Running during pregnancy (with riding pictures)
|July 22, 2015||Posted by Melinda under Mel's Life, Pregnancy, Uncategorized|
I went riding with a friend on Saturday.
Saturday’s mission was a calm, positive ride on Michele’s new mule (a Molly named Crystal) that may eventually do endurance if the mule enjoys it.
It was a good, boring ride so there’s not much to tell. So instead, you get to enjoy pretty pictures of Farley ears and trail moments while we talk about something else – things I’ve learned *running while pregnant.
*why not riding? Because riding pregnant has proven for me to be far easier then running. In fact, when in the saddle I feel remarkable un-pregnant until I speed up a hill and the front of saddle bumps my stomach. I usually learn better life lessons when things aren’t going well. Hence my take-away from riding pregnant is “try really really really hard to not fall off because then they will make you stop riding”, while running has proven to be a well of lessons.
Over the years I’ve run for a lot of different reasons – to be thinner, to feel good about myself, to prove to others that I can, to quiet the demons in my head, to be in control. We could argue the validity of all these reasons, but the truth is after more then 15 years of running there only remains one big answer to WHY I run – even when it’s hard, sucks, and is highly inconvenient.
Because it makes me happy.
Pregnancy is relatively short. I mean, it’s long and takes forever when you hate it, but sorta like when they try to explain how long humans have been on the earth in terms of all the natural history shoved into an hour and we are in a fraction of a second near the 0:59 mark, the 10 or 11 months of pregnancy and immediately post partum are just a blink of an eye in terms of my life.
So, now I TOTALLY get it now those people who said that for their pregnancy, or part of their pregnancy “Screw running through this”. I can even see why for some people this would apply to the first year or two of their child’s life too.
So why in the third trimester am I still running?
I’m really uncomfortable when people try to tell me “how incredible” it is. Or credit me with being “super mom”. I don’t want people to think this has anything to do with my image. Or that I’m out to prove something. I promise you that I’m not.
I’m not even doing it for my health (I really don’t think it would take that much of a hit if I stopped running for 10 months. Done it before when I was injured or burned out), or my child’s health, or “to prepare for labor”.
I haven’t gotten much of a runner’s high since I got pregnant so it’s not the endorphins. I don’t feel sexy, or strong, or in control either. There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING easy or effortless about running close to 30 weeks pregnant. I’m simply doing it because running makes me incredibly happy and content. It’s the best reason I’ve ever had to run.
If I was giving advice to other pregnant runners (which I’m not, being perfectly average and not having any real depth of knowledge about anything beyond what’s going on in my brain on this subject), here’s what I would say.
1. Run or don’t run. Either one of those choices is a fine choice. Pregnancy is short enough it won’t really matter one way or the other. Pregnancy is long enough that holding onto something that brings you joy can greatly enrich your life.
2. Give yourself more opportunities to run. Before, I set out for a run 3-4 days a week. Most of the time the run went well, sometimes it sucked but those were few and far between and usually predictable. It’s much more variable now. I have no idea on any given day whether running will put a smile on my face, and which “runs” will be complete miserable slog-fests. My solution is to go on a long walk around my normal running loop every day. And I always wear my running clothes. Some days I run, some days I walk, and some times I plan on walking but spontaneously start jogging without realizing it! (which happened today, even though I was in yoga pants and unshoe sandals which is sorta borderline, but once I started I could tell it was a “good” day and I couldn’t stop!) I still run about 3-4 days a week, but I no longer schedule runs.
3. Don’t give up. There’s been a couple of runs in second trimester where I was felt like a bloated tick death shuffling across the wilderness, and I would think “that’s it! that was my last run! It’s just not going to happen, I’m walking from here on out I guess“. But then I’d go on my daily walk and try again and running would feel good. Don’t try to guess the future, of whether your last run will be today, tomorrow, at week 30, or never. Just take it a day at a time.
4. Try something new. Regular cross training just isn’t my forte. Walking and hiking are directly related to running for me, so it’s been pretty easy to incorporate both of those on a regular basis. Swimming laps? Made it out to the pool once. Weight training? Does it count that I’ve thought about it several times? Yoga? BORING. Pilates? Better but I’m tired of my at home routines and if I get on the floor then I have to acknowledge it’s been months since I vacuumed, which is distracting. It wasn’t until I tried Pool Running (aqua jogging?) that I *finally* found something that is really really REALLY close to the enjoyment I get out of running. My friend as a pool that is perfect: 4 feet around the perimeter and 8 feet in the middle (I’m short) – and I do drills and laps, and then interval sprints in the deep water. I’m totally sold on it. I was able to interval sprints without any discomfort (my musculoskeletal limits me on land runs right now, not my cardiorespiratory), my muscles were actually sore the next day (woot!!!!) and I think it’s going to be a GREAT tool in the future if I get injured and I need to rehab, or want to run on a day that I don’t want the impact.
5. Sometimes the thing doesn’t work that you think should, even though it’s all very logical. The end of second trimester I bought a maternity belt. I had a couple of sucky runs in a row and there were other pregger blogger runners that used it and swore by it, Paula Radcliffe had used it, and a local friend had said it made riding way more comfortable for her. So I got one convinced it was the “thing” to make running comfortable for longer. Maybe I’m just not far enough along but so far I am more comfortable running, standing, walking, working without it then with (even in third trimester at 25 additional pounds). I thought I would like the support, but it seems to make everything cramp and stretch MORE. Today on my spontaneous awesome run, I wasn’t wearing it – which is the first time in a couple of weeks since if my intention is to run I wear it. In fact, I started running a few steps just to see what it felt to run without it and it was so good I kept going. Maybe a coincidence? Maybe not? Short cuts/miracles/devices aren’t bad and maybe if my back starts to hurt I’ll be really happy to have it in a couple of weeks, but for now I’m putting it in the category of “didn’t work/might work later” even though I still feel like it “should” work.