Being pregnant and running a marathon are very different events, but it’s amazing how many similarities there are between the two. To do either, you are making a massive commitment full of ups and downs with a great prize at the end. Each milestone is amazing, but the in-between can be daunting. Here we highlight some fun and interesting ways that pregnancy is just like running a marathon.
18 It’s Loooong
Pregnancy is long. Those nine months stretch out before you and seem never ending, just like those 26 miles stretch out before a marathoner and seem never ending. Either way, you are in for the long haul.
17 Everybody Will Give You Advice
When you are pregnant, everyone will have some wisdom to impart—what to eat, how much weight to gain, doctor or midwife, epidural or not, birth plan or wing it. The same holds true when you are training for a marathon—type of shoes to select, diet regimen, train solo or in a group, music or not. It’s best to listen to advice from the sources you choose to consult.
16 There Will Be Surprises
If it’s a first marathon or a first pregnancy, hold on because stuff will happen you could never anticipate. How can you know how your body will respond to pounding the pavement for hours and hours on end? Similarly, how can you know how your body will respond to growing an entire human? Brace yourself for surprises.
15 You Might Poop in Front of People
And speaking of surprises, you might poop on the delivery table. It’s true and it’s not something you’ll brag about but you won’t be the first. The muscles you use to push your baby out are the same ones you use for other things, too.
Some marathoners poop while they are running. Several factors associated with running long distances can lead to bathroom urgency so some do it because they can’t help it, but others choose to go in their shorts so they don’t waste time stopping.
14 You Need Proper Gear
We pregnant women need our gear: maternity wear, pregnancy pillows, support hose, nipple pads—the list is endless. So too is it for marathon runners: running clothes, specialty shoes, plasters, sports gels, etc. Both pregnant women and marathoners will be much more comfortable with the right gear.
13 Your Nipples Might Leak
During pregnancy, it’s colostrum. During marathon running, it’s blood. Both are inconvenient but we are pretty sure the latter hurts more.
12 There Are Highs and Lows
As your pregnancy progresses, there will be ups and downs. You’ll be up when you feel the first kick and down when you realize sleeping is impossible. Up when you have your first ultrasound and down when you realize you’ll have crazy@#! heartburn for 25 weeks.
Marathoners go through ups and downs, too. They’ll be up when they reach the halfway point and down when they realize they are only at the halfway point. Up when they are keeping pace and down when they get a shin splint.
11 You’ll Need to Train
No doubt, marathon running takes an insane amount of training. It’s not something one decides to do the day before a race. Pregnancy takes training, too—think baby care training, breathing exercises, Kegels, diet regimen, and birthing classes. Both marathoning and pregnancy will be made easier by preparing properly.
10 You Might Pee Your Pants
Your growing uterus will squish all your organs, including your bladder. Plus, the position of your baby can make it worse. When you need to go, you need to go. All that stress can make your pelvic muscles weak meaning you might leak a little.
For marathoners, the stress associated with the physical exertion of running can cause bladder leakage, primarily in females. But, take comfort in knowing that anyone who leaks is in good company.
9 Celebrate the Milestones
Marathoners celebrate each mile they pass. Pregnant women celebrate the quintessential milestones: the first ultrasound, the first signs of a bump, the end of morning sickness, the first flutter, learning the gender, etc. All are beautiful celebration-worthy mini-successes.
8 You Need to Stay Hydrated
During pregnancy, women tend to become dehydrated faster than normal. The same holds true for marathoners given they are exerting themselves and sweating like crazy. Drink, drink and drink. Everybody needs it, especially a growing baby.
7 You’ll Need Cheerleaders
Marathoners thrive on those folks that come out to the race to cheer them on. Many runners have said when they felt their absolute worst during a run, the cheerleaders kept them going. Pregnant women need cheerleaders too, especially in the delivery room. Knowing other people believe in you to successfully complete what feels like an insurmountable task (a.k.a. running 26 miles, or pushing a baby out) is an awesome boost. You can’t do it alone.
6 Your Body Will Amaze You
During pregnancy, what your belly skin alone does is positively amazing. Who knew it was so stretchy? Not to mention you are the vessel for growing an entire human being. The pregnant body is truly astounding.
What marathoners’ bodies do is also remarkable. With appropriate training, the body can rise to the challenge of a marathon. The body develops incredible muscle tone, the heart becomes more effective, and memory actually improves. By the end of the race, the average marathoner will be 1 cm shorter than when they started and will lose 2-3 lbs of body mass.
5 You’ll Feel like a Punching Bag
During pregnancy, heartburn, varicose veins, rashes, bladder getting pummeled, swollen ankles, fatigue, insomnia, and muscle spasms are just some of the symptoms that can make you feel like you have been run over by a bus. For a marathoner, shin splints, chafed nipples, blisters, blackened toenails, and extreme fatigue are just some of the symptoms that can make you feel like you’ve been through a war zone.
4 The Anticipation Is Overwhelming
As you approach the 23-mile mark or your due date, you will be so excited to cross the finish line that you can hardly stand it. You are incredibly close to completing a marathon or to meeting your precious baby that the last mile or the last month can’t be over soon enough.
3 The Finish Is Amazing
You get your medal. You hold your amazing, perfect baby. There is nothing sweeter than this. Your hard work, discipline, sheer determination, and strength got you through to the finish and it’s the best thing you can imagine.
2 You’ll Feel like a Hero
Whether you experience the cheers of the crowd or the awe and wonderment in the delivery room, you’ll feel like a hero. You did it. Everyone is impressed and amazed. You’re akin to a celebrity for a little while. Soak it up.
1 You’d Do It Again
Even though you hated parts of it because it caused you extreme pain, it was life-consuming, it stole your body, and it made you crazy at times, you know you’d do it all over again.