Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Running while pregnant

Thank you so much for all your kind words on my last post! It feels so good to have the secret out!

Running while pregnant has always been something that I hope I could do.  Obviously I had no idea what to expect while being pregnant but I hoped that I could continue to run.  Over the course of this year I had maintained mostly 40 mile weeks with some mid 30 mile weeks thrown in when I got busy with social events.

At the beginning of July I had two weddings on back to back weekends, followed by a bridal shower and a bachelorette party.  That left no weekends in July free for any down time.  My mileage took a bit of a hit and I started to run lower 30 mile weeks. I was trying to get pregnant and wasn't sure if running was causing a problem or not. 

August rolled around and although my social schedule freed up, I didn't really pick up the mileage and just stayed with 30 mile weeks.  I was enjoying it and for the first time in a long time I felt relaxed and almost stress free (if that is possible). The month passed quickly and soon Labor Day was almost here.  I felt normal, I continued to run in the mornings.  I have heard from friends and other bloggers that they have started a run and felt horrible and that was when they knew they were pregnant.  I did not have that.  I really had no idea.

Most mornings when I ran before I got pregnant, I had the dead legs feeling for the first few miles and I would struggle on the hills.  My pace was usually a little slower than any afternoon runs so there was nothing out of the ordinary for me.  I never noticed a change until weeks later but by then I already knew I was pregnant.

I kept running - I listened to my body most days.  Sometimes running in the morning was not even an option because I would wake up too hungry and need to eat. Thankfully I never had any morning sickness or nasuea and was able to continue running as long as I kept my body fueled.  Some days I didn't want to exercise at all but on those days I would make myself go to the gym.  I would tell myself to just walk on the treadmill or run if I felt like it.  Every time I made myself exercise I would feel better.  Of course there were days when I knew I shouldn't exercise and I didn't and just rested.  But on days when I was just having an off day, I would try to run and just manage as many miles as I could.

My weekly mileage since finding out I was pregnant has been 25 miles a week and it has worked well for me.  Most runs in the first 12 weeks were about 3-5 miles and I was able to keep my easy pace and not slow down too much.  Running on the treadmill was so much easier because it was constantly flat.  Hills are just tough for me and I get out of breath really fast.  When I found out I was having twins I knew that exercise was going to be an important part of my pregnancy.  I don't know how long I will be able to run but I know that I want to try and stay active and exercise until the end, even if that means giving up running. 

I still run the hills though.  In the past 2-3 weeks I have finally started to almost back to normal.  This past weekend I ran 8 miles for the first time since August(when I ran 10 miles).  The previous highest mileage was in week 5 when I ran 7.  Most days I don't really set a mileage goal for myself. I try to think of a route I want to run and if I start out and feel good I just keep going until I don't.  Most days it is about 5 miles and then I feel like I am ready to stop.

This past week I also made my return to my running club.  It was good to be back running with people since I have done almost 100% of my runs solo since July/August.  I wasn't sure how I would hold up for an easy speed workout but it actually went really well.  I did 2.5 miles warm up at 8:50 pace then did 2x10 mins at 8:20 and 8:00 pace.  I threw in 2x400m at the end, both at 7:24 pace and really enjoyed those.  But by the end of the second 400m I knew I was done and called it quits with a total of 6 miles.

I am really surprised at what my body capable of while being pregnant.  I am also very thankful that my body is able to run and to feel good while running.  I am just taking it day by day and hoping to feel good for as long as possible.

And now for one little baby bump photo.  This is from before heading to running club on Tuesday night after work.