You set out optimistically, full of energy and ready to take on this run.
But the moment you start moving you realize the amount of effort it takes to propel the legs forward. It’s like you are running uphill even though the road is flat.
With chest out, you image your core engaged, abs covered by a round belly. Your back feels it, but you are distracted by how out of breath you already feel. You are then distracted by the feeling of a bowling ball that is sitting on your pelvis.
It takes a really long time to finally get into the groove of the run to where you are feeling good. But controlling your breathing is constant work. You don’t even want to look at your pace.
You push on and finally complete the first run in a really long time. It was slow. It was hard. It was short.
But you feel accomplished and head home to rest your now swollen feet.
This is running while pregnant.
Running already can be hard. Running pregnant can be really hard.
After really feeling like hanging my running shoes up for some time, I was finally at the point of my pregnancy where I was over my morning sickness. Instead, what has replaced is the running bug and I have been bitten bad.
I am happy to start running again more consistently, but I can’t help but feel like a beginner again. I am slow. I no longer have my speed. I no longer have the endurance.
It’s hard to not compare myself to where I was just four short months ago. I browse through my social feeds and see fit and healthy runners racing and getting in solid runs. I look back at my own running posts and envy how I looked and how I was performing. I long to be able to run fast and to race.
This is the hardest part of running pregnant: comparing performance to what it once was.
But even though it is hard both physically and mentally, pregnant runners need to remember that just getting out there and going is a major accomplishment.
We need to listen to our bodies and do what we are capable of for our health and our babies.
Instead of focusing on speed, focus on getting the run done. Slow is steady is better than not going for a run at all—even if it means intervals of walking and some jogging.
Let me remind everyone that another hardest part of running while pregnant is running. So even getting out there is a major victory.
And feeling like a beginner isn’t the worst thing. It actually is really humbling. It allows us to go back to our roots and appreciate the fitness process. Running slower means we can pay attention to form. To our stride and cadence. To our breathing.
Promise that runners will still get that endorphin boost and feel good after. And that post-run snack will taste that much better—especially when we treat ourselves.
The hardest part of being a preggo runner might be realizing that we aren’t the runner we once were, but that’s okay. But this lesson grounds us and allows us to build that foundation for when we make a comeback. We might just end up being faster, stronger and fitter post-baby.
It’s easy to compare ourselves to other runners—and pregnant runners at that—online, but our journey is unique. Take each run one step at a time.
The hardest part of running pregnant might very well become the best part of running post-pregnancy when we get to look back on the progress we made after the baby is here.