Running through pregnancy – first trimester

In the comments section of my last post a few people asked how running is going, so I thought I’d write about the first trimester.

I would love to run throughout my entire pregnancy. However, as I’m writing this at almost 22 weeks I’m not sure how realistic that will be for me.

Let’s backtrack and talk about those first 14 weeks…

I was just starting to run again after a few weeks off (and a few frustrating weeks before that) due to lingering issues with my hips, leg, and other parts.

What felt good?
I ran 95% of my runs on trails. The forgiving surface, the views, and the constant challenges felt great (or took my mind of being tired)!


I was extremely nauseous until about week 15. The only time I felt good was when I was working out. Our summer holidays fell at the perfect time so I could work out first thing in the morning and feel better for the rest of the day. When I was exhausted at the end of a day at work and just wanted to sleep I’d try to make myself get a run or workout in, knowing I’d feel exponentially better afterwards.

What was different?
In the past I never carried water when I ran other than a handful of times. I have been running with water on every single run since finding out I’m pregnant; I get extremely thirsty after a few minutes. I mostly run with my hydration pack (link to a newer version of my bag) but sometimes with a small bottle in my hand.

I had to pee all. the. time. On a 40 minute run, I’d have to stop four times. This was another perk about running trails- lots of trees to hide behind!


On morning runs I never used to eat beforehand. After a couple runs in, I knew I had to change that. Now I eat before every run. I usually eat a bowl of cereal before a morning run and just time my snacks for a post-work workout.

What didn’t feel good?
The odd time I ran on the road I felt funny, like my form was off or my legs were wooden. Not sure if it’s because I ran mostly trails or if it was something to do with pregnancy.

I was out of breath from the instant I started running right until the end. Although trails are tougher in general, never before would I be out of breath for an entire run!


We had an extremely hot summer. On the exceptionally hot days I’d run on the treadmill or do an at-home circuit workout in the basement or in the shade. One day I ‘ran’ in the heat and ended up walking the last third. (Typically I love working out in the heat but this just didn’t feel right.)

Everything else
I biked outside on the highway a handful of times. It felt great, but I am definitely more cautious pregnant and didn’t love riding beside speeding vehicles.


The trainer and I became good friends this summer!

I’ve continued with strength training two to three times a week, sometimes alone and sometimes as part of a circuit.

I SUPed quite a bit this summer and made sure to do it at an easy pace. Before I found out I was pregnant I paddled hard one day. My back and chest were so sore it hurt to even breath! Once I found out, I didn’t push it and just did it for leisure.

For hiking I used my hiking poles to help with the steep inclines and declines, and for overall balance. And Kelly was a champ and would pack litres and litres of water!

I have also really concentrated on strengthening my hips, as the majority of what I’ve read about pregnancy talks about the damage it can do to your hips.

Lastly, I’ve been trying to do prenatal yoga once a week. It’s a gentle stretch and feels great for my body and my soul! (I’ve been using the Shiva Rea GAIAM Prenatal Yoga DVD, but I’d love to sign up for a prenatal class at a studio.)

Overall I’ve tried to listen to my body. If something doesn’t feel right I’ll ease off or stop altogether. It has definitely been an adjustment to decrease my activity level (I would get too tired when I tried to do my norm).

If you have any questions, let me know! Once I safely make it out of my second trimester (yikes- only six weeks away!) I’ll write another update. Hopefully I’ll still be running!

Do you carry water when you run? Do you eat before a morning workout?

32 responses to “Running through pregnancy – first trimester

  1. You’re doing a great job and it sounds like you’re really listening to your body.

    The peeing 4x a run scares me as I already have a super small bladder… I can only imagine what’ll happen to me!!

    I can’t believe only 6 weeks til 3rd trimester!

  2. I think that it is great you are still running! I bet you will be able to continue just as long as you take it easy. Soon enough you won’t want to lean down on your bike anymore! 😦 I bet the next 6 weeks will be a breeze! 🙂
    I carry water on warmer days and longer runs. I hate to carry water but i have to! We have some water fountains on a route i do often which helps too especially if i am doing something shorter!!
    Depending on the work out i usually have a little something. A Gu usually if i am going for a run under an hour. or a Picky Bar if i am strength training and doing a spin or run after.

  3. You are so smart to listen to your body- it will let you know if you can run all the way through or not. Sounds like overall your working out is going great!!!
    I like to have water when I run – anything over an hour is definitely a yes on the water.

  4. Congrats on being able to run through the first trimester and ride your bike!! I often carry hydration on runs, so that is nothing new for me. Glad you are finding yoga and strength training to be beneficial. I’ll be curious to see how quickly you bounce back to your active lifestyle after the baby is born since you have been able to stay active throughout your pregnancy 😉

  5. You amaze me. I love that you are staying so active. I used to carry water when I first started running over 5ish miles, but now I never do. I will eat something small if I am going on a longer run.

  6. I just stumbled upon your blog and really like it! It’s nice to see bloggers write about their pregnancy journey while keeping up with fitness. I’m super encouraged and hope to do the same when that time comes for me! BTW, you live in a BEAUTIFUL place! Love all of your pictures!

  7. I carry water on super hot and super long runs. Loved reading this article. I hope that I can run when I get preggers but I’m afraid I’ll have back pain.

  8. I feel like I am going to learn a lot from you and your experience. My husband and I are open to getting pregnant right now (however, I am still training and racing until I actually get pregnant) and my one concern about getting pregnant is how my activity level and body will change. You give me hope that I can get pregnant and still have the active lifestyle I love, in moderation. It’s great that you have still been able to do all of the things you love, to an extent, as long as you are feeling well. I imagine the priorities naturally shift when you are pregnant and instincts kick it. Can’t wait to hear more about your second trimester and beyond!

  9. You seem to handle it very well. I can imagine it’s such a weird time: your body is changing, quickly… I don’t know what it’s like as I don’t have kids but I admire the women who still manage to keep an active life. You are clearly doing a good job.

    For hydration on the run, until marathon training I never carried water while running. For the marathon, I decided to find the most suited solution for me. I went for an hydration belt as I hate carrying something in my hands. I will wear it on marathon day.

    I always run in the morning. For workouts less or around 1 hour, I don’t eat anything. When I go for more than 10 miles, I eat a granola bar or an homemade cereal bar.

  10. Great post! I didn’t run much during my pregnancies years ago, mostly because I wasn’t as in to running and working out then as I am now. I think it will definitely help you with both labor and healing after you have your baby. And, I take water with me on almost every run, it is really dry where I live so I’m constantly thirsty!

  11. Debbie @ Deb Runs

    It’s great that you’ve been able to run so far, and you’re very smart to listen to your body. Hope your morning sickness has subsided, but it’s great that working out helped you feel better.

    I rarely eat before my early morning runs. Since I run at 5:30, I’d have to get up terribly early to eat and allow my food to settle a little before the run. I always eat at least a banana before my long runs. I drink a lot of water as soon as I get up, so I don’t usually carry water on my weekday runs unless it”s an extremely morning. I always carry water on my long runs.

  12. I just screamed at my computer.
    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m so behind!!!!! I need to catch up!!! OMG I am so excited for you guys! And you are such a rockstar for continuing to run. I could barely roll myself off the couch during first tri. 🙂

  13. runnerbydefault

    Sounds like you are doing a great job of listening to your body! I love that you are still so active.

  14. I keep meaning to get over here and say congrats, so congrats! I am very excited for you. It’s truly the best thing you’ll ever do–you’re going to make a strong, fit mama!

  15. It seems like you are doing at great job at staying active, while also listening to your body:) I love to hear that you are hiking too! Something I hope to be able to do when pregnant one day. It’s reassuring to hear that you haven’t had to give up the things you love doing, just modify. One question I have is, have you been told to keep exercise at or below a certain heart rate? I’ve heard mixed things… Again, so happy for you and I’m excited to hear more as your pregnancy journey continues:)

    • I think hiking has actually been the most enjoyable exercise for me! The hiking poles have been a saviour though.
      I wasn’t told to work at a certain exertion level or heart rate, but I’ve definitely been taking it pretty easy. On the bike I push harder than on a run, but I think you just know if something feels like too much or just not right.

  16. way to stay in tune with your needs! I’m always impressed by you though, and that view, wow! i’ll come run with you, I am slow though. haha

  17. Thanks for this great post, Abby – looks like you are doing great! (and such beautiful scenery!) Having a family is somewhere in my future, so I love to hear all about what a fellow active triathlete is doing during pregnancy 🙂 One of my good runner friends is pregnant now and had the same bladder issue when running; so interesting how the body changes. Are you following any rules of thumb on how many hours or days per week you work out?

    • Thanks, Brittany!
      I’m not really following any rules. My doctor was pretty open to me continuing everything without setting restrictions. However, other than hiking, only a handful of my workouts have been over an hour. (I think maybe four runs and five bikes?) The rest I keep around 30-45. That way I’m not too tired 🙂

  18. Pingback: Last hike of the season | Change of Pace

  19. Pingback: Running {and workouts} through pregnancy – second trimester | Change of Pace

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