Its been no secret that one of my big goals while pregnant has been to remain as active as possible. I’ve trained for and completed a number of races while pregnant, my two biggest accomplishments being running Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach at 24 weeks pregnant and running/walking Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly at 32 weeks pregnant. Like any other race, my training for these two half marathons took lots of time, focus, and dedication in order to ensure that I was as prepared as possible when I toed the start line on race day.While continuing to train for races and living an active lifestyle hasn’t always been an easy task, there’s a number of lessons that I’ve learned while maintaining a fit pregnancy.
1. While setting goals is a great way to stay focused, including when pregnant, achieving your goals might not always be possible. I set monthly goals (you can check out my November goals here). There have been several months when I’ve successfully reached most or all of my monthly goals. But there have also been several months when I haven’t even come close to reaching most or all of my monthly goals. The most important thing is that I’ve used my goals to help focus my attention on staying active and living a healthy, fit lifestyle that benefits both myself and the baby.
2. Listening to your body is more important than ever. Its important to recognize when your body is quenching the desire to workout, but its equally, if not more, important to recognize your body’s signs indicating that you need extra rest. Pregnancy is anything but easy on the body, and though it was a mental challenge at first to not be stubborn about taking extra rest days, I’ve gotten better about this as I’ve progressed through my pregnancy.
3. There’s no such thing as drinking too much water. Most physicians recommend drinking an additional glass of water (on top of the daily recommended 8-10 glasses) for every 30 minutes that pregnant women work out.
4. Stay close to the bathroom, especially when your workouts are long and you’re following the suggested additional water intake when you’re working out. During my long training runs, I either made sure that I remained close to the house or near a public restroom while training outside. Or if my training took place at the gym, then I made sure to choose one of the treadmills that was closest to the locker room.
5. Its okay to slow down. While a slowing pace might be a difficult pill to swallow (I certainly struggled with this at first), its more than okay to run or walk at a slower pace than you were accustomed to pre-pregnancy. Again, this is a mental challenge, but once you’re able to break through the mental barrier that prevents you from accepting this, working out will likely become much more enjoyable.6. Embrace your changing body. As the baby and baby belly grow, it’ll become increasingly difficult to complete certain exercises that once felt extremely easy. If you lift weights, you’ll likely need to reduce the weight that you lift, and there may be certain exercises altogether that your body just can’t handle anymore. I’ve had to make several modifications to my workout routine, and I’m sure in the last weeks of my pregnancy I’ll have to make even more changes.
Be sure to also check out my post on Tips for Running While Pregnant. And as with any fitness activities, its imperative that your doctor approve your fitness regimen prior to starting. I’m very thankful that my OB has been extremely supportive of my continuing to run and remain active throughout my pregnancy. Although I’m slowing down now that I’m one day shy of 34 weeks pregnant, I’m also extremely appreciative of all that my pregnant body has allowed me to handle up until this point.
QOTD: What lessons have you learned from working out while pregnant?