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Running during pregnancy - 28 to 31 weeks

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

My initial goal for running during this pregnancy was to go up until 28 weeks, when we left for a three week holiday overseas. While we usually try to find ways to include running in our holidays, I was anticipating doing a bit less on this trip, between jetlag, family time and trying to avoid having to use my travel insurance. Okay, the last one was unlikely, but you never know!

In the few weeks before we left, my sore heels had flared up a bit, so in some ways I was looking forward to a bit of a break. When I woke up on the Monday before we left with an annoying head cold, I was 100% on board with having a few days off.

It meant I decided just to watch while my husband ran on a treadmill in Hong Kong and around a running track in Paris. But I wasn’t missing parkrun in Paris, especially since I wasn’t running the Paris marathon, and it was the first of seven runs I managed on this holiday.

parkrun Bois de Boulogne, Paris

Located in a large park in Paris that was going to form part of the marathon course the following day, I was excited to do my first French parkrun. When we woke up that morning, it was FREEZING. I’m not even really exaggerating, it was about 1 degree. Definitely not running weather I had packed for (or weather in general really).

After a bit of an adventure getting there, which involved the train not stopping at several stops because of protests, going back to the place we started from, getting in a taxi and arriving with about five minutes to spare, we made it!

The run director’s briefing included asking how many people in attendance were French, there was one.

This parkrun usually gets 30-40 runners each week, on that day there were over 200. Marathon excitement was definitely in the air.

We managed to part with our jackets (still layered up with singlets and shirts), and followed everyone to the start. The course followed a large loop with some trail sections and two smaller loops on the road. It was a nice run, and the ice cube feeling slowly started to fade, though breathing in the cold air with a still blocked nose wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had.

An unscheduled toilet stop in the middle (pregnant person problems) slowed our progress a bit, but we made up a bit of time with a faster second half and finished just outside 25 minutes. It was definitely one of the harder ones I’ve done, mostly due to being sick, cold and pregnant. But I think it would be fun to do on a normal day. If we are ever back in Paris on a Saturday!

Image of me running parkrun in Paris
Running parkrun in Paris at 28 weeks pregnant

Running at Centre Parcs, Longleat

Our next stop was a few days with family at Centre Parcs. I did two runs while we were there, both 5km in about 30 minutes. The chilly theme continued, though it was definitely a few more degrees above zero. The first run was grey and drizzly, but it was apparent after about 10 minutes that I had over dressed in my beanie, newly purchased long sleeve top and extra shirt over it.

The most fun came when we were almost back at our cabin. After going downhill for most of the run, I knew we were going to have go back up at some stage. But I wasn’t prepared at all for the steepness of the hill when it finally came, and was more than happy to walk up the last third.

When it was time for round two a few days later, I think I walked even earlier. Once again, if we are ever back when I’m not pregnant.. there is a Strava segment to chase!

Medina (Appley) parkrun, Isle of Wight

I think I can now officially say that this was my last hard parkrun until after the baby comes. I was looking forward to doing this parkrun, my second in the UK and first time doing one in the place my husband grew up.

The interesting thing about this parkrun is that the location moves for a portion of the year as the park is used for other activities. This meant we were doing the hillier course. Pretty much all I knew is that it sounded hard.

There were a lot of people there, over 400, and we started off towards the back. The first loop went a bit cross country and up one hill, which wasn’t too big. After that we ran along a flat section, then a big downhill, again giving us a taste of what we had to come back up!

The next section was a nice, long, flat, out and back section along the beach and that is when we started to pick the pace up.

My cold had finally subsided a bit, and the cold weather had gone with it. This time we were running in 20-ish degree sunshine. I almost felt too hot!

It was nice to feel good for a change, and we pushed along, passing quite a few people and running 4.30-4.40 pace. Definitely the quickest I had gone in a while.

It was all fun and games until the last kilometre when we had to go back up the hill. It was a different one to what we went down, more cross country and more winding across the hill than going straight up. It definitely made it less steep, but it went on forever!

I slowed down a bit, but it was majorly hard work! When we made it to the top, it was a long, flat section on grass to the finish. It’s been ages since I’ve done speed, but Strava tells me I got up to 3:51 pace in there somewhere. Pretty good for 29 weeks!

My time was 24:18, about a minute quicker than Paris on a harder course. I felt alright afterwards, but I also think I’m happy to wait until I’ve carrying a few less kilos and much less baby before I push myself again. It’s really hard! I’d love to know how fast I could run on that course though (there might be a theme here).

Image of me running parkrun in the UK
Running parkrun on the Isle of Wight at 29 weeks pregnant

Richmond Park, London

Knowing we were going to miss parkrun the following week, I thought it would be fun to do a freedom-ish one while we were in London.

We were staying close to Richmond Park in London, and while it would have been too long of a run if we went to the start and did the exact course, we managed an 8km loop that included most of it.

This was my longest run in a few weeks and my fastest in ages (not including parkrun). Fastest in ages meant 5.30 average pace, but when I had been running closer to 6min/km with my sore heels, it was notable! I was probably helped along by a few downhills, but I didn’t slow down too much going back up them. I may have also needed a bathroom break on this run, but at least it wasn’t mid-parkrun!

We stopped for a photo mid run, complete with deer in the background. Not quite a close as the one I saw right next to the path at Bushy parkrun, but I think I prefer a safe distance!

I really enjoyed this run, it was nice to be out with other runners, walkers, cyclists. It was another reasonably warm day, definitely the kind you want to spend outside. It was pointed out to me that it would be a different story in winter, with a lot of exposed windy sections, but I was happy to pretend for a few minutes that I could handle British weather! At least I didn’t need my layers.

Shanghai Yanfu Park, Shanghai

We didn’t manage to run last time we were in Shanghai, and I thought this would probably be the same. Flying overnight from London with not much sleep, we struggled to wake up before about 1pm each day.

But when we noticed a park across the road from our hotel with a running/walking track around the outside, we had to try it. The loop was about 500m, and made from a surface similar to an athletics track. It was well used, we saw people on it early in the morning and even a few when I woke up in the middle of the night.

It was almost 3pm by the time we made it out. My belly felt heavy and I wasn’t very enthused, but committed to 30mins/5kms.

It’s funny that as a former track runner, going around loops does my head in, but it might have mostly been because it was such a struggle. I stopped about half way through for a bathroom break (my husband thinks it’s just in my head, but it’s definitely real!).

I dragged myself through the second half, then walked a few laps while my husband carried on. It was actually a really nice place to run, despite the multiple loops. There were basketball courts that were all in use, a play area and people doing tai chi. It was very green, lots of trees and places to sit.

We almost went back out the next day when we realised there was a Strava segment that was definitely within reach, but sleeping in was more appealing. Next time.

Image of us running in Shanghai
Running track around a park in Shanghai

Treadmill – Hong Kong

I left it until 8 hours before we flew out, but I managed to fit in a run in Hong Kong, meaning I did one in every place we stopped. There was actually an athletics track that we could see from our hotel window, only a short walk away. We went down there one day to have a look and see if we would be able to use it, there was a competition on at the time. We went in to watch for a bit while we ate lunch, a nice random thing to stumble across.

The next day when we went past again, it was also being used.

We didn’t manage to run there, and didn’t investigate any other options, but our hotel had a really good gym. One of the last things we did before we left was go down to do a run, another 30min/5km for me. I took it pretty easy to begin with and picked it up a bit towards the end, and while my belly was heavy, my legs felt really good. It made me look forward to running again post pregnancy and was a nice way to end the trip!

With eight weeks to go, it will be interesting to see how much more running I can do.

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