By Jessica Green
Suiting up for a run when you're pregnant isn't always the easiest accomplishment. Sometimes it feels like it's the hardest part of the run - tight, uncomfortable, ill-fitting, too short. After a couple of months of trying to squeeze into my running tights and tuck my tops in to cover the belly, I decided it was time for a little maternity shopping. By this, I mean figuring out which styles worked the best for pregnant Jessica's body (not regular Jessica's body) and then buying myself a few new outfits with everything a size larger than I usually wear.
Now, 31 weeks pregnant, I am enjoying every second of my new size and discovery of what "maternity workout gear" really means. I found it to mean something a little different than regular maternity clothes shopping since I didn't actually buy "maternity" workout clothes.
For those of you out there who are running while pregnant, here are my top running clothes tips, which come directly from a seven and half month pregnant running coach who basically lives in her running gear - belly or no belly:
1. Don't sweat it when it stops fitting - buy up a size in everything
No women enjoys buying up a size, but running clothes are already tight to begin with and in all the areas that seem to expand when you get pregnant. So, give yourself a break and once the belly (and surrounding areas) begins to expand beyond your comfort or vanity limits, embrace the excuse to freshen up your running wardrobe instead of dwelling on the new size. For me, this included a sports bra, crops, shorts and two tops - they don't look so new anymore!
2. Invest in a more stable running shoe
As you pack on the pounds, you need more support. I have several different pairs of shoes, some of them lightweight, minimalist shoes or racing shoes. After running in the less stable shoes 4-5 months pregnant (10+ lbs heavier) I started to notice my feet getting sore in ways they never had before. I quickly packed these shoes away with the rest of my clothes that won't reappear in my closet again until post-pregnancy this fall and purchased a shoe with some stability to support my feet as my body weight continues to increase.
3. Longer, dark colored running tops
Since you're buying tops midway through your pregnancy, you need to leave room for belly expansion without sacrificing fit during mid-pregnancy. The solution? Longer, fitted, exapandable tops that can grow with your belly, not hide it or rise above it. I also recommend darker colors because you might be wearing these items a few times in a row before washing because you might not have too many - unless you want to buy a ton of them. My go to piece has been lululemon's cool racerback tank top this spring and summer.
4. Low rise running tights
No baby belly feels good with the top of running tights/crops cutting into the midsection. Instead, opt for lower rise crops and shorts. I LOVE my lululemon inspire crops that I can easily fold over the top to sit just under the belly. Higher rise crops are in the drawer until the fall.
5. Invest in an anti-chafe stick: As the chest expands, sports bras rub differently and I started to chafe like I was running a marathon, not a 5-mile jog.
*** Bonus: Choose routes with lots of access to bathrooms or wooded areas because there's no escaping the constant pounding on your bladder - accept it, pee and run on. I do find it helps to avoid any liquid intake at least 1 hour before a run.