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Running and Pregnancy

Running and Pregnancy: How To Love Both!

avoid running injuries energy postpartum pregnancy May 11, 2024

I'm a boundary pusher with my body. Always wanting to see how far, how fast, how strong. Chasing that PR in everything from 5k to the marathon, competing in obstacle course races, and adding weight to my squats and deadlifts. I'm always trying to see what my body CAN do...⁠

But that is NOT the case during pregnancy and postpartum.

During pregnancy and the weeks, months, and for somethings years postpartum it's ok to take a turn it down and tune in - play the long game.

"Just because I can doesn't mean I should" has been my motto for pregnancy for that reason.


This is the reason I stopped running at 30 weeks during my third pregnancy. I could have kept going, nothing hurt, but it just made me TIRED. Admitting that it was no longer serving me was HARD. Often what feels “good enough” for the body, doesn’t feel good enough for the ego. Pregnancy and Postpartum are not the time to be feeding that ego. Easier said than done, trust me I know, but still an important reminder.

While I spend a lot of time talking about the strategy and even the opportunity to focus on what you CAN do, I also want to make space for the longing for the “old you”. I want to acknowledge that it’s hard to pull back on something that is a huge part of your identity.


But here’s the cool part….

If we take a step back (after we let ourselves have the pity party, if necessary) and let go of the idea of trying to “get back,” we open ourselves up for a whole new level of strength and respect for what our bodies are capable of. 

We can see the REAL opportunity in this transformation of Motherhood. 


Yes, OPPORTUNITY! Hear me out on this one…

This is a time when we are forced to slow down (something very hard for many to do otherwise - I know it is for me). ⁠ It allows us to work on the foundations, improve our overall movement mechanics, connect with our muscles - where we need more strength and what muscles may be “cheating,” and learn more about and build a better connection with our core and pelvic floor⁠.


Here are the three places I would start to make sure we are hitting the basics: 

Working the foundations can make all your movements better, stronger, more efficient and effective in the long run.


Building balance around your joints by strengthening where YOU need it can make all your movements better, stronger, more efficient, and more effective.


Building a better connection with your core and pelvic guessed it… can make all your movements better, stronger, more efficient and effective.⁠

Y’all I know it’s HARD to slow down. It's HARD to feel uncomfortable in your body... but focus on the opportunity. ⁠

This will make you stronger in the end. I guarantee it!⁠  And your child is so worth it! 


A Note About Energy Levels and Managing Expectations:

Energy levels during pregnancy are HARD, especially during the first and third trimester.

It can be frustrating as an athlete to feel like you don’t have the energy or capacity to do the things you love. It can be tempting to throw your hands up in defeat (or push to hard because you just can’t turn that part of your brain off). It’s important to remember, something is better than nothing AND often doing something and moving your body provides a little bit of that energy boost you’ve been missing.

Give yourself 10-15 minutes of something and see how you feel. (If it feels good to go harder, go! You aren’t broken or fragile*) A good rule of thumb is you want to come out of the workout feeling better than when you started NOT depleted.

This can take practice and vary day to day. With running specifically, change your mindset around how you program your runs. Instead of focusing on distance and pace. Focus on time and rate of perceived exertion.⁣


For example, when programming a run, instead of saying something like 5 miles at 9:30 pace, say 40-50 minutes at RPE 3 (easy pace).⁣ I talk more about how to adjust your running programming during pregnancy here. And remember you aren’t broken or fragile AND there are some important considerations to keep you safe and feeling strong during pregnancy


Know that just because you are stepping into a new time in your life, where your training and running may look different, intention now will allow for intensity again soon. It will make you a stronger runner in the long run. You will run and race again!

Once your body is ready to start racing again, you will now have someone else to race for and a person to share your joy of running with! Running was something I shared with my mom and I will always cherish that connection. Now I get to share my passion for running with my three children. I get to run with my 2 boys and run for my beautiful daughter in heaven, Charlotte Grace.

Your training might look different over the next months/year but... 

Different doesn't mean bad.

Different can actually be better!


Next on your reading list:

Waddling Gait in Pregnancy & How To Fix It!

Best Ab Exercises for Pregnancy

Your Ultimate Guide For Strength Training In Pregnancy for Runners!

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