I am struggling with running. I know other mamas who have kept up some significant mileage during their pregnancies and I admire them for it. When pregnant with our daughter, I did not run because I had been given a guideline to keep my heart rate at 140 beats per minute by the doctor and no matter how comfortable of a pace I ran at, my heart rate was always in the 160's when jogging or running at an easy pace. After my first pregnancy, I wore my heart rate monitor more often and the high heart rate when running, even at a comfortable pace, seems to be the case for me pregnant or not. I am not sure what that means. Since then there also seems to be more advice being given that pregnant ladies should monitor their exercise level with perceived level of exertion, not specific heart rates. So, I should be good to go if I'm comfortable enough that I can carry on a conversation at the level I am exercising. I like that! With that information in mind, I slowed my pace down and was running 2-3 x 3 mile runs per week with spinning, yoga & strength work in between once I got my wind back after my first trimester of easier workouts. One particular day when I was feeling ok but not great while jogging I checked the monitor and had a heart rate of 170. I scaled back to an inclined walk as I was a little nervous about the numbers.....11:30-12 minutes a mile with a heart rate of 170?? I'm aware I would have lost some conditioning but it just seemed high even for me and I came into the pregnancy with some decent conditioning under my belt after doing my first Olympic Tri this summer. Next appointment, I ran it by the doc. He indicated that if I am comfortable and non-symptomatic that everything should be ok but he would like the heart rate closer to 140 than what I was reporting. So at 21 weeks along I think I am focusing more with inclined walks (perhaps some jogging intervals in there), spinning, strength work and I need to get back in the pool for laps. I swam laps very close to delivery with my daughter and it was great- I am just being a baby about motivating to get into the pool in the wee hours of the morning during the cold, winter months right now!
Of course, I seem to be constantly thinking of running now that I have scaled back. Murphy's law. I'm thinking about it A LOT. I'm addicted to running blogs, scouring the internet for my dream treadmill, contemplating when and how I will get quality runs in once I go back to work after maternity leave and even wondering about what race distance I want to first prepare for. Three years ago, I trained for and completed a 1/2 marathon when my daughter was about 10 months old. It was a great race and it left me right over the 2 hour mark, which of course set in my mind the thought that I need to break 2 hours :) I don't see myself setting out for anything longer than a 1/2 at first.
My other thought process is that I have so much room for improvement in speed. Seriously, me and speed were not meant for each other- that goes as far back to my high school cross-country and track coach. Speed is not my natural thing- I remember my coach telling me that I was the type of runner that would fair better on the longest, more challenging courses (probably because I'm too stubborn to quit anything) than the track or short, fast courses. I would rather run 12 moderately paced miles than 3 x 1 mile repeats- I have always dreaded speed work. That's just me, BUT part of me thinks that is exactly why I should focus on something shorter. It would be challenging and the reality is that time will be tight and I could feasibly fit in quality training for 5Ks or 10Ks in less time than a 1/2 marathon. I'm thinking....I'm thinking....what should I do?
For now, when the slight feeling of guilt sets in over my scaled back workouts I remind myself that there is a time and place for everything. I can't wait to meet this new bundle and I will be back training in what I am sure will feel like the blink of an eye. The prospects of signing up for a race for after delivery keeps me motivated to stay as healthy and strong as possible for me and baby during the pregnancy. Has anyone else planned for races to sign up for post pregnancy? How did you set out for your training plans and goals?
Have a great week!