When I asked an acquainted mother runner at what stage she stopped running during her pregnancy and why, she told me after 6.5 months, “because it got very uncomfortable.” I thought she referred to the pressure on her bladder (which I already experienced after 4.5 months) and her expanding waistline, and didn’t ask further.
Now that I am in the last stage of my pregnancy I know that there is much more that makes going for a jog challenging at times, nearly impossible at other. True, there is the ever-present pressure-on-the-bladder problem, but that is easily solved here in New Zealand, with public toilets available everywhere you go. The growing tummy and extra weight do not really bother me, though I am certainly getting bigger and bigger and out of breath more easily.
What often makes running uncomfortable these days is the pelvic girdle pain about which I wrote last week, but (to a lesser extent) also the Braxton Hick contractions I get when exercising, ligament pain, the urge to go to the toilet (and sometimes not just to wee!), and a general feeling of discomfort. Sounds fun, eh?
The thing is, some days I feel great when I am jogging, and I believe I can continue working out until the day of labor, while other times I feel like an old, physically disabled person the hours following a run.
Despite the increasing pain in my pelvis and my determination to “take a break” from running last week, week 31 started with a 5-km fun run at Waikato University that Ahmed and I planned to attend. Knowing myself (and Ahmed as well), a fun run is never just “fun” but taken dead seriously. I knew Ahmed would try to run as fast as he could, and though I promised myself to take it easy it did end up being a tempo run (pace: 4.53 min/km) that left me slightly disabled for the remainder of the evening.
Two days later, I couldn’t resist another run, but although it was a very slow one this time it left me feel the same – in pain, that is. That’s when I decided I couldn’t continue like this and said goodbye to running, at least for the following days. Instead, I went for several power walks, which – to my own surprise – I enjoyed very much and actually made different muscles in my legs work. I even felt slightly sore the day after the first walk!
Towards the end of the week, while I was doing another power walk, I felt so good that my walk slowly transformed into a jog, which I continued for 1 kilometer. Truly, running just feels so much more natural to me than walking! After that, I walked for 1 kilometer, and I repeated this several times.
So far, this “walk-jog” has been the best solution for me, and it is what I have been doing since the end of week 31. I go out for a walk, and if I feel good I do some jogging as well, but not for a long time. I like to do 1-km-walking-1-km-jogging repeats, or 5-minutes-walking-5-minutes-jogging repeats. It is enough to make me feel like I did a proper workout without leaving me exhausted or like a cripple.
Funny enough, this has worked so well that during this week, I ended up walking and jogging more than I could the previous week! This is what my workouts looked like:
Monday: 3.46 km (warm up) + 4.85 (tempo run)
Wednesday: 8.27 km (relaxed run)
Thursday: 4.07 km + 3.92 km (power walk)
Saturday: 7.88 km (power walk)
Sunday: 6.06 km (walk-jog)
Total: 38.5 km (22.6 km jogging + 15.9 km walking)