Just like that, another trimester is over! At the end of the first trimester I wrote a post about my experiences with running during those first few months. A lot has happened since then, so I wanted to write a post detailing how my running has changed as baby and I continue to get bigger!
Shorter “long” runs. When I began this pregnancy, I cut my weekly mileage back to 20-25 miles per week. I decided I wanted to try to maintain at least 20 miles as long as I could. I figured this would taper off a bit during the second trimester, but surprisingly I was still able to run at least 20 miles a week. I did cut back in terms of my long run though. They went from 10-12 miles to 7-9 miles, except for the two half marathons I did in the second trimester. I know they will continue to get shorter from here, but there’s nothing like the feeling after a long run. I love it!
Varied pace. Pre-pregnancy my natural running pace was between 8:30-9:30/mile. In the first trimester it quickly dropped to 9:30-11:00/mile, depending on the day. During the second trimester my pace has pretty much stayed between 9:45-11:00/mile. Some days I feel super heavy and slow, and some days I don’t feel pregnant at all. It’s definitely a roller coaster! My “sweet spot” in terms of pace right now tends to be around 10:30. It feels good and is easy to maintain. I’m sure that will start creeping up soon as I continue to get bigger, but as long as I keep moving I don’t care!
More support. In this second trimester I have really found myself needing more support for my rapidly growing belly and back. In my last pregnancy, I didn’t need a support belt until I entered the third trimester, but I needed it earlier this time around. Wearing it has made running so much more comfortable since it lifts everything up and supports it. I am currently using the Gabrialla Elastic Maternity Support Belt and it works great, but I just purchased another one to try out. I’ll report back on how it is!
More energy. Even though it can be hard to get out there sometimes, I am motivated by knowing how much energy I will have afterwards and how much better I’ll feel- just like the first trimester. Knowing this has been key to getting through the second tri during the cold, snowy, icy winter months. It takes a lot of motivation to get out the door to run outside or on the treadmill when it’s freezing outside, but I need those endorphins even more when it’s cloudy and gloomy and I’m lacking vitamin D. Running has been so important to maintaining my energy levels and getting through my days!
Knowing when to choose rest over running. At the same time, this trimester I have really been learning when it’s necessary to choose rest and sleep over running. After a late or restless night, or a rough night with my toddler, I know that my body needs sleep more than exercise. Most of the time when I let myself sleep in I will try to fit in some type of workout later in the day, but sometimes I don’t and that’s fine. I’m going easier on myself during this pregnancy than my first and learning how to cut myself some slack. It’s a work in progress 🙂
Even bigger clothes. In the first trimester I said goodbye to my many of my running clothes as I started to outgrow them. This trimester I said goodbye to even more. I have graduated up once again in running shorts, sports bras, and some shirt sizes. I can still squeeze into my capris but they are definitely not comfortable. The clothing I have for cold weather running is getting really tight, so I am definitely ready for warmer weather where I have a lot more options!
More chafing. The reason for needing bigger clothes is that certain body parts are growing, obviously the belly- but also the butt, thighs, boobs, and other fun areas. The most painful of these growing areas is my inner thighs, which now rub together a lot when I run in shorts. I try to make sure to remember the Body Glide, but when I don’t the pain is unbelievable! This happened with my last pregnancy too, despite all my squats and lunges in Body Pump- and then my thighs (and everything else) deflated and it was fine. But it is not fun in the meantime! Ouch!
Varicose veins. This is something that I didn’t experience with baby #1. I was very aware of this issue since three of my good friends developed varicose veins in their pregnancies. Two of them were my close running buddies, and the pain they experienced with these veins actually caused them to stop running altogether the last few weeks. I first noticed them in the middle of the second trimester. Actually my husband did, when I got home from a run and was getting ready to shower. They’re on the back of my right leg behind my knee (and also on my right inner thigh leading up to where nobody wants bulging veins- ouch). They aren’t painful right now but I can definitely feel them there. They feel full and throb a little, especially after long runs. I’ve been elevating my right leg when I can (tough to do as a teacher), wearing compression, and using essential oils which have all helped. They haven’t gotten any worse and they don’t cause me pain yet, so I’m hopeful they won’t get too bad. This is definitely something I will need to keep an eye on during the third trimester.
Even more bathroom breaks. Yup, this one is to be expected as I progress through pregnancy and baby presses on my bladder. It’s amazing how I can go to the bathroom multiple times before leaving the house and still need to pee while out on an easy 3-4 miler. Luckily the support belt does lift everything off my bladder while I run, which helps a lot!
Still racing for fun. Some people have asked me why I would want to continue racing while pregnant when I know I’m not going to be able to run “fast” or get a new PR. It’s not about that for me. I love to do races while pregnant because they motivate me and help me celebrate having an active pregnancy. In the second trimester I completed 4 races: a Turkey Trot 5K, the Blue & Gray Half Marathon, the Frozen 5K and the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon– and I loved every single one! I’m looking forward to more races in the third trimester.
More aches and pains. Another one that comes with the territory of the second trimester. As I get bigger I do have some more occasional aches and pains. It doesn’t happen every single time I run, thankfully, but usually after longer runs- which is why I’m starting to cut back more. Sometimes I feel a little crampy or achy in my lower belly. If I do, I take that as a sign to either cut a run short or take a rest day the following day. It’s all about listening to my body and being safe!
Still appreciating every run. I am so happy and appreciative to be almost 29 weeks pregnant and still going strong with my running. I hope to continue feeling good and remain active through these last couple of months!