I recently completed a 365-day running streak, where I ran every single day for an entire year. I started it April 2020 during the pandemic, and I’m now at 400+ days and 33 weeks pregnant, which means that I’ve run more than half of the streak pregnant. While I’m pretty sure the streak is coming to an end soon, I’m still running as much as I can while pregnant, even though it’s getting harder and harder.
This is my third pregnancy, and third time running throughout. But, as I’ve learned is the case with most things when pregnant, everyone seems to have an opinion. And it’s not always the same as mine. So for all those asking, here’s why I’ve chosen to run while pregnant.
It Is My “Me” Time (And As a Selfish Person, I Need That)
As a full-time working mom of two kids under the age of 5 who are at home right now, “me” time isn’t something I take for granted. When I’m not physically in the same room as my kids, I can still hear them in my house. When I’m at work, I’m most often in meetings. And while I’m a social person, I also appreciate my “me” time, and running forces me to have that one hour just to myself.
Before continuing to run during pregnancy, I spoke with my doctor. She assured me that since I was running before pregnancy, that I could keep running during it. And, there are benefits to running and all exercise during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has shared that exercise during pregnancy can:
- Improve your baby’s brain development
- Lead you to have a shorter labor
- Improve your sleep (and we all know how hard a good night’s sleep is while pregnant)
- Reduce swelling and back pain
It Keeps My Stress Levels Somewhat Down
As they say in Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy and happy people don’t just kill their husbands.” While it’s a little more complicated than that, I can attest to what Elle Woods was suggesting — running makes me happier, which makes my husband and kids happier. Life can be stressful, especially right now. But thanks in part to running, I’m able to deal with (most of) it.
I Know I’m Setting A Good Example for My Kids
Whether we realize it or not, our kids are always watching us. And while I’m not always setting the best example, I am happy to know that getting in exercise every day is one positive example I can set for my kids. And they both love being active with us; we often go for long walks on the weekends. My 4-year-old has a kids’ Garmin and loves to compete against me in step challenges. He has even started running, and ran a mile with me a few weeks ago! I hope that we’re setting up healthy habits for them now that they will have their whole lives.
It Has Helped Some of My Pregnancy Side Effects
Nausea? Yup, had that first trimester. Tiredness? Of course – nearly nonstop. Swelling? I’m starting to get there. And the one thing that seems to help with all of those unpleasant pregnancy side effects is running. The first trimester, getting out for a run before the nausea set in and eating immediately afterwards helped. Even on the mornings I woke up nauseous, I told myself that if I just had to run a mile and if I still felt sick, I could turn around. And most days, by the time I reached a mile, the nausea had somewhat subsided. Running wakes me up, helps me feel a little less foggy (gotta love pregnancy brain!) and makes me feel — for the most part —good.
It Gives Me A Sense Of Normalcy
Being pregnant in a pandemic is far from normal (see my previous post about this). But running makes me feel a little closer to normal. Besides all the unwanted side effects of pregnancy (see above), I can forget for a few miles how crazy the world is. And I can forget that nagging to-do list that all parents, especially moms, have in their head (figure out which hospital you’re giving birth at, finish making a list of things you need to buy before the baby is born, buy a new car that fits three kids and three car seats, finish kindergarten registration, sign kids up for swimming lessons, buy that birthday gift etc.). I can truly just focus on the road ahead of me.
Did you run or exercise throughout your pregnancy? What was your experience like?