Running during pregnancy and how it's different the second time around
I am about half way through my second pregnancy. This time around, I've been a bit more nauseous and a lot more tired.
It's also been a bit of a different experience running wise.
When I found out I was pregnant this time around, I had just run a marathon. I was coming off a tough trail race, where I was pretty sure I was at the worst possible point in my cycle to be doing a hard race.
To make things even more complicated, we were also trying for our second baby.
I had an entry for the marathon carried over from 2020, and it fell four weeks after my tough day out on the trails. I wasn't sure how I was going to recover, but as the race got closer and was feeling pretty good, I decided I had nothing to lose by giving it a go.
Given the four week gap, one thing on my mind was that it might be a case of dejavu with my cycle. I spent the week of the race obsessing over it, and as the days ticked by I started to wonder more and more if I was actually pregnant.
The thought crossed my mind of whether I should bring a pregnancy test with me, but in what was probably a combination of not wanting to get my hopes up and wanting to be able to race without that kind of distraction, I decided not to.
On the morning of the race, it was at the back of my mind that I might have a tiny guest running with me, but ultimately I pushed it out of my head so I could focus on what might be last race for awhile.
It was the right decision, because I had a solid run, which I'm fairly sure wouldn't have happened if I had brought a test with me. I held out for a few more days before confirming what I pretty much already knew, I was pregnant with our second baby!
Apart from general excitement, I was excited about how much I was going to get run this time around.
I did quite a bit of running in my first pregnancy. But this was different. I only just starting to ramp up my training when I found out I was pregnant the first time. I wasn't in any great shape. And I was quite keen for a break. This time around, I had just run a marathon. I was so fit. I was feeling really good, and I would be able to do heaps of running.
That lasted about 2 minutes.
Between the marathon recovery and the nausea that hit a few weeks earlier this time, I very quickly lost all motivation. I was hoping to do one last race, a 10km when I was 7 weeks along. But I had already checked out mentally when I got to the start line, and ended up dropping out of the race.
I found myself feeling awful if I tried to run later in the day, after one evening run when I threw up in my street on the way home. And I was too tired most mornings to get out before I had eaten much.
I kept parkrun up, trying to give myself a little push each week, and because it's always easier to get to an organised run. But my motivation to wake up early on Saturday mornings dropped off when it was paused due to Covid.
Ultimately it's all resulted in not a lot of running over the last few months.
And the thing that surprised me most, is that I'm not too fussed about it. I had expected to feel disappointed if I couldn't get out much, but as it turned out, I am more than happy to rest if I feel like I need it.
I did start to feel better after about 14 weeks and I have done a bit more running more recently. It's definitely been easier now that the nausea has subsided and I've made the effort to go to bed earlier. But there have still be plenty of days when I just didn't feel like going. There have been a few times I've opted for the bike when that has happened, but plenty of others that I picked breakfast and coffee instead.
There are some of the feelings that come with not doing something that I did before. The thought that I should be able to run more, because I did last time, or because I went into this feeling fit and fast, so I should be capable, or because other people can and have.
But there is also the feeling of, 'oh well', which is definitely winning out at the moment.
I'm hoping to keep doing some running as long as I can or want to. Whether that is regularly or sporadic or a mix of both, my plan is to just see how I feel each day and each week.
It's also on my mind, that this is definitely my last baby. I was a bit reluctant to chase PBs between pregnancies, knowing the work it has taken me to run at that level in the past. I didn't think it was worth getting that fit when I was hoping to have another baby and another break from running.
This time though, I want to start training for a marathon PB when my little one is old enough. So there is something nice about enjoying the down time before I think about volume and tempos and hard sessions again. If anything, I feel more motivated to strength train than run, because I know I'm going to need it in my postpartum period.
Pregnancy number two has definitely been a different running experience so far. What will the next 20 weeks bring?