First Trimester Pregnancy Running

I know that I am well out of my first trimester and almost halfway through the second trimester but I thought this would be a good time to share some thoughts on running during the first trimester of pregnancy.  Honestly, I don’t want this blog to be too much about my pregnancy and on a personal level, before I got pregnant it bummed me out to read a lot of other pregnancy updates.  So I promise to keep these rather brief and informative.

My biggest goal by sharing this is to get rid of some of the misconceptions about pregnancy and exercise and to also share how running can actually be helpful during your first trimester of pregnancy.  Please keep in mind that I am most definitely not a doctor or medical expert.  I am however a certified running coach and an overly cautious expecting mother.  You should always consult your own doctor or other medical professional about your own experiences.

When I first got pregnant I was very nervous about running and other workouts.  I didn’t want to do anything that might jeopardize this new life inside of me.  Every time I had an appointment I would ask questions about my exercise routines and each time I got the same go ahead to do whatever my body felt like doing.


Most often you can continue doing just about any activity you did before getting pregnant minus anything extreme or as my doctor also mentioned, anything that involves punching or kicking.  At the time my husband was going on a luging trip and she said that would most definitely be considered “extreme.”  She also recommended that I not go on extreme rides at Disney which was wonderful because I was happy to have an excuse not to cry like a baby on roller coasters!

In my case I was given the go ahead during the first trimester to continue running as I normally do and just scale back the intensity of my runs.  I was able to continue the same amount of mileage each week but I did slow my runs down by 30 seconds to a minute per mile.  As the trimester progressed towards the end I naturally began to slow down to a minute per mile below what I normally ran.  At times this could be frustrating but I appreciated that my body was able to force me into that lower intensity.  I definitely worked at ignoring my GPS and stopped focusing on my splits.

As you may remember I did run a 10k and used the conversation pace rule to get me through.  If you are able to run and hold a conversation, you are at a low enough intensity.  This doesn’t have to be a deep conversation, just a casual and breathy chat.  In fact, I chatted to myself during the race to make sure I stayed in that range.  Oh yeah, and I finished 3rd overall!  I promised Rock after that race that the baby and I would sit out races until after their birthday.  My competitive nature could easily get the best of me.


Rock and I were most concerned about whether running could harm our new little one.  Fortunately, I have been reassured by several doctors and at various appointments that my running is a natural part of my daily routine and my body responds to running in a positive and healthy way.  My doctor has emphasized to me over and over again that nothing about running is harmful to the baby.  In fact, many elite runners often continue with their speed work and long runs far into their pregnancies.

So many people are shocked to hear that I continue to run and coach.  Honestly, I think we are so lucky to have such amazing research that shows how exercise (including running) can be beneficial to new moms and their babies.  As long as we are thoughtful about how we exercise there is nothing wrong with activities during a normal healthy pregnancy.

Running had one surprisingly awesome affect on me during the first trimester.  It actually helped with morning sickness.  On top of the constant nausea I had a cloud of exhaustion hanging over me for 13 weeks.  Despite the tired and sick feeling, I managed to run just about six days per week for approximately 7-9 miles each day.  Not only did the running get rid of the nausea but it also really helped give me a kick in the pants that kept me going the rest of the day.

I have also been known to run to eat.  Yes, it is sad but true.  And during these past few months I have somehow gone from a daily salad eater, who preferred veggies over bread, to a bagel monger.  If everything keeps going this way I am going to turn into a carbohydrate.  Fortunately I think the running helped me make somewhat better choices and has also helped me avoid gaining too much weight right from the start.


Rock has been looking forward to milk shake cravings.

Truth be told, I feel that running is a part of my life.  It is a part of who I see myself as and it keeps me grounded mentally.  Being able to stick to my daily runs has helped me sort out my crazy emotions and feel really great.  Here’s hoping the next few months continue to allow me to stick to this routine.  I am looking forward to waddling on the Lakefront Path this summer!

21 thoughts on “First Trimester Pregnancy Running

  1. Congrats again! As someone who is not pregnant, it’s still interesting to read about runners and how they continue to safely and healthily keep up running during their first few months. Happy to hear it’s going well and helping keep you (and baby) healthy!

  2. I’m always so interested in how pregnancy/etc affects runners. There are some who have been running for years and years and give it allll up when they are pregnant. Some, you would never know that they were pregnant if you looked at their frequency! I’m just happy that you are feeling well and healthy and that you are still able to engage in what you love!

  3. Glad to hear your pregnancy is going well and you’re able to stay so active! It’s pretty awesome that your little one has already completed and placed in a race! Carbs and milkshakes sound really wonderful right now.

  4. Running is FANTASTIC during pregnancy! I ran up until the day before my little man was born. I ran a half marathon at 6 1/2 months and it went great. The day before my Bug was born, I ran 3 miles. I would like to believe it was my running during pregnancy that allowed for a quick 2 hour labor! Run mama, run!

  5. I ran during both of my pregnancies.I ended up having some pelvic pain/hip pain so I couldn’t run through both pregnancies but around half way or so. I ended up doing prenatal yoga and it was AMAZING! I also did some prenatal workout DVD’s at home.
    Way to go!

    • Thanks Michelle. Fingers crossed that I am able to continue. I feel like I was fortunate with a not too terrible first trimester and by maintaining the mileage, hopefully it will continue to stick with me for the next few months at some level or another.

  6. Glad to hear that you can still get your runs in. Did you see that lady who ran the 800 m a couple of years ago at the US track and field championships when she was 34 weeks pregnant? She finished in 2.32.13.

    • Yes I did see that and I certainly won’t be even close to that! But it is nice for us women to know that we can still do this and do what we enjoy most. I am interested to see how running will go as my pregnancy progresses. This trimester had thrown some new stuff my way but I’m hanging in there!

  7. When my running friends got pregger recently, they announced it by taking a picture on a track of just their shoes, along with some baby running shoes. Maybe you can steal that idea?

  8. I’ve been so busy I haven’t been reading as much as I would like – how did I miss this?! Congratulations! How super exciting!! Your gonna have a little baby runner!!! 🙂

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