Is it Safe to Run a Marathon While Pregnant?

Somewhere along the way, we went from running for fitness and health to training and completing long distance races. 

The "I am woman, watch me race" mentality is celebrated in our culture. When the woman in question is expecting, like the mother who ran Chicago in 2011 while nine months pregnant, she can attract lots of media attention. 

But pregnancy may not be the time to prove we can run a marathon. This is also not the time to prove how strong and wise we are. It's the time to adjust our goals, focus inward, and train for delivery and our new lives as running mothers.

It's not that we can't do it, we can—but at what cost? This is the time in our lives when we learn what it means to put our goals second to the needs of our baby.  Once the baby arrives, you begin to heal, create your new life schedule, and get back to running for yourself.

The Dangers of Post-Partum Running

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying running while pregnant is a no-no. I'm simply saying there is a tipping point at which you have to ask yourself, "Why am I really doing this marathon?" 

If the answer is, "Because I've already paid," "it's been on my bucket list," "it will keep me motivated," "I'm in shape for it," or "I want the shirt"—you are more focused on your goals not your team's goals (you and baby that is). I say this out of love of course.

More: 3 Tips for Running While Pregnant

I've seen many elite runners complete half-marathons without injury or harm to the baby, but it is important to understand that a light effort for them is an impossibility for most of us. 

An elite female runner can cover 6 miles in 42 minutes or faster and hardly break a sweat. Not to mention this is what they do for a living. They run 120 miles per week, so when they run 60 miles per week pregnant, they are cutting back 50 perecent. 

On the other hand, one elite runner I know tried to continue to train hard. She ended up injuring her pelvis and had to stop running until she healed and the baby arrived.

There's a limit to what we can do as women and mothers. Adjusting your running doesn't mean you're weaker than or less than, it means you're a wise runner and soon to be active role model.

More: Stay Fit and Healthy During Pregnancy

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