I’m somewhere around 5 weeks as I write this post and am having many mixed emotions. Excited about baby number two, fearful of losing my fitness, all that I’ve trained for and the work I’ll have to do to get it back but also ready for the challenge of making it all work. I said in the very first post in this series to keep it honest. So that’s what I’m doing here, for better or for worse.
One common piece of advice to pregnant women with regard to staying fit is that you should be able to continue doing the same things you did pre-pregnancy during pregnancy. So if you were always a runner, keep running. If you bike, keep biking. If you did pilates or yoga, keep at it.
In my particular case, running is my “go to.” I was always running pre-pregnancy so I will continue to run throughout pregnancy. What is holding me up this time, is that I didn’t go into this one in marathon shape; half marathon shape at best. My longest run in December was 7 miles. I had high hopes of taking on a pregnant half marathon in March, just to do it, but with each run I am trying to rationalize with myself that 10ks are a smarter choice if I have to race. I am hopeful to maintain my 3 days a week of running and use one of those as a weekend long run, preferably staying in the 7-10 mile range for as long as possible. The frustration I have is that even in these early weeks I can already feel a little more challenge in the runs. Maybe not so much a challenge as an innate understanding that I need to go slower. I mentally want to push myself for my sub-8 minute pace but the last few runs it’s just not been the right thing to do. I want to warn runners that if you had been used to pushing yourself, to doing speedwork, tempos, hill work, training for a pace–it all changes. There is a major shift in what your body will allow (and want) you to do comfortably. And it is ALL mental. If you think hard enough about while you’re running, you can stop focusing on pace and just enjoy running. I know I sound like I’m complaining. And I also realize this makes it sound like “running just to run” isn’t worth it but for me it is a readjustment. For the next 8 months I cannot consider running a competitive outlet. It simply as to be my outlet. It will keep me grounded, keep my mind clear, give me fresh perspective, and hopefully help keep me in shape to bounce back fast.
I also went into this pregnancy with a tiny bit of cross-training under my belt and I knew full well that if I was in shape to do certain things pre-pregnancy that I could continue doing them throughout pregnancy. These last few weeks I have been pushing it a bit to “get in” more cross-training in the early weeks so that I can tell myself I can continue to do these things for the next 8 months. I took back up rowing 1-2 times per week with my mini circuit training of squats, lunges, push-ups and core work. I added in a spin class once a week at a new spin studio in Baltimore (which is awesome by the way, check it out: Revuup). I also took on yoga for runners with three different videos on RW.com hosted by Rebecca Pacheco.
The early weeks are hard. They’re hard because they’re so early that you’re not supposed to tell anyone you’re pregnant so you feel like you’re keeping a secret and yet all you want to do is shout it out. They’re hard because you want to keep doing everything you would normally do but you’re not sure of any new limitations. They’re hard because depending on the woman and pregnancy, you may be zapped of energy to even think about staying fit. They’re just hard. But perhaps they’re also the ideal challenge to see what you’re capable of powering through.
If you’re in your early weeks of pregnancy and feel like it’s just hard, I understand. If you wish you could run faster again, I hear you loud and clear. But keep running. And stay honest!
P.s. This post was written January 15 and held for a post-date publication until we were in the “safe zone.”