Can You Keep Running While Trying to Conceive?
Are you someone who loves running? Are you a runner, and are you currently trying to conceive and trying to figure out how to balance your love of running with your journey to conception?
I’m a runner too. It was a long time ago, but I’ve run two marathons, two half marathons, a bunch of 10 mile races, and a whole slew of other races from 5Ks, to five milers, to 10Ks. I’ve been sidelined from running for the past 13 years! I was dealing with severe ankle tendinitis and running was just so painful. I missed it so much, I felt like a part of me had died inside without being able to run. But, I’ve done a lot of yoga, a lot of stretching, and I switched up my shoes, and I’m now training for my first big race since 2006! I’m doing a half-marathon in 5 weeks and I’m training is going good so far. I’m feeling great!
Whether or not you can keep running while trying to conceive is a question that I get from clients a lot. There are a lot of women out there in the world who also have the running bug. And I totally get it. There’s just something about running, and that feeling of euphoria that you get when you’re like in a real flow out there on a great run, or running a great race.
It’s something that becomes part of who you are, so when you’re on a fertility journey, it can be really disheartening when a doctor or other professional advises you to stop running. It’s really difficult!
Check out my take on this topic in .
Do you need to stop running while trying to conceive?
I’m here to tell you that you do not need to give up running. In fact, I’m going to suggest that you keep running.
This is the reason why. Running is part of who you are. It serves you physically, it serves you emotionally, and it serves you spiritually.
Experts recommend that we get 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, five times a week, for optimal health. So on a fertility journey, this is what we also recommend to keep you kind of in tip top shape physically. So a nice, easy, 30 minute run, a few times a week is something that is so awesome that you can do for your health, for your fertility, and for your emotional well-being. So running can be a really great form of exercise.
Furthermore, if running is something that you love to do, if it lights you up, if it lights your soul on fire, you need to keep doing that. When we stop doing the things that we love, the things that make us feel whole. When we stop doing those things, a part of us dies inside, spiritually speaking. As I said, during my 13-year hiatus from running I ran a little bit here and there but I was largely absent from the sport, and I felt like part of me had died inside.
We don’t want that to happen, especially on a fertility journey where so much else is going on emotionally for us. We need to have those emotional anchors that we can count on, to help keep us propelling forward in our journey. If running is that thing for you, as it is for me, then you need to keep running.
Now isn’t the time to train for a marathon or other big race.
You do need to look at your running, and modify it if you need in a way that makes sense for your fertility journey.
If you are a marathon runner, this isn’t the best time to train for a marathon.
Especially if you’re in treatment. Look at a typical IVF cycle. You’re going to the doctor every other day. You’re doing egg retrievals, which is surgery. It’s a surgery that can take so much out of you. Even a transfer, while it’s not a surgery under anesthesia, can still tap you physically and emotionally. Fertility treatment causes stress.
Even trying naturally – tracking cycles, monitoring fertility signs, timing intercourse – it also takes a lot of us and can cause stress.
You don’t need the added pressure of marathon training, or half marathon training. This is a time where you want your running to help you clear your head, connect with your body in a very special way, not be something that cause you additional stress. And even if you love marathon training, as I do, it can still be stressful to get all the training runs in and log all those miles.
Because those training programs for marathons, half marathons, ultra marathons, other long distance races are all very unforgiving training programs. They can be very difficult, harsh on your body. And so this is where the doctors are coming from if they’re asking you to stop running.
Too much running can negatively impact your fertility
In addition to being harsh on your body, the amount of running that you need to do to train for long races is a lot, and it can wreak havoc with your hormones. And in the fertility game, it’s all about the hormones.
I’ve said this time and again before. It is all about the hormones, we want hormone balance. Issues with ovulation, and hormone imbalance are the leading cause of female infertility. So we don’t want to do anything that could have a negative impact on our hormones. That can affect ovulation, and overall fertility. Studies have shown that excessive exercise can affect our hormone balance in a negative way.
So if this is something that you’re already accustomed to, and your body’s already accustomed to, it’s probably going to be okay.
Always consult with your doctor before beginning any kind of physical training regimen.
The fertility journey is demanding enough
Another reason that I wouldn’t recommend a hardcore training program during your fertility journey is because your fertility journey in and of itself is already a marathon in so many ways.
Think about the parallels between marathon training, and the fertility journey. It’s constant. With marathon training, you’re running several times a week, several miles a week, consistently for several months. And the fertility journey is the same way. It requires daily focus, daily attention, daily tunnel vision in taking your medications, going to the doctor, being very focused on what you’re doing.
And it would be really hard to be successful in your marathon training, and in your fertility journey, if you’re focusing, giving so much attention to both of them, at the same time. So if you’re on a fertility journey, if you’re in fertility treatment, if you’re actively trying to conceive, now would probably not be the best time for you to take on a goal like a marathon goal. But there’s no reason that you need to stop running.
Look at how you can modify your running to support your fertility
Running can be an awesome way to get fit, stay fit, feel great, and connect with yourself. There are ways you can modify your running to support yourself during your fertility journey.
Basically you want to run in moderation. Maybe shorter distances. Maybe fewer miles per week. Maybe running a little slower, and not going at it so intensely. There are so many ways that running can benefit your life. And so the key is to find the ways that serve you right now the most, during this very special time of your life in a fertility journey.
Baby dust to you!