How we approach fitness and sports during pregnancy has changed so much in the last few years. Just take a quick look around Instagram at the hashtag #fitandpregnant and you’ll see moms doing all sorts of sporty stuff. And at Kalila, we couldn’t be happier to see all these happy, healthy moms lifting and sweating their way through pregnancy.
As a running fanatic, I’m personally inspired by other runner moms – those who log 1000km over the course of their pregnancy or who finish marathons with a baby bump. So, for those of you (like me) who loved running pre-pregnancy and want to keep training during your 40 weeks, I’ve compiled a few tips to help you keep training and even prepare for a few races along the way.
Consider your pre-pregnancy level
What kind of running where you doing before getting pregnant? Were you an everyday runner or more of a pre-brunch, weekend runner? Trying to increase your speed and mileage during pregnancy is not impossible but probably not the wisest idea if your intent is to go from 5k to half marathon. Unless you’re already close to elite athlete status and have trainers on hand to guide you, I’d recommend staying around the level you were pre-pregnancy and focusing on maintaining your levels while working towards improvement on the days you are feeling particularly strong.
Set an appropriate goal
Whether you’re preparing for a race or just thinking overall about how you’d like to include running in your pregnancy, be smart about it. There’s no point in setting unrealistic goals that you’re not going to be able to meet as you’ll only feel bad about yourself and risk getting injured. Consider your past race times (or past average runs if you don’t race) and think about what is actually possible for your body considering how your pregnancy is going. Are you
expecting twins? Do you have lots of morning sickness? Has your doctor alerted you to any issues? These (and many more) are all questions to ask yours before setting your race goals too high.
How do you feel before, during and after running?
Does going for a run while you’re pregnant feel good? Does it help you improve yo
ur mood or your physical wellbeing? This is where being honest with yourself comes in. Maybe running defined you and made you feel like a million bucks but now it leaves you with aching hips and no energy. Or maybe, it gives you the boost you need to get over that afternoon dip in energy and leaves you feeling super empowered. Either way, you should be paying attention. Hopefully you can keep running in your pregnant life but for some of us, we will come to a point where we have unlace the shoes and find something else to do. It’s hard to give up running, especially if its been a main part of your life for so long, but it’s worth looking being honest about it. Maybe by making some minor adjustments you can improve your post-run feeling. Little things, such as finding a supportive waistband or different shoes can make a real difference. As can eating properly before a run and considering compression socks if your run will be a long one.
Have you completed a race before? If so, what distance?
Jumping from a 10km to a full marathon is quite the challenge, even for non-pregnant folks out there. If you’re considering a race during pregnancy, make it something achievable that won’t push you so far beyond your limits that you risk injuring yourself (or of course, your baby). To do that, look at your past race history and thin
k about what you can possibly do with the training time available. Make it achievable, a little challenging and something that will be fun for you (cause at the end of the day, running and races should be fun!).
Do you have a support team?
Do you have people around you who can help? A supportive doctor or a personal trainer who can guide you on recovery and training techniques? Having a team of people behind you can go a long way. Understand what resources you can access in terms of eating well, training properly and taking care of your body post race as well.
Will you get race approval?
Some races require medical exams and instead of being disappointed on race day, be prepared. Find out what kind of certificates your race needs and get them in order early. You might have a doctor who’s totally against pregnant runners so you’ll need to find someone who can give you unbiased advice on whether you should compete. Get those boxes checked before it’s time to get your race pack.
Listen to your body and be smart
Are you racing for you or are you racing to prove a point? You can do both but do them smartly. I’m a very competitive runner and I love to show how much the human body is capable of but I also know my own limits after years of running setbacks. Pregnancy is some respects is much like any other physical limitation. Just like we can’t ignore shin splints or pulled ligaments, we can’t ignore that pretty awesome baby growing inside. So be respectful and considerate to the both of you when racing: pace yourself accordingly, get your fluids and plan your food beforehand so you’re not running on an empty stomach.