Bump On The Run
What does a runner do when faced with a new challenge? Keep on running, of course! I always wanted children so when I fell pregnant with my first child I worried that I’d lose my fitness, my favourite past time and, most importantly, my identity.
I was told that fitter people have shorter labours, experience less back pain, that exercise helps baby into a good position and aids sleep. I tried to research as much as I could however, I was looking for something prescriptive, with no such luck. Runner’s World had a good article and there was also a nice interview with Paula Radcliffe. The advice I got was to carry on doing what I did pre-pregnancy but lower the intensity.
I used to run 5 times a week, fitting in a faster reps session, one long one and some hills. During pregnancy I kept to my regular run days, walked when I needed to and cut out the hills and faster reps sessions altogether. As the weeks went by a slower pace and shorter distance felt just as satisfying as a longer, faster one. I bought some cushioned trainers and a neoprene back support belt to support the bump. Posture-wise, I kept my tail bone tucked under and ran as light on my feet as I could.
I ran with South Leeds Sisters who were great fun, gave me lots of support and looped back for me. My last event was the Brighton ½ Marathon at 33 weeks, which I jogged and walked, finishing in 2hrs 22mins – I’ve never been happier to see a finish line or so proud of myself. I got a few surprised looks along the way but that added to the day.
I gave birth to a girl, weighing 6lb 9oz, after 40 hours of ‘inactive’ labour and 6 ‘active’ hours…so much for fitness speeding up delivery! Despite this, I was able to keep moving throughout and used only gas and air for pain relief. I think the perseverance of long distance running lent itself to getting on with the job in hand.
I was back in my trainers 6 weeks later and by 3 months I felt like my legs were my own again. It still takes a lot of determination to do my old routes without beating myself up about how long it takes. However, I know I need to keep going and am eager for my daughter grow into her running buggy so we can take to the streets together
Holly is a run leader and general running maestro over at the South Leeds Sisters, run with her here: