July 17, 2008

Pregnant Runners

Runner's World has an interview with Natalie Morales, co-host of the Today Show. In it she talks about her "active pregnancies". She ran up until two days before having her first child and is still running with her current pregnancy (though I cant find out out far along she is). She talks about how running through her first trimester was the only thing that made her feel good - keeping her energy and stamina up.

All these pregnant runners make me feel like a failure. I tried running during my first trimester but I was so tired that I simply couldnt do it. I couldnt run 3 miles withouth having to walk portions of it ... and my body felt strange and uncomfortable. During my first trimester I didnt gain any weight and really didnt show at all by the end of it ... so imagine me trying to run in my 2nd trimester, where I pack on the lbs weekly and continue to get bigger by the minute. I just never saw it as possible! Kudos to all the ladies out there who are doing it - I envy your willpower and dedication. As I sit here on the couch with my feet elevated watching movies on Lifetime, I think of you :)

Running After Pregnancy
For now I look to 2009 and figure I will be able to get myself back on track then. I think about training for another marathon, or possibly switching it up and going the triathlon route. Runners World has another article that talks more about the actual task of running for women after carrying and deliverying a baby.

There are some positive effects that pregnancy has on the runner:
  • During pregnancy, blood volume goes up by as much as 40 percent and resting heart rate rises by as much as 15 beats. "Pregnancy makes you hypertrained. Your body becomes very efficient at circulating oxygen," says Nadya Swedan, M.D., author of The Active Woman's Health and Fitness Handbook. "If you begin running within weeks of giving birth, you can capitalize on those gains."
  • Much of the gain is mental! A study at the University of Stirling in Scotland compared the pain tolerances of 10 women who hadn't given birth with 10 who had. During normal training sessions, the mothers handled more pain.
But its not a downhill-only race:
  • After birth, "Your bones can get leached of calcium, which makes them susceptible to fractures," says Dr. Swedan, a rehabilitation specialist in New York City.
  • Knee pain is also common in postpartum running mothers who are still lugging pregnancy weight.
  • The hormone relaxin, which causes joints and ligaments to loosen up so the hips can accommodate giving birth, doesn't depart the body until at least four months postpartum, making you more prone to sprains

Maybe if I looked like these two ladies during my pregnancy I would still be running...but I certainly dont look anything near this good :)

(Pics are of Natalie Morales on the left and Paula Radcliffe on the right)

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