Tips for running on trails … and pregnant

My last two “Rundown” articles that for my bi-weekly column I write for the Spectrum, have some tips on two very important running topics (to me, at least).

The first one that came out a couple of weeks ago was “Tips on running through pregnancy.”

This is something that is very important to me and something that I have gotten many questions about.

Here are my tips:

1. Start an exercise regiment before you get pregnant. If you ask a doctor about exercise or any physical activity during pregnancy, they will almost always say “If you’ve done it before, you are safe to continue; but don’t start anything new.” Which brings me to my next point:

2. Consult with your OB. It is always best to get a good assessment from your doctor, if you are able to run. For some, due to complications and such, it is not possible; but for most, it is and is highly recommended.

3. Get a good sports bra. Need I say more.

4. Go to the bathroom before. Again, need I say more.

Now, the good stuff …

5. Pay attention to your body. Now is not the time to be breaking any records or setting any new personal best times. If it feels uncomfortable (and you be the judge), don’t be afraid to stop and walk. After all, walking is also a great source of exercise.

6. Ease into it. For the first few minutes of the run, you will feel a little bit “off.” For me, my belly is a little wobbly and feels different. I find that if I take the first few minutes slow and steady, that the baby finds a comfortable position, and I am able to continue the run without any problems.

7. Be careful. When I say this, I am referring to the clumsiness that is often associated with pregnancy. It is a fact that your gate will change, due to your hips shifting and also that you have added pressure right at the top of your hips and pelvic area.

You will find that you are not picking your feet up off the ground as high as you used to. Pay attention to this and be careful, as to prevent yourself from falling … especially if you frequent the trails like I do.

8. Try avoiding rocky terrain. This is one that I need to follow a little better than I do. I love running in the mountains near my house. If you must run on trails, again, be careful. Watch your step, and even walk over areas that are rockier.

9. Bring a phone. This is generally a good idea for anyone to do. During my first trimester (the lovely time that is packed full with yuckiness), I had a few runs where I felt nauseous after a few miles. It didn’t happen very often, but when it did, it was good to be able to call my husband to come pick me up.

10. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Fuel, fuel, fuel. When running, you are obviously burning more calories than normal, and a lot of your water is also going to the baby. It is extremely important to replenish your body buy bringing water and/or sport drinks and also fuel with (healthy) food. Which brings me to my final point:

11. Eat healthy. It is difficult enough running with a baby in your belly. Adding junk food to the mix, only makes things that much worse. By fueling with healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other (food-pyramid-ish) stuff, you can avoid any unwanted sick stomach, and be able to get out there and enjoy a good run … not the bad kid (if you catch my drift). 

To read the article in its entirety, here’s the link.

The other article focused on running hills. I love hills; mostly the uphills. It has taken me a while to get here, but I am honestly at a place where, if I see a road (preferably rocky) veer up, I will always take the detour. There is just something about the climb that is so rewarding, exhilarating … everything!

Here are my tips for running hills:

  • Take short strides and stay on the balls of your feet on the uphill. Staying on the balls of your feet will help you to lean into the hill, which is always a good thing (leaning away will create what I call a “Jack and Jill effect). The short strides will help with your posture and also, strangely enough, help you cover more ground.
  • Keep your arms moving at the height of your hips, moving rhythmically with your legs. It may take a little focus at first, but keeping your arms low, rather than up high near your chest, will help open up your lungs, helping you to breath better. Which brings me to my next point:
  • Breathe slowly and deeply. Going up hills, you will need more oxygen. The tendency for many is to breathe fast. This is also know as hyperventilating, and when done, creates an adverse affect. Taking in slow, deep breaths, helps you to relax and focus on the task at hand.

Now, for the downhill …

  • Stride out, relax and let gravity do its job. Gravity is a wonderful thing if used correctly and not forced. Too often, downhills are pushed too hard, when in fact, if you have long, relaxed strides, and don’t force gravity, the downhill will be quite enjoyable and less of a pounding torture.

Here is the link to the entire article.

If you’re wondering if I combine the two (hills and pregnancy), the answer is, YES!

Here is a picture from this morning, after completing a 1700 ft climb up to View Benchmark on a trail called “Ann’s Trail.” So much fun!

ari1700

 

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