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.
May is all about mothers and I’m so excited to introduce you to new mom, Alyssa of Home Field Fitness. Alyssa is the proud mom of 9 month old Makena. Today she’s sharing how she adjusted her running during pregnancy as she dealt with an old back injury and her changing pregnant body.
Tell me a little bit about your pregnancy and your little one:
I’m a first time momma of 1, little Miss Makena. She is 9 months old and loves to run with me! In the jogger of course!
Prior to pregnancy about how often were you running? Before I got pregnant I was running 3-4 times a week anywhere from 12-20 miles a week. I had been running some 5Ks and 10Ks the summer before I got pregnant, but nothing too intense.
Once you found out you were expecting did your running change? Did you consciously drop mileage or ease back on pace? It took me a long time to get pregnant, so I was a little (probably overly) cautious at first. I didn’t want to mess anything up! I didn’t have a set plan to back off on mileage or pace, but I just listened to my body along the way. My pregnant body and running didn’t go really well together, and I found that other exercises made me feel much better.
Did you run through your pregnancy? If not why not? While I was pregnant, I did not run nearly as much as I had thought I would. I had a lot of body changes right off the bat (like huge hips at 8 weeks) that really took a toll on my knees and back. I ran off and on up until about 6 months pregnant.
How would you characterize your pregnancy, labor and delivery? I had a very smooth pregnancy. I was so blessed to have no morning sickness and honestly, there were times that I felt better pregnant than I did before! I have an old gymnastics back injury that tends to flair up when my core weakens, so my back was really the only challenge I dealt with physically in terms of exercising. My labor and delivery went fairly well, but again dealt with some pretty intense back pain where my epidural didn’t work! Yikes! I pushed for 3 hours…I think I’ve taken that endurance with me postpartum in my running!
What was your running like during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters of your pregnancy?
First: Before I knew I was pregnant, there were runs where I just couldn’t figure out why I didn’t have any juice! My hips expanded a lot right away so I had some knee and back pain as my body alignment was changing.
Second: I felt pretty good! I enjoyed doing something that made me feel like “me” and getting out in the beautiful Colorado spring weather. I kept it slow and usually only ran 3 or 4 miles at at time.
Third: I just didn’t have running in me anymore. I got out for long daily walks with my puppy and did other forms of exercise.
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 absolutely loved walking and tried to get a long walk in each day. I did lots of body weight exercises and some weights. Some of my favorite workouts were the Knocked Up Fitness’ youtube videos! In my last trimester I finally got in the pool which felt absolutely amazing. I wish I had done that earlier in my pregnancy!
Did your attitude towards running change during pregnancy? Mostly I discovered that “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. I had gotten into a running rut before I got pregnant, so taking a big break was exactly what I needed. I came to really enjoy the times I felt like running, and was DYING to get back at it after delivery!
Did your run any races during pregnancy? If so what was your approach to racing, was it different than normal? I didn’t do any races while pregnant, but I would love to next time if my body allows!
What was the most challenging aspect of running during pregnancy? Figuring out how to adapt to my changing body. And not peeing my pants!!
When did you stop running during pregnancy? Or did you run right up until your delivery date? I stopped around 6 months.
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 was SO EXCITED when I went for my first run after having Makena. I waited until my 6 week Dr’s appointment to get cleared for exercise and then literally went straight out for a run. I was slow, but felt so free! I’m pretty sure I cried during that run, but don’t new moms cry about everything?! Running has really been my way of becoming myself again after having a baby. I love to share that time with little M and I also love when I have a chance to get out on the trails with just my dog. I look at running now as a privilege and a way to show my kids what being a strong and healthy role model looks like.
What advice do you have for running during pregnancy? Listen to your body! Every body is different and every pregnancy is different. Try not to compare yourself to other runners or other pregnant women. I remember reading blogs about women who were running marathons at 30 weeks pregnant and feeling really bad about myself. Don’t make any room in your mind for guilt…just stay active and try to enjoy the journey!
Where can readers find you?
Web: Home Field Fitness
Did you write any pregnancy related posts you’d like me to link to? Please copy and paste URL:
I love what Alyssa says about not making room in your mind for guilt. Have you ever felt a twinge of guilt that you weren’t doing as much/running as much as other pregnant moms? How did you deal with that?