Lessons I’ve Learned from Training While Pregnant

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.

After crossing the finish line of Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach back in September at 24 weeks pregnant

After crossing the finish line of Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach back in September at 24 weeks pregnant

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.

lessons from training

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.

Working out is becoming progressively more difficult, but I keep reminding myself that any workouts are better than none at all, no matter how long I can workout for or how slowly I'm moving!

Working out is becoming progressively more difficult, but I keep reminding myself that any workouts are better than none at all, no matter how long I can workout for or how slowly I’m moving!

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?

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95 Responses to Lessons I’ve Learned from Training While Pregnant

  1. stainedwithstyle says:

    I learned too late (thankfully the baby was fine) that I need to listen to my body. In my third pregnancy I was having a very hard time working out. I would come home and be done for the day. I needed a nap and felt terrible. One day I took my kids to the park and overdid it and wham! I strained my uterus. It’s a muscle and with a growing baby, it was a scary and time consuming healing process. I wish I had listened to my body a little more carefully. Perhaps it couldn’t have been avoided but it really threw me for a loop!

  2. Meg says:

    You look amazing!! I just realised I’ve followed you on instagram for a while because I recognised that cute green top 🙂
    I have no comment about working out while pregnant as it’s not something I’ve experienced, but I think listening to your body is great advice for everyone!! Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy
    Meg x

  3. So inspirational that you have been able to remain so active throughout your pregnancy! You are a true example of no excuses! You are so close 34 weeks…very exciting!!

  4. When I was pregnant, doctors were very reluctant to allow me to do anything but walk! The guidelines were to keep your HR below 130. There was no rhyme or reason for that…luckily a lot of us showed those so-called “experts” that pregnant women can maintain an active lifestyle! The best advice I can give is to listen to your body. Which is exactly what you did. And to keep your expectations realistic. Some days, you aren’t going to feel like doing much at all!

  5. mkadens1 says:

    While pregnant I learned that things aren’t necessarily going to be the way you thought or hoped or expected and you have to go with whatever your body and your baby dictate. I was put on bedrest at 16 weeks so there were no workouts for me.

  6. amindfullmom says:

    I am with you on learning that some goals are NOT obtainable, especially while pregnant. You have to listen to your body and your doctor and sometimes that just interferes with excercise goals–and that is OKAY! You look great and yes, stay close to the bathroom 😉

  7. Courtney says:

    You are amazing! I’m currently 36 weeks pregnant and only did one race during my pregnancy, ten miles as part of a relay team for Seneca7. I have made it a goal of mine to stay as active as possible my whole pregnancy and did pretty well until the last few weeks where I finally backed down to just walking. I’ve definitely learned to listen to my body, something I’ve never been good at before because I am super stubborn and competitive. Congrats on racing two half marathons this far along! That is super impressive =)

  8. Rebecca Jo says:

    I so give props to all your mommas that keep pushing it & working out through your pregnancy – taking care of both you & baby!!!

  9. HoHo Runs says:

    Nice to get to know you through the hop! I had suffered a couple of miscarriages, so I did nothing active during my pregnancies — unless you include lifting a fork. I think it is simply amazing you have continued to train, set monthly goals for yourself, and participate in races. Good luck in these final weeks. I know you can’t wait to meet the little one.

  10. I walked throughout my pregnancy and up until the day I had my baby. It wasn’t too strenuous, but I fully believe it helped me cope with my changing body and well maybe it was more for my mental side. I wasn’t as active then as I am now. I’m not sure what I would do now. I think I would try to continue and listening to your body the way you do. I wish you a super easy delivery and can’t wait to see your little one!

  11. You are incredible!! I wasn’t able to work out during my first trimester because of complications and prior miscarriages, but I did do some very limited working out during my second and third. We definitely have to listen to our bodies! You are doing amazing!!!

  12. All I can say is “good for you”! Knowing myself I probably would have used be pregnant as an excuse not to do things. I wouldn’t have been as ambitious as you! You are a rock star!

  13. Run Wright says:

    Congrats on being fit enough to run half marathons at 24 weeks. That’s quite an accomplishment.
    I also think drinking enough water is one of the most important things we can do for our health and it’s so easy.

  14. Lisa says:

    This is great advice, unfortunately, I had a hard time keeping fit while pregnant, my kidney decided to stop playing nice! 🙂

  15. I’ve not had children so I can’t say for sure but to me these sound like very great tips! You are very lucky, not everyone can workout their entire pregnancy’s, and I know it’s different for everyone. But you are a perfect example to those who don’t have complications who want to stay fit throughout the pregnancy and how to handle it!

  16. kj80012000 says:

    This is an awesome post with great tips! I am totally bookmarking this!!! I wanted to have a fit pregnancy with my first last year, but it didn’t happen due to many circumstances and complications. I hope to have a fit pregnancy with my next one, whenever that may be. Congrats on the fit pregnancy!!

  17. I can relate 100% to this post. At 16.5 weeks pregnant my goal has been to keep up with my running/training as long as I possibly can. I worked out until 38 weeks with my son so I have no doubt I can and will do it this time around but I am much more aware of my body and it’s limitations this time. For me, staying active is also a way to stay sane. I struggle mentally on the days where my body says “no” to find peace and calm. Running and working out are really my two main relaxation avenues so it can be tough. You are looking amazing momma and I can’t wait to see pictures of your new bundle!!

  18. Ah yes knowing where all the bathrooms are is key! You’ve been an amazing role model mama!

  19. I have never been pregnant but one of my goals is to also remain as active as possible when that time comes!! I know I will struggle with slowing down and a changing body image but exercise is what keeps me sane so any exercise will be better than none. Its so awesome how successful you were at this, what an inspiration! 🙂

  20. Lauren says:

    Congrats on running while preggo. So inspiring! For me, my 2 pregnancies were both so so different so I am totally all for listening to your own body! And a big yes to knowing where all the bathrooms are!!

  21. Listening to the body is a good thing.
    I cant be pregnant lol ,but i have learned because of my Arthritis to listen.
    I runned a lot with injurys but that is what i dont do anymore.
    Just need to accept that there are good and Bad days .

  22. I worked out all the way through one pregnancy and not at all during one. It was much easier to get back moving after the kid was born when I’d been active the whole time.

  23. You’re so amazing Kathryn! I wish I had been active during my two pregnancies. Great job on always listening to your body too! That’s hard to do even when someone isn’t pregnant lol!

  24. Clearly these tips will never apply to me from a pregnancy perspective – but I’m always impressed when I see women with baby bellies running races! Good on you!! When’s your due date?

  25. Elizabeth says:

    You are awesome! I only walked and did yoga at home when I was pregnant. I can honestly say pregnancy was when I stared to think about maybe getting in shape after I had the baby. If I ever have another baby I would follow your great advice and listen to my body. 🙂

  26. araekeech says:

    That’s great that you have been able to continue workout through your pregnancy! If you haven’t checked it out already the book “training through your pregnancy” is excellent! I think the biggest lesson I learned is that every pregnancy is different and you have to listen to your body. With baby number one I continued to race triathlons threw my first trimester, and continued to train until she was born, I swam a mile that morning 😉 My second baby however was a completely different story. I felt so sick the whole pregnancy that all I was able to handle was some light yoga and walks, and even that was inconsistent. Working out through your pregnancy is different for every one, and every pregnancy is different, so listen to your body and do what feels right 😀

  27. runninrocker says:

    Hello from Blog Hop! That is wonderful that you’ve been able to stay so active during your pregnancy. I totally adore your Sweating for Two tank. Precious. I think your pregnancy tips are good for all of us too…all important stuff here!

  28. Sarah says:

    I ran a 13.1 at 8 weeks pregnant – one of the hardest things I’ve ever done! I love that you’re also keeping fit while pregnant. I ended up mostly walking and hiking!

  29. You are doing a fantastic job of staying in shape while listening to your body. Kudos to you and your little bean 🙂

  30. I’m always amazed at those who run races while pregnant, what an accomplishment! I would hope that I would be able to do even some of those sorts of things if/when I get pregnant one day. Also love how in tune you are with listening to your body.

  31. Great job on staying active and running while pregnant! Running moms are a true inspiration to me. I really don’t know how y’all juggle it all. I hope if I ever get up to courage to have kids I can continue to run. I also hope those cute tank tops are still around!

  32. Kim Hatting says:

    I was one of those moms who didn’t really “workout” while pregnant (with any of my three kids). I was very active and walked a lot, but I didn’t discover running until the youngest was in school. I totally agree with what you said about listening to your body…that is important for anyone and everyone, pregnant or not. There’s a difference between the pain from pushing yourself to reach a new goal vs. the pain from outright exhaustion. It sounds like you know the difference 😉 Great job with staying so active!!!

  33. Amazing! Listen to your body only you know what is happening!

  34. Kelli says:

    These are such great tips! I loved how I felt after a good workout while I was pregnant, it always seemed to give me energy. I kickboxed through most of my pregnancy with my twins and loved it. With my other pregnancies I did a mixture of running/walking, weights, and yoga.

  35. Amazing!!! Running while pregnant! I am always so impressed by running pregnant moms! totally impressive!

    Great job listening to your body and doing what is best to stay fit and healthy for you and your baby!

    Congrats on your races! I ran RnR DC and RnR Brooklyn.

  36. Amanda Edenfield says:

    Wow, you’re pretty amazing! I didn’t really exercise when I was pregnant with my two kiddos (young and not into fitness with the first one, then was sick a lot with my second). It’s something I definitely want to do when/if I have another baby. Better to stay as active and healthy as possible for both myself and my baby!

  37. Never been pregnant so can’t answer that question but think it’s awesome you’ve been able to workout throughout your pregnancy!

  38. Congrats on having such a healthy pregnancy and being committed to follow through with your goals and stay so active. Such an exciting time for you!

  39. I have never been pregnant but I can honestly say that I am so impressed with all the ladies I see kicking butt during pregnancy!! It is so inspiring! My workouts and fitness are so important to me and I know that will be a factor for me when I do experience pregnancy one day. Watching some of the women at my crossfit be badass and pregnant is amazing and hearing stories like yours… I mean I can’t even run a half marathon NOW haha let alone with another mini person inside of me and my body working over time! Good for you girl! And I am glad you have such a great, healthy, and positive outlook on it all. Congrats!

  40. Cynsspace says:

    Rock on! One of my training partners is 6 months pregnant. This past Saturday, we covered 6 miles and somehow managed to drop one of them below 8 minutes a mile. I have so much respect for the two of you. I couldn’t work out when I was pregnant; cross-training was the way to go for me.
    Are you still timing your workouts? She is. I laughed but her explanation of being able to compare times as she progresses made perfect sense.

  41. kristenk says:

    You are doing such an amazing job of keeping active during pregnancy! I’m pretty sure if I ever get pregnant I won’t be running at 34 weeks. But I think it’s so cool that your baby gets to run races before they are even born!

  42. slysamblogs says:

    Thanks for sharing the tips. They are really useful for many phases of life. I think it is great that you are able to workout and listen to your body. What an inspiration!

  43. It’s been wonderful reading about your running journey while pregnant! I’ve never had a child and hope to one day – so it’s been great hearing how you can still run and workout, even running races!

  44. You are such an inspiration! One day when I do get pregnant and start having children, I will definitely remember you and all you have done!

  45. You look so great!!! Listening to your body is definitely the number one thing. You shouldn’t push through when you are pregnant. And yes, the bathroom is always such a necessity. I remember so many runs where I thought I wouldn’t make it. I hope that you are feeling great!

  46. Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes says:

    definitely embracing the idea that it’s ok to slow down and take rest days is huge!!

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