I still can’t believe I am starting an entire series on running while pregnant. I’m really happy about it now, but as many of my followers know, this was not the plan. I enjoyed having my daughter and my stepson. It was very manageable and while they have their moments, they’re low maintenance.
And then one day, my Garmin notified me that my resting heart rate jumped by ten…
Yes, my VivoActive HR suddenly jumped from 52 to 62 for my resting heart rate. I couldn’t understand why because I wasn’t doing anything different. The next day, I woke up after sleeping for 9.5 hours and drove to my parents. By 9 a.m., I was on my second cup of coffee and wasn’t able to stay awake.
Hmmm…maybe I should just take a test to rule this out.
Took first test. Faint line, but disregarded because I threw it in my bag and didn’t check it for two hours.
Took second test. Faint line, but convinced myself it was defective (no good reason, lol).
Took third test. Faint line, but convinced myself it was just a weird coincidence.
Took fourth test. Bright line. Cried in the shower for an hour because I knew I wasn’t able to hide from it anymore! After the shock wore off, I was excited. But still, sometimes it doesn’t feel real.
One of my first questions for my doctor: Can I still run?
I held my breath, If she said “no,” I probably would have lost my mind. Running keeps me sane even when I’m not pregnant. Thankfully, she cleared me up to 18 miles per week since that’s what I was up to already (not every week, but some weeks).
I assumed I’d run slower simply because that’s what I’ve seen others experience. Before carrying a baby, I was running about 10:50ish. Anything below 10:30 was considered a successful day.
But when I learned about the baby I was growing, I told myself I wasn’t going to stress myself out over anything running related. Not my pace; not my time; not walk breaks – nothing. I even stopped taking my watch with me so that I couldn’t focus on the things about running that always drove me crazy. Thankfully, my activity tracker keeps the time and distance – but not the pace.
So out I went, just me and the bean, on our run. I entered my time into FitSnap only to discover I ran below a 10 minute pace. Then below a 9:30 pace. Then below a 9:10 pace. And then, below a 9 minute pace, which I haven’t seen before on a run longer than one mile.
I assumed I’d get slower, but actually…I got faster. I don’t know how long it will last, but I am totally enjoying it. Here are my initial tips:
Shut Off The Mental Crap
I forced myself to shut it off because I am trying to do what’s best for the little life I am carrying. Stress is bad for the baby. This is what people mean when they say our sport is a mental sport: your mind can cause you to win just like your mind can cause you to lose. I was so obsessed with my pace that I essentially drove myself into the ground and wasn’t getting faster. Your mind determines your fate in our sport. Natural ability determines a bit; physical training determines a decent portion, but your mind determines most of your fate.
Hydrate and Eat
This is good advice whether you’re pregnant or not, but even more so when you are. You have to drink, and you have to eat. My rule for myself is that if I cannot commit to drinking at least 60 oz of water on days I run, and commit to eating three servings of good protein and carbs, I don’t get to run. I point blank don’t let myself.
Find a hydration solution that works for you. Honestly, I’ve dropped the belts and the bands and the whatever-else-there-is and just carry a water bottle. I want to make sure I have at least 12 oz with me since I never know how things will go. Better for me to be over-prepared, and I don’t really mind running with things in my hands. Belts will surely get challenging after the first trimester, anyway!
Give Yourself Permission to Break When You Need It
I run 2-3 days a week right now. I’d like to run 4, but let me tell you that the struggle is real with the fatigue. It’s all I can do to stay away some days even after I sleep for 9 hours. 2-3 days a week of running plus some swimming or walking an additional 1-2 days is perfect for me and the tiny one. I feel accomplished and refreshed, but I’m not over-doing it.
And as far as being out on the run? I have stopped a few times here and there to drink extra water or take a quick breather for a few seconds. You have to listen to your body.
I’m excited to see where the rest of this journey goes and how my pace pans out the farther along I get!
Peace, Running, and Unexpected Surprises –
XOXO – Court