“You should be at home making babies, not in here (the track’s gym on an exercise bike) you should be done with this stuff (athletics)” from an elite athlete …
I have also had comments such as
“Don’t you go over doing it, you should be very careful in your condition” (whilst walking up stairs at the beach) from a complete stranger…
My condition – I am pregnant, not dying!!!
Having come into this pregnancy as a fit and healthy 35 year old, I didn’t want to stop exercising because I was expecting my first child. The idea of 9 months without exercise and wrapping myself in cotton wool just didn’t sit well with me. Obviously the health and well being of Graham and my child comes first. I am not insane! I have asked all the right medical people and also other athletic mums who have delivered healthy babies how they went about keeping fit and sane during pregnancy.
The medical advice given to me was if I came into the pregnancy fit then I would be best to keep fit throughout. I was given a percentage to scale back my training, which was 30%, and after explaining to my doctor that as an elite 800 runner 30% less than normal for me is still a lot of training, I scaled mine back to probably more like 50% less and at a far lesser intensity.
What I have worked out is that the key to training whilst pregnant is listening to your body. For me that is not too difficult as that’s what we always do as athletes. I exercise with my Garmin heart rate monitor on and work at keeping my heart rate below a certain number. Everyones heart rate max is different and I know what is a safe level for me. If my heart rate gets too escalated or I feel too short of breath, I stop or take longer recovery between repetitions. I am currently 19 weeks pregnant and feeling great after what was a rocky start with morning sickness. Exercise has kept me not only sane but feeling better when the nausea and tiredness start to kick in.
Below is an example of my last weeks training diary at 18 weeks pregnant…
Monday – Grass Track – easy 5 min warm up jog, stretch, 4 x strides over 80m to warm up, Session – 50 metres run walk 50m, 100m run walk 100m, 150 m run walk 150m, 200m run walk 200m, 150m run walk 150m, 100m run walk 100m, 50m run walk 50m, easy 5 min jog, stretch.
Tuesday – am – 10 min easy jog
– pm – Athletics Track – 5 min easy jog, stretch, 4 x strides over 80m to warm up, Session – 100m, 110m, 130m, 150m, 130m, 110m, 100m at 75% with a recovery of walk 50m jog 80m walk 50m. I loved this session as it was pouring with rain and made me felt like I was an elite tough trainer again (even at this slow pace) as everyone else huddled undercover waiting for the break in weather…Its the little things when you are pregnant!
Wednesday – am – 10min jog
pm – Grass Track – 5min easy jog, stretch, 4 x strides overs 80m to warm up, drills – running ones and lunges, Session – 5 x (50 m 80% 50m 60% 50m walk) rest 4 min and repeat, easy 5 min jog
Thursday – 5 min easy jog, 4 x strides over 80m to warm up, drills, Session – 4 sets of (4 x 60m runs at 85% with 30 sec recovery) plenty of recovery between sets to make sure heart rate back down, 5 min easy jog.
Then into gym for neck and core exercises to help with problems I am having with my body thru pregnancy e.g. my disk bulge in my neck that I had in Japan 2012 has flared up and caused nerve problems down my right arm. Sore lower back also.
Friday – 5 min easy jog on sand at beach, stair reps – 8 flights about 100 steps. 6 repetitions with walk back recovery alternating between walking up skipping a step and then running up (70%) touching every step. Don’t need to do many reps or at a high intensity as the burn in the legs still happens and the extra weight being carried makes it tough.
Saturday – rest day
Sunday – 5 min easy jog, stretch, 3 x 80m strides for warm up, Session on the soccer pitch in middle of the track – walk from one corner to next, jog from that corner to the next one and then run (75%) across from that point diagonally across the pitch to the next point. Do this 6 times in a row without stopping then rest before repeating once. 5 min easy jog to warm down before hitting the gym for neck and core exercises.
Granted I may look a little strange exercising with an ever expanding tummy. I am not Robinson Crusoe though. Many women before me and many after me will exercise during pregnancy. I have found it helpful and enjoyable to be out and doing things rather than being “at home making babies” like was suggested to me and what I see as a very archaic point of view. I guess I should be prepared for more comments along these lines as I intend to exercise for as long as my body allows me to during this pregnancy, even if it drops down to just the daily walking of the dogs!
Food craving for March – milkos and redskins