Running in the Third Trimester

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Is anyone else having an awesome day? I totally am. Last night I went to bed about 2 hours earlier than usual. I needed it!!!

Yesterday, as the day went on, I started to feel like absolute hell. Mind, body, soul...everything.
Being pregnant the second time is so different than the first. During my first pregnancy I recognized when I needed rest and I made sure to rest.

This time around it doesn't even cross my mind. Not that I'd really have time to do that anyways. Every morning I go into mommy auto pilot, just "gettin shit done". That's really the best way to put it. Before I know it, it's 3pm and I'm frustrated because I have no energy left and I just can't for the life of me figure out why?

Then I look down at my belly...
Oh yea, I'm SUPER pregnant right now.

Somehow I forget that I am pregnant constantly. Poor Zoe. I guess second child problems start early.

I've been taking full advantage of my pelvic injury finally healing, and I have been getting in as many (short) runs as possible over these past 4 weeks. It has felt incredible to get back to running. The wind isn't exactly whipping through my hair, or anything like that...
It has just felt good to get back to something I love and something that I do just for me.

Missing out on 6 weeks of running, and then coming back 6 weeks further along in this pregnancy, I have definitely been met with some changes from where I left off at 24 weeks pregnant.

I do recognize all of the things I'm noticing and feeling, from running during the third trimester in my pregnancy with Aria.

This is how I've been approaching running these past few weeks...

Pay attention to everything my body is trying to communicate. 

This can be a tough concept for athletes, as we are conditioned to push through discomfort. I know it was for me during my first pregnancy. I had to remind myself over and over again that when my pregnant body talks, it's very wise and it's time to listen.

Third trimester running can feel pretty tough on my body, even being in good shape. The third trimester is a time of significant and fast changes. The body is preparing for labor (yes, even this early), hormones are constantly fluctuating, and the baby is putting on weight quickly. The round ligaments are getting more and more overtaxed as my belly grows outwards.

The extra blood flow and internal pressure of the baby feel much different in the third trimester. These two factors I find that I have to pay especially close attention to. The extra blood flow during pregnancy can be upwards of 40 - 50 percent more than is usually in the body. This can cause aches and other discomfort in your legs and groin area, as well as light headedness. I'm experiencing the aching in my groin and legs, even when I don't run. It's just a part of pregnancy for me.

I also have a short torso, with little space between where my hip bones end and my ribs begin. So I grow babies outwards and downwards. My babies sit low low low, which introduces a lot of pressure into my hips and pelvic floor. The further along I get, the more I have to be aware of how that's affecting things.
To help with this throughout pregnancy, in addition to running and working out, I do a lot of pelvic floor work.

Be aware of my balance. 

I have an extra 25 pounds all on the front of my belly and most of the time I carry it just fine. There are those moments where I unexpectedly lose my balance. I've tumbled over a few times playing with Aria and slid down the stairs a couple of times. When I'm not pregnant I've been known to trip and meet the pavement with my knees or my face.
I take special care to keep my feet on solid and even ground these days.

Letting go of the runners high...for now.

Running, one of my favorite things, now feels somewhat awkward, which can be tough to digest. I miss the runners high I usually get from running. On one hand I feel like one strong mamma jamma to be kicking butt this far into my pregnancy. But on the other hand, in the third trimester my runs consist of me shuffling along slowly and I don't feel the same satisfaction when I'm finished.

I do have to say I enjoy the look on peoples faces as they see me go by. ;)

Keep it short and stay close.

This trimester I've limited my runs to a one mile loop right out the front door of my in-laws house. That way I'm nice and close incase I need anything. If I feel like a longer run than a mile, I can just loop back around again.
Plus, having the baby in the head down, right there on my bladder, position, I can't go more than a mile without having to use the bathroom.

Walk breaks are my friend. 

If I feel like I need to walk, I do. Honestly, the last 2 weeks, I've worked some walking into all of my runs. During the third trimester I find that my walk breaks are due to the cause of discomfort in my uterus, round ligaments, groin area, or because I start to cramp. It doesn't have anything to do with being winded or tired, which I feel is good. Hopefully thats a testament to the hard work I've done to keep my cardiovascular system in shape.

Accepting wherever my body is that day.

During this trimester I feel like my body changes day to day. Rather than sticking to a firm training schedule, I gauge how my body feels that day. If running isn't in the cards, I accept it without disappointment. Instead, I'll get in some exercise that does feel good that day. Some of my favorite alternative workouts during the third trimester are Yoga, Strength Training, squats squats squats, Pilates, Barre and a good old long walk.
Just a tip...all of these classes you can find online for free. 

If you do find that you have to stop running earlier than you were hoping, it's okay to cut yourself some slack. It doesn't make you any less of a runner! You've done an amazing thing for yourself and your baby, thus far, by taking care of your body. And you still are doing something amazing, by recognizing and respecting your body. Just because it's time to stop running this pregnancy, doesn't mean you have to stop working out! You can still get some great training in.

There are so many variables that affect how running feels throughout your pregnancy, that are all out of our control. Every body is different, every pregnancy is different and even every day is different. That's why it's important to pay attention to your body and how you are feeling each and every run.

I'm starting my 34th week of pregnancy. Running is changing each week...sometimes each day. I feel my last run for this pregnancy approaching. I was hoping to run until my 40th week this time around, but I can tell that my body has other plans. And I'm okay with that.

Because I also know that I am grateful to my body for being strong and amazing. It's carried me and my babies through two healthy pregnancies, while working hard to stay fit. Whenever that last run comes, I'll be ready to accept it.
For I know that last run will be followed soon by the beginning of rediscovering myself again, through running. Making and reaching new goals. Challenging myself in new ways. And learning new bounds for how extraordinary the female body is.

What were your favorite workouts during pregnancy?

How long were you able to run into your pregnancy?

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