Running Safety
Running in Pregnancy

This Tip is dedicated to the wonderful Monique. Monique has been a member of Lazy Runner Brisbane for a year and at our Christmas breakup in November 2010, she announced she was pregnant. Very exciting, we love Lazy babies! Monique asked me if it was ok if she joined up for Program 1 of 2011 and then see how she went. I was very happy to say yes, going through four pregnancies myself (albeit a very long time ago) I knew from experience how much better I felt and how much quicker I found my fitness again after my babies were born, if I stayed fit and active whilst pregnant.

And from a running coach point of view and my dedication to Lazy Runner, I try hard to adapt  my sessions to everyone’s individual needs, I’m always happy to see people coming along,  feeling part of the group and of course improving their fitness

Monique got the Ok from her doctor and joined up in Feb (with no bump) she jogged through all the sessions, being aware of not overheating (which was tough in summer) keeping her fluids up and slowing down if she was working too hard. After a couple of months she still joined the sessions, jogging on the fast sections and walking on the recovery sessions. She jogged/power walked through most of Program 1. When program 2 came along, she didn’t want to give Lazy Runner away, it was a great motivation to get her out and moving and she would miss her mates, so she came along (with a bump) and power walked through all the sessions. About a week ago, I asked how she was going and thought with only about a month to go that she was going so well, she told me ‘Oh I’m due next week”, my jaw nearly hit the ground, and she looked so well and was still very fit.

Well last Friday was a record breaking day for Lazy Runner, as Monique turned up at Lazy Runner on her due date, and joined in the session. Ok...there’s more, the following Tuesday as we are ready to start our session, and thinking ‘Maybe Monique will have some news for us today’ she pulls up and gets out of her car ready to join in…another record smashed, we now have an overdue mum at Lazy Runner

Should you run whilst you are pregnant?

Sometimes its hard for pregnant ladies to continue their normal routine, but in reality if you can,  you will feel so much better. Having to give up your favourite things is tough, so if you are able to keep going, go for it, but be prepared to modify. As long as you feel ok, and you have the all clear from your doctor there is no reason why you have to give up your fitness routine, even running.

Running can be adapted, and if you prefer to exercise with a group, have a talk to the trainer and ask if you can continue. If you do, the support can be fantastic and much easier to get back into and not feel left out when you wish to return after your baby is born.

Follow these guidelines

If you are a runner and have been a runner prior to getting pregnant, then it is ok to continue running.

Points to remember:

Just run- don’t train for speed or events, just run to maintain your fitness whilst you are pregnant, not to try to improve your running fitness or running times.

Don’t Overheat-  running in too warm conditions, and running too fast and far  can cause your body to overheat and in turn overheat your baby, which can be dangerous.

A women’s core temperature rises anyway with pregnancy, this is due to more blood circulation, so you dont want to add to the overheating by working yourself up in to too much of a sweat.

First Trimester- this is the first 3 months when everything is going on and many women can feel the worst, they can suffer from morning sickness (or all day sickness) and feel really tired and are probably still working full time. However, if you can manage this is the time where you should continue your fitness regime. Often the fresh air and fitness associated with running can make you feel better. Exercise has been known to reduce the feeling of nausea and even make you feel less tired. You may feel you get lots of exercise running to and from the toilet as urinary frequency is very common in the early days. Don’t let that be a reason to reduce your fluids, you still need to drink plenty if you are exercising, just adapt your running circuit to maybe loops of a park, where you know you can get to a toilet quickly

Once again – don’t push your speed or distance, run at a pace where you feel comfortable. You should be able to chat and breathe normally and not feel too hot or sweaty. Be guided by your body, if your fitness activity makes you feel worse, sicker or more tired, give it a break until you feel better

Second Trimester- often this is when you feel you are at your best and ready to go back to running. You may be showing, but the nausea and tiredness hopefully has passed. If you were a runner before your pregnancy but did stop in the first trimester due to sickness or tiredness, you will have to slowly ease yourself back into running, and start off with run /walks until you feel you are able to run again. If you have been running and still feel ok, keep running. The added weight you are carrying may feel a bit uncomfortable,
so make sure you buy new gear. A good comfortable sports bra, light breathable loose clothing, and you even may need a bigger size in your running shoes. You are best to carry a drink with you, so you have fluids on hand. If you are running by yourself make sure you run on popular and safe walking and running paths. So not on the shoulder of roadways or cross country or secluded areas, you may need help at any given time, so stay in well lit, popular walking and running areas.

Third Trimester- Some pregnant ladies continue to run in the third trimester, but not many. This is the last few months were you are growing, and carrying more weight than you are used to. The larger belly shifts your centre of gravity and puts lots of pressure on your back, so running can be awkward for you and there is a risk of trips and falls from the imbalance. From the fourth month of pregnancy Pregnant women have extra Relaxin hormone in their systems, the reason for this is that the tendons ligaments and soft tissues relax and stretch with the aim in getting ready to support the baby and to aid child birth. However the Relaxin can make your body a bit too relaxed. Ligament s relax which makes joints loosen and shift. In pregnant runners, ladies may feel this through the pelvis and the knees and it can make running uncomfortable.

After Baby is Born

Many new mums ask me when it’s safe to come back running after pregnancy, and as with the advice above, I say follow how you feel and go by your instincts. Pregnancy and childbirth, create amazing changes in the body and after baby is born it takes quite a while for all the organs to settle back into their right places and the muscle and ligaments to tighten and support again.

Also it depends on how your baby is; if you are breastfeeding and how tired you are. Between 4-6 weeks after the birth and with the OK from your doctor you may be able to start running again. However, once again, it will be just get back into running and start working on improving your fitness. So you will jog slowly, and may have to jog/walk for a while. Don’t go booking yourself into any events and start training for them. Just enjoy getting back into running and getting your cardio fitness up. .

When Monique has her baby!! My advice to her will be, firstly enjoy your bundle of joy! Then I will suggest that her and I stay in touch to see how she is going. When she feels ready to get start getting back into running and resume Lazy Runner sessions, I will suggest she talk to her doctor, tell him/her what we do at Lazy Runner and the level of fitness she was at before she fell pregnant and during her pregnancy.

When Monique gets a medical all clear, she will do the reverse of what she did at the start of her pregnancy. She will join in the sessions, power walking, when she feels fitter, she will add some jogging into the sessions until she feels she can jog through a whole session and feel comfortable, this could take 10 weeks or more. Once she is back jogging (45mins) she may then like to resume any running training she likes and what fits in with her new family, maybe train for a fun run or work harder during the sessions, or just get her running fitness back, all are great goals to have.

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