I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Running throughout your WHOLE pregnancy can be done. Here are some learned pointers that ended up helping me along the way…
Please bear in mind, these worked for me! It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll work for everyone.
1) First and foremost, BEFORE you become pregnant be able to carry out the exercise routine you wish to perform WHILE you are pregnant. If you want to run three miles every day from conception to birth, you should be able to run three miles every day before the sperm meets the egg!
Pregnancy, in a sense, makes you feel more out of shape then you really are.
Look at it this way:
Being in shape x pregnancy (feel out of shape) = hard
Being out of shape x pregnancy (feel out of shape) = 2x as hard
Planning to combat being out of shape and pregnancy at the same time is not safe for you or your baby AND would blow a$$! Think about it…As your growing BABY puts all these new, crazy strains on your body, YOU also plan on putting crazy strains on your body via new work out regiment? Girl, you cray!
2) Don’t take too many days off in a row. When your pregnant your body is changing rapidly (although it may not seem like it, pregnancy is a quick change for the human body. Hence, stretch marks) on a DAILY basis, you need to adapt your ‘active body’ right along with it.
Say you take a week off and in that week you also gain 5lbs. After your 7 days of rest you go out for a jog. Not only has your belly grown, but you’ve also gained weight- both of which will change your gait and put extra strain on your muscles and joints. It probably won’t kill your running game but it will definitely leave you sore in places you didn’t realize existed.
I never went more than two days in a row without doing some form of a workout.
3) Listen to your body. Remember it’s no longer just about you. Walk if your body is screaming at you to slow down. Quit if your body is screaming at you to stop. You are not trying to win any medals or get that six pack you always wanted (ha). You are trying to stay active because of the numerous benefits it brings to you and your babes not only throughout your pregnancy but also your labor and your health post labor!
There were days when I was tired. So. Dang. Gone. Tired. I would tell myself, “Just do one mile.” Sometimes I would get started and only do that one mile, other times I would get cruising, start feeling good and end up doing five.
4) Pregnancy is not a free pass to eat anything and everything you want. I’m not here to formulate a diet plan for you, but just be smart. Most Americans with access to an Internet (you) know the basics to healthy eating habits. If you really are clueless, google it. Google knows everything.
You have so called cravings, you say? Cravings are, to be brutally honest, bullshit. Craving pickles? You need more salt. Craving sweets? You need more protein. Craving meat? You need more fat and protein.
I’m a decent eater. Sweets and beer (that was obviously not an issue) are my biggest vices. Sweets go to my belly and beers go to my ass– if I don’t practice moderation. I’ve attempted to cut sweets out of my diet but that always leads to a Baskin Robbins 3 scoop sundae with caramel, marshmallow, hot fudge, cookie dough chunks, and whip cream on top, hold the cherry, please, at the end of my sweet-less week. Decidedly so, I do better allowing myself one small treat a day!
5) Cross train! I’m not writing this blog to promote running and running alone. Before I became pregnant I was playing in a soccer league twice a week, lifting once a week and running in between. Once I became pregnant I could no longer play soccer but I lifted until the day I gave birth. Like literally, the day I went into labor I ran 3.5 miles and got a good lift in. When you’re pregnant it is SO beneficial to be STRONG.
6) Set goals. Sign up for races. If you don’t you may burn out or give up.
My “long” runs while I was pregnant were 5-6.5 miles. I promised my husband I wouldn’t run further than 6.5, except for one run during the 7th month, in which I would jog 7, one during the 8th month in which I would jog 8 and lastly one run during the 9th month in which I would jog 9!
7) Call me Captain Obvious, but bring a dang cell phone. Whether you are 5 weeks pregnant or 35 weeks pregnant, anything can happen at anytime regardless of what you’re doing.
Along with emergencies, cell phones are great to GPS your runs (I use the Map My Run app) and to document your progress along the way.
8) Record your mileage! Take photos of your routes, belly included! Even now when I am running and pushing my 5 month old son in the Bob I get to tell him, “You know, you’ve actually been here lots of times previously. But last time you were here, you were in my tummy.” Or “We ran over a 1,000 miles together, Thatcher Bishop.”