Please remember I am not a physician and I am just writing and sharing from my personal experience. Make sure to consult your Doctor before starting anything new during pregnancy.
Let’s talk a bit more about running, specifically workouts, during pregnancy shall we?
I know I just jumped right in there but if you have been following me on Instagram or Snapchat (RunningWife) then you would have seen that I’ve slowly been doing mini “workouts” a few days a week.
After I first found out I was pregnant, once I had started running again, I kept all my runs easy. It would vary on what that meant depending on the day and how I felt. It worked for a while, but then slowly I started to go a little crazy. Running easy is great, but coming from someone who is used to training for something most of the year I missed the challenge and fun of a workout thrown in every now and again.
I did some research, talked with my husband and my Doctor and everything agreed that throwing in some very mild workouts every now and again would be okay. As long as I made sure to focus on keeping my heart rate, breathing, and exertion in check.
I so far have only done my workouts on the treadmill because it is easier to control my pace on there. There are a couple things though that has been a necessity when it comes to doing these small workouts.
Long Warm Up
I usually start the run with at least a 20 minute warm up. This is especially important since I do them so early in the morning, but I make sure that my body goes as slow as I need during this warm up and that I am just getting my legs into the run. Sometimes (usually) 20 minutes is enough but I have extended in the past when my bod just wasn’t as ready to start running.
The warm up not only gets you into the run but it can also help avoid injury by running too quickly on cold muscles. This has become even more important for me as my weight has increased.
Short “Pick Up” Intervals
I have not done a true workout during pregnancy, and I don’t plan too because I don’t want to stress or over work my body. However; the workouts I have been doing include short pick-ups. This means that for a designated amount of time I will increase the pace and then take it back down.
An example: 20 minute warm up, 10 x 1 minute pick-ups (9:00-8:00), 2 minute recovery between each, and a 10 minute cool down.
The pickups start out around a 9:00 minute pace or whatever my body can do that day. I start slow and then see how my body responds. I slowly work them down if I am feeling okay. I have had days I feel great and other days where I keep them slower because I can tell that is what my body needs.
What I love about these mini-workouts is that they let me feel like I am doing something besides just running easy, remind my legs how to move a little quicker, and make the time on the treadmill pass by much quicker.
If I ever feel that my body cannot handle a workout I don’t do it. The max a week I do these is about 2 but that is not a number that is set in stone.
As runners, strength work is always important but during pregnancy I have found it is even more so. As my body gets heavier it is taking more of a beating during workouts and runs in general. Strengthening my lower and upper body is helping this.
It will also help out further down the road during delivery (hopefully) and after the little one arrives.
No Pace Requirements
The important thing for me is that no matter if I’m doing pick-ups or I’m just running easy there is never any pace requirements. I do whatever my body can do that day. I wear my Garmin on most days but I don’t even look at the pace, just let it alert me when I’ve reached the mile markers.
Pace should not matter during pregnancy. The only real purpose of these mini workouts is to remind my legs how to run a bit quicker.
Just to show you: my pick-up pace is now what my easy pace used to be. That’s okay! I know that one day it is going to take some work to get back, but for now I’m just happy that my body is still allowing me to run!
It is important to remember that adding these types of workouts in may not be the best or everyone. Just like running during pregnancy is a very personal decision, it will vary by person and pregnancy. I wanted to share my experience during this time.
I consulted with my doctor and did as much research as I could before making my decision. It’s helped to put back a little excitement in my running, but I know at any point during the next 14.5 weeks this may change and I’m OK with that.
I’m just enjoying what I can while I can.