How to be Pregnant and Still Run

The office’s white tile was cold. The nurse practitioner sat on a rolling stool and pronounced me “officially” pregnant. My first question?

“Can I run still?”

Literally, the day before, I had enjoyed a five-mile run with my Siberian Husky and felt great. I was regularly running and my body didn’t feel any different, I explained.

Her response?

“Oh, no, honey. You need to reduce the pounding and do the eliptical or walking instead.”

All I could think was “but I’ve heard from other people whose doctors told them they could keep exercising the way they always had,” but I didn’t mention it.

I went home, the ever-concerned, first-time mother and sat on the couch. And, it was pretty much that way for nine months (it didn’t help that I was pregnant for the hottest months of that year though!).

Fast forward to 2011: Round 2.

Marathon training has taken a backseat since I discovered I was pregnant in September. As soon as I found out, all I wanted to do was get cleared by my doctor to keep running. I asked my doctor immediately (and if you’re pregnant or think you might be and considering this, you should,  too!) and she replied that I just needed to keep my heart rate between 140 and 150 beats per minute to ensure my baby’s heart rate didn’t get too high.

I was slightly crestfallen. My energy was up and I was feeling awesome on my regular runs. Now I had to slow down. But, I’ve accepted it and decided it’s better than becoming a couch potato again.

So, my runs are now more like granny shuffle jogs. The speed demon in me is going a tad crazy because I KNOW I can go faster! But, ultimately, my baby and his/her health is more important, so I’m taking it easy for now.

Bottom line: Unless you’re dealing with physical challenges, if you’ve been running consistently up until the point that you became pregnant, your doctor should clear you for some running. (I will tell you, however, that it is slightly freeing to take a break and even walk without feeling guilty for once!)

It can be a frustrating time, but take it easy, enjoy the views of your neighborhood and stay as active as possible. Your activity is awesome for the health of your baby and will reduce the likelihood of you developing gestational diabetes, which can increase your risk for Type 2 diabetes.

Stay active, my friends, and enjoy the down time while  you can!


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