Pregnancy and Running

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Pregnancy and Running

As I’m sat here typing away I’m 17 weeks and 2 days pregnant. Where the hell has time gone? January seems so far gone. I was extremely open at the beginning of the year telling friends and family members that we were trying for a baby. We had said we wanted to get married and have a property before we would try for children.  So it was no more excuses.

Anyone that knows me will know that I like to be a perfectionist and it’s either 100% or nothing at all. So when baby-making came around my poor husband was under a baby making military program.  The word ovulation would come out of my mouth about 20 times a day…. No wonder his stress reaction came back at the end of January!!

For us, we were extremely fortunate and conceived very quickly finding out at 4 weeks. 4 pregnancy tests later, and another one at 5 weeks confirmed to we were expecting. I didn’t expect to conceive so quickly, I had been on the pill for nearly 10 years, with no break, and with previous issues, I wasn’t sure whether my cycle would be regular.  My last pill was July 2017; I wanted to give my body around 6 months to readjust. I was lucky that after my first pill free month my menstrual cycle was flowing. This continued up until January before conceiving.

I was very conscious that I wanted to start off at a healthy weight before trying to conceive I was hovering around 48-49kg throughout the summer leading into trying. I wanted to continue training with a normal running routine roughly around 50-60 miles a week; I gave up competing at the start of 2017. I love running but the competition side was no longer stimulating me, instead, I was becoming frustrated with the lack of progress. Running for me is part of my daily routine, I don’t enjoy competing, but I still enjoy working my heart and lungs, and feeling like I’m pushing my body to the limit.

Whilst, trying to get pregnant I was mindful of not pushing my body as hard, but part of me was like we could be trying for a long time and I want to continue running the number of miles I had been, but just decrease the intensity slightly.

Once, I found out mid-February that I was pregnant I immediately went into panic mode, questioning what I had done the previous 2 weeks and whether it had been too hard. I fired up my computer and started to Google female distance runners and pregnancy to see what articles I could find about training early stage and pregnancy. After, a bit of researching I took a step back and thought to myself some runners didn’t have this baby military plan, and they will train and be pushing their body hard without even knowing that they’re pregnant so early on.

So I started to approach training with a different attitude I wouldn’t have a set program I would run to feel. I started to use a heart rate monitor a bit later on in trimester 1 to monitor my levels. From week 4 to week 9 I felt good, to be honest, I didn’t feel any different to how I would if I was not pregnant. Some runs I was able to run 6.40-7 min miles, and other days I would run 7 minutes to 7.30-minute miles. There was one day towards to end of week 9 where I felt dreadful. I felt really sluggish and I remember being on the phone with my mum whilst running (I often call my mum on my easy days!) and her response was ‘Tash are you ok’. I felt like I needed an oxygen tank, my breathing was all over the place and my legs wouldn’t move. Thankfully, I have only experienced this once. I’m unsure if I was dehydrated or whether it was just one of those days.

From week 9 to 12 I certainly felt like my body was slowing down. Runs were becoming a bit more difficult and the pace was slowing. During, the first trimester I tried to run around 40 miles a week, I wanted to include a longer Sunday run which was 70/80 minutes. Again, this was done at a slower pace, before being pregnant I would run around Swinley forest covering 13 miles in around 1hr 28/32 depending on how fresh or un-fresh I felt. At this point, I was covering 10 miles in around 76 minutes averaging 7.33 pace.

I also started to introduce some cross-training on the days where I didn’t feel like running. The few snow days in March I opted to cross train instead of running on the treadmill. I’m absolutely horrific at treadmill running.  I look like a newborn deer trying to walk.

None of the running I did during week 4 to 12 was faster than 6.40 mining and I hadn’t hit that since weeks 6 or 7. Originally I thought I might try and do some tempo running in the early stages of trimester 1, but I decided I didn’t want to do any intervals or tempo running until I had the all-clear from our first scan at 12 weeks.

Looking back at trimester 1 I was lucky enough to have a really positive experience. I was able to train most days, I had a few days where I didn’t feel great, but overall it was easier then I had anticipated. During this period I hadn’t developed any cravings, my weight had increased by around 2kg so I was sitting around 50kg. The only two negative issues are that I had developed pregnancy insomnia so most nights I had only slept for 4/5 hours, and I picked up a stomach bug which lingered for a few more days then one would expect.

I’m now 4 weeks into trimester 2. I have put another 2kg and my stomach is definitely expanding. My running clothes are becoming tighter, I’m still able to wear the short shorts (just about) and my sports bras are hanging on. This has been one perk to pregnancy I have been upgraded from bee stings to something of boobs!! My body is certainly experiencing some changes, over the past two weeks my inner thigh and back have started to become a bit niggly. I’m putting this down to the relaxin hormone and the biomechanical changes causing the start of kyphosis.

Insomnia comes and goes the new phase is waking up at 4.30am and being restless until my alarm goes off! I suppose this is all good preparation for baby Vernon!

As I mentioned above I have been using a heart monitor on all of my runs, I have found this extremely helpful. My heart rate has started to come down on my runs; I’m certainly not getting any fitter!  This is common that the heart rate rises in trimester 1 and starts to stabilise in trimester 2.

My aim in Trimester 2 is to keep moving I’m reducing the Sunday runs slightly and the overall mileage but I have started to introduce a few intervals just for sanity! My paces have dropped I’m now running 7.35-8 minute pace for easy runs.

Last Saturday I changed things up I was getting bored of just running so I was like time to introduce a few intervals. Bread and butter 3 min reps, 2 mins and 1 min reps. They were all controlled watching my heart rate zones. The paces varied between 6.30 down to 5.50’s for the 1 minute. I use to do 4/5 mile tempo’s around 5.50/6 minute pace, but I just count my lucky stars that I’m able to put one foot in front of the other and enjoy running. I came out of last Saturday absolutely buzzing. I felt like a runner again!

Today, I also did 1 minute on/1 minute off for 15 minutes. Today’s pace was 6.30’s for the faster reps and for the slower 1 minutes just quicker than a walk!

One noticeable change in trimester 2, especially in the past 10 days or so, is the amount of pressure that my uterus/baby (I’m unsure which one is to blame) is placing on my bladder. I feel like I have no dignity whilst running. When I need to pee I need to pee. This is becoming a bit problematic when there is no loos in the forest.

The way I would describe running through pregnancy is like coming back from an injury you’re really an enthusiast, but instead of getting fitter each run and seeing progression week on week, you’re getting slower and un-fit week upon week.

I haven’t discussed nutrition too much on this blog but here is a small oversight of what I have been doing. 3 months prior to trying I started taking folic acid, and since finding out that I’m pregnant I have taken the recommended pregnancy care. I’m not a fan of supplements as I feel like unless you have an issue absorbing iron etc. you should be able to get all the nutrients you require from a healthy balanced diet.  When the midwife told me my iron was 132 I was shocked! Look’s like spinach twice a day works!!

The recommended amount of additional calories during t2 and t3 is around 200 calories. I haven’t become hooked up on counting how many calories I’m consuming each day. I just make sure I have three meals, and two snacks, and if I’m hungry I will eat something else. I have had no cravings and I haven’t gone off any food. I’m not using the mentality eating for two and with the reduced training load, I feel like I’m going to the fridge less often. My weight gain has been around 3.5kg, which is roughly 7.7lbs. For my height, I should have gained roughly 4-5lbs during Trimester 1, and 1lb weight gain from 13 up until giving birth so I’m around the recommended target.

So what’s next?

I hope to continue with fitness throughout the pregnancy. I’m under no illusion that I will have to stop running at some point and replace running with swimming, the cross trainer or the bike. I refuse to aqua jog, I’m no longer taking running seriously, I’m not saying post baby I’ll never compete again, but aqua jogging can stay for the pros!

Until next time…..


By | 2018-05-16T21:09:27+00:00 May 16th, 2018|Uncategorized|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Nigel case May 16, 2018 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    Really enjoyed reading this tash,very intresting

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