The Three Trimester Triathlete: Eat, Sleep, Pee: Why Triathlons and Pregnancy are Shockingly Similar

Except instead of a sprint to the finish line, pregnancy ends with a frantic dash to the hospital!

Recently I’ve realized that successfully navigating a pregnancy is really similar to successfully navigating a triathlon. Just like a race, there’s a set start and end date that you work towards in your training. And also like a race, there are always unforeseen challenges that arise along the way.

As your “training” weeks go by and as your “training” gets harder, you’re constantly evaluating and re-evaluating and adjusting as necessary. Just like in triathlon training, I’ve identified a couple simple philosophies and pleasures that have help me push through the tough times and enjoy the good.

First, I try to let go of the guilt of all things I am not doing as I normally would if I wasn’t pregnant. (You know, all those donuts and salt and vinegar potato chips I talked about in my last blog, and well the blog before that, and well, you get the idea.) I am not always perfect about this. Just yesterday I almost burst into tears when a young, literally bouncing, pregnant women breezed by looking so beautiful and happy you’d swear only pharmaceuticals could make someone that joyous! But feeling guilty about certain things that are out of my control just adds more challenge to the challenges I’m already facing, and that’s just a waste of energy. In endurance sports, you have to forgive yourself for the workouts you miss—and just focus on those you really nailed—it’s the same in pregnancy. Forgiving yourself is so important.

Next, when and if I can pass on anything not-so-healthy, I do it. Just like the times you can’t control what you eat, I take advantage of the times I can stomach the good stuff, even if it’s just a single salad or a piece of fruit. As I have started having more good days then bad, I am reevaluating my needs. Lucky for me, salads finally sound delicious again, so I’ve been keeping the fridge stocked with healthy veggies. Some days it works, other days I go for the frozen pizza.

Salad with spinach, grilled chicken, hard boiled egg, avocado, sun flower seeds and a little EVOO.

A salad I recently made with spinach, grilled chicken, hard boiled egg, avocado, sun flower seeds and a little EVOO! Delicious!

In triathlon, there are days when you are just on it—when your tempo run just feels easy. On those days you’ve got to hit it hard because you never know what you’ll feel like tomorrow. It’s the same in pregnancy. When your body says, okay, we can handle a salad, grab the darn salad and go to town!

And just like in triathlon, the right gear is essential. I highly recommend maternity pajamas. However, I ONLY recommend wearing them to bed! Made to be comfortable around your growing parts, even if you don’t think you need these, treat yourself to a pair and I promise you won’t be disappointed. You wouldn’t head out on a 60 mile ride without bike shorts—why would you consider spending your pregnancy in uncomfortable clothes?

14 weeks into my pregnancy!

14 weeks into my pregnancy!

Additionally, the body pillow is also a great investment. Even if you feel as though you’ll never use it again after the baby, you can always pass it on to another mom-to-be. They’re inexpensive and so helpful in supporting all parts of your body—so worth it!

I don’t have the magic potion for all things good, happy and healthy for pregnant women. Gosh, I wish I did! But I constantly remind myself that I am doing this world’s most amazing task and really nine months is just a drop in the bucket of time. Just as if I am spending nine months training for a tri, I totally feel up for the challenge! Twenty-four more weeks to go until “race day!”