Friday, June 27, 2014

My Best Tips for Running Pregnant

Since the very beginning of this pregnancy, I KNEW it was going to be another boy.  My feelings were the same, my cravings were the same... I did get bigger quicker, but that was the only difference.  So I decided, that I wanted to do something this pregnancy that would make it special and different than the other 3.  I wanted some original stories for this little guy.  I thought, what the heck, how about I keep my running up as much as I can, get some medals, take some pictures, make this time memorable.

From studying up and mostly trial and error, I have learned some really important things about running pregnant.  There are some tricks that work to help keep me going, keep me from hurting myself and the baby, and helping me to stay healthy and have an easier pregnancy. And it's just fun!  Priceless are the looks people give me when I say, "Yeah, ran a few miles this morning!  Feeling great!" Some just can't get past the belly.  But that's okay!!  This is the healthiest, happiest, and most filling pregnancy I have had... and I owe a lot of it to my determination to keep running!

Here are a few important tips that I have learned, and I want to share with my fellow pregnant or soon-to-be pregnant runners out there.

Don't skimp on GREAT running shoes!  Seriously, with all due respect to Dr. Scholls, his Wal-Mart brand isn't going to cut it.  If you want to run throughout your pregnancy you are going to need some GREAT shoes!!  Now, everyone's body's are different, so I suggest you pop on over to a running specialty store and have them do an evaluation on your running technique so that they can find the perfect fit for you.  I used to be an Asics girl.  Loved them.  But my feet are so wide, my little toe was always getting blistered and fell asleep.  I bought these Altras after wanting a pair for over a year!  I will NEVER wear another brand.  I am totally in love!!!!
Altras -- Intuition 2.0
Super Support Running Bra: Worth it's Weight in Gold!  Within the first month of pregnancy, your breasts are going to swell!  Mine went up a whole cup size and a half before week 6... and they only get bigger as you go.  Invest in a great running bra!  You won't regret it.  There are lots of great brands, but I love my Under Armour one.  If you insist on going cheap, try wearing two together for extra support.

Cotton Socks are a No-Go -- Always.  Not just when you are pregnant. But if you never kicked the cotton sock habit because you don't want to pay the little extra for a nicer pair, NOW is the time to knock it off and invest!  Why? "Because cotton retains moisture and when you have moisture, heat, and friction in a running shoe you are more likely to get blisters, calluses, and hot spots. Also, cotton gets more abrasive when wet, again not good in a running shoe." -SockGeek.com  Ben and I love the Belega brand.

Maternity Running Shirt:  If you don't want your shirt rolling up in an embarrassing way, get one.  I like the ones that gather on the sides that hug around the belly.  Falling out the bottom is just humiliating!
Believe it or not, I found this side-gathered one above at Walmart of all places!

Maternity Running Shorts/ Yoga Pants:  My regular ones roll down... while my non-maternity shirts are rolling up.  I look like this guy:

I found some great ones at the Motherhood in the mall for a great deal.

Support Belt: A Must Have!  If you are planing on running past 15-16 weeks, you are going to want one of these babies! Don't think you are hard core if you don't wear it... if your belly isn't supported in some way, you will have pain... quickly.  And it sucks.  I have bought a few of them, but the Gabrialla Elastic Maternity Belt is my favorite for running!

Stretch Before & After:  I know this is a no brainer.  We are constantly taught to do this anyway, but it is ESPECIALLY imperative to do when pregnant... seriously, you don't want to pull anything especially a groin muscle right now!  And for me, this reduces the chances of leg cramps and sciatic pains later on in the evening.

Warm Up & Cool Down:  Start out walking.  Experts say at least 5 - 10 minutes.  Remember:  You have nothing to prove.  Just getting those running shoes on and starting is pretty amazing!  A nice long warm up and cool down (5-10 as well) will do your body and your baby good!

Keep Hydrated!! Make sure to properly hydrate well BEFORE you run, during your run, and after.  It's more important now than ever!  Especially if you are like me and swell up after working out if not properly watered down.  I have a hydration vest I run with when I am running outside.  In doors, I have a couple water bottles on standby.  Don't gulp it down (you'll get side cramps), just take small sips every half mile or so to keep yourself going.

Try Running on a Track or Treadmill (Bathroom nearby!!) -- It's also easier on your joints AND you can have your water bottle nearby so you don't have to run with water on your person. I have a fan on my treadmill that keeps me cool -- love it!

Don't be afraid of running intervals!  Intervals are fantastic for pregnant women. Especially after the first half of the pregnancy.  Don't let your inability to run like you used to keep you from doing it.  Just take little steps and do what you can.  Walk 2 min, run for 2 min... I think doing the Couch to 5K backwards sounds like a GREAT idea!  Especially after the 20 week mark!  Then at least you are still doing something when you are close to having baby.

It's NOT about Speed!!  Like I said above, you are not out to prove anything to anyone.  Well, except yourself maybe :)  In a good way, of course.  Don't worry about the speed, just do what you can and don't push it.  You aren't going to be speedy!  Your body isn't going to act like it did just a few months ago... you are growing a little person in there and that's hard on a body as it is.  Don't make it harder on yourself by comparing your pre-pregnancy rates with now.  Just don't.  In fact, right now, I run slower than I used to speed walk!  But I am still going strong.
20+ weeks and running strong!
If you hurt, STOP!  Don't be stupid.  If you start to hurt, stop.  Just stop.

Don't let yourself overheat -- If you are outside, make sure you have plenty of water and SUNSCREEN UP!!  Remember, as a pregnant woman, you are going to heat up a lot faster and your skin is more sensitive to the sun!  So, you are going to burn faster as well.  You have a little bun in that oven.  If you start feeling yuck, hot and a little dizzy or nauseous, stop.  Drink some water and get home to a nice cool bath.  And try not to get yourself sunburned... bad idea.

Play it SMART! Always okay running with your doctor first!  And if you weren't running before you were pregnant, don't start now!  Not a good time to start ANY new sport your body isn't used it.  If at ANY time you start to experience any of the following, STOP, and contact your health provider immediately: dizziness, difficulty breathing, contractions, chest pains, bleeding, faintness or muscle weakness.

Dare to be INSPIRING! You may feel like a total dork out there on road with a Camelbak on, sporting a maternity support belt huffing and puffing down the road at a snail speed... but to everyone who sees you, you are inspiring!!  You are saying, "Look at me running for two!! What's your excuse?" No matter your speed, you are hardcore.  You are bad ass.
Pregnant runner Alysia Montano finishes 800m race
Here's to a healthy pregnant body and baby... and to an easy delivery and recovery!

Happy Running!

-Cat

What are you best running tips while pregnant?

1 comment:

Lydia @ This Marine Wife said...

Totally did the two bras for support and STILL do! lol! The boobs are still pretty massive, so I'm sure i'll be doing that for a while. I keep telling myself to get a good, supportive sports bra, and then I forget or find something else that I need more.