For most people running 21km is a challenge, not to mention doing it when you’re pregnant. In your first trimester you are very tired, your body is going through changes and things might just be a little off.Here’s what I do the same and differently next time running a half Marathon Pregnant.

In your first trimester you are very tired, your body is going through changes and things might just be a little off. They say when you pass 12 weeks of pregnancy then you’re in your 2nd trimester and then things get better and safer.

So far everything for me has worked out like they said and in my 12th week my energy levels were up and I had been able to run 3 times in one week. I decided to join a friend for a road race over the weekend.

I usually prefer trail but after falling 2 weeks back during a trail race my husband and I have decided that it would be best for me to stick to tar until he little feet are here.

She opted to do the 21km, and feeling better than I had felt in weeks, I decided I would also go for the 21km.

I woke up the morning with morning sickness… not ideal for my nutrition. I had some future life shake, and prayed it would stay down, Lucky for me it did! I decided to run with my camelback, it could take 2L of water and had compartments for snacks. Seeing as my morning sickness was sticking its head out, I had to be prepared for any situation.

I Packed 2L water, 1x Apple, 1xGU Stroopwaffel, Half a peeled and segmented orange. I knew there would be water points with coke if I needed more.

So nutrition sorted, now I have to figure out the Bladder situation. I struggle with Urine Inconsistence, I’m currently working on it but since I became pregnant it’s like my body wants to pee every 5 minutes!! I realized that I would just have no other option than to stop at those mid run porter potties….

Our race started and there were hundreds of people, I decided to take it easy. It’s suggested that if you run while pregnant that you ensure 3 things,

  1. Don’t dehydrate
  2. Don’t overheat
  3. Always run at a conversational pace.

I ensured that all these needs were met. The run started nice and early so the heat part was sorted and the hydration was also sorted with me having a 2L camel pack on my back. During the run I felt fine, my friend and I chatted a lot and I did find myself out of breath in the up hills. At this point of my pregnancy my belly really started to push out – it was quite uncomfortable and when my bladder filled up it was even worse.

The race had barely started and I found myself looking for a toilet. I felt a little embarrassed, and like a inconvenience for my friend, but I must say when running past a security complex with a visible porter potty, my baby bump came quite in handy when I said –” Please Sir, can I use your toilet!?!”  –  Not ideal situation but it was needed and I was very thankful for it.

After that my pace picked up and I started to get into things, I usually have to do about 5km before I feel like I’m into a run, when we reached the 10km run, I felt a little concerned. My body was getting tired. I realized that I would have to stop for something to eat very soon. I had to stop for a wee again, so I took the opportunity to stop my strava, wait in a short-ish line and get some snacks out of my camel pack. I had a few slices of orange, and coke – then I packed the GU Stroop waffle in my front pouch where it would be easily accessible. The GU Stroop waffle contains about 20mg caffeine which at this point I felt like I could do with.

Finally it was my turn to wee! Afterwards not trying to think too much about the hygienic part of the porter potty and me now eating… I broke the stroopwaffel into pieces and started to eat it piece by piece every 2km. I must say it is quite astonishing what a difference it made in my energy, even the orange did not do the trick as much as this waffle.

Going up hill and chewing was quite the task, I was out of breath from chewing, and out of breath from running, haha like I had to choose between the two. At about 15 km my pace started to considerably slow down, and a few kilometers in I couldn’t hold on to my friend. I slacked off and watched her disappear in the distance. This was a mental moment for me, it was quite a mind shift, there was nothing I could do, and this was just harder than usual.

I just concentrated on the down hills, haha shuffle shuffle up and freeeee down! It did the trick, but at the last 3Km I think my body was just done. At this point I was running without a support band. My body started hurting in the strangest places. I remember my hips hurting allot and my crotch area felt under pressure, my tummy muscles hurt and I needed to pee… again. I kept going towards the finish line, switching between running and walking, It was hard to accept that my body was struggling like this and kept contemplating why this was so hard on my body, and it other pregnant woman would also feel this way?

The last 2Km was a real mental game, and it wasn’t even that far! But when I met with my friend at the finish line she made me feel proud to finish the race. This race made me realize that the changes that are happening are more serious than I thought, and that winging-it would no longer suffice. I ran 30min slower than my usual time. When I you factor in the bathroom breaks and the last 3km walk/run, I don’t think it was that bad. It felt a little intense here close to the end but it was rewarding. Hell I still ran it faster than my first half marathon which I ran with the worst hangover and no race number. (hahaha…)

Here’s what I do the same and differently next time running a half Marathon Pregnant:

  1. I’d definitely pack 2L of water again: Provably looked like such an amateur running with a road race with a camel back…
  2. I’d wear a maternity support band: When you pregnant your muscles are more relaxed and flexible during the babies growth process. This allows for your tummy to stretch. This also means that your muscles are more flexible than what you are used to, so be careful. I would get a support band just to help support your moving belly. Its trial and error, but I write about the best one’s I found in the next post.
  3. I would definitely pack snacks again – maybe even two waffles, but be sure to check the packaging for all the ingredients you still want to make sure Baby is getting something healthy.
  4. I would decide on a pace, and a finishing time: Keep this as an “Estimated” pace and time and maybe have a best version and a worst version, make peace with both, and be content when things don’t go as planned. After all you’re doing something much more important that running a race, your growing a HUMAN!

Protecting your body should be your main priority when you’re pregnant. I think this race taught me this. I was in quite allot of pain the next few days. My tummy muscles hurt a lot and my hips and bottom parts felt like they were under constant pressure. Not to mention how tired I was, it felt like the first trimester all over again, I think I actually took a whole week off before running again after that.

Everybody’s journey is different and everybody’s body grows differently, so take care and do what you can within your limits. Always remember if it’s not really worth it, you’ll get over it.

Happy Running!



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written by

Jani du Toit

Mother, Blogger and Pattern maker from Pretoria

Age group: 30
Club: ASICS FrontRunner

My Disciplines
Half Marathon Trail 10k

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