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.
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 =)
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!
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??