I woke up yesterday morning around 5:30 to get ready for my long run. It was hot (around 80 degrees) and muggy even at sunrise. My sister Jodi picked me up around 6:45 and we headed to the meet-up spot for our local running club’s long run of 14 miles. I love running with the club for lots of reasons: great people, beautiful routes (usually pretty well marked), and lots of water and gatorade provided along the way. I love seeing folks at the water stops and how we all check in with, encourage and support one another every weekend.
Well, it was a HOT day for a run and it only got worse as the time went on and we found ourselves running along super-sunny and hilly stretches. In retrospect, I really wish we had started a good hour (or more) earlier so we could have beaten some of the heat. We will definitely do that next weekend. We planned to run 14 miles today but about halfway through I found myself reevaluating and wondering if that would be such a good idea. I was having mild stomach cramps – I believed of the intestinal variety – around mile 7 but it worried me because I just couldn’t be certain that’s what it was and that it wasn’t a pregnancy thing going on. So I slowed it way down and even walked a little bit until I felt right. I wore my HR monitor and tried to keep it around 140 as best I could (which was hard on the sunny hills and required walking at times). Around mile 8.5 I felt really good again and my stomach wasn’t bothering me so I decided I would stick with the whole run. Then maybe a mile later Jodi started feeling bad – she hadn’t hydrated well enough the day before and was feeling it: the chills, swollen fingers, and some shakiness. Plus her hips were tight. So we walked for a long while with some spurts of running and it did not bother me one bit. It was nice to have time to catch up with my sister and just BE together – moving – at whatever pace felt right to us. When all was said and done we completed just about 13 miles total. I felt really good the rest of the day and am in great shape today (no soreness or fatigue, yay!). This makes me think I ran smart, but of course I always like to learn from my experiences and think about how I may have done things differently…
Yesterday’s experience really got me thinking about heart rate training. It is not something I have ever really concerned myself with too much, usually I just stick with perceived exertion to check in with myself. Since being pregnant though, I am wondering if it is really important to know my HR and keep it in a specific zone to protect myself and the baby. I have read lots of things online but was left feeling a bit confused…some people believe it should stay really low (around 130 or below) and others think going up to 150 should be fine. Then I asked my doctor and he is pretty laid back about it and thinks as long as I am listening to my body and feeling ok, both the baby and I will be fine. I would love to know your opinions on it…especially if you have experience running while pregnant. Do you use a HR monitor and if so, where do you try to keep your heart rate on longer/slower runs?
Thanks and I hope everyone had a great weekend. Happy Monday!!