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I Thought I'd Be a Pregnant Runner

By caitlinhtp |

But I’m not.  I’m definitely not…

Up until my pregnancy, I ran multiple times a week, every week, for five straight years.  I averaged anywhere from 15 to 30 miles and did well over 40 races, including two marathons.  I was never particularly fast, although I did once win a local 5K and shaved 32 minutes off my marathon time through dedicated training.

I really love to run. So, naturally, I thought I’d be a pregnant runner. 

My friend Jen was totally my pregnancy running inspiration. She ran well into her third trimester, knocking out nearly 15 total miles in Week 32.  And she wasn’t ‘slow,’ either – she was crushing 9:00 per mile paces (here’s Jen’s post on Running in the Third Trimester). She co-coached Girls on the Run with me last season and would chase the girls around the track with her big bump. It looked hysterical but – damn – was it awesome.

Then… it came time for my pregnancy. And I tried to keep up with running; I really did. I continued to run 5Ks around my neighborhood into the beginning of the second trimester, even doing two 5K races while pregnant (the last at 16 weeks).

My grand plan for running while pregnant was this: I would run well into my third trimester, hopefully until Week 30 – 33. I’d be slower and tackle shorter distances, obviously, but I would maintain three runs a week and a decent cardiovascular base. I hoped to keep up with racing, doing a few 5Ks and maybe even the swim legs of some early spring triathlons.

You know what the say about plans (make ‘em and God laughs in your face)…  As much as I wanted to be a pregnant runner, it just did not happen. Running while pregnant did not agree with my body. After my 5K at week 16, I was reduced to walk/running, and shortly after, I quit all attempts at running altogether. The biggest reason I stopped running was I started to get horrible pains in my groin area; my doctor said this was because of the increased weight of my uterus and the baby pulling everything forward. Running exacerbated the pain. But also, I just didn’t like it – I could feel the bump moving around, I got really tired easily, and it didn’t seem fun anymore.

It’s been about 13 weeks without a run and, to be honest, I miss it a lot. I miss the feeling of taking out my frustration on the pavement or popping in my earbuds and sweatin’ up a storm. What I’m not struggling with, however, is disappointment. I’ve had a few running-induced injuries in the past, and it’s always difficult to take ‘forced’ time off due to a knee issue or a sprain. But taking time off due to pregnancy is okay with me. It’s what my body needs, after all.  I think some people’s bodies are just built for running and others aren’t so ideally suited for the sport. And similarly, some runners can keep up the habit while pregnant and others cannot.

So – what have I been doing instead?

  • Swimming – Be sure to check out How to Swim Part I and Part II and So You Wanna Do a Triathlon: Swimming.
  • Yoga – Specifically, the prenatal kind.  I went 5 or 6 times, sucked it up and bought a package for 10 classes, and haven’t gone since.  Ugh.  I’m looking forward to getting back into prenatal yoga after this move is over.
  • Walking – My favorite new form of exercise!  Check out How to Create a Walking Habit and the Walk the Dog Workout.  I aim to walk 2 – 3 miles at least 3 times a week, but this is getting to be very challenging.  I can definitely tell I’m hauling around an extra 25 pounds or so.

I’m glad that I’ve been able to maintain a decent level of activity throughout pregnancy; I am fully aware that some women get put on bed rest!   And I am very much looking forward to getting back into running shape.  But until then, I’ll just be grateful for all the amazing things my body is doing – including building this precious baby.

How active are you / were you through pregnancy?

Image Source; This post originally appeared on Healthy Tipping Point.

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About caitlinhtp



Launched in December 2006, Babble has a National Magazine Award nomination for Best Overall Website (opposite and a Folio magazine award for Best Online Magazine (beating out everyone but Time magazine named it one of the Top 50 websites of 2010. Babble was acquired by The Walt Disney Company in November, 2011.

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0 thoughts on “I Thought I'd Be a Pregnant Runner

  1. Jess says:

    I can really relate to this. I’m on pregnancy #2 and was really hoping to keep running into my third trimester (after being very active, though not as much of a runner, during pregnancy #1), but it just wasn’t happening. The added weight and changing shape of my body started to have an impact by the end of the first trimester… but worse, running caused me to become ridiculously tired, and ultimately unable to function well for the rest of the day. And then I had to deal with the mental issues of being exhausted and frustrated by my inability to keep up with even the “little things.”

    So, at 33 weeks, I’ve finally learned to adapt and look forward to my triumphant return. I try to maintain the feeling of being active by doing little things throughout the day (tricep dips! chasing my oldest at the park! yard work! pacing during that conference call!), and my walking is actually increasing now that spring has sprung, with at least a short walk every day and up to 4-5 miles when I’m really feeling good. I also did prenatal yoga for a while, but I have mixed feelings about the benefits of that.

    Sometimes it doesn’t feel like much, and I still envy those women running marathons in their third trimester… but I feel confident that I’m doing what’s best for my body and my baby, and I’ll be back to it soon.

  2. The Mommy Psychologist says:

    Me too! I wasn’t either. I tried. Ended up being a pregnant mom swimmer. I just ran the LA marathon two weeks ago and waiting in the corals I was next to a woman who was 7 months pregnant! Yep. I didn’t ask her name. I knew I would look up her finish time afterward and I didn’t need to know if a pregnant woman beat me:)

    “The child psychologist who thought she had all the answers to parenting until she became one herself.”

  3. Susan Kelley says:

    I was very fortunate with the world’s most patient running buddy and a good support belt, and ran up to my due date. I kept up with regular acupuncture and an amazing sports massage therapist, which kept me well-aligned– I’d highly recommend either or both of those things. I’m already a slow runner, but I slowed down more and put away my watch. I also stayed away from pavement and ran on soft, forgiving trails as much as possible. The fresh air and time spent outside were amazing stress reduction, but you can get the same from walking. I credit all of this for being able to bounce back quickly and run a marathon on my baby’s half-birthday.

  4. Mari S. says:

    Swimming has been fantastic for me during my pregnancy. I started out doing the elliptical, but got bored, so swimming has been my athletic savior. I can push myself hard, meeting new goals, and feel very comfortable pregnancy-wise. I’ve also heard that swimming has benefits like keeping swelling down, so I’m hopeful of keeping this up through my due date in 19 weeks. I’m up to a tiring 1200 meters per swim, and climbing. I wonder how far I’ll go before delivering? I mile/swim? More? I love that I can challenge myself with no pregnancy concerns.

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