I should preface all my posts with this statement: before doing anything during pregnancy please consult your Doctor. I did not run at all until I had spoken to my Doctor and was at the point where I was comfortable with my decision to run. Everyone is different.
Let’s flash back for a few minutes – all the way back to 2006 when I was a sophomore/junior in college. My boyfriend (now husband) had decided to transition his focus from soccer to running. I was supportive but thought he was crazy.
After watching him for many months, I began dabbing my foot into running as well. I felt slow, out of shape, and it felt hard. Something in me kept wanting a little more, but the truth was I had no idea what I was doing. I read everything I could, asked my husband a thousand questions, and just kind of did what I felt like. I didn’t even know people made training plans.
As the years grew, and I became wiser with running, so did my confidence and focus. I liked the fact that running was hard and challenged me, and I liked that it brought out a confidence in me that I hadn’t had before.
When I first found out I was pregnant I felt the same in a lot of ways. I was clueless – how was I going to know what to do with or how to raise a child? At the same time I was beyond excited to start our family. I talked to one of my running friends Meridith, and she really helped me put a lot of this in perspective. I began to realize just how much running had prepared me for pregnancy.
Learning to Embrace the Unknown
When I first started running I had no idea what I was doing, but I figured if everyone else could figure it out so could I. I did research, did what I thought was best, and tried to learn as much as I can.
Running has helped me embrace many of the unknowns of pregnancy. As the wife of a medical resident, my husband often knows too much for his own good. It’s stressful at times, so the first trimester I felt like I was on edge a lot. I tried to embrace it as much as I could, read up, and treat my body well.
Embracing the unknown is hard for someone like me, but just as I did with running I’m learning that it’s a wonderful journey if you let it be!
Listening to Your Body
Running throughout the years has taught me the importance of really listening to your body, and now I am using that even more!
I’ve made mistakes in the past and didn’t listen to my body which led me to unfortunate injuries. Now not listening to my body can lead to even more serious repercussions. Pregnancy has made me so much more aware of my body how it feels. Every run is completely up to my body. It’s a nice change of pace and is teaching me so much.
I think I’ve mentioned it a few times on the blog, but I have never been good at managing stress. The first trimester was very tough for me because I stressed a lot about all the things that could happen. Running before I became pregnant taught me how to help manage some of my day to day stress, and now has put me in the position to be able to handle the stress better.
I still use running to help manage it, but through the years have learned how to use it as an aid not a solution. Stress can be damaging during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, so this has been a great learning experience for me.
I think this one is going to end up going both ways. The mental toughness that run has produced is definitely helping me keep running and exercising through my pregnancy.
I texted my friend the other morning and said I think my morning runs take as much mental strength while pregnant as a marathon. They are hard, you want to quit and say “screw this I’m pregnant”, but I’m constantly reminded just how important and wonderful these runs make me feel.
I know that this will pay off later down the road as well. I love the challenge.
Of course, nothing can truly 100% prepare you for pregnancy but running has taught me a lot that I’ve been able to apply. Some moments aren’t easy, some days I get frustrated, but running has taught me how to be strong, patient, and have faith in myself.