The first trimester of pregnancy can be such a difficult time, often filled with a mix of excitement, anxiety, nausea, and exhaustion. But if you were a running before finding out you were pregnant, you may want to continue running during your pregnancy. For many runners the first trimester leaves us questioning how we will possibly keep running during this time. Other than talking to your doctor, there are a few things you can do to maintain your fitness so that you can continue running. Here are some tips for surviving running in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Tips for Surviving Running in the First Trimester of Pregnancy
Make sure you are cleared by your doctor to run during pregnancy
I’m going to start with a little disclaimer. Make sure you are cleared to run during pregnancy. If you have any complications, talk to your doctor about what activities you can do or how to adapt your workout routine during this time. For most healthy pregnancies running is considered safe, but it’s always good to make sure you have the green light from a medical professional.
Listen to your body when running
Other than listening to your doctor, it’s also important to listen to your body. I’m going to share some more about this, but just be aware of how you feel and be ready to back off if you feel like you are doing too much. Now is not the time to set any records, and the health of you and your baby is most important.
Manage your symptoms
Many women suffer from a range of symptoms during the first trimester of pregnancy making it difficult to even go about their daily lives, let alone run. If you are so sick that you can’t eat, then running probably isn’t a great idea. Talk to your doctors about your individual symptoms and how to manage them. You can also monitor if there are certain times of day you feel the best or if there’s anything that makes you feel better or worse. This can potentially help you to plan some runs around the times you are feeling the best.
Let go of expectations during the first trimester
During the first trimester there are many changes happening in your body. Between the hormones and exhaustion you may feel like you are much slower than before pregnancy. You may also notice that your heart rate gets higher much more easily. Try not to worry at all about your pace, and just focus on doing what you can. That may be a 30 minute run some days, or it may be a 10 minute walk other days. Remember that anything you do now can help you maintain your fitness so you can hopefully run more in a few weeks when your symptoms subside.
Monitor your breathing when running
While the advice to keep your heart rate below 140 during pregnancy is outdated, it can still be helpful to monitor how you are feeling when you run. If you find that you are getting really out of breath, stop and walk for a few minutes. You can also do the talk test to see if you can hold a conversation while running. Run/walking can help you get more time exercising than you may be able to do by just running.
Do other things besides just running in the first trimester
If your goal is to continue running throughout your pregnancy, use this time to help prepare your body for that. Any time on your feet will help maintain your fitness, and a few weeks of missed runs won’t be a big deal over the long term. Walking is great and usually this feels more manageable for women in their first trimester. Also consider adding in a strength training routine. I used Expecting and Empowered during the first trimester when I needed a routine to follow and wasn’t sure what I should be doing.
Have a bathroom nearby
You may be surprised at just how often you need to stop and pee while running during pregnancy, even during the first trimester! If possible, run on a route where you know there is a restroom or consider running on a treadmill.
Make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day, especially before and after your run. You may want to also bring water with you on your run if you are running in warm weather.
Final Tips for Surviving Running in the First Trimester of Pregnancy
During the first trimester, try to keep things in perspective. Most women start to feel better once they reach the second trimester, and you will likely be able to run more at that time. However, staying active can potentially help ease some of your symptoms during the first trimester or give you some more energy. Remember that this time period won’t last forever, so just do what you can.
You may also like:
My Top 10 Tips for Running (or not) During Pregnancy
15 Tips for Successfully Running Your First Postpartum Half-Marathon
If you ran during your first trimester of pregnancy, what were the biggest challenges for you?
What tips do you have for staying active when you are in your first trimester?
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This sounds like a great guideline for expecting mother-runners!
I was never pregnant, but I’m sure I would have wanted to keep on running during that time period.
Darlene S. Cardillo says
Same. Never ran pregnant. But congrats to you.
Hope you able to continue running with no issues.
Deborah Brooks says
I did not run when I was pregnant over 20 years ago. It’s great to see that more women are encouraged to exercise and run while pregnant. Glad you are feeling good and able to continue. Congrats again!
I wasn’t a runner when I was pregnant, and I was so incredibly sick for almost all of my pregnancy that I couldn’t have run if I wanted to. It was that bad.
I hadn’t even started running back in the day when I had my babies. Considering they’re in their 40s now!