As I mentioned in Monday's post, I'm approaching fitness in a new way for the second half of my pregnancy. There are a lot of factors at play, including the summer heat, possible contractions, my energy level, and my new shape . . .
Uh. My belly seems to have ballooned by several inches in a single week!
What's the new plan?
#1: Aim for time, not miles. I'd like to try to get one hour of exercise in most days of the week. I used to care more about trying to get 20-25 miles of running in. At this point, though, that goal is somewhat unrealistic. Time on my feet (or in the pool, on the bike, etc.) is just as good.
#2: Continue running, but run less and not as fast. I won't be heading out on any 9-milers anytime soon. It's too hot and with my new shape, I'm not feeling like going as far. I figure my max distance these days might be around the 10K mark, which is interesting because in my first 10 weeks, I completed several half marathon-distance (about 20K) runs, in my second 10 weeks, I completed 15Ks, so it seems only natural to dial it down another 5K. Too, I'm finding that -- like Jen (This Runners Trials) -- when I slow my pace, I feel much, much better. I'll get my speed back once the baby comes.
#3: Spend more time sweating indoors. I can't wake up early enough to run before work. I just can't. I've tried, but I seem to need that extra rest. So, I run in the late evenings when the sun is low in the sky. BUT some days, it's too hot even for that modification. (Plus, I've had to split my dinner into two mini-meals to accommodate running at 8PM. It's getting old!) So, I'll be logging more running/walking miles on our treadmill. In the air conditioning.
#4: Incorporate more cross-training. We have a gym membership I haven't been using for months now. This means I have a pool, treadmills, bikes, ellipticals, weight machines, and fitness classes I could be taking advantage of. I'm most excited to get to the pool, but it's been tough fitting it into my schedule. After our vacation next week, where I plan to run/walk barefoot on the beach EVERY morning, I'm aiming to go at least twice a week for either swimming or aqua jogging.
#5: Give up on push-ups. I was keeping up really well with my push-ups -- and even chin-ups for a while. But last night, I noticed that I can't quite stabilize myself anymore with my core muscles. Well, without feeling like I'm doing something wrong. (OK, my upper-abs almost feel like they might rip apart!) Upper-body strength is important to me, so I've asked Stephen to help me create a light weights program to keep my arms strong. I even did some "girl push-ups" last night. They didn't used to challenge me. With my extra weight? They're harder!
#6: Remember that everything counts. I didn't used to consider my lunchtime walks part of my workout routine. But now I'm even adding in my 15-minute walk breaks during work. These activities DO count toward my daily movement. I am trying to sneak in bits of exercise wherever I can.
Stretching has also become very important to me. I was one of those runners who could get away without stretching most days. And after my IT-band injury healed, I got extremely lazy with the whole thing. Now, I can feel tightness in my legs if I don't stretch. So, I've started doing a few yoga moves at home. Some basic leg stretches, too.
With all these changes to my routine, I've felt much better this past week. I haven't been depleting my energy levels on any single workout. Instead, I finish feeling refreshed and relaxed. At nearly 22 weeks along, I'm welcoming the change and rolling with what I can't control. I take rest days whenever I'm feeling particularly taxed.
It's difficult, I'll admit, to go from being a more serious athlete who cares about distances/times to shedding most of that part of myself. Right now, 3 to 4 mile runs feel great at around a 9:45 to 10:00 minute pace. More than a full mile an hour slower than I'm used to. I know I'll get my edge back eventually and that anything I do now will only help with the process. And I feel proud of the things baby girl and I have accomplished so far.
The last new thing I'll mention is my water intake. I've DOUBLED it from recent weeks. I used to get back from a run an guzzle a large glass of water. Now I drink two . . . and continue drinking H2O the rest of the evening (and all day, all night). Pregnant women just need more water. In the summer months, everyone needs more water. I may constantly need to pee, but I feel great otherwise!
Any suggestions on workout plans in the second half of pregnancy are definitely welcomed. I'd love to know how you modified your routine as your body/baby needed you to. Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.
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