Running through Pregnancy – Part 4 – the 3rd Trimester

This is the 4th installment in a series of posts related to Running Through Pregnancy (Part 1Part 2, Part 3)

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Running during the third trimester was like being on a rollercoaster – some days I felt great and could run 8-10 miles; other days I had to stop and walk after 2-3.  I quickly learned to enjoy and be thankful for the good days and not let the “bad” days get me down.

My pace continued to slow down – my “easy” runs were probably between 9-10 min/mile.  I say probably because I stopped wearing my garmin on my runs – I found that I was concentrating too much on the number on my wrist instead of more important things like maintaining my balance. I wanted the runs to be relaxing and enjoyable and didn’t want to feel disheartened when I felt like I was pushing myself only to look down and see a pace I was not accustomed to running. On average, I ran between 20-30 miles/week during the last trimester.  My “long” runs were between 8-10 miles until week 34; after that they decreased to 6-8 miles.  Thankfully, I was able to run up until the day before I went into labor – I had gone on a slow, easy 5-mile run outside on Friday and by noon on Saturday was in labor!

Several things I experienced this trimester:
– My belly really started to get in the way on runs sometime around weeks 33-34.  I felt like I woke up one day and boom, my stomach doubled in size.  It’s not that the runs were painful but they were certainly not enjoyable.  I was more uncomfortable than anything else – but since I felt so good after I ran – both mentally and physically – I kept running.

– My son’s position would sometimes prevent me from running.  There were days when he was extremely low, or in a weird, awkward position that caused a lot of pressure and made running entirely too uncomfortable.  If I had free time later on in the day, I would postpone my run.  If that was not an option and I wasn’t in pain, I would go to the gym and bike [there was less pressure when I was seated]. This lasted until the last few weeks when there was no more room for him to rotate and turn around.

– It became a necessity to stop on every single run to use the bathroom by week 32 (sometimes 2-3x depending on how long I was running).  I was carrying my baby extremely low for most of the last month (I was at 0 station by week 37) which probably didn’t help the constant running (literally) to the bathroom. This was one of the biggest hassles – I was running in the middle of winter and would often have numerous layers on. Getting into the bathroom, untucking layers, using the bathroom, and getting all covered again sometimes took close to 10 min!

– My pelvic bones/joints started to ache when I first got up in the morning. It usually took me an hour to feel comfortable enough to run, so I often pushed running until later on in the day.

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I ran the 2010 Jingle Bell Jog 4 miler in Prospect Park when I was 36 weeks pregnantin 37:26 (9:21 pace). It was a fairly comfortable run – the hardest part were the hills.  For most of the previous 6 or 7 months, I had logged all my miles either on the treadmill or in the flat park close to my apartment.  Looking back, I should have dressed up as Santa since I had the belly to go with the costume =)

Is it Santa Claus or a pumpkin?? (37 weeks pregnant)

I became even more cautious on my runs – I stopped running at night or early morning during the last 8-10 weeks.  My center of gravity had changed drastically and I didn’t feel comfortable not being able to see where I was stepping [the area I ran was very poorly lit].  It was also winter [if you recall, we had all that snow last December] so I opted for the treadmill much more than usual because of the snow and ice on the ground.  I didn’t want to chance anything – and I always erred on the side of caution.

I no longer fit into most of my running clothes.  I could still wear some of my short and long-sleeved tops as well as the shorts that I had purchased during the 2nd trimester, but my outer layers and pants were uncomfortably tight [one pair of capris still fit].  I didn’t want to buy new clothes to wear for only a few weeks, so I ransacked my husband’s clothes and made those work.  His smaller sweatshirts fit and I would roll his pants a few times (he’s about 6 in taller than I am).  I was definitely not scoring points for style, but I was comfortable and not spending money!

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About to head to hospital to give birth!!

Tips and Suggestions

– The tips and suggestions I mentioned in the previous trimesters (1st and 2nd) still apply – especially carrying a cell phone with you and staying close to home on your runs.  The further along you get in your pregnancy, the more important these two are!

– There is no need to stop doing speedwork or other interval workouts while you are pregnant. I tried to do at least one a week because otherwise I felt like every run was the same [which could get boring very quickly].  Granted, my “speedwork” was hardly anything fast.  I would do either mile [8:30 min/mi] or half-mile [8:00 min/mil] repeats-> Note: these are the easy run paces I’m currently training at!  My recommendation would be to not push yourself for more than a mile at a time this far along in pregnancy.

– Use caution when you run – your center of gravity has changed and it’s much easier to fall over if you trip or take a wrong step.  If lighting is poor, run earlier. If there’s snow or ice on the ground, consider the treadmill. Additionally, you will begin to be unable to see your feet when you look down – so try to find flat, easy terrain to run on!

– As I’ve already stated previously, DON’T push yourself past your comfort level.  This is not the time to set records in pace, mileage, or toughness.  This is a time to continue to stay fit, healthy, and happy – but most importantly, to have a healthy baby.

 

Did you continue to run or exercise when you were pregnant?  Any tips you would share with fellow readers??

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    13 thoughts on “Running through Pregnancy – Part 4 – the 3rd Trimester

    1. I’m 18 weeks into my first pregnancy, and just wanted to thank you so much for sharing your own pregnant running experience! Pre-pregnancy, I was running about 35miles/week, and I’ve been able to maintain that mileage (though it’s been at a much slower pace!). It’s rare to find another women who’s running so much at this point during pregnancy, so your blog’s been a great resource of encouragement and support for me. Thanks for posting.

    2. Thank you for your posts. I’ve been running for years and just found out I am 7-weeks along. I’m planning to take it slower but keep going – I have two upcoming half marathons this month and then I think i’ll just run for the fun of it from there. This is my second pregnancy and last time I didn’t have a belly belt and didn’t run after my second trimester because it was so uncomfortable – i just ordered the one you recommended from amazon…let’s hope it works as well for me this time around! Thanks again :)

    3. Thank you for posting your experience about running through your pregnancy. Yours is the first blog that I have read detailing positive tips and comments about continuing to run through pregnancy. I am 21 weeks along and have been feeling great in the second trimester while continuing to run. My energy levels are high because of exercise, although I’m not doing the mileage that I’d lie (or feel I could!) do to a busy schedule. Again, thank you for post! Good luck with baby #2!
      Kathryn recently posted..Confessions: Of A Pregnant RunnerMy Profile

    4. I wish I would have started running before I got pregnant. My body hated being pregnant and I feel that exercise would have really helped. You have got to be one of the cutest pregnant ladies ever. :) Thanks for sharing these posts. I may be done having kids, but it is nice to see how being healthy during a pregnancy can really help you.

      • Thanks, Robin!!! I really think exercise helped me – more than anything else, I felt happy b/c I was still running! It’s nice to know that it’s becoming much more common to run during pregnancy =)

    5. Never tried running when I was pregnant. But I do know that I loved to swim because it took the gravity off the stomach weight. Felt so good when that lower back would hurt.

      Your pic says your heading off to have a baby! Kudos! How exciting. 😀

    6. Wow. You did so well with your pregnancy! I too ran all the way to the end with both of mine. I did top off at about an hour’s worth of running for my “long” runs though. That just seemed to be my body’s max. The biggest thing I felt was the pelvic pain, like you mentioned, which continued for months even after they were both born. My saving grace was a pair of tights from some company (can’t remember the name it’s been so long!) that made athletic wear for prego moms.

      The best thing of all was how quickly I returned to shape after both births. And the fact that I set some PRs in the months following also!

      The worst thing was all the people who judged me for running though pregnancy. I didn’t gain much weight with either, so carried really small. Both babies were healthy and of good weight (more than 7 and 8 lbs. each), but people still judged. Annoying!

      • I agree – within just a few days, I felt great and had lost almost all the weight – so I knew that the weight I had gained was “baby” weight and not excess weight! I got some of that too – a lot of “tsk, tsk” when they heard that I was still running and that I gained just about (25 lbs -> which is normal!) Your babies were both great size!!! And HEALTHY – and to be, that is the most important thing! I kept telling everyone that raised their eyebrows at me that my doctor was 100% okay with my decisions. And I truly believe that my pregnancy, L&D, and postpartum were fun, comfortable, and easy because of running!!
        You sound like you are my twin =)

    7. Great post! I wasn’t much of a runner through my first two pregnancies, but if we go for a third round, I will probably continue running as much as possible. Not as many miles as you had (also your slow is my fast, hahaha!) Also, you looked FANTASTIC during your pregnancy!!!! Way to go keeping at it, it’s inspiring!

      • Thank you!! I tried to take it one day at a time and not let the “bad” days get me down!! Looking foward to following your running *if* there is a 3rd =)

    8. Thank you for the first-hand account of your experience of running while pregnant. My friend had similar issues but also ran right up until the very day she gave birth–albeit, A LOT slower and with several modifications. Looking forward to when I can share my story (3 years away, but whatever!)

      • I had always said I wanted to try to run the day I went into labor, but I woke up that day feeling strange…I’m planning on writing my L&D story soon!!
        Looking forward to following your story when it’s time for you =)