Staying Fit(ish) During the First Trimester

TMI Warning: Today I sneezed really hard and peed myself a little in the process.  Apparently this is a real thing that happens, and not pregnancy urban legend.  And now I need to start carrying a spare pair of chonies at all times.

Hey all!  Hope everyone is enjoying the week!  Today I’m going to talk about what I did to stay fit(ish) in my first trimester of pregnancy, but first I need to remind you guys that all of these activities were given the thumbs up by my doctor.  I’m not a medical doctor…more importantly, I’m not YOUR doctor or OBGYN, so please consult with your doctor before beginning any type of new exercise program, especially if you are pregnant.  Capisce?  OK, moving on…

The Santa Rosa Marathon – What Happened Here?

Remember how I was supposed to run this baby and use it as my BQ?  Well considering I’m due in March 2016, and Boston is in April 2016, I felt as though my doctor might frown upon me busting out 26.2 just one month postpartum.  So Boston will have to wait.  BUT, could I still run at Santa Rosa in August?  Turns out, the answer to that question was yes!  According to my doc, I could continue to train for the marathon and even run the race if my body was cool with it.  Now let’s be clear here – ALL running needed to be done at “conversation pace”, or, a pace at which I could comfortably hold a conversation while still jogging along.  No tempo runs, no strides, no intervals, no medium effort runs.  I could not “race” the marathon.  But since I was not experiencing any adverse symptoms or complications with my pregnancy AND since I have been distance running for 6 years now,  jogging a marathon was A-OK!

But a few funny things happened as I continued to train for the marathon:

  1. First Trimester Exhaustion.  Oh.  My.  God.  Words simply cannot describe the level of tired.  I’m convinced pregnancy is an exercise in seeing how much shit you can get done before 1:30PM, because after that time you are virtually useless.  The weekend long runs weren’t too bad, since I would schedule a rest day the next day, but those mid-week middle distance runs would just wipe me out.  It was getting hard to keep my mileage at 40-50 miles/week.
  2. Hanger, or hunger that evolves into a temper tantrum if you don’t GET ME A F%#&ING APPLE FRITTER RIGHT NOW.  As my training continued to progress, I noticed that on any run longer than about 10-12 miles, traditional runner fuel, like energy gels, gummies, honey packets, etc. just weren’t cutting it anymore.  Even if I ate right before a run, I would still get hungry for real food about 10 miles in.  And here’s the thing…when I’m not pregnant, the evolution from zero to hangry generally takes about an hour.  During pregnancy, this time frame gets ever so slightly shortened to about 30 seconds.  It was getting hard to run those longer distances without experiencing some hanger and nausea.


The post-run donuts are getting a little more frequent these days!

3. The weather got HOT here.  Like really, mind numbingly hot.  Non-pregnant Rachel will run in the heat.  Oh, she will hate it, and cry, piss and moan the whole time, and threaten to stop and/or violently throw herself off the pier into the ocean the entire time.  But she’ll suck it up and deal and finish unless it’s unbearable.  But here’s the thing kids…when you’re growing another human, it’s not a great idea to “push through the pain” during a workout.  You need to listen to your body and stop when your body tells you to stop.  There were many runs that I either called short, stopped running and walked the rest of the way, or called Danon for recon because of the heat.

With all of these factors coming together in my training, I just didn’t think it would be a great idea to run the Santa Rosa Marathon or continue to train for it.  I was basically setting myself up to either 1) have a miserable 26.2 in Santa Rosa or 2) not finish the race.

So, you ask, what AM I doing these days for exercise?  Actually lots!  In my case, exercise is great for both me and baby.

  1. I’m Still Running! Hey just because I can’t run 26.2 miles doesn’t mean I can’t run at all!  I’m still going out for easy runs about 3-4 times/week, and the distance varies anywhere from 4-10 miles.  All runs are done at conversation (easy) pace, and truth be told, it’s not too bad!  It was a little frustrating to not be able to run FAST at first, and seeing my “easy” pace drop by about 45 seconds per mile was a little hard to swallow at first, but right now I’m really enjoying myself.  It’s kinda refreshing to just get out, enjoy the ocean views, wave to fellow runners on the trail, and not have any expectation of a pace or mile count I need to hit.

Running for two

Love this shirt.  It’s adorable, it stays put and covers the bumper, and it also tells a-hole Orange County drivers “Hey…this woman has a little nugget on board…maybe you should actually look up from your iPhone, refrain from texting your side piece back, and actually stop for that well-marked crosswalk”.

2. Yoga, yoga (said in the spirit of Animal HouseToga! Toga!” chant).  I haven’t started a prenatal yoga class yet, so in the meantime I’m just taking regular ol’ yoga classes at the gym once a week and modifying where the need arises.  Once the bumper starts getting in the way or some of the positions start to feel uncomfortable on my joints, I’ll switch to a prenatal yoga class.

3. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Workouts.  Not quite as “intense” as I used to do, but I’ll bust these out about 1-2 times per week.  Each session is about 30-40 minutes long, and I take FREQUENT breaks for water, and also to keep my heart rate at a reasonable rate.  Here’s a little sample of how I roll on one of these:


3. Spinning!  This one might seem a little too intense for pregnancy, but I totally dial it back and keep an eye on my heart rate and don’t get too crazy even though it’s hard sometimes.  Right now, I’m really enjoying the classes at Full Psycle, where I go once a week.

4. Good ol’ Walking.  Great for when it’s too hot to run, or I just don’t feel like running or picking up the weights.  And there just so happens to be a great gelato place on my typical route! Crazy, huh?!?

That’s all for now friends!  Thanks for swinging by and reading my little ol’ blog.  I would love to hear in the comments how you stayed fit during your pregnancy, OR if you have any questions on any of my workouts.


  1. So happy to see you are keeping up the running while pregnant. I ran until about 7 months with Kyler, then switched to gym and elliptical — the belly got too heavy at that point! 😉 Almost as long with Rowan. You look awesome, Rachel. Hope you keep feeling great!


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