Running Gear for Pregnant Runners
Running while pregnant can be one of the most freeing times to run. (Assuming you have been green lighted by your obstetrician!) Gone are the days where you are chasing PRs, circling the track every week trying to increase your speed and pushing yourself to your maximum… at least temporarily.
You are running simply for the fact that you want to run. While running up until the day you give birth is perfectly fine for any seasoned runner with a healthy pregnancy, there are intensity restrictions that all women must adhere to while expecting. Make sure you understand what limitations your doctor feels are appropriate for you. This may be keeping your heart rate under a certain number, reducing mileage, skipping a rather hilly course or other minor adjustments that are tailored for you.
For the first few months of pregnancy it might not feel like much has changed with your body, except that maybe you are a bit more winded. But things will change and when that time comes, though ideally a little before, there is gear you need to acquire that will help keep you happy, healthy, safe and still running.
A belly brace is something you’ll think you never need until the day you strap one on and wonder where it’s been the past few weeks. Until you’re needing to sport those super-sexy maternity pants you can get away without a brace, but once you’re are using hair ties to hold buttons together it’s time to look for a breathable maternity brace.
Ideally, you are looking for something that is adjustable, so that you can use one for your entire and subsequent pregnancies as well as one that close using Velcro. Hooking or lacing a brace takes a lot of time and once you can’t see your feet, having to do that will be unpleasant. The brace does not have to be labeled a “sport” brace but should be durable and washable. You want ample coverage in the front for your growing belly and proper support for your soon-to-be aching back.
Initially the brace may feel a little too long or tall, but you will grow into it. The purpose of the brace is to provide additional support on ligaments that are already stretching and loose due to hormones and add support to the back which bears a large work load. A good brace will extend the time a woman can comfortably run without ligament pain for weeks or months during pregnancy.
Handheld Water Bottle
While the first trimester you can get away with running belt. But once the skin on your belly becomes sensitive and you have to start wearing your belt higher and higher until it impedes your arms, it’s time for a change.
It is imperative that from the day you discover you are pregnant that you carry water, even on the shortest runs. Becoming dehydrated while pregnant could be very dangerous. Your body needs more water. Purchasing a handheld hydration pack is a wise investment. Most handheld bottles have a place for a phone and key too.
Aside from making sure that you’re well stocked with Body Glide, you need to make sure you have a comfortable pair of bottoms that will offer coverage and won’t slip, slide or cause chaffing. Simply buying a larger size of your favorite Nike shorts might not cut it.
Choosing a maternity or a standard fit bottom is entirely up to preference. However, keep in mind that if you plan on sporting a brace, adding the cloth from a maternity panel could get hot in warm weather. In that case, you might want to consider searching for a low-waist maternity bottom. However, choosing a couple pairs of your old tried and true shorts to stretch out and subsequently trash once the pregnancy is over is a good idea.
New Sports Bra
“The girls” are the first thing to get on the pregnancy bandwagon. You can grow 2-4 cups sizes during pregnancy, usually maxing out in size at 7 months, However that is not taking into account postpartum growth. Based on your budget, you can go get fitted at your local running store or maternity store and purchase one or two high quality sports bras as your cup size increases. For more affordable sports bras, check out Target, Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx, and other discount retailers, in order to stock up on three or four that you can stretch-out, destroy and toss once your pregnancy is over.
As a runner, there are plenty of items you probably already use but the need for them is even more important while pregnant. Since you are more sensitive to sun, make sure you are wearing sunscreen, a hat or a visor and sunglasses. If your doctor has suggested monitoring your heart rate, investing in a heart rate monitor would be a wise choice.
One item to keep in mind is that while you are the same runner, you cannot run the same way and that is a great thing. Once your bundle is here, you’ll get your groove back. Running through pregnancy happily and comfortably is possible. You just need to make sure you have the right gear. Not only will you feel better throughout your entire pregnancy, having maintained a running regimen will make those weeks after delivery before your doctor releases you back to activity pass a little more quickly.