How I Approached Running During the 1st Trimester of Pregnancy

May 15, 2019

The thing that baffles me the most about running during the first trimester is how hard it is PHYSICALLY, which seems strange because you aren’t carrying extra weight like you are during the 3rd trimester, you generally don’t have the round ligament pain, or hip/pelvic discomfort that often starts in the 2nd trimester. However, trying to run an easy 3 or 4 miles can be very difficult because you are so out of breath! (At least that was the case for me.)

I know that your blood volume increases during pregnancy, but I still don’t understand how that relates to the out-of-breath feeling that happens when doing the simplest of tasks: climbing stairs, walking, and heck, I would even feel out of breath reading books to Cullen at night. How is that even possible?!

A fake smile to hide how terrible I was actually feeling.

With the extreme tiredness I had, coupled with the all-day nausea, and no appetite, not much running happened. You can see exactly where I started to feel terrible!

Mileage during the 1st trimester:

Week 1*: 42 miles

Week 2*: 47 miles

Week 3: 53 miles

Week 4: 57 miles

Week 5: 60 miles

Week 6: 32 miles

Week 7: 32 miles

Week 8: 20 miles

Week 9: 21 miles

Week 10: 17 miles

Week 11: 13 miles

Week 12: 16 miles

Week 13: 25 miles

*Note: For those of you who don’t know, you technically aren’t even pregnant during weeks 1 and 2, so it is very easy to keep running at the same mileage and intensity.

Usually people feel the shift of hormones around weeks 5-7 which is when they notice the physical effects start to take place, but I even had a workout during week 4 that I bombed pretty hard and now looking back on it, I’m sure it was due to the change in hormones that were starting to occur.

Week 6 is when everything came crashing down for me, and I just couldn’t maintain my mileage and intensity and had to take a step back due to extreme tiredness, nausea, and feeling absolutely terrible all day long.

It got progressively worse throughout the first trimester, but finally towards the end of the first trimester, I got on some medication for my morning sickness that helped me start to feel a little better, so I was able to pick back up some running miles. However, I still struggled with feeling out of breath and took A LOT of walk breaks.

Someone asked me via Instagram stories how I was approaching running during this pregnancy versus my first pregnancy. I would say something things are the same and some things are different.

Overall, my big goal with running during both pregnancies is trying to maintain as much fitness as I can during this time. This is about all you can expect since much of how you feel is out of your control. Of course this means listening to your body and allowing it extra rest when you need it, slowing down more than usual, taking walk breaks, and accepting that you are in an entirely different situation.

This time around, however, I feel like I’m giving myself a little more grace (or at least trying) because so much is out of my control. For example, I ran a lot more during the first trimester with Cullen, but I also wasn’t nearly as sick. I also continue to find myself taking several walk breaks during my runs, and try to remind myself this usually gets better during the second trimester.

I think this “grace” is the biggest thing to remember–so much of how you feel is out of your control. Some people have little to no morning sickness, which allows them to keep training at the intensity they once were. Me, on the other hand, felt so terrible I was sleeping 10-11 hours each night, and I couldn’t muster up the energy to run when I had no energy to do simple daily tasks: getting dressed, making food for Cullen, basically doing anything. I have to constantly remind myself this is only temporary, and the break can be a good thing.

Even when I wasn’t feeling up for a run, I would sometimes force myself out the door mostly to stay the habit of running. That way, when I did start feeling better, it is natural to incorporate it back in to my routine.

During Cullen’s pregnancy, I was worried if I would be able to bounce back, and truthfully during this pregnancy, my worry is the same. I’m now 5 years older than I was, I’ll have two kids to care for this time around, and each pregnancy affects your body more.

I know the break can be good, and I want “it” (my sub-3 hour marathon) now more than ever, so I’m already incredibly motivated to work my butt off and do whatever it takes to achieve my goals.

I know there is only so much I can do right now, so I’m trying (keyword trying) to accept where I am right now and trust that I am doing everything I can for the time being.

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