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??

 

For More NYC Running Mama training updates, pictures and ramblings, check out:

 

 

    9 thoughts on “3rd Trimester

    1. Hi Michele! I’ve come back to your blog throughout my pregnancy. I’ve been running for 20+ years and am 34.5 weeks pregnant now. I dropped mileage around week 29 (from 9 mile to 6 mile runs) due to groin pain and woke up this morning for the first time ever unable to run. It sounds like this came and went for you in the last trimester? I’m hoping I’m not suddenly fully out of commission — give me hope! :)

      Sabine

      • Hi Sabine!

        I’m so sorry to hear that you are in pain :/ I remember how frustrating it was for me.

        So the pain was more directed in my back – it was posterior pelvic pain. I did feel some in my groin but the most severe was my lower back (and only on one side). I would recommend going to a sports chiro – within a couple weeks of visits to him, the pain subsided and I was able to run again.

        Basically, what he told me that my lower back had gotten misaligned during pregnancy and it was a pretty simple readjustment process (with some stretching). And then I was up and running again by 34-35 weeks!

        I hope this helps! And I hope you have a healthy, happy remainder of your pregnancy!! <3
        nycrunningmama recently posted..Training Highlights + Garmin Forerunner 225 Giveaway!My Profile

    2. So I know this is one of your older blog posts, and I’m a follower of all your current posts, but just wanted to say how helpful this has been as I run through my pregnancy. I just completed a 5k race on Saturday and using the info in this and your other pregnancy posts, did really well! My midwife and OB support my activity. This has been one of the key parts of my motivation to stay active while pregnant (7.5 months right now)

      Thank you!!!!!

      • Hey Barbara! Thank you!! Congrats on running so far into your pregnancy – and on what sounds like a great 5k this past weekend!! It’s awesome when our OBs/midwives support us – and I think more and more are coming around to women have active pregnancies.
        I hope the remaining 1.5 months go smoothly and quickly for you! Wishing you a safe and quick L&D and a happy and healthy new baby!! =)
        nycrunningmama recently posted..What Do You Need To Run Your First Marathon (Women’s Running Post)My Profile

        • I try to do my part to help women stay active, both pregnant and not! I work for a company selling holistic medicine and they have been using my activity as part of our marketing :-)

    3. Hi Michele, nice to read about your running experience during pregnancy. I’m 29 weeks now and still running, though it’s going slower and slower. Looking forward to getting back in shape after giving birth, though it might be tough to find time and energy for that with a newborn. Any recommendations? Best of luck with your trainings!

      • Hi Selma,
        Congrats on your pregnancy – sounds like you are feeling good!!
        The energy and time will come – maybe not initially – but it will. I would recommend to take it easy for the first couple of months post-baby. If your doctor clears you to run, start easy and be patient with yourself. You will know when you are ready to start heavy-duty training. For both of my boys, I found it happened around 3 months postpartum. The boys were sleeping better and life seemed more normal – so I was getting more sleep and feeling more like myself!
        I hope this helps! Best of luck!
        nycrunningmama recently posted..Boston Marathon Training (T-11)My Profile

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