In the last few weeks I have had a rush of enquires from ladies wanting to know where I stand on running.
As my attitude toward running during a pregnancy has changed quite dramatically since my pregnancy in 2010. I thought it might be something worth sharing.
Back then all I had was a pre/post natal course under my belt and not much else. My personal training experience with pregnant/post natal clients was limited and with no first hand experience, I started a blog and wrote down my training and how I felt. Initially spurred on because the course I had attended was centered around very gentle modes of training and as a crossfitter that just was not going to cut the mustard.
There was little information I could find at that point regarding CrossFit training during pregnancy so I lent on a commonly used expression frequently used when discussing pregnancy training “to listen to your body”. I took this quite literally. Running for me was not a problem even at 8 months! I felt fine, in fact better then fine. I even did a 5k race for life!
Following the delivery of my son and getting to grips with a new born I was quite keen to get back to training as quickly as possible. 6 wks after a c section I was fitting in short runs. Even as I write this I am shaking my head thinking how silly I was! But then I did not have much first hand experience to reflect upon. I was not really considering how running and other certain elements of training had impacted my pregnant body.
The long and short of it now, is that I believe unless we run professionally, running should be limited and at best avoided completely.
The pelvic area although strong enough to bare the load of a pregnancy, is not capable of absorbing the added impact of running without any consequences. Some of which have profound effects on our quality of life.
That does not mean training needs to be soft, fluffy and gentle. Training needs to be smarter! As for subbing running in your routine, try for example heavy farmers carries. They are not at all the easy option and provides a great sub during most CrossFit wods that include a run. Cycling, maybe not on the roads but in a park or common still gets the wind through your hair the same as a run would.
I still have not explained why my attitude has changed?
The short answer, experience and education!
After Sebastian’s arrival I studied with Jenny Burrell, a leading women’s health teacher. Jenny’s field of speciality is looking at factors that negatively impact pelvic floor health during the life of a women, from pregnancy to menopause.
We discussed running at length and shared my experience which was positive, so I thought. During her teachings She had me understand how good the body is at compensating during a pregnancy. How quickly bodies adapt and cope.
The fact that I felt fine running was just my body coping and because I did not notice any discomfort in that moment, I continued running.
Since having Sebastian I have been plagued with knee and ankle issues that I did not have before. I have blamed everything from squatting frequency to lack of stretching but honestly none of that is any different to before I had my son. I now lay the blame at my slap-dash attitude to training during my pregnancy! Jumping on a box, running 400m as many times as possible probably wasn’t the smartest move, regardless of how I felt. I could have scaled to a step up or a farmers carry and had just as good a workout.
How does running and jumping cause these problems?
The pelvis is a pretty intricate piece of kit. There are numerous small attachments and insertions of muscles and ligaments.
Pregnancy see these muscles and ligaments strain under the pressure of a growing uterus. They are already under stress.
The more we run/jump the greater stress they take on board. Imagine accumulating 9months of this added strain, then not forgetting to consider hormones that make our joints and muscles more supple during pregnancy and conditions become perfect for unwanted damage to start building up.
Consequences of this build up could be anything from aches and pains, weakness in areas that previously felt fine. Pain during intercourse or continence issues. Weight gain trouble. If we only notice the damage some time after pregnancy we often do not even relate this back to what we did in our pregnancy.
1# Training Tip for an awesome recovery;
Avoid running, ditch the plyometric workouts, lose the skipping rope, pay attention to recovery and do not rush the process!!!
Consider the Postnatal period as 12 months from when you have your baby. A 12 month outlook is a realistic approach to fixing all the stress pregnancy and a new born involves. Start from the core centre (your tummy) and work toward the extremities in a logical and progressive way.
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