Thursday, 24 March 2016

Five tips for running during pregnancy

1. Go slower and don't get too hot - now is not PB time
Kind of obvious really though I couldn't have run faster if I tried I was so breathless. Seeing as I now have to sit down after walking up one flight of stairs, I'm definitely not going to win any prizes for speed. I also didn't feel much like running at all during the first trimester due to morning sickness so when I started again my general level of fitness was lower anyway.

Not overheating is particularly important in the first trimester as the baby's organs are growing and you are not as good at regulating your own temperature, but makes sense throughout the pregnancy. If you are too hot, your baby may be too hot too.

2. Revamp your clothing
You'll definitely need a change of bra. You may even need a change of trainers into the third trimester as your feet will have expanded with the increase in blood flow and relaxing of ligaments. Swollen ankles anyone? You will also need some maternity leggings (there are surprisingly little choices out there unfortunately) and some baggier tops as you get larger. I knew my extra large London Marathon t-shirt would come in use one day! You can also buy supports for your bump and back, though I never really found these particularly helpful or comfortable.

3. Combine your running with a targeted strength and core workout
The biggies to concentrate on are your core and pelvic floor muscles. I found the best core exercises to concentrate on were planks and supermans (kneel on all fours and slowly move one arm and opposite leg straight out) in the earlier stages of pregnancy. As you get heavier and into the third trimester these exercise may be too much strain on your lower back, so I would then swap to standing single leg lifts with weighted pulldowns or these. I would avoid straight forward sit ups due to the possibility of diastasis recti (a gap between your abdominal muscles).

There are a variety of pelvic floor exercises you can do. I found the most helpful to be these. One of the (many) benefits of being a runner is that you will probably be more inclined to do these exercises as it will mean you can get back to running postpartum quicker.

I also liked doing squats and lunges to help strengthen my legs. There are many strength workouts out there for pregnancy if you google them. I'll post about mine soon.

4. Listen to your body
Yes running with a bump will feel different. Your sense of gravity will be slightly askew. Plus you will feel a little odd running with what feels like a bowling ball stuffed up your jumper. I liken it to training for marathon des sables but carrying your weighted backpack on your front. Your ligaments will also be more flexible meaning it is more likely you may strain something. I found my pelvic ligaments got a bit sore in my third trimester of running and my braxton hicks would increase. When this happened I would walk for a while before resuming my jog. If it feels like a bad pain stop. Listen to your intuition.

5. Be zen and be proud
It's frustrating not being able to enter all these races and go for pbs, scrolling through twitter getting envious at all the fun stuff that other people are able to do. But be zen about it. It's such a tiny part of your life and is a good opportunity to practice some mindfulness thoughts about it all. If you were injured, it would be worse - you couldn't run at all. Accept that this is what your body can do at this particular point in your life and be happy about that. Your baby is the youngest runner out there bouncing along with you! So be proud to be a pregnant runner. There aren't many of us out there. I do struggle a little (ok a lot) with feeling self conscious about running when pregnant. There are still a few folk out there who think women should not be exercising when pregnant, so I like to think I'm helping to change this mindset.

No comments:

Post a Comment