At 37 weeks I am still going! I am putting in 6-10 miles a day with a day off or on the elliptical here and there. I am also happy to report too that at this far point in my pregnancy running feels much better than it did for my others at the 37-week mark. I am going to go with the theory that the more marathons you do, the better you get at them (while in your prime) and similar to running pregnant: the more times I have been pregnant, the more acclimated my body gets. Not only can I go farther but faster too! Just the other day (on the 35 week mark) I had to pace one of my middle school girls that I coach in the mile on the track. She (and I ran) 6:15 and I know I could have gone faster. It was awesome! (But also awkward because we got a lot of weird looks on the track haha!).
Additionally I have to pee far fewer times during my runs this time around. With my first born by 37 weeks I could hardly go 5 minutes without stopping. Ultimately it (bladder discomfort) was the main thing that kept me from running more miles. Then with each of my daughters, it became progressively less of a problem. I still experienced discomfort the last month due to the fact that uterus is located directly above the bladder- so the baby is essentially sitting right on top of it. Pretty much when running its like its like your bladder turns into a trampoline for your little baby! But this time my bladder has become so used to the feeling of a baby pounding on it that I think it has become more resilient. I can literally run 6-8 miles with only 1 pee stop (opposed to the 6 I would have taken with my first). So I guess the more kids you have the stronger you bladder gets? Who knows!?
MAKE “PEE” ROUTS:
Despite my ability to hold pee longer this last pregnancy, my advice to other mamas-to-be is to run on routs with plenty of pee stops. My go to “last month run” I have stop options at: the gas station, a bakery, my sister’s house and a park public restroom. Just even knowing the option is there helps me get out the door! Also, holding it too long can be bad for our bladders, so better to not be a hero. Furthermore, once I have gone, I tend to feel better which give me a little boost to get through the run.
PCIK RUNNING PARTNERS WISLEY
Along with developing run “pee routs”, there are more decisions to make to that will help a pregnant runner make it to the end. As I get more pregnant I am always careful about setting myself up for a successful run. For example, if I ran a really hard 8 miles with a “fast” running friend, I am sure to take the next few days easy and at my own pace. Choosing who to run with has a lot to do with how fast you run. At a certain point in your pregnancy you need to ditch your “fast” friends and keep the list of those who are willing to take a few extra stops and slow the race down if needed. While I have “ditched my fast friends” the last month, I still try to run with one of them at least 1-3 times a week (as a “hard effort”) which keeps my runner’s need for speed alive! (At times can be very uncomfortable when runs start going sub seven pace haha).
Another hurdle us runners should keep in mind the last month (or three!) of pregnancy is that hills become CRAZY hard. The amount of energy it takes to get up them is insane! Not to mention it makes my heart rate skyrocket! I still run them but I am just sure to adjust the pace and go into it knowing that it is one hundred times harder than running up them in a non pregnant state. This is because the uterus has expanded so much (do to child in there) that the space for our lungs has become compromised. So we are literally breathing with smaller lungs- the training effect has to be way more effective than running at altitude right!? Probably one of the many attributing factors to why we get the “mom” strength post baby. Also, what goes up must come down. While on our cardio a system going down hill is easier, the extra pressure put on the bladder from going down hill can be quite uncomfortable. To conclude my advice on hills (for the third trimester), I would say avoid them if possible but naturally some of our favorite routs will have a few rollers- still run them but go into it knowing what challenges are ahead!
WATCH YOUR FOOTING!
In addition to hills technical trails can also start to become a challenge. As the “RELAXIN” hormone gets released the last trimester to facilitate an easier birth (basically the ligaments in on our bodies become super stretchy and elasticity as a way to help get the baby our of our bodies) dodging roots and rocks on trails suddenly become very challenging. It is almost like you fast twitch reactions have just been turned off. Jumping suddenly to the right and to the left start to feel like an out of body experience. It is almost like you are moving in slow motion all the time. Stopping and stepping carefully or turning slowly is a much wiser way of moving as to prevent a twisted ankle or falling flat on your face. Pretty much if you are planning on running on technical trails, BE CAREFUL and SLOW DOWN. Sometimes, even in the last month, I will find myself on a few “bad footing” trails due to hot weather days- the most shady trails around me tend to be the rocky, rooty ones through trees. Rather than just skipping the run or toughing out the heat, I still go on them, BUT knowing to keep my eyes on the ground and I am always sure to slow the pace down.
BRING YOUR CELL PHONE!
As everyone has probably told you by now, labor is super slow and can take even days! Well, this is not the case for everyone and also in case of emergency (a fall or water breaking!) always have your cell phone the last few months when you are out there running. I like having mine even for other stupid pregnancy reasons. There have been times when I feel a little dehydrated and start getting a few cramps (which happens SOOO easily during pregnancy) and I’ll walk in the last mile and make a few calls on the way. Also, it never hurts to have someone snap a pic of you if you are out on a trail or in front of a cool view. You can never have enough candid pregnancy portraits! Your body will only look crazy for a few months so capture as many pics as possible! Even if you are in a sports bra and shorts J. So always have the cell in case of: #1) You go into Labor! #2) Not feeling good and calling a friend/ husband/ mom/ sister etc. to come pick you up. #3) Decide to turn the run into a walk because you don’t feel good- and walking is super boring so you can chat with friends or make other important calls. #4) Take cute pics!
Many of my decisions that I have made during the pregnancy have kept me going all the way until the end. Setting yourself up for success (but following my advice above) will help you stay motivated and keep running possible. We have to treat ourselves like “pregnant runners” now rather than just “runners”. One mental difference between us and the rest of people out there who don’t run however is that we still see ourselves as “pregnant RUNNERS” and not just “pregnant LADIES”. I keep running until the end because running is what I love, a runner is who I am and if it feels ok (BABY ALWAYS COMES FIRST!) than I am going to GO FOR IT!