Running through Pregnancy

Years ago, it was a common belief that when a woman became pregnant, she should stop all physical activity and spend the next nine months moving slowly and gaining weight. Thankfully, most women now know that it is not only safe, but healthy – for you and your baby to continue exercising throughout pregnancy.

I continued running through my pregnancy – up until the day before my son was born on Jan 9, 2011.  Here is a summary of the miles I ran and races I completed during the 9 months.

For more information on running during pregnancy, check out:

Part 1
Part 2 – 1st Trimester
Part 3 – 2nd Trimester
Part 4 – 3rd Trimester
Part 5 – Nursing and Training for Ultras

Pre-pregnancy
– 55 miles/week
– Long run – 29 miles – I was training for my 1st ultra when I found out I was pregnant

1st Trimester
– 40 miles/week
– Long run – 12-16 miles
– The biggest change was the intensity and pace of my runs (most days became “easy” days instead of intervals, tempos, etc)

2nd Trimester
– 30-35 miles/week
– Long run – 10-14 miles
– My overall pace on runs began to get slower.  I used to average about 8:30 min/mile on a regular day – in my 2nd trimester, it was around 9 min/mile
– 23 weeks: Fitness Mind, Body, and Spirit 4m Run on Sep 11, 2010 – 36:47 (9:11 pace)
– 27 weeks: Staten Island Half Marathon on Oct 10, 2010 – 2:00:15 (9:10 pace)

3rd Trimester
– 20-30 miles/week
– Long run – 8-10 miles
– My overall pace continued to slow down – most runs were around 9:30 min/mile
– 35 weeks pregnant: Jingle Bell Jog 4m Run on Dec 11, 2010 – 37:26 (9:21 pace)

    2 thoughts on “Running through Pregnancy

    1. Thank you for posting this and helping ease our concerns. All of our doctors have been wagging their fingers at us and telling us that running more than an hour a day is bad for the baby. Hearing this as a competitive ultra-running family was extremely disheartening. My wife and I are already signed up and training for a season of ultra culminating at the Bandera 100K.

      Before we found out she was pregnant, she competed in and won the Des Plaines 50 Miler. It wasn’t until running RAGNAR Las Vegas as an Ultra team of 6 she started having difficulty breathing and was significantly slower than usual. We thought maybe that it was dry air but being a week late at that point, we checked as soon as we got home and voila!

      At 8 weeks we raced the Woodside Ramble 50K and while our dreams of winning were reduced to the simple enjoyment of participating and being in the moment, we finished, she very comfortably. We went back to the hotel after, ate, drank, and lounged in bed, relaxing for the night. It was good and we finished that race in just over six hours.

      Here we are now, one week from the Bandera start line and our nerves are kicking in. She has been feeling better as we inch each day toward the second trimester but the first trimester left her feeling tired and sick to her stomach most days.

      The last check up with the doctor showed a healthy baby rocking about inside her belly and anxious to join us. We also attribute her fitness to getting to hear a loud heart beat at only 6 weeks!

      We are going into Bandera with a plan to aerobic for short period, walking often, and avoiding going anaerobic at all costs. Additionally, we will be eating and drinking as often as possible, truly listening to her body and shutting off the competitive desires altogether.

      Things have been wonderful and while nervous, we are excited to be able to tell our baby that upon being born, she or he had already completed four Ultras. We will shut it down or cut it to 50K if we have to but I think that the biggest lesson learned so far is just to ease into our runs. We are start out very slowly and stay comfortable, only increasing speed to the level of comfort.

      We’d love to hear more about Ultra Mom’s out there as there simply isn’t any research to back us and doctors will never tell you something that is a risk is okay.

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