Tips For Running in the Third Trimester

  Feb 5, 2018  |  #Pregnancy
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Well, here we are running in the 3rd trimester. Surprisingly, I’m still enjoying running, albeit “light running.” I’ve certainly had to make plenty of adjustments to my form in many ways, but it’s been my sanity release to still be running in the third trimester. I still think pregnancy has many similarities to distance running.

For all you mamma’s to be out there, or women who will someday be mamma’s to be, and you’re wondering about running in the third trimester, hopefully this post and tips can help. Third trimester exercise can get uncomfortable and very tiring.

Tips for Running in the Third Trimester

Another thing that can help? A belly belt. It prevents your belly from too much slushing up and down and really cuts down on discomfort.

I want to reiterate that I am not running excessively or pushing myself beyond my limits. If anything, pregnancy has certainly been a lesson in listening to my body (physically, mentally and emotionally). And I realize not every woman will even want  to run throughout pregnancy and I get that. But, hopefully you can relate to having something you enjoy – whether it’s a form of exercise or just walking. Some outlet that you can turn to. And more likely than not, things will have to be adjusted as you progress in your pregnancy. So, hopefully there are some similarities there.

Running in the 3rd Trimester

Pregnancy Running Changes

First of all, knowing the changes that pregnancy brings is important. If you remember, feeling short of breath was one of the early signs I had that I was pregnant. This was before I was having positive pregnancy tests, but my body was changing. Running had suddenly gotten harder.

Aside from that, there are many other changes that happen during pregnancy.

  • Weight gain –> Shifting center of gravity
  • Connective tissue becomes looser
  • Stride and posture changes –> Running form likely changes (This can lead to injuries so be careful)
  • Total blood volume increases

and much much more.

Some of these may affect certain women more than others.

The most important lesson I’ve learned is to listen to my body, and that’s not just limited to running in the third trimester. Setting pre-determined running or workout goals in my head and then going and doing them are now two different things. I don’t “push through” the fatigue to get that 4-miler in, and if I’m just not feeling it, I take another rest day. I’ve taken more rest days than I have in a long time. I’m finding a good balance between movement and resting, and still at the point where I enjoy and look forward to my running time. Foam rolling is my best friend and I can’t tell you how much foot cream I’ve gone through.

Tips for Running in the 3rd Trimester

Here are some of the conclusions I’ve come to as far as tips for running in the 3rd trimester:

Find running routes and loops with easy access to a bathroom

Sometimes, that means just running loops around our neighborhood so I can stop and pee. And as much as I hate running on the treadmill, it definitely has its perks for having a bathroom nearby. The time I can hold my bladder after I start running is getting shorter and shorter. I can barely go over 20 minutes at this point, so having a safe place to urinate or a bathroom nearby is necessary!

Any form of third trimester exercise that involves heavy jostling may spark body reactions 😉

Invest in Good Socks and Shoes

Pregnancy is NOT the time to skimp on products. I love feetures socks for running, but also these comfy funny pregnancy socks for lounging. Also, compression socks can be a LIFESAVER for helping with blood flow and swelling that tends to happen.

You’ll also want a semi-firm shoe that can adjust to your foot shape (I love Altra’s) and handle the extra impact from running.

Don’t have expectations for pace and intensity

This sounds obvious, but it’s still worth saying. Your body when pregnant is functioning at a totally different capacity than when it’s not pregnant. It is prioritizing different systems, and relaying things to the baby. Therefore, you can just not expect to operate on the same level. The extra weight, shortness of breath, and stride change will likely contribute to your decreased pace. Coupled with the fact that you fatigue earlier because blood is being filtered to the little one makes it difficult to maintain high intensities.

Tips for Running in the 3rd Trimester

I can’t imagine training for Boston right now. I’m so glad I made the decision not to, because I really think marathon training while pregnant would be terrible. I know some women do it (and props to YOU who have/are doing it), but man, it would be so much time and discomfort. I’m glad I can say I’m really enjoying most aspects of being pregnant, and I think marathon training would certainly be taking over or tainting that.

Shortness of Breath

I’ve always had good aerobic capacity and I feel that I was in somewhat good shape before pregnancy. But, the shortness of breath is what alerted me at first. I think I’ve gotten used to it now because I don’t seem to notice or focus on it too much. Part of that, I think, is that I’m running slower anyway. But, be aware of this! Even when lifting weights, I can hear and feel myself breathing heavier. Also, carry extra water if you need it.

Tips for Running in the 3rd Trimester

Always take your phone

This is a safety measure. You’re at a higher risk being pregnant, and if something were to happen where you needed help immediately, you’d want to be able to get some. Earlier in my pregnancy (I think it was 2-3 months), I took Tater out on a run. I ran from the house on a local greenway but just didn’t have the energy to make it back home after getting a mile and a half out. So, I called Ed and he came and picked me up. Fortunately, nothing more desperate or serious has happened, but I caution all women to run with their phones just in case.

A Road ID bracelet is a great idea, too.

Find Soft Surfaces

Runners are tough, we are familiar with pain and grit. Like the last few minutes of a 5k, or pushing that final sprint of a half marathon. The pain fuels us.

I’ve experienced a different type of pain with pregnancy, though. The soles of my feet hurt, so I wear thicker socks with my sneakers. This is honestly probably why I can’t run too far (this, and the peeing). Otherwise, I feel pretty good when running when taking it slow and easy. I’m not sure if this is due to the extra weight, but the bottom of my feet tend to take a beating sometimes.

To deal with this, I’ve started running on dirt paths when I can. Not trails necessarily, because there are so many sticks and roots that I could trip on, but just softer surfaces. Just something to be aware of if you plan on running during pregnancy!

I’ve also experienced some back pain, as I’ve written about recently. I’ve found some relief with heating pads and epsom salt hot baths, but I don’t feel the pain when I’m running. Normally, it’s when I’m sitting for too long, which is another sign to get up and move.

Running in the 3rd Trimester

Walk/Runs are totally cool

I know for some women, this is like a total gasp and shot to the pride. But, like I’ve mentioned earlier, you can’t expect your body to perform the same, even if you were in great shape pre-pregnancy. Stopping to walk for minutes at a time does not mean you are out of shape or “weak.” Instead, it means you are listening to the baby and your body. Your body is still appreciating the movement you are giving it. Remember your movement doesn’t have to be at 99% capacity and intensity for it to be beneficial.

I’m heading into 32 weeks. I don’t know how long I’ll continue to run during the third trimester, but will listen to my body to see (Edited to add: 35 Week Pregnancy Update). Even if it’s only 1-2 times a week, I’m thankful that pregnancy has further developed the relationship between my mind and body. It has enhanced the connection to be able to listen to myself more. I’m also thankful that I’m able to move in a way that is enjoyable.

I’m linking up with HohoRuns and Taking the Long Way Home for the Weekly Wrap!

You May Also Like:

Similarities between Pregnancy and Long Distance Running

Running, Life Lessons and Motherhood

Returning to Running After Pregnancy

How I Trained for My First Half Marathon Post Partum 

Looking for more third trimester posts?

30 Week Pregnancy Update

35 Week Pregnancy Update

38 Week Pregnancy Update

Momma runners/exercisers – how long into your pregnancy did you continue running/exercising?

Non-mommas – what’s your favorite form of movement currently?

This post contains affiliate links which doesn’t affect your price of the product, but helps keep Bucket List Tummy running. 

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27 responses to “Tips For Running in the Third Trimester

  1. I didn’t do hardly any running during pregnancy, because I wasn’t much of a runner before, but I do appreciate your tips! I loved strength workouts and prenatal yoga and barre and did those basically all the way up until birth. Great job on the movement, momma! 🙂

  2. I’m so glad you didn’t have that back pain while running, and I love how aware you are of treating your body well. That takes humility to have your hubby come pick you up, and I want to be like that more and more about exercise. What I’m learning from you is that it seems like pregnancy really teaches you to be very intuitive with what your body needs and the days it needs rest and the days that it feels good to move.

  3. You’re looking great! I didn’t start running until our youngest was in school…so I was late to the party with the running thing LOL I did walk a lot, though (with all three pregnancies). Oh, the constant bathroom stops…that brought back some memories 😉

  4. I’m in awe that you’ve kept up with running while pregnant! That’s great you are able to.

    I have to agree with you about the phone even when you aren’t pregnant because you never know! At the end of December I slipped on ice in my apartment’s parking lot at the end of the run and hit the ground with the entire right side of my body, including my head. If I wasn’t in the parking lot I would’ve had to call my boyfriend to come get me. You can never be too safe!

  5. Pretty impressive that you’ve been able to run this far into your pregnancy! Back in the day when I was pg, there weren’t a lot of doctors who would let you keep running. I’m glad they do now! Keep it going!

  6. I have nothing to add. I was not a runner way back when and with my last two pregnancies being high risk — I would not have been allowed anyway. I’m seriously in awe of women who run at all, let alone do marathons, while pregnant. You’re going to be in great shape for the most precious finish line of your life! Thanks for linking.

    1. I can’t imagine doing a marathon or any longer run at this point but I’ve been fortunate this far. I’m excited for the finish line 🙂

  7. I ran up until week 31 of my pregnancy. At that point, the pain in my bladder was just too much to tolerate. So I did a lot of walking, and the elliptical and barre classes. Barre ended up being my favorite thing in the last few weeks of pregnancy. I definitely agree – the biggest thing about running while pregnant, and especially in the third trimester, is listening to your body (and making sure you’re always near a bathroom – ha!).

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