Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nurse of midwife. The information expressed in the series “Mom on the Run” should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before running during pregnancy and postpartum.
Welcome to “Mom on the Run!” A blog feature that shares a mom-on-the-run and her story of running during and after pregnancy. My hope is to provide a resource for women who are thinking about running during pregnancy. The overarching theme: everyone is different. No two pregnancies are the same and of course no two stories of running during pregnancy are the same. In this series you will find a wide range of experiences that both inspire and comfort runners who are pregnant or have recently given birth. To read about other “Moms on the Run” click HERE.
I’m excited to feature Laura from MommyRunFast.com. Laura recently gave birth to her second little girl, Julia. Congratulations Laura! Here’s what Laura had to say about running during pregnancy and postpartum:
Tell me a little bit about your pregnancy, delivery and your little one:
I had a pretty easy pregnancy and delivery. Julia was born 4 days early and I was able to have the natural delivery that I planned for. She came much faster than her sister, with mild contractions starting around 1:30 pm and she arrived just 5 hours later!
How would you characterize your pregnancy, labor and delivery?
Thankfully, low risk. Everything went smoothly and I was able to stay active throughout my pregnancy.
Prior to pregnancy about how often were you running and how often were you racing?
I was training for the Philadelphia marathon when I got pregnant [Laura opted not to run the marathon], and was running the highest mileage I’ve run in training to date, which was about 50-60 miles per week. I was racing about every month or two, with a few shorter races and a fall half marathon.
Once you found out you were expecting did your running change?
Absolutely! The first symptom I noticed was how difficult it was to breathe in the first trimester. And my pace dropped immediately.
What was your running like during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters of your pregnancy?
The first and second trimesters were similar… my pace was consistently about a minute per mile slower than usual and I dropped back to about 20-25 miles per week. I felt good running other than the constant need for pee breaks! I continued a double digit weekend run as well. By the third trimester, running was a bit less comfortable and my pace dropped another minute or more per mile. I continued running up until the end, but only 3-4 miles at a time in those final weeks with walk breaks.
Did you incorporate cross training into your weekly exercise routine? If so what did you do? And what did you find most enjoyable?
Yes! I continued to teach spin classes until my last month when I think I was making the participants nervous! I also did some weights at home- nothing too intense, but I included body weight exercises like squats, lunges, push ups and planks for as long as I could, as well as some upper-body weight training.
Did your attitude towards running change during pregnancy?
Yes! I had no problem taking spontaneous rest days if my body was tired which I very rarely do otherwise! And I really didn’t care at all what my pace was… it just felt good to work up a sweat and continue my ‘normal’ routine which includes running.
Did your run any races during pregnancy? If so what was your approach to racing, was it different than normal?
I ran a trail 10k at 16 weeks pregnant, a 5k at 20 weeks and a half marathon at 24 weeks. Again, I wasn’t worried about my pace. I just wanted to get out there and have a good time. All three were a great experience! I felt fine and did better than I expected too. Plus, I felt like the old me again.
What was the most challenging aspect of running during pregnancy?
The last few weeks or months were challenging when I still had the desire to run but my body didn’t always agree with me, and I continued to get slower and slower. I was ready to be done and feel like myself again.
What was your return to running like postpartum? How soon did you start running and did you feel your attitude towards running was different?
I had no desire to do anything for the first two weeks. I took a few very short walks (maybe 1⁄2 mile to a mile?). By 2 1⁄2- 3 weeks postpartum, my energy and desire to run returned so I started very gradually with walk/runs and then slow jogs. I was cleared to exercise as my labor was free of complications and my bleeding had stopped. But I tried to leave my watch at home and not worry that my pace was still as slow as my 3rdtrimester running days for the first few weeks back!
What advice do you have for running during pregnancy?
If you want to run through your pregnancy, talk to your midwife or doctor but also come prepared with the knowledge that it is a safe activity and has benefits for both mom and baby. Be prepared to step back your running considerably and slow down the pace, and know that you might need to stop at any time if you experience ligament pain or aches. I found it felt so good to stay active and definitely encourage moms to find ways to stay active during pregnancy in whatever ways feel most comfortable.
Where can readers find you?
If you’d like to read more about Laura’s experience you can read her posts on running during pregnancy HERE.
Have you had to change racing plans because you found out you were pregnant? What are the first symptoms you notice when you are pregnant?
If you or someone you know is interested in being featured in “Mom on the Run” please email me at runfargirl [at] gmail [dot] com.
I love connecting with readers! You can find me here:
Email: RunFarGirl [at] gmail [dot] com
Daily Mile: dailymile.com/people/scanney