There are few events in my life that have had such a long lead up to them as pregnancy/birth. Since we found out Pickle was on their way back in September, it’s felt like we’ve been on a constant countdown to that all important due date. The only other event in my life that I feel has had anywhere near the same kind of ever-looming upcoming presence has been my marathons. I’ve done five to date (four running marathons: the Brighton Marathon three times and the London Marathon, plus one walking one – Walk the Walk Marathon). So I thought it would be fun to do a little comparison: Marathons vs. Pregnancy.
The sign-up, registration, conception
I’m sure the same thing has been said many a time when contemplating parenthood or a marathon: How hard can it be? If they can do it, surely I can? The decision to sign up or conceive is likely to be fuelled by the idealistic view that it’ll result in you being a more fulfilled human, brimming with pride and achievement, which will make all the hard work worth while.
It’s also likely you’ll decide this whilst drunk. Certainly that was my case when signing up to my first marathon anyway!
Depends on the marathon you’ve signed up for, and it’s certainly the way with pregnancy, but sometimes, it can be a little while before you find out if you’ve been successful in your sign-up, registration, bid, attempt. The moment you get a confirmation email or that all important second line on the pee-stick, things start to become real.
There’s usually a moment of shock, elation and then a dawning sense of oh god, am I actually ready for this?
To ease the anxiety and to try and convince yourself that you CAN do this, you WILL do this and it’ll be FINE… the preparation and leg work, pardon the pun, must begin. You can find endless lists or schedules online that’ll detail what you should be doing and by when and the whole thing will feel a little overwhelming and daunting.
You’ll be bombarded with technical jargon: gait analysis, fartlek, amniocentesis, episiotomy… and sometimes it might feel like half the battle is just understanding what the hell is going on. Before you know it, you’ll be bashing out all the terminology like a pro. And feel pretty smug about it too.
Training your body
As time counts down towards D-day (race day, or birth day!), your body is going to have to undergo some serious changes to get itself ready. In the case of a marathon, you may be hoping for a more toned, athletic physique whereas pregnancy may not have the same desirable outcome…
You’ll probably notice a few changes in lifestyle, including preferring to have a cosy night in and an early night rather than an alcohol fuelled night out on the town and your diet may change. You’ll have the best intentions to be as healthy as possible in order to better your or baby’s chances, but there will definitely be occasions where you’ll eat chocolate for breakfast or a naughty over-sized takeaway and it’ll be easy to justify: It’s okay, I ran 12 miles this morning or It’s okay, I’m eating for two. Baby wants this.
There may be days when the strain takes it toll, you may find yourself snapping or getting irritated by those closest to you. They just don’t understand.
In both cases they’ll be muscles that need to be stretched and exercised and strengthened which will make the ‘main event’ easier to cope with. Apparently.
Everyone will have advice for you
From the moment you tell anyone what you’re going to be undertaking, suddenly, everyone has an opinion and advice to dish out to you. Some of it you’ll lap up and won’t be able to wait to put into practice, and others you’ll politely ignore. All advice is given with the best intentions, but that doesn’t mean it’s all worth taking to heart. Best taken with a pinch of salt. Marathon running or pregnancy is not one size fits all. We’re all different.
As the time approaches for the big day, it’s totally normal to feel a rising sense of anxiety, nerves and apprehension. But you’ve got this. You’ve put the hard work in, you’ve figured it all out, you’re prepped and ready with everything in place…
Next up: Marathon vs. Pregnancy – the BIG day!