Exercising While Pregnant, Part 2
On the day that I found out I was pregnant, I was scheduled for a 2hr run. I peed on the stick praying for it to be positive. I was about 2 days early in the recommended time frame for testing. Patience is not my strong suit and so I tested early to see if I was indeed pregnant, and if I could get out of the long run (if I tested negative, obviously it was only because I tested too early). Voila, positive, and so here’s how “training” ensued:
First trimester: Continued to swim, bike, and run, but took a number of days off because I was very tired. I found my energy levels to be low in the first month or so and did what I could. The swims alternated with deep water running, and I felt particularly slow. I no longer cycled outside for fear of being doored or any other mishaps, but did hour long sessions on the trainer. I had good and bad days with running. Sometimes I could easily run 5 -7 miles at sub-8 pace, other days I would run 3-4 miles, and I use the term run lightly. The first trimester, and pregnancy in general, is a good time to put down the watch. I didn’t care about hitting any splits per se, but I was curious to chart the decline in my fitness. (Again, put the watch down!) That said, I didn’t write anything down. I do remember doing some “time-trials” on the track and was able to clock a 6:40 mile and 90 second 400. In general, I didn’t wear a heart rate monitor and trusted myself not to workout to the point where I had difficulty having a conversation. I am sure my heart rate went over the prescribed 140 bpm, but not to the point that I was fighting with the fetus for oxygen. Weight gain: 10 pounds
Second Trimester: This felt better, thankfully, as I wasn’t constantly nauseated. My runs felt better and I even did a few long runs up to 90 minutes without any problems. The first time I felt compromised was about 20 weeks when my pelvic area felt very sore. I invested in a girdle and it helped. I still ran but alternated days. Repeated time trail: 6:47 mile and 93 second quarter. I also ran with Ali Feller in the NYRR mini and clocked 48:56 for the 10K at 17.5 weeks. Swimming is where I allowed myself to get some intensity. I trained with flippers and did interval training—actually doing sets. Again, the time meant nothing so I went on effort. It was good to feel like I was doing something without going crazy. I stopped biking, as the seat was very uncomfortable. I did some elliptical and recumbent bike as well as lifted light weights in the gym. Weight gain: 5 pounds
Third Trimester: I ran up until 34 weeks but was only running about twice a week (Simon was born at 37 weeks). Some days the pelvis felt really weak. Other days I would get a gift and feel surprisingly great. Lots of swimming, some magazine-reading gym time, and few runs. Notable performances: 31 weeks pregnant: (2 extended bridles, 1 reservoir) 20:42; 20:11; 12:30 ave 8:07 per mile for 6.5 miles. 32.5 weeks pregnant: (2 extended bridles, 2 reservoir) 22:09; 21:18; 13:30; 13:12 ave 8:36 per mile for 8 miles. Weight gain: 6 pounds
I enjoyed being active while I was pregnant, and assure you that everything counts. I felt fit and strong going into labor.