Ever seen a heavily pregnant lady trying to win a race against herself? No worries if you haven’t, or if you cannot even picture the scenario, but it’s kinda what I did last Tuesday at 37 weeks pregnant. I went out for a ‘normal pace’ run – the ones I’ve been doing over the last weeks – and after 15 minutes of wondering whether I would run the same route I’ve been doing for weeks now or try a different path I came up with an idea: Why not keep running until 25 minutes and then turn and run the same path back, trying to finish my workout in under 50 minutes? In running terms, why not attempt a negative split? I knew it would be difficult, because the way back would have more elevation than the way down, but I always love to challenge myself a bit, so why not?
I was well on the way to achieve my goal when I started feeling all kinds of aches in my pubic bone, groin, hip and back. I continued running and am convinced I could have ran a negative split if it wasn’t for all the uphill running I had to do in the end. I finished in 50:22 minutes – slower than hoped for but still not bad – with an average pace of 5:49 min/km.
It then occurred to me that I was less than three weeks away from my due date. And if labour is comparable to running a marathon, shouldn’t I start tapering for the big day? For those less familiar with running terms, tapering simply means cutting back on mileage the days or weeks before a race, depending on the distance of the race. In the case of a marathon, tapering usually starts three weeks before the big day.
As always, it took me a couple of difficult and painful runs before I was convinced of my body’s need to slow down. On Thursday I logged 7.11 km and on Saturday 7.52 km (the latter with several walk breaks), despite my body shouting to me that it was painful and that I needed to save my energy from the third kilometre onwards.
The increased pressure in my pelvis I’ve been feeling this week is likely due to the baby’s head already being engaged, which means that his head has moved down into my pelvis in preparation for birth. This is good news, although it could happen up to four weeks before giving birth, especially with the first baby. My midwife even said that jogging might have helped the baby lower its position.
As you probably expect, this tapering doesn’t mean I will be sitting on my bump the entire day, waiting for baby to make its appearance (though my days are certainly lazier than they were before). My new goal is to walk most of the days and perhaps get some jog-walks in between as well. I will take things day by day and may just jog a couple of kilometres during my power walks. My aim is to keep active without exhausting myself or feeling incredibly stiff. We’ll see if I manage to control myself…
My workouts during week 37 looked as follows:
Tuesday: 8.65 km (running)
Thursday: 7.11 km (running)
Saturday: 7.52 km (jog-walk)
Sunday: 6.26 km (power walk)
Total: 29.5 km (23.3 km running and 6.3 km walking)