Running while pregnant – second trimester

Some 1.5 month ago, I wrote my first post about running during pregnancy. If you haven’t read it you can find it here. As I am nearly 29 weeks now, I thought it was time to write about my second trimester running experience in this post.

Contrary to the first trimester, my second trimester started off great with a nice 11.1 km run with my sister in Houten, a town near my hometown in the Netherlands. Okay, my time was nowhere near what I had run before, but I felt much better and more energetic than during the first trimester. My energy levels had gone up since week 11/12, while the nausea had almost completely disappeared.

Baby's first medal! 11.1 km race in Houten, the Netherlands at 13 weeks pregnant

Baby’s first medal! 11.1 km race in Houten, the Netherlands at 13 weeks pregnant

Back in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, at 14 weeks, I noticed a small regression: I was more tired and running was harder than it had been in the Netherlands. I blame the weather; while I always tolerated running in the heat very well, since the beginning of my pregnancy this changed. I guess this is nature’s way to tell me to slow down when it’s hot so as to protect the foetus.

As the second trimester progressed, I felt better and better (along with the weather that finally got cooler and less humid), with the exception of a heavy cold and sinus infection that hit me around week 17 and 18. This prevented me from running for a couple of weeks.

Hotel gym in Dubai. Hydration is always important, but especially so when you are pregnant!

Hotel gym in Dubai. Hydration is always important, but especially so when you are pregnant!

During week 15, I even did a long run with the Dubai Creek Striders when I was there for the Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience. A friend in Jeddah had told me that this running club was going to run 20 km on Friday early morning, and I thought it would be a nice way to spend my free morning. When I got there at 6 a.m., I discovered they were planning to do 25 km! I hesitated, but thought I would give it a try. After all, I could always stop if it got too tiring. We ended up running 28.4 km, my longest distance in many months! But it felt good and I didn’t experience any pain while running.

Long Friday morning run with the Dubai Creek Striders at 15 weeks pregnant

Long Friday morning run with the Dubai Creek Striders at 15 weeks pregnant

The weeks after, I could continue running at the same pace I had done during the first trimester and often even a bit faster, despite my increasing belly size! I felt energetic and healthy and kept logging four runs a week.

Around 20 weeks, the pressure on my bladder increased, and that made running less comfortable. Running on the treadmill (with toilet facilities within reach) was easiest. Apart from the fear of wetting my pants (which luckily never happened) I kept feeling strong, although it varied a lot from day to day.

Going out for a run at 22 weeks pregnant

Going out for a run at 22 weeks pregnant (yes, this is my childhood room, which still has some soft toys that I can’t get myself giving away!)

I spent Christmas and New Year’s (week 22-24) with my family in the Netherlands again, and enjoyed the ability to run outside in cool weather to the max! I even did a couple of 21-km runs at a very comfortable pace. The only difficulty – again – were the toilet visits I had to make every 30 minutes or so. In winter there aren’t many places to hide, I discovered, as all trees and bushes have lost their leaves… A highlight was the yearly Schoonhoven Oliebollenloop, a run me and some relatives traditionally join on the last day of the year. Last year I finished first lady at the 15 km run; this time I opted for the 10 km. I was hoping to finish under 50 minutes, but did not want to pressurise myself.

Oliebollenloop in Schoonhoven at 24 weeks pregnant. Photo from www.runnersfoto.nl

Oliebollenloop in Schoonhoven at 24 weeks pregnant. Photo from http://www.runnersfoto.nl

To my surprise, it went incredibly well and soon realised I was running at a 4:22 min/km pace! I could not only manage to keep this pace, but even accelerated a bit towards the end, finishing in 43:29 minutes. When I checked the results later online, I saw I had finished first lady and (unfortunately) just one second slower than the lady that finished behind me (who had started a bit later than I had. Hence, she had technically won the race, but I was first in the ranking). Who would have thought, at 24 weeks pregnant? I hadn’t even really pushed myself!

The new year and weeks 25-27 of the second trimester started with a bit less running in them. While I kept feeling good physically (and mentally!), we were so busy packing our stuff and later settling down in Hamilton, New Zealand, that there was not much time nor energy left for runs. That being said, I did do a few very beautiful runs here. Hamilton has some amazing options to run along the river and lake, and all of these paths are car-free. However, the hot weather here has forced me to slow down again, and I’ve been experiencing some hip pain lately. Perhaps the relaxin is finally affecting my joints, making them more prone to injury.

Running along the Waikato river in Hamilton is something different!

Running along the Waikato river in Hamilton is something different!

All in all, I am very happy with how the second trimester went. I felt strong and energetic, and despite slowing down my workouts I could finish a 10 km race at a pre-pregnancy pace! This gave me good hopes for the future. However, towards the end of this trimester, I noticed I was less motivated to work up a sweat. In part, this could be due to the whole settling in issue, but I also think my body is telling me to slow down a tad as the baby is growing and my due date is approaching.

I will soon write about the third trimester!

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9 thoughts on “Running while pregnant – second trimester

  1. Oksana says:

    Selma, it’s amazing. Here many women are not encouraged even to walk or any physical activity, leave alone cardio like jogging. I admire you!

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