Fitness · parenthood · pregnancy · Running

Lessons in Pacing

I began learning about the concept of pacing in my freshman year of high school, during the cross-country season. You’d think, given the many years since then, that by now I’d know a thing or two about it. Ha.


Pregnancy has made me realize that my pacing education has only just begun. This is awe-inspiring, humbling, daunting, exciting news to me.

Running has helped prepare me for pregnancy in that, thanks to my running experience, I am comfortable with my body. I know it can and does change, and I am a-okay with the fact that growing a human is changing my body, in some ways irreversibly.

There’s that, plus the physical stamina and heart rate, blah blah blah, that you already know. Cardio! Good for pregnant women!

But pacing. After all this time, I was just beginning to think that I had finally gotten a handle on pacing in my races. “Running smart” isn’t as easy as it sounds, and it feels sooo good when it actually works out on a not-just-sporadic basis.

Pregnancy is teaching me the vital importance of proper pacing in life, not just running.

Running is of course a part of that — as I’ve written in previous posts, my running pace these days is slower and, especially in the summertime heat, more careful. In this area of my life where I’ve been honing my pacing skills for 22 years now, it’s been relatively easy to adjust the focus for pregnancy.

But other areas? Whoa.

I’ll start by reciting the Pregnant Woman’s Mantra, which is: ALL PREGNANCIES ARE DIFFERENT. I know there are ladies out there who are 23 (or more) weeks along, who are running half-marathons, wrangling other kids, leading large corporations, and keeping a spotless house, all at the same time. I also know there are ladies out there who are 23 (or more) weeks along, who can barely get off the couch. What I’m describing here is just my own experience.

It’s an education, a sometimes-rude awakening. Energy-wise, every day is different, and not entirely predictable. Some days, I expect to be exhausted but instead feel like a million bucks. Other days, after a good night’s sleep, the exertion of simply walking the dog has me eying our cozy loveseat.

I have discovered that I can no longer do All The Things in the course of a Saturday (or even a full weekend). I can go for a run, or go to yoga, but doing both on the same day has proven unwise. My definition of “acceptable level of clutter” in my home has, shall we say, changed. I have learned to really, REALLY appreciate the good days.

The goal of running smart has shifted to living smart. It’s strange to experience, and mind-boggling to think about. Weeks ago, I was reading one of those “What to Expect” books — specifically, a description of what the body is doing during the first trimester of pregnancy. The book said that even at rest, the body is exerting energy comparable to that of a person running a marathon.


I’m learning the concept of pacing all over again. It’s awe-inspiring, humbling, daunting, and exciting.

Thank you for coming along for the ride.



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