If you have been a runner for years, the thought of not running for 9 months seems much harder than giving up alcohol. It is your stress reliever, your alone time, when you get your best ideas, and you excuse to eat an extra slice of pizza.
Luckily, unless your OB tells you otherwise, most exercises you did before getting pregnant can be continued throughout pregnancy, including running.
Now that you know you are allowed to run, should you sign up for that race? Most experts, including me, say to wait until after the baby is born and you have healed from delivery. An OB from Healthtap.com says, “Always consider if the training/racing will deprive your developing child of oxygen and nutrients. 90-120 minutes of relatively intense exercise may present just such a situation. Plenty of other races, but only one developing child. Perhaps volunteer to help out.”
Coach Jenny from Runner’s World Magazine agrees: “It’s not that we can’t do it, we can—but at what cost? This is the time in our lives when we learn what it means to put our goals second to the needs of our baby. Once the baby arrives, you begin to heal, create your new life schedule, and get back to running [races] for yourself.”
For many people, pregnancy can be harder than expected. Between the nausea, exhaustion, the frequent peeing, and the body aches, you may not feel up to training like you used to. It may be disappointing to accept that you wasted the money to sign up for a race, but it’s even worse to run unprepared, exhausting and dehydrating yourself.
Pregnancy is a time to listen to your body. Races are a time to push yourself. These do not go together. For your health and the safety of your baby, stay active during pregnancy, but don’t overdo it.