Running During the First Trimester of Pregnancy

May 4, 2014

Prior to getting pregnant, I didn’t know much about running during pregnancy. I, of course, knew it was perfectly fine to continue to run (as long as your doctor okayed it) and it is something that is also encouraged. What I didn’t realize was how tough it was going to be!

I figured it was the easiest trimester to run through, it wasn’t like you had to lug around 30 pounds of extra weight yet and at first you don’t even know you are pregnant, so what’s the big deal?

Well, needless to say I was a little surprised when I had NO motivation to run and I could barely eek out 4 miles each day. But the one thing I learned from the 1st trimester: it will get better!

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Post-run before I knew I was pregnant.

For the first month I, of course, didn’t even know I was pregnant. I had just started training under Nichole and was already making progress. Nichole even commented one day that my times were dropping after just a few weeks of training. Crazy to think I was pregnant during this time!

Weekly mileage during 1st trimester of my pregnancy:

1st week – 39 miles

2nd week – 32 miles

3rd week – 41 miles

4th week – 43 miles

At one month, I found out I was pregnant. Running continued to go well for the next couple of weeks, and I was thinking, “I don’t understand what everyone complains about; I feel great!” But then it hit me like a Mack truck. At 7 weeks I had NO motivation to run and it was incredibly difficult to convince myself to go running in the morning.

5th week – 49 miles

6th week – 40 miles

7th week – 29 miles

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Running in Maui during week 9—fun but tough!

I tried to tough it out but knew it was time to tell Nichole so she could adjust my plan accordingly. I called her up one morning to tell her I was pregnant and she surprised me with news that she, too, was expecting. It was so great to have another die-hard runner to converse with and share training highs and lows with.

Weeks 7 through 13 were pretty awful. I would literally wake up to run and seriously debate if it was worth it. I often still forced myself to run, but it was TOUGH. Yes, there are days I would rather stay in my nice cozy bed, but I knew it was good to get up and moving. I listed to my body these days and pretty much stuck to 30 miles each week. Some days I rested entirely when I was especially exhausted.

8th week – 30 miles

9th week – 30 miles

10th week – 33 miles

11th week – 23 miles

12th week – 31 miles

13th week – 31 miles

Many of the workouts Nichole wrote for me were based on my heart rate. Some of my internet research said that you should keep your heart rate under 140 beats per minute (bpm), but Nichole, who had consulted with a doctor who has had extensive experience working with elite athletes, said it was okay to run up to 180 bpm.

I never experienced my runner’s high after I was done and often wondered if all of the effort was even worth it. I was convinced I was going to feel like this for the next 6 months and running was never going to be the same.

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But then I moved into the 2nd trimester and things started clicking again. My body gave me the okay to run, so I have been doing longer runs, track/speed workouts, and increasing my mileage. I know it won’t stay like this for long, so I am enjoying it while it does last.

12 Comments
    1. I know that it’s not the same thing, but I tried to run through cancer treatments and after two weeks of running with no runner’s high and it feeling like I was running through quicksand, I gave up for the duration. Sounds like how you’re describing your first trimester. It is awful when a coping mechanism like running is taken away. Thirty miles a week instead of forty is pretty close. Glad you’re feeling more energetic again! πŸ™‚

    1. Keep it up! I’m glad I never will have to run through a pregnancy πŸ™‚

    1. You still got in a great amount of miles on the weeks you felt off!! Sidenote: I’m envious of your toned arms! Fierce! πŸ˜‰

      1. Thanks! Oh gosh, I have the hardest time toning my arms; I think the picture is deceptive.

    1. yes, the first trimester is the worst! (until you get to like 35 weeks, but we won’t mention that yet…) second trimester is awesome. enjoy every second of it πŸ™‚

      1. Ha! That’s what I hear. I am definitely trying to enjoy it because I know during the 3rd trimester it won’t be so enjoyable anymore.

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