Okay, so I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon at 9 weeks pregnant, but let’s just say 12 weeks makes a huge difference. Since running that race, I took time off and just did the 30 Day Shred.
And so it’s only been a few weeks that I’ve been back on the treadmill and hitting the pavement. And boy has it been challenging.
Not only am I moving a lot slower and having to take walk breaks, but I’m having to stop and pee in the middle of running 3 miles!
But I want to continue to challenge myself with races because it gives me an extra motivation to pack up those kids and hit the gym. Or make it the first thing I do when my babysitter arrives on those couple of days a week.
So if you’re pregnant and thinking about running, here are some of my tips:
1. Drink lots of water. And then make sure there are porta potties or bathrooms nearby.
You will get dehydrated very quickly, so it’s important to keep hydrated. I do not recommend running outside anytime other than in the early morning or late in the evening. Otherwise, stick to the treadmill.
If you’re doing a race, stop at the water stops even if it’s just to take a sip. It will force you to get some rehydration, but also to slow down your breathing a bit.
And if you have to run outside, make sure you’re not too modest to do the drop and squat. I’ve actually started bringing along my Go Girl feminine urination device (fancy, huh?) for that very reason.
2. Pace yourself.
If you’re used to running fast, know that you’re going to be significantly slower, particularly the further along you get. I went from doing a 9-9.5 minute mile to an 11-12 minute mile. There’s nothing wrong with running slow, nor is there anything wrong with taking walk breaks. But you’re not in a condition to try to run PBs (Personal Bests).
You will be burning more calories than usual, so you need to be sure to fuel your body. I packed energy gels for this run even though it was just a 5K and they really did help me. I definitely ate more than I usually do before a race, but I needed it.
4. Get the right gear. And that doesn’t necessarily mean maternity fitness clothes.
The major purchase for me was a new sports bra, because as I learned, I didn’t necessarily get bigger chested, I just got wider (nice). I did want to make sure I had a little extra support though, and so I just went up a size in my favorite bra and all is well.
I also discovered that my new pregnant thighs will chafe, which is a new experience for me. So instead of remembering my body glide, I’ve decided to forgo the Nike running shorts and running skirts and wear capri pants. Of course, none of those fit me quite well anymore, so I invested in a couple of regular pairs in a size up that also happen to be low riders (below the belly). They work fine and I think I’ll get more use out of them than maternity pants.
5. Remember your body is a vessel.
It sounds cheesy but you’re not trying to improve your time and win races here. You want to stay fit and active for your own health and the health of your baby. So don’t be stupid. And don’t let your pride get the better of you. Just have a good time and take care of yourself.
For those of you who are pregnant now or have run while pregnant, what are your questions and/or tips?