Running during the second half of my second pregnancy
Updated: Dec 6, 2021
I'm writing this post in the late stages of my second pregnancy. I'm currently 37+4, and first time around I had already given birth.
With the anticipation rising about when our second little one might join us, it occurred to me that I might have also have already done my last pregnant run. Given that it's been getting hard, it's definitely okay I have. But it will also close a little chapter of my life that has been at the forefront the last few years.
I've posted a lot on Instagram during this pregnancy, though haven't really updated this blog. Mostly because I've been tired, had a lot on, with my attention focused in other directions (namely my two year old!).
But I did do a summary of the first 20 weeks, and decided since my daughter is at daycare today, I might be able to quickly write up a summary of the second 20-ish weeks.
The start of this pregnancy was different to the first time around because I was lot fitter. I had just come off a long trail race and did a solid marathon when I was four weeks along. I was inspired by the fact that I ran a decent half early in my first pregnancy and kept my weekly mileage over 50km in the early stages.
I thought I'd be able to match that or do better, but I quickly realised that wasn't going to happen. Probably due to a combination of recovering from the marathon and general tiredness, I ran a lot less in the first trimester this time. I did manage to keep my parkruns under 20 minutes until 14 weeks, mostly because of the cool winter weather at the time.
But my half marathon at 7+2 with my daughter looked like a breeze when I dropped out of the state 10km road race at 7 weeks this time around.
I also thought I'd probably increase it a bit more after the morning sickness subsided, and while I did a bit, I was still running less than I did in my first pregnancy.
Ultimately though, I decided it didn't really matter. I wanted to focus more on strength training this time around to put myself in a stronger position to start back after the baby is born. And as I was struggling for motivation in those earlier days, I set myself a little goal of running until 28 weeks, which is when I started to reduce it last time.
My strength training goal was delayed slightly by what turned out to be an extended covid delta situation in Sydney. I initially decided to wait a few weeks before going to see the physio to see if things blew over. But that ended up being a long few weeks!
In the meantime, I actually got a little bit of my running mojo back.
In my first pregnancy, I dropped my pace back quite a lot after 24 weeks. It took me a little while to remember why, but I think it was related to a 10km race I did around the time and the nervous mum in me wondering if I had pushed too hard.
This time, I felt pretty comfortable running around 5-5:30min/km pace for a bit longer. It was after feeling incredibly lethargic from my second Pfizer vax that I did a run more around the 6min range, and didn't pick it back up again after that.
After how much I struggled early on, it felt like a bit of an achievement this time to maintain a close to "normal" pace for me for most of the first two trimesters.
I ended up making my physio appointment and started on the strength work. It felt good to have something else I could do on the days I didn't feel like running. And there were definitely plenty of them.
There were a lot of times where I wondered what the point of it was, if I was getting anything out of it and if there was actually a good reason to be doing it. With that in mind, I decided to just take it day by day and go if I felt like it, but not worry if I didn't.
Another thing that surprised me a little bit is that there were enough days that I did feel like it to keep me going. Some weeks, I only ran once. Others I went three times.
That was another big difference to my first pregnancy. We went overseas (what's that like again?!) when I was 28 weeks. I only ran once or twice a week from then until I gave birth at 37 weeks. By the end, I was really just down to parkrun once a week.
This time, being at home definitely made a difference. In the last five or six years, I've put a lot of emphasis on running for habit and routine. When I haven't been training for an event, I've still included a short run on the days I would usually go so it's just part of what I do. Then when it's been time to step it again, I've found it easier to get going.
I think that has helped me during the last parts of this pregnancy, because there have been quite a few times when I've gone for a run because it's part of my morning routine. And I usually end up feeling good after it.
This week I went out for a short run on Tuesday at 37+2, which was when my daughter was born. So it felt like a bit of a milestone. But today, when I wasn't very enthusiastic and it was 25 degrees ay 8:30am, I decided not to go. The heat has started to get to me over the the last week or so. But who knows, I might still squeeze in one or two more.
Overall, there have been times when I've been happy to run and other times I've definitely been happy not to run. Going based on how I feel each day has made sure I got benefits from it when I needed them, and benefits of rest I needed that more.
Coming to the end of this pregnancy and knowing it's my last one, I definitely feel like I'm ready to move on from this part of my life.
For running, that means getting back into PB shape to have another crack or two at a marathon PB. Once I'm getting some sleep again! But after spending so much time reading and researching about exercise during pregnancy, it definitely does feel a little strange that I'm never going to do it again.
It has become such an important topic to me though, that hopefully there more and more conversations in this area to help out women who will be here in the future!