I’m 28 weeks, (hello, third trimester!) and the weight of the belly is starting to make itself known. You know the feeling, like there’s a giant balloon filled with sand pressing on your bladder and pelvic bone. Super fun. I switched to counting minutes instead of miles, and I’m fine with that. The important thing I try to remember is I’m not training for a race, as much as trying to build a bridge between pre and post natal fitness. It’s been going well, except for the occasional – I mean regular – bathroom breaks.
That’s not the only change that happens when running for two. You’re more prone to injury thanks to the loosening of your ligaments. Your baby demands more oxygen making even minor activities hard (Like walking up a flight a stairs. Really? I’m winded?) Extra weight and a shift of your center of gravity throw your balance off. Your chest gets bigger which can make any activity uncomfortable, if not painful. Not to mention all of the minor aches, fatigue, and random hunger pangs that accompany the growth of a tiny human.
What’s a girl to do? Well, as I press on, I thought I’d share a couple of must haves that help me get my running done.
- Running Shoes Now is not the time to dust of your old pair of sneakers from high school. In fact, it might be a great time to invest in a decent pair of running shoes. You want a supportive pair, maybe even a half a size larger than normal. With the loosening of your ligaments, your feet have the tendency to grow. Plus, I prefer a roomier shoe anyway. You can head down to a running store and have them analyze your gait and recommend shoes to suit you. I run in Saucony (currently, Mirage, but I have recently run in their Triumphs and loved them.) I’ve run in Asics in the past and like those too. Whatever brand or style you prefer, just make sure they offer plenty of support.
- Comfortable clothing You might be able to continue to wear your regular stuff through the first trimester and maybe into part of the second, but as you grow, you’re going to want to get some roomier and more comfortable clothes. I’ve found some comfy tanks and tights from Old Navy and Motherhood Maternity. I even have a pair of non-maternity capris and a pair of tights that are a size larger than what I normally wear that I’ve been able to keep wearing. On a budget? See what you can swipe from your husband. (T-shirts, sweatshirts, etc.) But I would definitely encourage you to find something cute and comfy to run in. One other purchase to consider is a very supportive sports bra. I like to find bras for high impact activity. Just make sure it fits well and provides enough support for that growing chest.
- Weights In addition to running, I’m a big believer weight training. Now, the past couple of months I haven’t been as regular as I’d like, but when I was pregnant with my second, I was very consistent. And the payoff was huge. I felt great postpartum. No soreness, and recovery was a breeze. I’ve been aiming for twice a week: one day for lower body and one day for upper body. Strengthening the lower body will help you adjust to the heavier load you’re carrying, and strengthening your back and arms will balance out your growing tummy and prepare you for carrying a little person in your arms. (Brief pause to imagine snuggling with your baby.)
- Maternity support belt I was actually a little hesitant to spend money on this since I didn’t really know if it would help, but I’m glad I did. I got mine off of Amazon, and it wasn’t expensive. It supports the belly and gives additional support through the hips and lower back. Really very pleasant to wear. One thing I was hoping it would help with was the bladder issue, but unfortunately, I still need to use the bathroom at least once if not twice during a 30 minute run. I do feel like there’s less “bouncing” and jostling with my belly, so I think it’s a great purchase.
- Water Confession: this is my worst problem. I’m usually great at making sure I get enough water throughout the day, but for some reason when I’m pregnant, I am terrible. And it’s so important! Drink before, during, and after exercise.
I would also suggest getting a snack shortly after running. A little apple and peanut butter, or a smoothie with banana, protein powder and almond milk, gives energy, helps replenish your muscles and gives your baby some nutrition. (I’m always super hungry after a run, so having a snack planned keeps me from reaching for something less nutritious.)
I hope this helps! Keep running strong!