Saturday, August 16, 2014

Running for Two- 5 Simple Tips

I began my journey into running while I was pregnant with our son Jacob. I waited until the second trimester to begin my moderate exercise. I figured I could power walk a mile, so why not? I didn't realize that first mile was going to be the first of many!

I have been asked how can I run while pregnant. Well without trying to be sarcastic, I run the same as I did not being pregnant. The weight gradually comes on as I progress into my pregnancy, so my body gets used to that extra pound or two here and there. It's not 30 extra pounds all at once. And no, my belly doesn't plop up and down as I run, as a friend asked me the other day. :) However, only one of my running shirts is long enough to cover my belly. So I have an undershirt I wear that is long enough and helps keep it all in and allows me to wear the rest of my shirts! I don't wear a belly band while running because the undershirt does the trick for me. I would recommend the belly band if needed! Just some free advice for those wondering.

My objective while running for two is not to work on speed or run a marathon. It's to simply keep myself and the baby healthy in preparation for delivery (and then train for a marathon!). Although I may have been trying to work on speed earlier in the pregnancy, it's not a good idea now. Now I just read about fast runners and how to improve my time for after I give birth. 

A few simple tips for Running For Two:

1) First and foremost, listen to your body!
      I must admit this has been a humbling experience for me. As I have had to cut back on my miles and slow my pace down quite a bit. I don't like feeling like I "can't" do something. But I know it's what's best for me and the baby. I went through a period of time when I would limp with a sore leg from my runs. My sweet husband laughed at me as I would try to walk normal. A lot of stretching before and after my runs helped fix this issue. But let me tell you, it was awful! I would start off my run limping but get in a stride and be fine. But then afterwards I could barely walk. I took a few days off, and would stretch a lot and make sure I was taking my vitamins. I added Calcium and Magnesium supplements into my daily intake and made sure to eat enough iron as I was low on that also.

   I now take small walk breaks when I need to during my runs. If I push myself to run the whole thing or go further when my body is tired, I exert all my energy for the day and am useless to the world. I decided that having a great run wasn't worth losing all my energy for the day. So I settle for a good run and conserve my energy for the rest of the day. I say all that to say, listen to your body! The time will soon come when you can push yourself to great limits if that is your hearts desire!

2) Stay hydrated. 

    I always always always carry water with me on my runs. I have two fuel belts and one water back pack that I love! Water is crucial if you're going to be outside in the heat and doing distance. Even if it's just a mile or two I still bring a small water bottle with me. And of course as an active pregnant woman, you need more water.

3) Make sure you are getting the proper nutrients you need and stretch. 

     Along with my prenatal, I take a multi vitamin and calcium with magnesium vitamin to help replenish what baby is taking from me. Also your blood work will tell you if you are low in an area. For me my iron was low, so I've been eating more iron enriched foods. Your body goes through quite the change throughout your pregnancy. I had problems with my legs when I have never had any problems while running. So take it a day at a time and make sure you are getting the proper nutrients and stretching to avoid injury.

4) Make sure you have good shoes!

    If your shoes or worn out then you'll soon be punishing your whole body. It's important that you have the proper shoes especially when doing distance. It's worth the extra $50-$75 to buy a new pair of shoes that will keep you going for the next 400 miles then replace them again. It's recommended to replace your shoes every 300-500 miles. For me that's about every 3-4 months. Again if you do shorter distance, your shoes will last longer. Just keep track of your miles and the condition of your shoes...speaking of which I could really use a new pair!

5) Lastly, enjoy the run and make sure there's a bathroom close by! 

    I've learned to just enjoy my runs these past few weeks. Sure I may be going slow, but I'm still going! I've turned off my pace on my Nike+ app so now I don't get sad when I hear how slow I'm going. I just run and enjoy the great outdoors. Do what your body will allow you to do and enjoy it! Soon I will be pushing myself to do speed workouts and distance, and cross training. So for now, I will enjoy the easy run!

While in the 6th month of this pregnancy, I wasn't sure if I would be able to keep up my running. I was determined to run the entire pregnancy but I was having signs of early labor. After my runs, I would get Braxton Hicks that wouldn't go away. So I slowed it down and took it easy. It's so important that you listen to your body.

The Braxton Hicks went away after a couple of weeks and I resumed my normal workout routine. At times during my runs, I would think how will I make it to the end of my pregnancy and still run?! But I would tell myself just to get through that run. Get to the end of that week. I look forward to my Saturday runs because that marks the beginning of a new pregnancy week for me. Last week, I entered my last and final month and did so buy finishing a 9 mile run. And now I'm in my 37th week of pregnancy with just 3 weeks left! The finish line is so close! I actually feel great this last month compared to a lot of my other months. Let's hope it continues!

Running just 1-2 miles a day with my last pregnancy really helped with labor and delivery. My entire labor was about 6 hours long. It went really quickly and smoothly- praise the Lord for that! I had a med free, pain free natural child birth. I'm praying for the same with this little princess. I will keep you posted on the outcome of this labor and delivery when the time comes! And I realize, everyone is different, every pregnancy is different and every labor and delivery is different. And I can't guarantee the same results for you as exercising had with me. But allow me to encourage you to not allow pregnancy to be an excuse to not exercise. Rather let it be a strong motivation to start or continue! Do it for that sweet little babe growing inside of you! You won't regret it!

Here are a few other perks for running while pregnant!

1) You never have to guess which direction to go because your belly button will always point you in the right direction. 

2) Whenever an older person or any human passes you, just grab your belly and pretend you're in labor but then walk it off and give them the ole' head nod as they run by. 

3) That sudden urge to go potty is a great excuse to stop and visit friends and family along the way. And don't forget to always carry tissue just in case nature calls before you reach your friends house. 

4) Talk to your baby along the way. Sure they may think your crazy talking to yourself, but your baby will remember these times. So go ahead, cherish these moments. 

Until Next Time! Happy Trails!

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