Friday, September 13, 2013

Running while pregnant

I have decided to continue to run during my pregnancy.

Wait…did she just say those words? Yes, yes I did.
I have made the conscious decision to continue running during my pregnancy for a few reasons. First being fitness, second being that I had a half marathon over Labor Day weekend that I was training for, and third, for peace of mind. I find I get one of two reactions from people when I tell them that I’m still running during my pregnancy:

“WOW! Good for you! That’s wonderful you’re still doing that!” and

“WHAT?!? Are you crazy? There is no way I would continue to run if I got pregnant! Is it even safe?”

Sometimes there are days where I feel a bit like each of those reactions. One day I’ll be rejoicing in my run and proud that I’m out there pounding the pavement, then there are days that I feel like I’m crazy for wanting to get out there and putting my body through those rigors.

Regardless of how I feel one day, undoubtedly I will feel differently about it the next day, which is why I have continued to run. The perspective running during pregnancy has given me has been a valuable lesson and one I never would have learned unless I had laced up my shoes and gone running. I’ve been taught (harshly in some ways) about how different your body reacts to running when you have a little one growing inside of you. Your body reacts to situations in ways you never would have predicted and you have to be ready for anything to happen (kinda like have a child, right?).
So I would like to share some things I have learned as a newer runner (been running two years) and first pregnancy/first time mommy-to-be that I haven’t seen talked about much online.
I’ve personally had issues with stamina. The baby has been very good at stealing that from me from the very get go. When I first learned I was pregnant, my running didn’t feel like it had changed at all. I could still run the distances and there were no issues. Then as the weeks went on, it became tougher to stick to the longer distances and my time started to slow down. I noticed this especially with my longer distances, especially during my half marathon in June, I crapped out around mile 10.

I’m going to give you a bit of a TMI warning here…so don’t say I didn’t warn you. But almost from the beginning my nipples HURT when I run. It’s not immediate and it kinda comes on quickly, but before I know it, 4 miles into the run it feels like my nipples are being pulled out with pliers! Just aching, sharp, stabbing pain. It doesn’t matter what kind of bra I wear or how much Vaseline and band aids I put on them, they always hurt. I have found that I can mitigate the pain a bit by walking for a while and letting them "rest" a bit. Then usually after a mile or two I can get back to my running and they are usually good after that. So strange, but something I've been battling from the beginning and I've NEVER had nipple issues before I got pregnant.
I have had the HARDEST time finding maternity workout clothes. I mean, let me rephrase that, I have had the HARDEST time finding maternity workout clothes that don’t cost so much you need to take a second mortgage out on your house. I mean, come on, a running shirt or pants should not be $60+ when all that is different is there is a little extra fabric around the mid-section. It is SO frustrating how maternity items are considered “specialty” clothes and therefore must cost an arm and a leg. The woman is having a tough enough time trying to find clothes that fit already AND spending an arm and a leg on medical bills and such that clothes shouldn’t have to be such a huge cost stress. It’s unfortunate and a rip-off.

Energy is always a tough thing to battle when you’re pregnant. I’ve actually been quite lucky in that my energy levels have been quite steady and I’ve been able to get my runs in and still make it through a full work day. I try and run in the morning so I am able to tap my energy reserves that I accumulated overnight. Also, with the heat that this summer punched, running in the morning was the only viable option as running in 80+ degrees and humidity (yes, Seattle was humid this year) in the afternoon was non-negotiable.
Me at 15 weeks
Lastly, I feel like I’m taking my baby on a journey with me. Running is my peaceful time to mull over issues in my head, to work things out and to get clarity. Sometimes it is a time to not think at all. So this time alone with the baby is a bonding time for me. Though I’m sure the baby is feeling a bit seasick with all the bouncing around it’s doing in there from the miles of pavement I’m pounding during this “bonding time”. I’m sure the baby will repay me soon by giving swift kicks to my bladder for these bonding runs, but I don’t mind. I’m sharing something that is very personal and sacred to me and hope that when the baby grows up and sees me running, they may want to join me or even just be proud of their mama and her commitment to health.


  1. Lovely post! My husband and I recently started "trying" and I am a long distance runner so this was great insight!

    1. Thanks Jewell and good luck! I'm glad it was insightful for you. I'll be posting more as my pregnancy progresses so I hope you find that helpful as well.

  2. I love that you've decided to continue to run while pregnant. I feel like a lot of people view pregnancy as this life-halting thing where you can't do any kind of physical activity. Kudos for defying that! While a baby isn't anywhere in my close future, my hope is that I'll continue to run while pregnant as well. :)
    Maternity pricing reminds me of wedding pricing- you get about the same thing, but the price raises exponentially. :/

  3. Hey I nominated you for a Liebster Award! Details here -->>

  4. Hey!! I googled pregnancy running and nipples! Your article came up!! I'm having the same issue!! Issue I've never had before! Was wondering if I had the wrong bra, or it was too cold outside!did the plasters help at all? Thanks.karen