Pregnant ultra-runner Sophie Carter has cut down her miles now she’s expecting twins – but for someone who regularly competed in 100km ultra races pre-pregnancy, that means reducing her runs to around 12 miles.
Sophie, a former solicitor who now combines childminding with being a personal trainer, brushes aside the challenges of training, saying that even when preparing for an event she rarely ran more than 50kms at a stretch, relying on the adrenalin of the race to see her through the final kilometres.
‘And now it’s more about listening to my body, I’m just running for myself and my babies. It’s not important for me to have a race to train for, what is important is my pregnancy. Running provides ‘me time’, if I need to slow down or walk, then that’s fine. And anyway, I need to wee too often to compete at the moment!’
‘Running made me a better mother’
Sophie started running seriously when she lost her mother to cancer. ‘It was my way of dealing with the pain,’ she said, ‘I just kept running and running. It was a release. In addition to losing my mother, I had also endured a difficult break up with my partner and as a single mother to two children it was not easy finding time to run – but running made it possible to cope. Naturally I suffered a good dose of ‘mum guilt’ but taking time out to run regularly made me a much better mother.’
Now Sophie has a new partner and both of them wanted their own child together. Unfortunately Sophie suffered two miscarriages, both quite different and unrelated but equally distressing.
She continued, ‘I ran through both of these pregnancies, knowing that it was right for me and for my babies. Some people might have worried that it contributed to the miscarriages but I ran regularly through my previous pregnancies and felt fully in tune with my body and what was safe and appropriate for me to do.
I know sometimes you need to find something to blame for a miscarriage but I don’t believe that’s right – you have enough to contend with without the added burden of guilt.
With my first pregnancy I ran up until six weeks before my due date, swopping to swimming for the last few weeks. Second time around I felt even more confident and ran up until three days before my son’s birth. For me the most important thing was to listen to my body and I paused mid run when I felt it was time to stop.
I really think that being so fit and active during my pregnancy helped a lot during the labour and I recovered really quickly. In fact I ran a regular postnatal fitness session and there seemed no reason to cancel the class – even though it was only 24 hours after Ethan was born!
Running with twins
This time Sophie is aware that running with twins might be harder, as she is already conscious of the additional weight of two babies. However, she has the benefit of FittaMamma maternity Capris and FittaMamma supportive maternity fitness vests, which she describes as ‘like a bra for my bump’. She said, ‘It makes my bump feel really secure, there’s no need to hold your belly when you’re running. Not worrying about ‘bump bounce’ really improves my confidence and gives me the extra peace of mind to relax and enjoy my pregnant runs.’
Sophie’s tips for pregnant runners
- Do what feels right for you – if it makes you feel good, keep going
- You don’t need to set targets or goals
- Adjust your pace so you feel comfortable, if little steps feel easier, that’s fine
- I ran through my pregnancy nausea – it felt better once I was out running
- Eat regularly, it’s important to keep your blood sugar stable
- Make sure you stay hydrated, even if it does mean you wee more!
With many thanks to