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An Elite Runner’s Pregnancy Workout Routine

Hilary Stellingwerff, a Canadian middle-distance runner, 1,500-meter specialist and Olympian, kept moving throughout her entire pregnancy last year, tweaking her strategy as the trimesters progressed. She had her son, Theo Edmond, last June, and is currently focused on making the 2016 Olympic team. “I’m really happy with how much I was able to train during pregnancy and feel it was the perfect amount based on how healthy my son is now and how smoothly I’ve been able to return to fitness,” says Stellingwerff, who formulated her workouts largely on how she felt each day. Read on to learn what she did and when.

Read our entire Fit Follow-Up interview with Stellingwerff here.

Trimester 1 (Up to 13 weeks)
  • Weekly Mileage: 35 to 40 miles in 5 to 6 runs. (Normally I would run 70 to 80 miles in 5 to 6 runs.)
  • * 2 running workouts a week: One shorter (hills) and a tempo or fartlek (speed-play) run, never letting my heart rate go above my anaerobic threshold (175 to 180 beats per minute).
  • * 2 weights/plyometric workouts a week.
Trimester 2 (Weeks 13–28)
  • Weekly Mileage: 25 to 30 miles in 4 to 5 runs, plus 1 to 2 cross training sessions of pool running or the elliptical machine.
  • * 2 running workouts a week (same as in trimester 1), but by 20 weeks I started to do more elliptical sessions.
  • * 2 weights/plyometric workouts a week, with modifications: no more bars-above-the-head Olympic lifts, pull-ups or kettlebell swings that put torque on the pelvis.
Trimester 3 (Weeks 28 to Birth)
  • Weekly Mileage: Same as trimester 2 until 32 weeks. Then 1 to 2 run/walks a week and 3 to 4 pool runs or elliptical sessions. 1 workout of fartlek or surges while cross training, but I reduced the minutes of intensity.
  • * 1 weight session a week until 36 weeks. Then just medicine-ball work.
  • * During the last 2 weeks of the pregnancy, I walked for about 1 hour every other day.
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