minutes per mile blog

pregnancy & running recap: first trimester

Since many of you asked for pregnancy and running updates, I thought I could do a few posts about my experiences to date!

So. The first 12 weeks of pregnancy. I was SUPER excited to be pregnant! But also super slow, sick, and tired on a handful of runs.

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But only a handful were really bad. Really! Most of my runs felt pretty good actually. That’s something that I understand doesn’t happen for all women, so I’m grateful.

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(ps let me just say that I was 10 weeks pregnant doing this Harper Knit clothing review and found it extremely difficult to suck in my mini bump for photos of this form-fitting tank!)

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Of course, one of the first questions we had for my doctor when we went for our initial visit at week 6 was whether I should keep running and exercising, and what sort of mileage and exercises were safe. She told me that since my body was used to running and working out regularly, I could keep doing what I was doing — in fact, I should keep up exercise as long as it felt good. Apparently labor isn’t the easiest task in the world so it’s good to keep your fitness levels up through pregnancy :) In terms of mileage, she said to just stick to what I was comfortable with and not overdo it, especially on hot days.

One of the most difficult things for me on the running front during the first trimester wasn’t so much running itself — it was waking up in time to run! I was pretty exhausted most days and really struggled to get out of bed. It’s weird to me that the symptoms of pregnancy seem to be strongest in many ways during the first trimester, but at the same time you’re not showing at all. During the first few weeks of pregnancy your baby is the whopping size of a poppy seed. So a few times I was like, “Is there really a baby in there making me slow, or am I just slow and tired because I’m out of shape?!” Ha.

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As far as morning sickness goes, I only felt queasy on maybe one or two morning runs during the first trimester. “Morning” sickness for me would come later in the day and was usually pretty mild. Fortunately I never got physically sick or lost my appetite. Mostly I just craved breakfast sandwiches :)

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During my first trimester I did one 10-miler and most of my other “long” runs were closer to 8 miles. I ran consistently 3-4 times per week, usually in the 4-6 mile range during week days. And then did 1-2 cross-training sessions at the gym every week. Anthony and I decided after my marathon last year that races/long distances were off the calendar while we focused on family. So, there’s been no real need to run super long and I personally didn’t want to put my body or mind under too much stress with two-hour workouts or a detailed training spreadsheet, especially during the first trimester which is considered one of the more “fragile” periods during pregnancy. Eight miles takes me about an hour to complete, which to me is a solid but not stressful workout.

Even though I feel blessed to have been able to run during pregnancy so far, let me say it hasn’t been a total breeze. Like I said, a few of my runs have been extremely tough. I remember one run in particular where I felt really sick to my stomach (a combination of heat, pregnancy, and perhaps what I ate the night before?) and had to have Anthony sprint home, get the car, and drive me back to the house (#1 husband!). I’ll spare you the details of this issue but will link to this insightful article on how “exercise promotes a more efficient digestive system” which has been especially true for me during pregnancy and seems to be getting worse in my second trimester. GREAT.

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Another reason why I think the first trimester was a little tough on the running front: the HEAT. This summer has been one of the nastiest summers I’ve ever remembered in Nashville. Even if I wasn’t pregnant this summer, I think my paces would have suffered anyways because of the dang humidity. If there was one summer to take off from marathon training, it was definitely this one!

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I’m so excited that it’s starting to cool down a bit as this season comes to an end. Perhaps there’s some sort of magic weight/weather ratio that will allow me to stay in the eight-minute mile range as I get larger and the temperatures get cooler? :) Now that I’m at week 18, baby is definitely a lot bigger than a poppy seed. I hope he or she is prepared for some fall running, no matter what pace or distance that may be!

  • Mother runners: What was your first trimester like?
  • Anyone else think that this was the hottest summer of all time?
  • Recent cravings? (Pregnancy-related or otherwise?!)

8 thoughts on “pregnancy & running recap: first trimester

  1. I had a lot of exhaustion during my first trimester but luckily no morning sickness. Since I was already almost to taper time for my marathon, I just went with it and ran the marathon at 11 weeks , I could’ve PR’ed but slowed down for my bf who was having leg cramps. I felt pretty okay running in the first trimester, just slower but as I got bigger in the second trimester I slowed down a lot and had to start wearing a maternity support band to keep from getting some ligament aches. I ended up running 2 half marathons but slowed to a shorter long run at 20 weeks. Good luck and make sure to get a good running stroller so you can get back to running afterwards.

  2. I think this was one of the hottest summers we have had in Tennessee for about 6 years or so…………….crazy hot! (And it still is…………)

  3. I am totally on board with running during pregnancy. I had my baby last July. I only felt blah a couple times in the first trimester. I was able to run until week 36 comfortably, albeit slower as my belly got bigger. I credit yoga with helping me stay properly stretched/limber enough to run as I got further along. My running friends were super understanding, especially when I stopped for the bathroom often :)

  4. This summer is so gross here. Like I can’t even stand outside for long. The one day I did throw up was when I was sitting outside watching my toddler
    Play so morning sickness (afternoon) mixed with heat just made me lose it out in my front yard. Awkward. So glad to be in the lovely second tri. Hoping to fully get my energy back. Been less nauseous this time but way more tired. Glad you’ve been able to keep running. I hope to get back to it after this baby!