Paula Radcliffe on exercise for pregnancy and parenting


Paula Radcliffe and Raphael © Pampers Little Athletes  - Paula Radcliffe on exercise for pregnancy and parenting
Paula Radcliffe and Raphael © Pampers Little Athletes
Pregnancy affects us all differently but for a good proportion of women those nine (make that almost ten) months of gestation are dominated by the need to lie down, eat, sleep and make frequent trips to the loo!

And when the little one arrives? Well, we'll take any chance we can to hit the hay thanks very much!

But if you're a world record holding long-distance runner and your job is working out, pounding the pavements and trails for hours on end and generally pushing yourself to the limits of what's physically humanly possibly then you don't have much of a choice but to get out there and stay active.

For Paula Radcliffe MBE her first pregnancy coincided with a career break she took to recover from injuries but even so she still trained everyday. Now as a busy mum of two she knows the value of fitness in keeping up with Isla (five years-old) and Raphael (two years-old).

For us mere mortals who still heed the call of the sofa, getting active through playing with our children is the perfect way to fit exercise in our lives - and our families.

As well as training for the 2012 Olympics, Paula's fronting Pampers' new 'Pampers Little Athlete' campaign which aims to help parents celebrate their own child's play in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Pampers have also brought out special edition Union Jack nappies - super cute).

We caught up with her to marvel over how she fits pregnancy and parenting into her terrifying training schedule...

Was your pregnancy planned or did it come as a shock?

Isla was a shock because it was literally the first time and it happened really fast. We were really lucky. We were trying but people had said “oh you’re an athlete, you’re pushing your body and it’s going to take a long, long time” and that luckily wasn’t the case at all.

With Raphael it took us a little bit longer but we're still really grateful that it didn’t take forever. Having children was something that was really important to me.

When you found out you were pregnant did you change your routine?

Yes but your body just naturally senses that anyway. With both of them I think I knew at about 4 or 5 days pregnant that I wasn’t able to push myself as hard in training.

I still trained the whole way through with both pregnancies but the baby was the priority.

I was really lucky I had good advice from my gynaecologist and friends on how to train and how hard I could push my body through the pregnancy while it was still benefitting the baby.

What advice would you give to pregnant women who did run or exercise prior to their pregnancy?

Just keep going with the exercise that you were doing but don’t introduce anything that you weren’t doing before.

The biggest advice I can give is just making sure your body doesn’t overheat or dehydrate.

Also don’t run without eating. Make sure you have some food an hour or so before you go running.

As the pregnancy progresses do little things to protect your body.

After about 5 months I switched to only running once a day. During the second session I was doing either aqua jogging or on the elliptical just to lessen the impact but more for my joints and lower back rather than for any harm [to the baby] because the they're protected fully in the amniotic sac.

Don’t let your heart rate go too high. The advice I was given was not to let it go over 80% of your maximum. So there was never any danger that I could get it that high even if I wanted to push it hard.

[Sofeminine says: While it's good to continue to exercise while pregnant but if you weren't active before you shouldn't start a new exercise regime...]


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