Just as it is important to be mindful of the warm weather when running while pregnant, it is equally important to be mindful of the cold weather and environment. Here are my five tips on cold weather training for mothers-to-be.
TIP #1: WEAR WEATHER-APPROPRIATE LAYERS
Although you do not run the risk of overheating in the winter like you do when you are running in the warm weather, you must be careful about wearing enough layers. Our internal temperature is naturally higher when we are pregnant so you may feel comfortable when it is quite chilly out. Although you may feel comfortable and not want to wear more clothes, it is best to be aware of the weather and what should be worn. Be mindful of things like hats and gloves. Our immune systems are more susceptible to getting sick when we are pregnant so make sure to bundle up!
TIP #2: WATCH YOUR FOOTING
It is also wise to be mindful of the footing on the trail or road. If it is snowy and uneven or icy out it is probably best to stay inside and run on the treadmill. One of the main concerns is slipping and falling as this is extremely dangerous for a pregnant women and could harm not only the mother but the fetus too. Pay attention to your surroundings and if you must go outside it may be best to switch to walking for the day.
TIP #3: REMEMBER TO HYDRATE
Hydrating enough pre and post run is another important factor to keep in mind. Although you can not physically see the loss of fluid from a run like you can in the hot months, running in the cold can dehydrate you. It is important to drink at least 8-16 oz before and after the run to replenish fluid loss. We lose more fluids when we are pregnant because our body has to work harder with the extra weight, and we have a higher fluid volume in our bodies when we are pregnant. Pay attention to your thirst signals and get in the habit of always having a water bottle around.
TIP #4: ALWAYS PUT YOUR SAFETY FIRST
A few other important factors to keep in mind when running in cold weather while pregnant include staying on a well-known route and carrying a phone with you in case you need to call family to come get you. In all situations, not just cold or hot weather, safety should be put first. Meet up with a buddy if you can. This is not only important for accountability and social purposes but is a great idea for safety purposes too. Plan to run when there’s good lighting, sometime during the middle of the day if possible and avoid running when it is dark during the winter as this poses more of a threat for slipping or tripping on surfaces you can’t see.
TIP #5: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Lastly, listen to your body and get to know what effort is appropriate for the day and how pregnant you are. It is always wise to speak with your doctor prior and figure out if there is a heart rate maximum you should shoot for. This may change in the colder months as it is harder for your body to process the cold air being breathed in and out. Keep in mind that although it may not seem like it, just running in colder air creates more of a resistance your body needs to deal with. And the most important thing is to remember to have fun and enjoy yourself! Many women find that as their pregnancy progresses they can’t run fully anymore and must switch to walking or run-walking. This is okay and is actually a great form of exercise! Make sure you are listening to your body and giving the best effort for your body and your growing baby.
Have fun and congratulations on pursuing your training while pregnant. It is a wonderful gift to be able to continue to run while pregnant. Treat your body with respect and enjoy the process!
For additional reading, I recommend you check out my article on Balancing Running with Kids.
Annika Braun is a McMillan Running Coach. Learn more about our Personal Coaching where you can train with a coach like Annika by your side to plan your training and talk about race strategy, performance nutrition, injury prevention, stretching, and much more.
“I have achieved my goals for 5K, 10K, and now a Half Marathon – thanks McMillan Running!”