Running and Pregnancy Q & A: Part 2

See this post for the intro.
See here for Part 1

Q. How far did you run in total while pregnant? Did you worry about max heart rate or distance?

1,294 miles or 49 and a bit marathons! You can see my milage below. As a reminder *this is not me saying you should do this* this is purely my experience. Please do comment or get in touch and feel free to tell me I was an idiot or ask me questions. I genuinely still don't know if I did the right thing but it felt right at the time and Mr B and docs were happy too.

I didn't pay any attention to heart rate as this isn't something I normally measure during a workout anyway (though I do look afterwards out of interest). If I kept to the 140bpm limit which was commonly quoted for pregnant runners until recently I wouldn't have got anywhere. However, I don't think I ever really went above 60/70% effort level. My body just wouldn't move that fast anyway!

week commencingmilesweeks pregnantnotes
12/6/1712.43First race while pregnant - Maverick Gloucestershire
19/6/1749.54Sprained my ankle on the Saturday trying to do a trail run with Mr B
10/7/1755.87In Cardiff with work. Feeling very hot.
24/7/1758.29inc. 20 mile long run but couldn't hit pace 8'18/mi
31/7/1741.110inc, Orion forest 5 race
7/8/1780.411tough 18 mile long run after work
14/8/1770.112inc 20 mile long run
21/8/1751.813on holiday - found pace hard. 8'30 av
28/8/1768.214inc 23 mile run av 7'42/mi
11/9/1748.616Harrow Half Marathon 1:32:52 7'06/mi
2/10/1746.319Chester Marathon 3:13:07 on the 8th
23/10/1745.322longest was 9 miles
30/10/1750.323longest was 1o miles
6/11/1742.224longest was 12 miles with intervals. Felt it in the pelvis after. Time to cut back.
13/11/1721.225longest was 6.5
20/11/1720.726longest was 5.7
27/11/1720.227longest was 5
4/12/1723.128longest was 5.4
11/12/1722.329longest was 6
18/12/172730longest was 4.7
25/12/1715.831longest was 6.3
1/1/1826.132longest was 5
8/1/1820.533longest was 5
15/1/1820.334longest was 6
22/1/1820.235longest was 6.3
29/1/1820.536longest was 5.2
5/2/188.237longest was 5 on the night my waters broke. oops
total mileage 1294 


 Q. When did you run until?

pregnant runner on cloudflow

Ha, well I ran until the evening my waters broke which was 37week +2 days. It wasn't the plan though - I'd intended to massively dial back and swim more once on maternity leave, butI never got to that! Realistically I'm stubborn enough and was feeling ok, so probably would have done at least something up until the end but we'll never know. You can read the full story here.


Q. I'm fascinated how you’ve kept doing intervals and even long commutes so far into pregnancy. Did you make a conscious effort to do that or has it been easier than others make out?

Doing track was a conscious decision. When I first told my coach I was pregnant one of the things we mentioned was that track was a good safe space to keep running. It’s controllable, you’re never more than a step away from being able to stop, there’s people around and you get to keep the social side of things so it’s good for mental health. It’s important not to push super hard but to be honest I found that my body regulated that for me. From very early on I wasn’t physically able to push myself to that “I feel sick” 90% point of exertion because my limbs and hanging gait just wouldn’t let me do it. Also, my track family would have told me off! 


The runcommute was less planned and more me being stubborn and perhaps, towards the end, less wise. I just hate using public transport when it’s cheaper and (even quite late on) quicker. It was only after having painful lower regions at work after one of my run commutes that I finally knocked it on the head and that probably means I should have stopped earlier. 

Q. How early into your pregnancy did you notice it was impacting your ability to excercise like normal? Could you tell straight away?

This is tricky because I t was off the back of two injuries, hormone changes and weight gain for the fertility treatment. I found out I was pregnant partly becaus I went to the doctors after spraining my ankle, so I was off running and then not doing normal training anyway in the early stages. However, I think I can say that it affected my heart rate/ breathing and more noticeably my temperature almost straight away. When I was on a secondment to BBCwales I was trying to do proper workouts again but was just very hot all the time and my breathing was much harder. This subsided later on though and instead it became my changing shape which was the issue. I was able to run a marathon at 20 weeks in a GFA time without pushing hard but then by about 4 weeks later it would have been very different,. I found that my feet aching was one of the big issues! By 27 weeks I definitely wanted to the support belt.

Q. Are you scared that you’ll never get back to your PB

Yes. Heck, I’m scared I’ll not be able to run anywhere close to the time or the distance! Right now I can’t imagine being able to run 26 miles or have the motivation to do the training when the weather is bad. It’s made me ponder why I run - if I couldn’t run comparable times or big distance would I still want to run at all?  The answer is yes, though I imagine I’d be grumpy about it to start with. It’s the headspace, the people, the experiencing the outdoors and the structure that I miss at the moment. In some ways I think it’ll be worse if I can get close to, but not exceed, past times. If I’m way off it then I feel like that would be easier to handle .

Q. You've mentioned support belts - what's that about?

I’d recommend having one even if you’re not planning on running as they can give a bit of back relief and for those who get more serious pregnancy sciatica I think it would be really helpful  I got this one to start with because it was cheapest but actually it was great as I could use the more or less structured bit as I felt appropriate. Some days the baby was sat low and it just added too much pressure (and didn’t help with the bladder issues) and other days I really liked the extra support. Later on a friend gave me a Bracoo one and I loved it and I really noticed if I didn’t wear it that I ached more afterwards. 
First belt was this one. (£6.99)
Bracoo Belt

Q.  Karen says: "Late to the party but always interested! I had to massively reduce my running in order to conceive after 3 years of trying, lots of fertility treatments, and finally after IVF I am thrilled to be a mere 1 month pregnant! How!!?! Too exhausted to do anything currently!!

Congratulations,  both for having the mental fortitude your running in order to get pregnant and for getting pregnant (you've probably had the baby by now)

It's  a huge cliche but everyone's pregnancy is different. I always felt better after I'd been for a run, it was only aches / joint discomfort which ever made be want to back off. I did find it *much* harder getting up in the mornings, but I wasn't running into work after a while so I could have lie ins anyway. I've heard that some people are wiped out int he first trimester but feel fab in the second and can start doing things again. I just got progressively bigger and more tired!


So that's it... I'll be documenting my return to running and I'll do some stand alone posts on post-partum running too.

Keep the questions coming!

#thelongroadback #WeGoAgain