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Well, I did it!
I’m almost 19 weeks pregnant, and I made it an entire 10 miles without running to the port-a-potty. That was just one of the fears I had this past weekend while running the Philadelphia Broad Street 10 Miler Race.
Even though I always get a little anxious before races, I was particularly nervous to run this race as a pregnant mama. It’s not like I’m a runner runner. It wasn’t too long ago that I absolutely hated running. As I waited in the dreaded port-a-potty line with all the other anxious runners, I couldn’t help but think of all the bad scenarios that could happen…
What if I couldn’t find a port-a-potty in time? What if I started having braxton hicks contractions? What if I started randomly crying for no reason? What if I went so slow that I ended up getting swept up with the discarded water cups after everyone else finished?
Fortunately, none of my fears came true. Instead, I enjoyed a fantastic run on an absolutely beautiful, spring day. If you ever want to make the leap from 5K’s to longer distances, the Broad Street Run is the perfect race.
It’s one of the biggest races in the country for good reason- it’s flat, it’s straight and offers a wonderful snapshot of the city of Philadelphia. I couldn’t get my music to work during the race, and I’m really glad. I loved taking in all the sights and cheers from the crowds that lined Broad Street.
For other pregnant mommas that are thinking about running while pregnant, check out my list of Dos and Don’ts of Running while Pregnant.
10 Dos & Don’ts of Running while Pregnant
1. Do consult with your doctor
Exercise in most cases is safe during pregnancy. It’s often recommended! Yet, it’s still important to talk with your doctor, especially if you are trying to do something different than you normally do.
2. Don’t stress about pace or time
For those who have run races in the past, it can be difficult not to want to keep up with your normal pace or go for that PR. Don’t forget there’s also a baby along for the ride who doesn’t mind if you are 1:00, 5:00 or 10:00 minutes slower than your normal pace. I ended up with about 11:00 minute pace, and I was quite happy.
3. Do try to plan a race for your 2nd trimester
This isn’t always possible if you have a particular race in mind, and there are plenty of women who are able to run up until the end (like this amazing mama who ran a marathon at 34 weeks). Yet, if you have the option, the 2nd trimester is the way to go. Most women are feeling more energetic, don’t have to take as many bathroom trips and haven’t gotten too big yet.
4. Don’t forget to study the course map for drink stations and port-a-potties
It was very important to me to make sure I knew when to anticipate a bathroom and water break. I ended up not even needing to use the bathroom, but I did make sure to stop (and walk) through every water break.
5. Do dress comfortably
It’s nice to dress comfortably while running whether pregnant or not, but I made sure to keep things light so I wouldn’t get overheated. I often use this amazing tool from Runner’s World to help determine what to wear on race day. You don’t want to forget a good, supportive bra to keep growing, sore breasts contained.
I didn’t use one because I’m still early, but I know lots of pregnant ladies who swear by belly bands. You can find one here. Oh, one more thing… don’t be surprised if you need to bump up a shoe size. About two weeks before the race I had to purchase a new pair of sneakers because my old ones were too small (#pregnancy problems).
6. Don’t forget to fuel up
I always make sure to eat and drink something before any race. I stuck to my usual banana and slice of peanut butter toast about two hours before the race started. The best part of running in a race in Philly? The Philly pretzel at the end.
7. Do listen to your body
I started running the race with some friends and we were going a pretty good pace until about 6 miles. I started feeling some pressure, so I urged my friends to keep up with their pace as I slowed down. I’m so glad I did. Although Mile 8 was a rough one, I felt really great through the end.
8. Don’t overtrain or over do it
I think this is crucial for any race. Overtraining can most certainly lead to injury. In the weeks leading up to the race, I took it easy and slowly built up the miles.
9. Do mix up your training with weights
Since you are going to be carrying around a lot more weight during pregnancy, it’s important to have nice, strong muscles. I spent a lot of time focusing on squats to built my leg muscles and avoid any injuries. Squats are good preparation for labor too! Try these easy leg exercises.
10. Don’t forget to have fun!
This is the most important part. I ran the Broad Street Run because it’s fun. Being pregnant did not take away any of the excitement and sense of accomplishment I felt crossing that finish line. In fact, it probably only added to it.
*PLUS, Bonus Dos & Don’ts for Running while Pregnant from Real Pregnant Ladies
- Teela- Learn how to hold your pelvic floor while running (find some exercises for your pelvic floor)
- Andrea- Do choose a flatter, more stable course once you’re in your 3rd trimester- your center of gravity can be ‘off’
- Sandra- Do only what feels good, and don’t be afraid to stop if something doesn’t feel right.