8-10 weeks. Pregnancy Training plans in place
It’s now not just a case of having seen the heartbeat. I am well and truly FEELING pregnant and it’s time to put plans in place to make it a success. So my first port of call is specialist women’s physio Emma Brockwell. We’ve known each other since I spoke at a medical sports conference after my photo went viral and she has been helping me with my post-natal issues since. Pregnancy changes bodies forever – once you have a baby you are always post-natal! But whilst some women don't feel held back by the changes, many others have problems that can go on for decades if not treated (another reminder to see your GP/specialist and get them fixed!)
I run through all of my training and symptoms for the last few weeks with Emma. And whilst my pelvic floor has not given me any trouble in a long while since Emma set me a treatment plan, in pregnancy I can already feel it getting weaker as I run steep downhills. I’ve also found myself unable to do high knees and star jumps with the boys in the Joe Wicks morning workouts! On top of that I have felt a few tweaks in my pelvis and a little throbbing after my long run. It’s not a great start but I tell myself there is so much I can do to improve.
To be honest I’ve been a bit lazy recently with my pelvic floor workouts (which I come clean about to Emma like a naughty schoolgirl). The problem is, I put so much focus on them to fix the problems I had then once symptoms were gone I forgot to do them anymore. It’s like I’d trained really hard for a marathon PB then assumed I could run it again without keeping the training up. Pelvic floor exercises are for life. I’m hoping I don’t forget that again…
She shames me sufficiently into getting back on top of them. For me it’s finding the right cues so I don’t forget. In the past I’ve tried setting alarms, having to fill in charts like kids do for their chores and doing them before meals. None of it worked for long. When I had Cormac, it was every time I breastfed which was an easy one. But I might have found the answer - doing them when I boil the kettle! I’m already standing up and have a minute to spare – there’s no excuse! (I also drink enough tea in different forms to make sure they get done now). I'll let you know how it goes.
We set out a new strength plan – also something I’ve been lazy on since lockdown and my gym closing. Luckily in our new house we have space for a gym and my lovely old PT Nick left me a good collection of kettlebells when he moved to Madrid. I don’t have a squat rack or cables, but there’s a huge amount I can do with the bits I have. Which is lucky as almost every piece of gym equipment is now out of stock in the lockdown rush!
We are mixing in what I would usually do - single leg focused weights - with some extra pregnancy/pelvis work like supermans
My goal is to stay active and the most likely thing that will stop me is my pelvis not being strong or stable enough. So that’s what we’re almost fully focused on at the moment. I’m not going to be getting a six pack any time soon anyway and my arms will get toned quick enough carrying a newborn. Functional fitness n all.
With lockdown meaning juggling childcare, homeschool and work I’ve split the workout into two:
1. Stuff I can do in the gym
2. Stuff I can do downstairs in the playroom (ie doesn’t need weights the boys may drop on themselves).
I’m getting each set in at least twice a week with aiming for more when I can – sometimes even just doing one or two exercises whilst they eat snacks/jump on each other/have a rare moment of calm. It really does all count.
Running wise, in very exciting news my treadmill arrived!!! It’s a pregnancy present from hubby – and far more useful than something would be once I’ve already pushed the baby out. Though it may also be that he wants to buy a fancy new exercise bike for himself and will have more of an excuse if I have a treadmill... (edit - he has just ordered himself a Wattbike Atom...)
Whatever the reason I’m over the moon with my new piece of kit. Having a treadmill at home means that I can get in focused sessions – with reduced impact on my pelvis (and stress on my pelvic floor) through running on an incline. As well as run at any time of day and sneak in quick sessions during naptime.It’s a Nordic Trak that has a very high incline (up to 40%) which means during the later parts of pregnancy I can still get tough workouts in through high incline hiking. Also it has lots of space for my favourite treadmill energy boost – wine gums!
The shape of my program itself hasn’t changed for now – long run, a couple of targeted sessions (intervals, hills) and a couple of easy recovery runs. But they are now all based on heart rate – not that my body would let me go too crazy! I’m fairly new to heart rate training – and will have a lot to say on it in coming weeks as I learn more about how different training feels. What I do know is that I won’t be running up any hills on a hot day anymore as it goes through the roof.
In standard pregnancy symptoms I should now be at peak sickness and peak tiredness. The sickness isn’t too bad – as long as I eat frequently and have a snack just before I go to sleep I can make it through. I don’t exactly have the healthiest diet at the moment – I’ve never eaten so much pizza! But sometimes that’s all I can stomach and food is better than no food for now.
What’s holding me back at the moment is the tiredness – on a scale I never had with my first pregnancies. My hubby John can’t quite believe the zombie state I hit around 3pm every day, barely able to peel myself off the couch. I guess it’s good he’s working from home and can actually see it rather than question why the boys just watched 5 episodes back to back of Waffle the Wonder Dog instead of doing something with “learning outcomes”. This pregnancy tiredness really is crippling – beyond anything I’ve ever known. It’s especially hard as I’ve hardly told anyone yet and am fighting through Zoom board meetings and strategy sessions without being able to explain my glazed look and sub-par performances.
I’m still trying to go 100 miles an hour as usual, refusing to admit I’m not up to things but this really is not sustainable. Either I need some help or I need to try and do less. For now I’m just hoping it ends soon – or at least schools go back and I can take an afternoon nap : ) Though Centurion Running have just launched a 100 mile week challenge in 3 weeks’ time… I wonder if I can make it work? I can already guess what Emma and Eddie will say…