CAN YOU RUN A MARATHON
Pregnant marathon runner Beatie, 27, took up running a year and a half ago as a way to get back into shape after having four children. She describes herself as ‘naturally athletic’ but with so many young children she struggled to consistently fit exercise into her schedule. Setting the goal of a marathon ensured her commitment to fit regular pregnancy exercise into her busy lifestyle.
We asked Beatie to share her top tips for running during pregnancy and how she prepared herself to run a marathon when pregnant.
How did you fit running into your schedule?
‘It was certainly a challenge fitting running into my schedule because I also work full time. I made a very set schedule for myself and was able to find four times a week to run, three slots of an hour and fifteen minutes and one longer run on Friday mornings.
I trained on my own, with the support and encouragement of my husband. He helped me find a training plan (I just used Hal Higdon online) and set up some basic interval workouts for me.
Committing to run a marathon whilst pregnant really motivated me to keep training. And I enjoy running so it wasn’t hard. I didn’t do any shorter races but with marathon training you really can’t miss any runs if you want to be properly prepared.’
Do you have any advice around nutrition for pregnant runners?
‘Make sure to fuel up properly – drink lots of water before and after runs, carb up before and have a high protein snack after. I use gels along the way for my longer runs – they’re very convenient and work well when you’re training. To be honest, I didn’t look out for specific pregnant-friendly options, just whatever was available!’
Did you change your running style for pregnancy?
‘Pay attention to your cadence – Increasing your cadence can make running feel a lot easier. Smaller, more frequent steps, especially when you are doing hill training, can make a huge difference.
It’s important to always warm up sufficiently, especially if you’re running during pregnancy. Start off more slowly, you’ll be amazed at how your body is able to build up speed and cool down properly – and make sure you spend time stretching at the end of your run.’
How do your family feel about you running a marathon?
‘My kids are very proud of me, and came to both marathons! They all enjoy running around the house and pretending to run marathons as well. I generally ran when they were in school or sleeping so it didn’t take away any time from them.
My husband was incredibly supportive throughout and training for the marathons has definitely brought us closer.’
What about special kit for pregnant runners?
‘Get proper-fitting trainers with extra cushioning and support – your body is carrying extra weight so your feet are going to need more support. It’s definitely worth investing in a good pair of running shoes – Level 4 or 5 for stability, as well as a pad that is custom designed for your foot. Look for socks with extra cushioning as well.’
Beatie wore the FittaMamma ‘Me & My Baby Running Together’ vest layered over a long-sleeved top when she was running. She also had a pair of supportive FittaMamma Maternity Exercise Capris, ideal for running during pregnancy.
Any final advice to other women who’d like to run longer distances during pregnancy?
‘Pay attention to your body – don’t overstress yourself or strain your muscles. If it doesn’t feel good, it’s time to slow down or stop.’