Happy National Running Day! Whether you’re hitting the road with a jogging stroller or attempting to grind out a few miles with a baby bump, we encourage you to get up and get moving (pending your doctor’s approval, of course).
Easier said than done, right? Especially if you’re well into pregnancy, when even a slow jog can be uncomfortable. To get you motivated, we talked to some ladies — both moms — who’ve turned running into a lifestyle. They’re not professional athletes and they’re not here to coach you into marathon-ready shape. But Tori Sager and Mel Charbonneau, founders of the national women’s running group Fellow Flowers (which is about 75 percent moms!), know what it’s like to balance motherhood and mileage.
The Bump: What was your training like during pregnancy?
Mel: I ran four to five days a week and did strength training throughout my pregnancy, up until 37 weeks.
TB: Did you compete?
Mel: I did a half marathon at 15 weeks, but wasn’t focused on time at all. I did talk to my doctor at my initial pregnancy checkup and she laid out the ground rules. When women are active before pregnancy, there’s no reason to stop.
TB: How did you know when to back off?
Mel: When I was close to that 37-week mark, my body was just like, “yeah, we’re done now." I was carrying an extra 30 to 35 pounds, and I had dropped and she was sitting much lower. When you’re running while pregnant you should be doing it for enjoyment, and I was no longer enjoying it.
Tori: You don’t need to prove anything to anybody. You need to listen to your body more than ever. As for when women decide to stop? That can range from 20 weeks for some women to the day before giving birth for others.
TB: What kind of workout clothes did you wear?
Mel: A lot of my regular workout clothes fit until 20 weeks. I did have a lot of issues with my inner thighs chafing until I switched from shorts to capris. I recommend black — no one will be able to tell if you peed a little. And I needed to double up on the sports bra.
TB: Be honest; what was it like running postbaby?
Tori: Your body is yours again!
Mel: I started up again at six weeks postpartum and basically had to learn how to run again, starting with two to three miles at a time. Nothing worked the way it used to, but there was such a sense of freedom.
TB: What’s something you think all pregnant runners should know?
Mel: Something no one ever warned me about is that you go into a small state of mourning when you’re an athlete and get pregnant. Because of running, I was appreciating my healthy strong body for what it could do. And I had to let my body transition from a temple to a vessel. You’re entitled to feeling a little bit sad; that is okay. You shouldn’t feel guilty about that. The minute I just let myself be a little bit sad, I transitioned to enjoying this new stage.
Want to get involved in Fellow Flowers? They’ll be hosting their first-ever national event in Scottsdale, Arizona on November 5-8. And the Ultimate 3-Day Weekend Getaway involves way more than just running — there will be pampering, inspirational speakers and tons of time for connecting with other ladies (and moms!) who run.