Paula Radcliffe (36), the women’s marathon world record holder from England, ran a 10km race while seven months pregnant. On top of that, she kept her daily training routine alongside one of America’s top female marathoners, Kara Goucher, who fell pregnant the same time as Paula. The two women formed an instant bond when they found out they were both pregnant, and both ran right through their pregnancies, albeit at a slower pace. By the fifth month, Kara was still able to train twice a day and lift weights three days a week. Paula and Kara agreed that training during pregnancy wasn’t just about staying fit, but also about staying sane and not letting go of their passion.
If you’ve been there, you can associate with the feeling: You are so excited about baby, but your body is expanding in ways that you are definitely not used to, while at the same time you find yourself still longing to do those races and time trials at pace.
While you won’t be able to compete at the same level you used to, there is definitely no need to sit on the couch for the next nine months. Rather make the next nine month’s running journey a memorable one. Just remember, if you have never run before your pregnancy, now is definitely not the time to start. Stick to other exercises such as swimming and spinning. But if you are a healthy individual who has run for most of your life, running is something your body knows and definitely something that will keep you sane. Most importantly, always consult your doctor before tackling anything.
Tips to get you into your running shoes and out the door.
• When you find out that you are pregnant, speak to your medical professional about continuing running. Remember, we are all different, and what’s best for one person is not always best for someone else.
• Assuming you are healthy and do have the go-ahead from your doctor to keep on running, don’t expect to run time trials at the same pace you used to. You WILL slow down and hills WILL probably start feeling like your worst enemy! Don’t get frustrated with your slower pace, because you will soon be back to your old form.
• Never underestimate the value of a good sports bra, especially when you’re pregnant.
• Keep your heart rate within a safe level.
• Be cautious on uneven surfaces as your centre of gravity changes as your abdomen expands.
• Stay hydrated and stop if you feel any pain.
Most importantly, listen to your body. After all, you are the only one who will know when something feels right or wrong.