha, Denise, and Hannah – like to add in their two cents. Running is not bad for you or your baby. If you have never run before, now is not the time to start. But if you are a consistent runner, then by all means, its completely normal and healthy to keep running. Don’t listen to the naysayers. Come up with something witty to say back to them when they decide to give you their unwanted opinion.
I DO NOT, I’ll repeat, DO NOT agree with running a marathon while pregnant. Here’s why. Crazy things happen to your body when you are pregnant, crazy things happen to your body when you run a marathon. Blood is diverted away from your stomach and other important places to your muscles. Yes this happens on a shorter runs as well, there is no reason why it’s a good idea to have this happen to you and your baby for 4+ hours. Your center of gravity is off, running for a extended period of time makes you tired, combine this and it’s a recipe for disaster. Serious dehydration can happen during a marathon – this is horrible for not only you, but for your unborn child. I could go on and on, but I won’t. Point is – I don’t agree with running a marathon on any level.
I completely understand the agony of training for a marathon and having it snatched away from you at the last moment. Here is one of those situations where you have to analyze your priorities. Is the health and safety of your baby paramount? Or your own selfish desire to complete the marathon you trained for? There are always plenty of years to run marathons.
Prior to finding out I was expecting my 2nd baby I was training for Marine Corps Marathon 2007. I had completed an amazing 18 miler, that left me feeling fit, fast, and excited. The next day I *didn’t feel like myself* – I instantly wondered if I was pregnant, and took a test to calm my worries. I was indeed pregnant. I was excited and sad all at the same time. The man upstairs had a different plan for my life that year than I had.
I lamented for days over what to do, even calling MR PIC and asking her what she would do. She said the same thing. I will not run a marathon pregnant. Could she? yes. Could I? yes. The question is why? Both of us know we can complete a marathon, so why would we in any way jeopardize the life of our baby by running another 26.2? I needed her to tell me, what I already knew inside. Marine Corps would have to wait.
Looking back, I made the right decision and I don’t for one second regret it. I switched and ran the 10K! I ran like a mommy and was proud of myself. 6 months and 2 days after my son was born I ran Marine Corps Marathon 2008 and took 24 minutes off my time, running a 3:36. The training I had completed prior to getting pregnant was not wasted, it helped me come back strong.
Racing is fine, as long as you are running and not racing. Now is not the time to try to PR. Running races is fine, as long as you keep your heart rate in check. Pushing yourself a tad is fine, but always keep in mind what is most important, the safety of your baby.
At around 6 weeks pregnant I ran a 5K. A woman raced me in the last 50 meters or so. I wanted to yell out, I’m pregnant, does it feel good beating me[blame it on the hormones]?? I wanted to race her, but kept my cool and finished strong….behind her.
At around 10 weeks pregnant I ran Cherry Blossom 10 miler. It wasn’t the sub 1:10 I wanted, but I’ll take 1:16 any day when I’m lugging around an extra 10 lbs. Yes 10 lbs – by 10 weeks I already had gained 10 lbs.
At around 12 weeks pregnant I ran Pike’s Peak 10K. 46:11 – my 2nd fastest time on that course, all while pregnant. My time shows you the progression a human body can make. My slowed down time this year, was my fast pace back in 2005 when I ran the race in 46:28 not pregnant. This race was no where near my PR of 41:17 set only 6 months prior, but I think for holding myself back, it was a pretty impressive time(well to me it was and that’s all that matters).
At almost 19 weeks I haven’t run a race since, but I plan on doing some more. I know the time on the clock won’t be fast, but I enjoy races regardless, so I’ll keep doing them!
Be careful in the heat. I have been getting up really early on the weekends to get my *longer runs* in before the heat. I carry a water bottle with me and fill it up multiple times. This past week, I haven’t run once outside.[It’s been around 95 – 100 degrees every day!] I know that if I am overheated the little peanut in my tummy is. I pay very close attention to how hot it is and adjust accordingly, even if that means not running. Here is a good article on overheating during pregnancy – Click Here
Want more information on running while pregnant? Here is a great article on some of the topics I just discussed. Click Here