For as long as I can remember I always looked forward to the idea of running in pregnancy. I mean, why wouldn’t I? It always sounded like such a great goal and challenge to me that I didn’t think twice about. I wanted the experience of running with my child, even before we got to physically meet him.
I loved watched other mothers-to-be and their pregnancy running journey. I was inspired by so many of them and it motivated me knowing that our bodies are capable of so much more than we can imagine! My OB even was very supportive of taking on the task as long as I was careful.
The day I learned I was pregnant a lot changed for me, as it probably does for everyone. I was in a bit of shock because even though we had been trying, we had backed off a bit so that I could finish out Boston training. I figured if it didn’t have the previous 4-5 months, then this one wouldn’t be it for sure. Ha!
Now at 35 weeks pregnant I can look back on my pregnancy journey and laugh a bit because many of the pre-conceived ideas I had in my head were far from the truth I experienced.
So, what surprised me about running in pregnancy?
Run When YOU are Ready
I surprisingly was extremely timid to go out on my first run after finding out I was pregnant. Maybe it was because it didn’t happen right away for us, or maybe because I had done way too much reading on the internet. Whatever it was – I wasn’t ready to run. As most of you know, I ended up taking 4 weeks off from running. Normally you would have to force me to do something like that. I was surprised to feel that way but knew that I needed to be ready when I decided to run.
This may not happen for everyone, but the important thing to take away is to do what you are comfortable with. Even if it is not what others did that you have read about. I knew many women who ran a marathon in their first trimester, but for me even though I had worked extremely hard for Boston I knew that I was not comfortable with running is so early on in pregnancy.
Do what works for you and run when you are ready.
You May Notice Differences Right Away (or not…)
Even though I took time off, I still noticed a difference in how my body felt when running right away. I knew that I would probably experience a need to slow down or fatigue later on in pregnancy, but I was not expecting to feel it immediately.
I’ve talked to many pregnant runners and some experience this as well while others are able to keep up their speed throughout most of their pregnancy. I think it is most important to listen to your body and be prepared when you get the warning signs that you need to slow down.
I wish I could have been one who could have kept up my speed for a while, but that wasn’t the case and that’s okay. Our bodies react different to pregnancy and from what I’ve heard they can react differently for different pregnancies.
Don’t get down on yourself. Listen to your body and do what you can do.
Some May Not Approve
Running in pregnancy is becoming more and more accepted, but you may still run into some that do not approve or are hesitant about it. My OB has been wonderful and from day one has said I can continue to run since I did it prior to getting pregnant.
However; I’ve had to meet with a few other OB’s in the practice that weren’t as nice about it or they really didn’t understand what running means to me. I’ve had a few family members voice a little concern as well. I always am honest and polite when they give their opinion, but I know my body and know at the end of the day I’m going to run as long as I’m healthy and able to do so.
It’s okay for others to not understand or approve. It’s your journey not theirs.
Your Body Changes in All Different Ways
Your body does some crazy things during pregnancy. In fact, even when you eat well and exercise daily your body is going to do what it wants regardless. I’ve noticed weight gain in my legs and arms and don’t know where it’s come from. Some days I feel normal and the next day it’s like my body is retaining every bit of water it can.
Your body not only experiences physical changes but it responds very differently one day to the next. You’ll feel great one day and then the next like you are ready to give up and not run another step throughout the entire pregnancy. It’s a crazy process but learning to just take the journey one day at a time is essential to success.
Your body is growing a human being. It’s OK to step back. Embrace the changes and do what you can.
Pregnancy is a crazy journey but a blessing to be able to experience.
For the mamas out there, what was the thing that surprised you the most about running in pregnancy?