We asked several of the mom coaches on the team for their input on what it was like running (or not running) through pregnancy and post-baby. We were all first-time moms at some point, learning to juggle running and pregnancy and then running and momming, and I myself found it particularly helpful to read about others’ experiences so I could help shape my own. Keep in mind these are personal stories, not medical advice, so talk to your doctor, listen to your body, and make your own decisions. Everyone is different, as you’ll see, but we all have something in common – we’re all moms and we’re all runners. ~Julie Urbanski

Coaches:

Anita Campbell

Annelie Stockton

Ashley Nordell

Julie Urbanski

Megan Gayman


Anita Campbell

seattle running coach

How long did you run while pregnant?

I ran on a pretty normal schedule through the 5 month mark. I went in with no expectations and simply committed to going with the flow. If running was something I wasn’t enjoying anymore for one reason or another, I simply wouldn’t run. At 5 months I ran the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon with my dad. He was hoping to run around 1:40 so the plan was to run with him and try to pace him through it. The end result was 1:38. I felt great and ran completely within myself, but I remember when I finished I had the thought “this is the first time I’ve noticed a significant change in how my body felt while running”. I never really ran over 30 minutes after that point in time. I only ran to get moving and get some fresh air. Once I hit about 8 months, I pretty much stopped running. It was never a conscious decision, but it just didn’t feel good to me to be running anymore at a certain point. I’d have aches and discomfort afterwards that didn’t feel great so I’d opt for a walk instead.

What time of year were you running?

I was mainly running in Spring/Summer.  I’ve never been great about hydrating, but that was something I focused on more because I was pregnant.

What changes did you make to your running routine throughout the pregnancy?  

I really took it one day at a time. I knew things would change, but I didn’t know when and how much they would change. I also know that everyone is different and their experience and circumstances are different. So I didn’t try to plan ahead, I instead focused on getting outside each day and paying attention to how I felt before, during and after. There’s an enormous hill outside of our house and I usually start my runs by going up it (to get it over with!)…and I can remember one day when I started chugging up the hill to start my run. I was breathing much harder than normal and my heart rate seemed to be going through the roof. It’s not my style to ever stop in a run, and I definitely had an internal debate in my mind whether I should stop or not…but I reminded myself that this is a day to day endeavor and that I needed to listen to my body. So I stopped and started walking and continued on for 45 min – I never did run that day. Maturity in action!

Any changes in diet?  

No.

What changes in your body affected you the most?  

First of all (sorry if this grosses anyone out haha!), I pee’d my pants every time I ran from about 5 months and on. The first time it happened was in my half marathon and I couldn’t believe it. I’d never had that issue before in my life, but there I was every step, my shorts got a little more soaked. Thank goodness I wore black. The only other issue I had was some pelvic discomfort after I ran which eventually stopped me from running the last couple months. I probably could have run through it, but it wasn’t worth it to me. At that point I was enjoying a walk as much as a run so I found other ways to be active and get outside.

Any tips you’d give to newly pregnant runners?

From my experience, I think it’s really important to trust yourself. There are a lot of people with opinions and comments on running during pregnancy and they will undoubtedly throw them your way, but in the end if you listen to your body and don’t run through any consistent discomfort you will be just fine. YOU know how YOU feel – as long as you listen to that you get to write your own plan that will evolve – go with the flow, have fun and do what you can without going overboard.

If you didn’t run, anything you did instead that worked/didn’t work for you?  

Casual walks once I stopped running.

When were you able to start running again?  

6 weeks after I went for my first 15min run (it was slow and scary). A couple days later a friend talked me into running the Seattle Jingle Bell Run 5k in an elf costume and I couldn’t say no (it went better than expected – and we jingled all the way!).  

How were those first few weeks, months of running?

It was really slow going. As with pregnancy, I went into my return to post-partum running with no expectations and vowed to listen to my body and take it day by day. While I did run a 5k 6 weeks post-partum…things didn’t move quickly from there. Thankfully, I was gifted an awesome BOB stroller to run around town in but as most new parents know it’s not recommended you run with your kiddo until they’re strong enough to support themselves and sit in the stroller without the carseat. It’s really difficult to find the time to get out on your own – there’s so much going on and running seemed to be the last thing on my mind a lot of the time, which was OK! If I learned anything in those early months, it’s that pushing around those strollers is a workout in itself. So an hour, hour and a half walk will still do a lot for your mind, body and soul early on. I have a friend who helped me with my pee problem (it’s a problem) and provided me with strengthening exercises specific to mom’s post-partum (plug for Kailey at Magnolia PT! 🙂 ). I recommend visiting a PT in the first few months to all new mom’s getting back into their fitness routines!

When did you run your first goal race after giving birth?  

I’m 13 months out and haven’t set my sights on a specific race just yet, but I have run a few 5k’s in the last year. I will be training with the BOB when the time comes and I’m sure I’ll be stronger mentally and physically because of it – Team #MakeItWork over here 🙂

How do you figure out childcare so you can work towards consistency?

I bring baby with me everywhere (even to the XC and running club practices I coach at). If there’s a will there’s a way! Don’t be afraid to ask a friend, family member to watch your kiddo when you’re in a pinch – worst they can say is no!

Did you have any expectations of your running improving postpartum? (There’s lot of evidence out there showing some women improve after childbirth)  

I’ve heard about this evidence! I remember reading about marathoners who made Olympic teams within a year of having their kids. Holy Smokes. Let’s just say this was NOT me in any way, shape or form. But again, everyone is different. What I do believe is that everyone can be stronger and faster than they were before, however long that takes is different for everyone. Things were slow going for me early on, but once I reached the 10 month mark I started to feel more like myself. While I haven’t trained for anything specifically, I’m confident that if I did I would be just as fast if not faster than I was the year before I had my son. Having a kiddo makes you prioritize and focus!

Anything that was especially helpful in getting back into running?

A good running stroller is essential.

seattle running coach track

Located in Seattle, Washington, Coach Anita specializes in beginner to advanced runners, both on the roads and the track, having run track and cross country at the University of Washington. She has a 33:40 10k PR and a 1:22 half marathon PR, and can incorporate strength training and nutrition, along with returning to running programs and racing strategies. Check out her coach bio for more details.

Annelie Stockton

running while pregnant
Photo: Bloomsday Run

How long did you run while pregnant?

Running during both of my pregnancies was very similar. The first trimester of both pregnancies was difficult. I felt tired all the time and just talking myself into getting out the door was exhausting. Once I mustered up the energy to get going I found that I ended up feeling a lot better. What I found helpful was telling myself things like “you don’t have to go far, you don’t have to go fast, it’s ok to walk.” After the first trimester I felt so much better and resumed my normal running routine (5-6 days a week, about 40-50 miles per week). As my bump started to grow my mileage decreased and my pace slowed (about 2-3 minutes per mile). Running during pregnancy kept me healthy and happy, and I was able to run up until the day I went into labor with both pregnancies.

What time of year were you running?

During my first pregnancy I was running from June-March. During the winter months I mostly ran on the treadmill not to risk slipping on ice.

My second pregnancy was October-July. At this time I was living in Spokane WA, where we have very hot summers! I had to be careful during the summer months not to get too overheated.

What changes did you make to your running routine throughout the pregnancy?

I did have any rules, I ran as far and fast as I wanted on each given day, and if I needed a break that was ok!

Any changes in diet?

During both pregnancies I had acid reflex, I had to be careful what I ate before a run and make sure I didn’t eat too close to a run. Some things I couldn’t have were peanut butter, apples, and coffee.

What changes in your body affected you the most?

Boobs LOL, I went from a B to a DD, fast! This was something I was not used to with running. It was painful and I had a problem with chafing.

At first I was really nervous and self conscious about running while pregnant, especially in the later months when my bump was definitely noticeable. I had quite a few random people tell me it wasn’t healthy, that it was bad for the baby, etc. I realized not to care what other people think, running made my happy, made pregnancy better, and helped me with larbor/delivery/recovery. If you can’t run, I think walking and or cross training is a great option. Talk with your doctor, they will tell you what is ok!  

spokane running coach
Photo: Jon Jonckers

When were you able to start running again?

Both pregnancies I was about to start running again at 3.5 weeks. The first few runs back were only a mile of 1 minute jog 1 minute walk. Once I started feeling better and ready for more the duration of running increased and I took 3-4 days rest between my runs.

How were those first few weeks, months of running?

Those first few weeks of running were awkward and uncomfortable. My body changed so much during pregnancy and I got used to running a certain way, I felt like I had to start over with my form. I focused on adding form drills and strengthening routine (Daily Dozen https://www.oiselle.com/blog/core-routine-runners-dozen). I found that really helpful in getting my body back to feeling more normal.

When did you run your first goal race after giving birth?

My first race back after my first pregnancy was 7 months later and first race back after my second pregnancy was 5 months later.

How do you figure out childcare so you can work towards consistency?  

On days when my husband can’t watch the kids I will either run with the stroller or go to my gym that has childcare and run on the treadmill.

Did you have any expectations of your running improving postpartum?

Yes and no. Before pregnancy, I had sciatica off and on for months at a time which made it difficult to train. Luckily for me, during and after pregnancy I haven’t had this issue anymore! So because of this I have been able to train more consistently, after my first pregnancy I was able to PR in the half marathon, and after my second pregnancy I was about to run my first full marathon and PR in the 15k. I also think, if you are able to run or cross train during pregnancy it can only help you in the long run. During pregnancy you can still build you endurance, speed, and become a stronger runner!

spokane running coach annelie stockton team runrun
Photo: Jon Jonckers

Located in Spokane, Washington, Coach Annelie specializes in beginner runners, yoga for runners, injury prevention, pregnancy and postpartum running. She has a 1:25 half marathon PR and a 3:10 full marathon PR, and coaches beginners on the road and track in distances up to the half marathon. To learn more about Annelie, check out her coach bio.

Ashley Nordell

superior 100 race report
Photo: Todd Rowe

How long did you run while pregnant?

For both my pregnancies I could only run the first 20 weeks. For my first daughter it was due to medical reasons, and with my second daughter I got weird cramps every time I tried to run right around 18 weeks (this actually started with my first daughter too, but I was told to stop anyway for other reasons, so I never knew if it would have improved over time.) I always envisioned myself being that person who is 8 months pregnant and still running, so it was hard to accept that my pregnancy was going to be very different than how I had imagined. My first pregnancy was very stressful, and running was how I always dealt with anxiety, so it was extra hard to not be able to run and sort out the worries we were dealing with with that pregnancy. I exercised through both my pregnancies- once I couldn’t run I biked, cross country skied, swam, and walked. I had to stop all exercise the final three weeks before my first daughter was born because I was on bed rest.

What time of year were you running?

I had a May and August baby, so I ran through winter and spring. I only did one short race (knowingly) while pregnant, but I actually found out I was pregnant with my first daughter after a 50k and my second daughter after running my years in miles for my birthday, so in reality I ran ultras with both girls, though that was not planned.

What changes did you make to your running routine throughout the pregnancy?

I ran by feel, took it easy, and was extra careful on the technical trails.

Any changes in diet?

Took out the coffee and wine. The coffee was harder to give up. I felt nauseous the first trimester of both, and different foods felt good at the time, so my diet sort of changed based on what sounded good (and didn’t!)

What changes in your body affected you the most?

My stomach – the weird cramping I got with both girls right around the half way mark.

Any tips you’d give to newly pregnant runners?

I think the biggest is to not compare yourself with others. Luckily with my first daughter, I was not on any social media while pregnant, so I did not see all the pictures of gals with baby bumps out running and have that as a comparison tool. But every person and pregnancy is different, and you have to do what is right for you.

If you didn’t run, anything you did instead that worked/didn’t work for you?

Any sort of exercise helped me feel a bit more myself. I did what the doctors allowed and what felt good to me.

When were you able to start running again?

With both my daughters I had C Sections. The first one was after 32 hours of induced labor and was a quick emergency C Section, so I felt like that one took a bigger toll on my body. Though with my second daughter, I had a new born baby AND a three year old, so I was not able to recover as well post surgery trying to meet everyone’s needs. I started running again 6 weeks postpartum, but interestingly with both, I quickly had issues due to the relaxin in my body. With my first daughter, I had knee issues for a few weeks shortly after I started running and with my second, it was back issues. So it took about 2.5 months before I was able to get more into a groove. I bounced back significantly faster after my first daughter than my second.

How were those first few weeks, months of running?

So hard. Looking back, I am actually glad I was not able to run during my whole pregnancy because it gave me a forced rest period that I think helped me in the long run. I paced my friend Darla Askew for 25 miles of Waldo 100k three months post first baby and it was a terrible idea. I struggled so hard to keep up, had no idea how to pump while running, and I finished pacing that race feeling like a total failure. A month later I started to feel so much stronger. I just jumped back too soon.

When did you run your first goal race after giving birth?

First baby, I ran a trail half marathon 4 weeks post baby, followed a week later by a marathon. I actually felt great and had two super strong runs. With my second baby there is no way I would have been ready for those races 4 months post baby. My first BIG race after my first daughter was Leona Divide 50, 10 months post baby. I was super nervous about it because I was not even sure I could run 50 miles, and ended up having a great race and getting a golden ticket to WS, so I ended up running a 100 a bit sooner that I was planning (12 months post baby.) It was probably one of my best 100s, largely due to me being so conservative and relaxed I ended up running smarter than I might have if it had been a planned goal race. The training for and racing ultras while nursing was probably the biggest challenge I had. My husband would meet me on long runs with my daughter so I could nurse and then keep running. But even more than the logistics was the guilt in being gone for very long while I had a baby. I could not really relax and always felt like I needed to be home.

How did you figure out childcare?

This was a hard one. I never really was super comfortable using sitters when my girls were little. I used my parents or my husband’s mom when she was visiting, but I tried to do more of my training early, pushing a stroller, or when my husband was available to watch the kids.

Any running improvement postpartum?

Not sure. I felt really good from about 4-18 months post baby with my first, but then I had a really rough next year (first and only two DNFs in my 16 years of ultras), and wonder if I did too much too soon. I was way more aware of this after my second daughter and became more selective in how much I raced while nursing. Its interesting, but I actually felt like I raced my best while nursing – it also kept my weight super low while eating whatever I wanted, so not sure if that was related. I did not have the same phenomenon as much with my second daughter, but with my first, I had a magical 9 or so months of feeling super strong. The downside though was being able to eat enough while racing 100s, because nursing made me need to eat so much more, but I struggle to eat in ultras. The sleep deprivation was never a benefit either!!

Anything that was especially helpful in getting back into running?

A breastpump and running stroller!!

sisters running coach ashley nordell

Located in Sisters, Oregon, Coach Ashley specializes in beginner to advanced runners on the road and on the trails, including new moms getting back into training. She’s run over 60 ultramarathons and has at least 8 course records to her name, along with a Top 10 Western States 100 finish and a 3rd place Leadville 100 finish. To learn more about Ashley, check out her coach bio.

Julie Urbanski

rocky raccoon 50

How long did you run while pregnant?

For the first pregnancy, I made it 16 weeks. The first trimester was fairly easy for me to run through, as I had very few signs of pregnancy other than fatigue, so I still ran ~40 miles a week with a long run of about 10-12 miles. No nausea or anything and even though a run tired me out, I could just take a nap or catch up on the weekends since I didn’t have any other kids already. I started getting a little bump around the 16 week mark and we went on a week vacation where it was harder to keep up my routine, and that’s mainly how I fell off. By the time we got home, I had lost my mojo for running much longer and started to get scared about tripping and falling, and each run became a little more uncomfortable and slower each time.

The second pregnancy has been a whole different story, especially with having a toddler as well (I’m 24 weeks pregnant as I write this). I had nausea the first trimester and vertigo from about 6-8 weeks, where I could barely stand, much less run or walk, so all running screeched to a halt. After the vertigo passed, I resumed running but really cut down the distance and aimed for frequency. My goal was 5k a day for however long I could keep that up. The fatigue factor was for real that first trimester as well, as I’d run 3 miles and need a 45 minute nap afterwards, which with a toddler was rarely possible. I think it was that much more tiring because I couldn’t just rest or nap after a run with a little one to chase all over the place. I ended up napping just as much as my 2.5 year old when he napped midday. I also started showing way sooner with #2, which I wasn’t expecting, even though I heard that happened, so at 14 weeks I already felt big, we were in the thick of moving from Seattle to Boulder, CO, and my running quickly dwindled.

Both pregnancies, I totally thought I’d run longer! I always pictured myself as someone who would run as long as possible, but once that bump came in and the rest of my body started to change in preparation of growing and birthing a human, all expectations were out the window.

What time of year were you running?

With the first pregnancy I was running mainly through spring and summer. My main concern was getting overheated on a run, so I was careful to run early in the day and rarely at midday. There was only one long run, a 10 miler, that I started too late in the morning and really regretted because it really warmed up. I slowed down on the second half of the run and increased my fluids intake, and rested the rest of the day after that one.

With my second, I got pregnant in June, so again, running mainly through summer and a little in the fall, so just making sure I never overheated. I stopped running before winter came on both pregnancies, so no real hazards like snow and ice.

What changes did you make to your running routine throughout the pregnancy?

I read a lot about other women maintaining speed workouts throughout and while I was tempted to keep up my regular routine with workouts, to me, it wasn’t worth any risks of overexerting myself. I kept up the frequency as much as I could for both pregnancies, aiming for 5-6 days a week, but mileage and intensity gradually decreased over time. My pace naturally slowed as well and so with feeling more uncomfortable with a bump, slowing down, and doing less miles, the routine sort of naturally took care of itself.

Any changes in diet?

I never had any major cravings with the first pregnancy and didn’t have nausea, so not much changed with the first one. I was eating a vegan diet pre-pregnancy and incorporated eggs and greek yogurt while pregnant, both of which tasted really good, so I went with it. This second time around I had major nausea and food aversions based on smell, so whatever smelled good is what I ate! I’ve kept a vegan diet so far on this one and mainly only crave avocados and anything with potatoes. I’ve had a hard time stomaching kale. And goodness, do I miss coffee!

What changes in your body affected you the most?

The one thing I didn’t really understand until I was pregnant myself is that it’s more than just a growing belly. Your whole body is adjusting and preparing for growing a human and for giving birth. It’s a really big deal! There’s a reason we’re tired a lot! I pictured myself running far through pregnancy because I didn’t know that you had to account for so many more changes than just that bump. I call it the 3 growing B’s – Boobs, Belly, and Butt, and all 3 grew significantly for me! That’s a lot to account for not only in regular life, but also in running. None of my sports bras fit any more while pregnant and we’re not even talking breastfeeding yet (I’m normally barely an A cup, so imagine my shock when I go into Victoria’s Secret for a new bra after 14 weeks and they tell me I’m a C cup!). I found it hard to find the right running clothes to account for my bump yet still support it, and that butt, oh man, so different than the flat distance runner’s butt. This second pregnancy I finally bought maternity underwear and I’m so glad I did! I can’t believe I held out this long!

Any tips you’d give to newly pregnant runners?

Drop all expectations and just go with the flow. If you can’t run, at least move, whether it’s walking, swimming, hiking, etc. If you can keep up your regular routine, then great, and if it stops abruptly because of life circumstances or health, then so be it. Be kind to yourself, your body, and that growing human inside of you, because in the grand scheme of things, the time that you are pregnant is such a small blip on the screen, that it will be over before you know it.

If you didn’t run, anything you did instead that worked/didn’t work for you?

Once I stopped running in the first pregnancy, I got a pedometer and tracked my steps, aiming for 10,000 steps each day. That usually meant about 4-5 miles for me, so I made sure I walked that every day, without fail. I loved it. I usually broke up the miles between walking during my work lunch break and then walking after work. I ended up calling my mom on most evening walks to just catch up, and it was often my favorite part of the day, since I could never talk on the phone while running. I walked 10,000 steps all the way until my due date, as I remember taking a 4 mile walk on a Sunday, my water broke that night, and my son was born the next morning.

This second pregnancy has been much harder to keep any kind of routine going. I walk 30-60 minutes when I make the time for it, which is admittedly only a few days a week. I’d love to be walking more, but with a 3 year old at home and other stuff to stay busy, it’s been hard.

When were you able to start running again?

I had a surprise C-Section with the first one, so I started much later than I originally envisioned. At around 8 weeks I felt comfortable walking and then at 12 weeks I started a run/walk routine, starting out with 1 minute of running, 1 minute of walking. Wow, it felt like running through mud and thick sand. Not sure if that’s starting late or not given a C-Section, but it was the earliest I felt comfortable doing it given how major of a surgery a C-Section is and all the recovery that goes into it.

I’m hoping for a VBAC this second time around, but I’m also fully prepared for another C-Section, so I’m not even setting a timeline goal for this one!

How were those first few weeks, months of running?

Those first few weeks were really difficult, both mentally and physically. None of my clothes really fit very well, I was so slow, and so sleep deprived! And I was still breastfeeding quite a bit, so I had to completely revamp my sports bra wardrobe, as my boobs were beyond a D cup and leaked a ton. I swear I could have fed triplets with my milk supply. It was hard to be in a sports bra more than 30 minutes with how uncomfortable it would get, so long runs were out of the picture for a long time.

By about 5 months, I was regularly running 3-5 miles and just aiming for consistency. Mentally, I dreaded any kind of long run so I didn’t fight it and just kept it short and frequent. From about 6-9 months, I was running around 5-7 miles, 5-6 days a week, and that’s when I really started feeling like I was getting my normal running rhythm again. I still wasn’t doing workouts but around 8 months I started getting back into long runs, doing anywhere from 10-15 miles. My boobs were still screaming for freedom by the end of those long runs, but I could usually go 2-3 hours max and still be ok.

When did you run your first goal race after giving birth?

Around 7-8 months I signed up for the Columbus marathon (Ohio), which was 10 months postpartum. I had done a few long runs of 10+ miles and felt good, and wanted a goal race to aim for, just for distance. I knew my time would be way off my PR and it definitely was! I really enjoyed running the race just to run it and enjoy it. It was the longest time I was away from my son on race day since his birth!

When my son was 13 months I ran a 50k which went super well, and then at 14 months I ran a 50 mile, Rocky Raccoon, and really struggled mentally, as I just wasn’t into it. I also had major nausea, both issues being a little worrisome, as I was a training run for a 100 miler a couple months later. When I ran the Umstead 100 miler in April (16 months postpartum), I dropped at 50 miles. It was mainly for mental reasons and physically, I felt nauseous the whole time. I had a hard time convincing myself push for that long and since then I’ve had zero desire for another ultra. I’ve done 3 other road marathons since then but none of them have been major goal races.

What’s surprised me the most about running since given birth is my motivation and the reasons I run. I’ve been motivated to run, to keep up consistency, and the stay in good shape and maintain a good weight, but beyond that, I haven’t found the motivation to race hard, to shoot for a PR (most notably the marathon, where I’d love to PR), or to run anything beyond 50 miles. When I was walking so much that first pregnancy, the thing I missed the most was the social aspect of running and being able to just chat away through a long run, so running with others and just being a part of races but not racing them has been way more gratifying than I originally expected. There hasn’t been much desire to train or race beyond a marathon, so that’s been a bit weird to get used to.

Since I’m mid-pregnancy now with #2, I can’t say what will happen this second time around in terms of timing and motivation towards different goals, so we’ll see!

How do you figure out childcare so you can work towards consistency?  

My husband and I both coach for Team RunRun, so we both work from home. We take turns throughout the day getting in our runs, our work, and anything else that needs to be done. Oftentimes it still means running early, running late, or squeezing it in during nap time, but we both respect each other’s runs and the need to get them done each day. What was harder for me was figuring out breastfeeding that first year. I didn’t pump, so I had to run right after a feeding, as that’s when my boobs were the smallest and least full, but that wasn’t always easy to time, and long runs were even harder to time.

Did you have any expectations of your running improving postpartum?

I had definitely read about this and had a secret hope of knocking out a marathon PR, but alas, nothing has come to fruition! I always knew in the back of my mind that we’d likely have a second kid (but definitely not a third!), so I’m wondering if after this pregnancy I’ll feel like I’m “free” from pregnancy and breastfeeding for good and can focus on a new PR, knowing I won’t have to account for another baby again.

Anything that was especially helpful in getting back into running?

As for training, aiming for consistency really resonated with me. I didn’t care if I ran 10 minutes or 10 miles, if I got out the door, that was a success. It was really hard to get out the door at first because I still felt so needed in those first 6 months when I was the sole food source, being the only one with the boobs! But damn that time alone was so good for me, to be in my own head, to sweat away the baby weight, and to feel so proud of myself by the end of each run. It helped I really didn’t worry about upcoming goals or races and just focused on getting my routine back and giving myself that daily time alone, where anyone on the street saw me as a runner, not as a new mom who was sleep deprived and unsure of what the hell I was doing. It felt good to put on the runner hat, so to speak, and to take off the mom hat, just for that brief time each day.

For clothing, I struggled a bit with what to wear at first given I still had weight to lose and had the C-section scar to think about. I didn’t invest in great sports bras, so that will change this second time around, but I did get a good pair of tights and shorts that had a nice, thick band around my lower abs and belly, so I felt supported yet not restrained. I have one pair of Lululemon tights that a friend gave me, and the belly band on them saved me, as well as the band on the Oiselle Long Roga shorts.

While we bought a running stroller, we barely used it for running and I used it a lot for walking. I just never found a good, comfortable stride will pushing a stroller, and twice I tweaked my knee while running with it, so that just never worked for me. Plus, I really liked the alone time on a run and wanted to keep my runs as simple as possible, without any distractions or mom duties.

Lastly, something I never really focused on was losing weight. I gained 40 pounds during my 1st pregnancy and am easily on track for that with #2, and while I lost about 15 pounds immediately after giving birth, I never focused on the rest. I just focused on consistency and the rest took care of itself. I was also scared of messing up my milk supply by focusing on weight loss, so I never risked it and thankfully had an amazing milk supply right up until we weaned at a year. When my son was 4 months we traveled abroad from 4-10 months and didn’t have a car, so we walked everywhere we went. I think coupling walking with running really helped with fitness and weight loss as well, and doing it really gradually. By the time my son was 9 months, I was close to my pre-pregnancy weight, within about 5-7 pounds, and then once we weaned him at a year the rest of the weight loss happened.

No idea if that will be the story the second time around, but most of all, I’ve learned that there’s only so much I can control, so just go with the flow, keep myself as rested as possible, and keep these little humans as well-fed, well-rested, and as safe as possible!

boulder running coach

Located in Boulder, Colorado, Coach Julie is also the Co-Founder of Team RunRun with Coach Matt Urbanski, and she specializes in beginners in distances up to the marathon. She’s run 29 marathons with a handful of ultras up to a 100 miler, and loves working with people looking to improve their half and full marathon PRs. To learn more about Julie, check out her coach bio.

Megan Gayman

seattle running coach megan gayman

How long did you run while pregnant?

I made it to about 20 weeks before it got too uncomfortable

What time of year were you running?

Winter into spring, but it was a very mild winter that year

What changes did you make to your running routine throughout the pregnancy?

I was more focused on CrossFit and was running lots of trails and random races, not truly training for PRs in running before I got pregnant so, the trails got nixed really quickly (plus it was winter so there weren’t that many opportunities) and I was jogging more to stay with it for a bit. I stopped running completely at 20 weeks and took to the Erg and crossfitted up until about 30 weeks.

Any changes in diet?

I cut out sushi and craved iced tea but that was about it

What changes in your body affected you the most?

The constant movement from inside was the biggest change that I disliked the most. My son was very active and quite the kicker. Gaining weight was also a big difference, I had never put that much more weight on my body before, gaining 20lbs felt odd and out of place for me.

Any tips you’d give to newly pregnant runners?

Realize that you’re breathing may be different. I was surprised at how quickly I would get winded. Go at your own pace and don’t feel pressure to run or not to run. It’s up to you. There are plenty of women on Instagram who don’t back off very much when they’re far into their pregnancies. That doesn’t have to be you if you don’t feel up to it. Nor do you have to stop all activity. Find your place and do not compare your journey with anyone else’s.

If you didn’t run, anything you did instead that worked/didn’t work for you?

Once I stopped running getting on the erg helped me a bit as well as modified CrossFit workouts

When were you able to start running again?

About 8 weeks after he was born, he was a C-section so I was definitely not rushing it

How were those first few weeks, months of running?

Tough to start, like anytime you take off from running, it feels like a slow process to find your fitness again. I had to take it slow because my job was stressful and having a new infant who I was breastfeeding was all very time-consuming. It got a little easier over time, but I didn’t feel like my old running self until after he turned a year old.

When did you run your first goal race after giving birth?

I decided that I was going to do the Northwest Trail Running series through the summer, which was 10 months postpartum. I had been in no hurry to get back to road racing, so the trails were a nice place to start since there was less internal pressure on a time for me there.

How do you figure out childcare so you can work towards consistency?

My husband and I knew that it was important for me to get back to the gym and to running as soon as I felt good enough for it so that I could be a better mom. He sacrificed a lot of his gym time so that I could get my workouts in. My husband would sometimes push the running stroller for our short easy runs, which helped out during weekends to get my son to nap. My in-laws also live close by and were able to take my son from an early age so that we could both have a break and sometimes get in a run together.

Did you have any expectations of your running improving postpartum?

I had heard all these things about women who bounced back quickly, and how much their running improved postpartum. But once I had a C-section I realized that my recovery was going to be longer and that I was going to have to take it much easier than I originally anticipated. My expectation came through in the long run though because having a kid made it so that I had to be more disciplined in my training. I had to schedule things out in advance and there were no missing a workout in the morning and making it up at a later time. Everything had to be scheduled around childcare so the limits gave me more structure, which resulted in me being more consistent.

Anything that was especially helpful in getting back into running?

I wasn’t huge into stroller running, but I’m happy we got the Thule Urban Glide, it actually came in handy more as my son grew. The mental trick was to just realize that it was good for me to get time away from my infant so that I could be me again.

seattle running coach
Photo: Glenn Tachiyama

Located in Seattle, Washington, Coach Meg specializes in beginner to intermediate runners looking for that PR in the half marathon. She also specializes in incorporating strength training, and has several years of experience as a CrossFit trainer. Her half marathon PR is 1:30 and 3:21 in the full, and still continues to work on PRs from the 800 to the marathon. To learn more about Meg, check out her coach bio.