Running through Pregnancy – Part 3 – the 2nd Trimester

In case you missed it, Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 can be found here.

By the end of the 2nd trimester, I was averaging between 30-40 mi/wk while running anywhere from 4-10 mi/day. My “easy” pace had begun to slow down – instead of an 8:30 pace, most runs were now around 9:00 min/mile. I had heard numerous times that the 2nd trimester was the honeymoon phase of pregnancy…after experiencing it, I could not agree MORE!  For most of the 2nd trimester, I was able to run 6x days a week and was actually running more at 25 weeks then I was at 10 weeks. My belly was slowly growing, but it was still small enough to not get in the way while running.  The occasional nausea I felt in the 1st trimester was gone and my energy levels were through the roof.  There were days where I felt like I could run forever – and I often turned planned short runs into long, slow ones (upwards of 10 miles) because I felt great. 

Races I completed
Since I felt so great during the 2nd trimester, I decided to sign up for a few local races.  I ran the Fitness Mind, Body and Spirit 4-miler in Central Park with my girlfriend in September and the SI Half-Marathon in October.  
My husband and family were leery with my desire to run the latter.  I promised that I would keep my pace around a 9:00 min/mile and would stop at the halfway point to eat to ensure that I was properly fueled for the long distance I was running. I also promised that if I felt or experienced anything that didn’t seem “normal”, I would immediately stop and call it a day.  This was not the time to do something stupid.  After discussing my plans with my husband and family, they were much more understanding and supportive of my desire to run the half-marathon! I had no time goals – I just wanted to run at a comfortable pace without pushing myself too hard.  

The last 2 or 3 miles of the half marathon were tough – I started to feel like I was zapped of energy and had to slow down a bit to ensure I kept my breathing and heart rate under control
Although I felt good during and even immediately after the run, I found that I was physically exhausted later on in the day and the following couple of days.  My body was having a hard time recovering.  I decided that it was best (for me) to keep my long runs under 10 miles for the remainder of my pregnancy.  

Meeting up with my sisters for a peanut butter bagel sandwich

Each month I made the trip to my OB-GYN.  My baby and I were progressing well – after the initial weight gain of 9 pounds in the first 2 months, I leveled out and gained another 8 pounds through the end of the 2nd trimester. My heart rate and blood pressure were both on the low side – but according to my doctor, nothing for me to be worried about.  And my doctor gave me the thumbs up to continue my running and exercising each visit!

By the middle of the 2nd trimester, I no longer fit into my running shorts.  Since I knew I would wear them quite a bit, I ordered a couple of pairs of my favorite shorts in the next size which fit until I gave birth. Unfortunately, I hadn’t thought about this in advance, so i wasn’t able to wait for a sale on the shorts (I hate paying full price for running clothes!).  I was able to wear my running tops through the entire 2nd trimester.  Some of the fitted tank tops were getting a little snug, but the looser-fitting ones still had a bit of room and I made them work!  The tighter ones acted as a compression for my belly – and I found I was more comfortable with the extra support.

One of the best purchases I made during the 2nd trimester was a belly band.  I wanted more support for my belly – especially on my longer runs and for the half-marathon. I had read a review in Runner’s World about a belly band that Paula Radcliffe had used during her pregnancy and decided to give it a try. I found that it was that little extra support I needed to feel comfortable as my belly continued to grow (the band that I used can be found here).

I became more cautious on runs – I kept all runs to a 2 or 3 mile loop that would keep me close to my apartment.  If I felt good, I could continue running.  But, I never wanted to be too far away from home in case I wasn’t feeling right on the run and had to walk back.

Although I still felt great during runs, I learned that my body was recovering slower than it was during the first trimester.  So if I pushed myself too much, I would often wake up the next day groggy and exhausted.  Most often, I would take a day off from running to give myself the time I needed to rest and recover.   

Tips and Suggestions
Try to plan ahead and find a sale on the brand/style of running shorts you like – that way you have a few pairs ready to go when you outgrow your current pair. 
– Ensure that you either have water with you or that it’s along the course so that you stay properly hydrated during your run.  I forced myself to run early or late – never in the middle of the day (during the summer months) to keep my body (and baby) as cool as I could
Consider carrying a cell phone with you.  I had never run with one before but started in the 2nd trimester – the last thing I wanted was to have an emergency and not be near a phone to call my husband or family member.  
– If you decide to participate in a race, be attentive to other runners (especially in the beginning).  There were several points during the races I felt concerned with how much congestion there was – although my center of gravity  hadn’t changed significantly, I was still worried about tripping and falling.  I’d recommend signing up for smaller races where you won’t feel overwhelmed with the bottleneck that could occur at larger races.  
– Know where the nearest bathroom is (and try to have at least one on your course).  Although it wasn’t a huge issue for me until the 3rd trimester, there were several instances when I felt a lot of pressure on my bladder and had to make a quick trip to the bathroom. 

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    5 thoughts on “Running through Pregnancy – Part 3 – the 2nd Trimester

    1. Your posts are helping me decide how soon to start running again post-pregnancy so THANK YOU for taking the time to write them!

      I’m currently 38 weeks along and keeping my 20 miles per week. ( I love reading stories of other moms who have been able to and who have chosen to continue their running passion throughout pregnancy.
      Thanks again!


    2. Pingback: A Weekend of Sparkles

    3. Found your blog through the Fitfluential page and had to check it out since I’m a fellow running loving mom. :)

      I think its so great you kept running up! I didn’t run (since I didn’t pick it up until after my last pregnancy), but I worked out regularly with strength training, kickboxing, etc during both my pregnancies. It made such a difference in my deliveries and recovery.