And for the record, I am a totally average runner. My times are not going to impress any serious runner. I've seen other runners snark that a 10 minute mile is jogging. Well, I guess I'm "just a jogger" because a 10 minute mile is my happy pace and it sure as heck feels like running to me. I ran it for an entire marathon, most of my long runs hovered around that mark, and since starting second trimester, 10 minute miles have been my average. Guess what? I'm thrilled with that. I'm actually really happy I can keep that pace going.
For my first trimester, I basically gave up running; I was simply too exhausted from being newly pregnant and pumped with supplemental progesterone and estrogen to prevent a possible miscarriage. Most days, the only exercise I could manage was walking around the lake during lunch. One time I brought my Garmin to see my pace. I was walking a 13:30 mile, but when I tried to run, it wouldn't budge above a 12:50. Here's the real kicker: I was huffing and puffing trying to maintain it. Not surprisingly, running got shelved for the remainder of first trimester. It was just too hard.
Around 13 weeks I started to feel better, so I decided to try again. To date, it's gone pretty well. My "strategy" is pretty simple:
- Stay on the treadmill, where there's air conditioning and easy access to a bathroom. It's too hot to run outside except at the crack of dawn and I like my sleep too much to bother with that.
- Take walks breaks when I need them
- Never run to the point where I'm out of breath. I don't use a heart rate monitor. Instead, I run based on perceived exertion.
- Short runs only - 3 or 4 miles
- Stop if it feels funny: i.e., crampy, painful or too difficult
Pre-pregnancy, three or four mile runs on a treadmill would have been tempo runs at an 8-9 minute pace. Well, I'd probably die if I tried to run that fast now. It isn't safe or possible and it doesn't even matter because the only thing I'm training for is labor. And last time I checked, you don't run and give birth at the same time.
I'm hoping I can continue to run as I get bigger and know that it will mean slowing down, more walk breaks and maybe even shorter mileage. And that's fine by me. My number one priority is taking care of the kiddo currently taking up residence in my uterus. I'll never run a half marathon or bust out a sub-9 minute mile pregnant, but I'm proud of what I've done so far. "They" may say it's average, but every run is a success for me.