A running chick with a bump – Pregnancy and Running

Running and Pregnancy  – You can read lots online but what better than the real life experience of our instructor Aoife. She has a great blog and will continue to add to it in the coming weeks and months. Here is her story so far…

Can I still run ?

In January when I first discovered I was pregnant aside from all of the normal pregnancy related stuff I had one very important question to ask, ‘Can I still run‘? Not normally the first question I’m sure the GP gets. Ok so it wasn’t my first question but it was up there. Hopefully nowadays knowing that running doesn’t cause your Uterus to fall out this is more and more common. Thankfully my GP approved, had there been any hint of a no I would have gotten a second official opinion as I knew it had been done in the past. If the second opinion was the same, I was probably going to think about it. Please don’t judge me, I needed to keep exercising.

Don’t start anything new..

What she did tell me is, only you can tell how long you can run for. As I had been at a good level of fitness to start off with there should be no reason for me not to exercise. Yes I had to slow down, yes I had to reduce my distance and yes I had to agree not to take up anything new. This is standard procedure  – Do not start anything new (bar pre natal yoga and swimming). So it started, the hardest part was making excuses for me getting slower (which I think was more psychological than physical). There were a few ‘niggles and injury concerns’ bashed about here and there but I made it to 12 weeks, had my first scan and everything was going brilliantly. I was finally able to tell people. So many were so supportive of me when I said I was running, alot doubted that it was a good idea but soon came around. I’m sure some still think I’m mad.

This could be my last run

With every run I started out on I told myself this could be your last. I vowed that if at any stage I felt anything unusual about running while pregnant I would stop immediately and If I had any ill effects noticed during hospital scans or doctors appointments I would stop there and then. But luckily as the weeks went on everything continued to go well. I was getting exercise, I was teaching classes 2 nights a week for 2 hours a night most weeks (these finished at 22 weeks), I was completing Parkrun’s up until 25 weeks, and at 26 weeks I ran the 5 mile in the park as part of the Dublin Marathon Race series, crossing the finish line in the lashing rain but truly delighted with myself.

Cutting back on the running..

I was in a very lucky position that I had very few if any pregnancy symptoms, aside from the exhaustion, which I totally have amnesia about now, I look back with only fond memories of the first few months. Having cycled in the past, I transitioned onto my bike in and around 24 weeks for most weekends so that I could exercise for a bit longer with less impact and pressure on my pelvic floor and just to be a bit more comfortable. Knowing there was less impact and I could get a bit further. I was very cautious about where I cycled. I only cycled in the phoenix park on designated cycle paths, while my husband ran beside me. The only issue with cycling is balance (during pregnancy your balance is different) and the potential of falling off, but I have a good bit of experience on the bike so that helped me. Again I was not taking up anything new.

The final run …

At 29 weeks I started my cycle in the park with my husband and decided I wanted to try a run, I think I had a feeling it was going to be my last and I for some reason wanted to go out knowing it was my last. So I cycled back to the visitor centre where I knew a group were meeting at 9, popped my bike in the car and off we went. I started out with them and realized very early on that my pace was slowing quickly. I dropped back from the group and enjoyed the scenery. I had a short loop mapped with them and ended up taking 2 short cuts, I still felt good but coming on to 5k I started to feel pains / cramps in my abdomen, like I promised myself I stopped dead and walked the rest of the way back to the coffee shop where we all met back for coffee and cakes. I had no idea what the pains were, they could have been a stitch and had I not been pregnant I may have continued. But I had promised if there was any uncertainty that was it. Besides I knew I had gotten very far, I made it to 29 weeks running, I had hopefully 11 weeks of pregnancy left plus recovery afterwards and I know I will run again after. Not only that, I had so many other options, I can still cycle a couple of km every week, I have my prenatal yoga, and there is always walking to get me out and about. Oh and then there is some rest too. I’m sure my body could use it.

Writing it all down….

So now that I have a bit more time on my hands I am finally filling in the gaps in my pregnancy running blog.  I’m sure this ‘free time’ will be gone once baby arrives!
Check out Aoifes Blog Here.
All us running chicks wish Aoife all the very best in the coming months….