So here I am at the end of pregnancy, looking back at how it’s gone. I’m happy with the level of fitness I’ve kept up, but one thing that disappointed me was how early I had to stop running.
I didn’t run with my first pregnancy, so I had no idea what to expect this time. But I kept running three times a week or so, until about mid-way through the second trimester when I got a mysterious heel pain.
It was plantar fasciitis…eventually in both feet. I’ve never had it before, and the podiatrist explained that the loosening ligaments in my feet from pregnancy, plus running with the 20 pounds of extra weight was the reason. I rested, iced and stretched and tried to run again and…it just wouldn’t go away. His advice: stop running now, rather than risk a worse tear in my foot that might even outlast the pregnancy and affect my running after the baby.
As much as I wanted to keep running then, I wanted to be injury-free to run after the baby more.
Not running was depressing. I went through the cranky withdrawals, but after a few weeks, I did get over it. Mostly. I still miss running and I will always love it. Just the psychological benefits, the feeling of being outside, the endorphins, the habit…I’ll never not miss it, even if I never ran another step (not gonna happen!)
But even when I was running through the early part of my pregnancy, I missed really pushing myself. I like speed work. I like sprinting on the track, doing fast miles on the treadmill. I like seeing how fast I can be (for me, which is not really very fast at all!). I stopped wearing my Garmin sometimes, since I’d be working really hard and feeling exhausted and look down at a shockingly slow pace for me. But I still did wear it just out of curiosity to see how much slower I got through pregnancy.
Some great benefits of preggo running: I enjoyed running with friends who assumed I was too “fast” to run with them before. Not true, by the way! Any faster runner can run with any slower runner, provided they treat it as an easy pace. I’m happy to have an easy run to keep a friend company, any day! But I understand their feeling. There are lots of running people I know I’d be scared to run with, worrying the whole time that I was cramping their workout.
I checked my Garmin downloads to see my times, just to see how they progressed through the trimesters. It was interesting to see how I got progressively slower and lost endurance each week, the nadir being the end of the first tri when I was soo nauseous and tired. I had to stop and gag a lot during my runs. Then in the second trimester my legs got very heavy, around the same time I started getting those night calf cramps. I tried vitamins like magnesium, potassium and iron but it didn’t go away.
For comparison, my pre-preggo PR paces are: 10 miles @ 8:33, 6.2 miles @ 8:09, 3.1 miles @ 7:24. Don’t judge me, I’m slow! But getting faster!
7 weeks pregnant 6 miles @ 8:48
8 weeks 5 miles @ 9:22
12 weeks 5 miles @ 10:58
14 weeks 4 miles @ 9:27
16 weeks 3 miles @ 9:37
17 weeks 4 miles @ 9:34
After that I kind of leveled off around high 9 minute miles and low 10s and did usually only three miles per run.
Then I had to stop.
I can’t wait to run again! By November I should be out there in the fall air.