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 or are recovering postpartum. 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’d like you to meet this months Mom on the Run: Kelli from NotYourMamasMarathon. Kelli is a new mom: she welcomed her little boy at the beginning of this year and has been chronicling her return to running postpartum on her blog. Kelli just ran the St. George Marathon in October in 3:45 (way to go Kelli!). Here’s what she had to say about running during pregnancy and returning to training postpartum:
Tell me a little bit about your pregnancy and your little one:
I was lucky enough to get pregnant just a few months after going off of birth control. I know that so many women struggle with infertility these days so I felt extremely lucky to have had it so easy. My very first pregnancy was a success! I have never had a miscarriage. I had an awesome pregnancy - no morning sickness, heartburn, etc. I have to thank my mom’s genes for that! I was lucky enough to stay pretty active during my pregnancy and went to the gym almost every day and felt great. I only gained 33 pounds total and I lost it pretty easily afterwards from breastfeeding and marathon training.
My little guy was born in February and he is now 9 months old! The time has gone by so fast and he is learning so much right now.
Did you run through your pregnancy?
I ran a few times in my first trimester and every time I did I got the WORST cramps. These were not just your regular menstrual cramps, they were AWFUL. It always felt really weird to run knowing that I had a little baby in my belly, bouncing around in there. So I backed off of running and stuck with low impact workouts at the gym. I mostly did elliptical and bicycle workouts, and I worked out up until 37 weeks or so!
Prior to pregnancy about how often were you running?
I ran a marathon in September 2012 and I got pregnant June 2013. I actually lost my period during the higher mileage of marathon training and didn’t get it back for a few months after training ended. I was really worried that it would affect my chances of getting pregnant. Luckily it didn’t! My weekly mileage during marathon training was 20-30. After that it settling down to 10-15 because I wanted to be sure I got my period back.
How would you characterize your pregnancy, labor and delivery?
My pregnancy was amazing. So easy and none of your typical horror stories about morning sickness and whatnot. I did get pretty tired during the first trimester, but I was able to nap a lot since I was only working part time at that point. Labor was also pretty easy! I labored at home for about six hours. I woke up around 4AM and felt contractions, not knowing if they were real or not. I woke my husband up around 8AM and asked, “Do you want to have a baby today?!” He loved that - he still talks about it all the time. We finally went to the hospital around 11AM. I was only dilated to a 3 so they made me walk the hallways to progress some more or they would send me home. After one hour I got to a 4 so they checked me in! I got an epidural around 1 or 2. Contractions were starting to get pretty intense before that. After the epidural it was smooth sailing. My mood significantly improved! I quickly went from a 4 to a 10 (in a matter of just an hour or two).
Delivery was a piece of cake with the epidural. It was definitely hard to feel how hard I was pushing my nurses and doctor were great and keeping me motivated. I only pushed for 30 minutes and then our sweet Baby J was born at 5;20PM at 7 lbs 12 oz, 20 inches long. He nursed right away.
Once you found out you were expecting did your running change? Did you consciously drop mileage or ease back on pace?
Yes, my running change since I was getting such horrible cramps! I dropped running pretty much all together and instead hit the gym and went on long walks.
When did you stop running during pregnancy? Or did you run right up until your delivery date?
I stopped running after the first trimester but workout out at the gym up until 37 weeks.
What was your running like during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters of your pregnancy?
First: Awful cramping. Stopped running before it got worse.
Second: No running, just gym and walking!
Third: No running, just gym and walking!
Did you incorporate cross training into your weekly exercise routine? If so what did you do? and what did you find most enjoyable?
On most days I went to the gym for cross training. I usually did the elliptical or the bicycle. Sometimes I would swim. I took long walks every day! The elliptical and walks were the best. The bicycle and swimming were a little awkward and uncomfortable.
Did your attitude towards running change during pregnancy?
Definitely! I didn’t like it at all because of the terrible cramping. Also I felt a little weird that I was jostling my baby around every time I ran.
Did your run any races during pregnancy? If so what was your approach to racing, was it different than normal?
I did do one 5K Turkey Trot when I was 6 months pregnant. I didn’t go into it thinking of it as a race, just a long walk! I hadn’t been running at all at that point so I wouldn’t have wanted to run anyway. I did run/waddle across the finish line though. I think it took me 45 minutes!
What was the most challenging aspect of running during pregnancy?
The most challenging part was dealing with the cramping and feeling so much slower, and being aware that there was a baby inside of me that I had to take care of!
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 started running the very day that I was “approved” to run again at my 6 week checkup! I was so anxious to get back into it. I had already entered the St. George Marathon lottery at that point so I knew I had to get started. My running was laughable at that point. I was doing two or three miles at the most and my pace was 12-14 minute miles. It was pretty much a “run till your lungs burn too much, then walk until you feel like you can run again” type thing. After a few weeks my body got back into the swing of things and I could pull off 9-10 minute miles. By the end of marathon training this month, I could run 7:30-8:30 minute miles!
My attitude towards running now is very positive. I look at it as an absolute blessing that my body is so strong. I cannot believe that I was able to recover so easily and quickly and run a marathon at 8 months postpartum! At one week postpartum I took a walk with my husband. We walked 4 blocks away from home and I barely made it back. I got lightheaded and dizzy and nauseous at the 6 block mark. I ended up making it home but I had to take a nap afterwards. It was at that point that we looked at ourselves and thought, “How in the world am I going to run a marathon in October?!” Well here we are 8 months later and I am feeling awesome. Our bodies are so amazing.
What advice do you have for running during pregnancy?
Do what feels RIGHT! Don’t feel pressure by anyone or by social media to continue to run through pregnancy. If you don’t feel good about it or if you can feel your body screaming “NO, stop this now!” then LISTEN to it! I cannot stress that enough.
Where can readers find you?
Here are a few posts that Kelli wrote about breastfeeding and running:
I loved the way Kelli listened to her body and stopped running in the first trimester because it was right for her. And I love that she came back slowly and was still able to pull off a great time at St. George! Way to go Kelli!
Want to share your story and be featured as a Mom on the Run? Email me!
I love connecting with readers! You can find me here:
Email: RunFarGirl [at] gmail [dot] com
Daily Mile: dailymile.com/people/scanney