I recently received some wonderful news: I’m going to be an aunt! My sister is having her first baby later this year, and I am very excited.

As any good sister would do, I’m trying to be as supportive as possible. She will of course get most of her advice from her doctor, but I still want to make sure I’m armed with knowledge to help her stay fit and healthy!

Okay, so maybe my sister isn’t a runner…but I obviously am, so I couldn’t help but read up on running while pregnant as I began to research other topics.

If you do not run regularly, then picking up running while pregnant isn’t recommended. In other words, I will NOT be urging my sister to start running (but will encourage her to stay active in other ways). However, if you’re already a regular runner, you don’t have to stop running during your pregnancy. I have a friend, for example, with two young children who continued to run up until the day before each baby was born! I can’t imagine what that must feel like or, more importantly, how you can avoid falling on your face, but clearly it is possible. Amazing.

Elite runners Paula Radcliffe and Kara Goucher recently continued to run during their pregnancies – they actually trained together, in part because they shared the same due date (although ended up giving birth four days apart). I really enjoyed reading this NY Times article on the topic, as well as the full interview on the RW website. How inspiring is it that two fiercely competitive and successful distance runners became best friends while training together throughout their pregnancies?! The ultimate running buddy, for sure – although I imagine having your young daughter run alongside you also provides plenty of motivation too!

Paula Radcliffe running a 10km race with daughter Isla, only a couple months before her due date

Although running 14M a day while five months pregnant is not advisable for most women, running a more reasonable number of miles (and/or doing other forms of exercise) still provides many benefits to both mother and baby. While doing a bit of research on this, I found a blog post entitled “If Paula can do it…” which nicely sums up the information I was seeking to include here. Rather than rehash it myself, check out the link – best to come straight from a “Mom on the run” who has personal experience to share!

So even if you don’t need to stay in shape for London 2012 like Paula and Kara had to do, try to continue exercising – if nothing else, it will help keep you fit for the day that you will have to start chasing after your little one, once he or she is up and running too!

P.S. Here’s a great interview of Kara Goucher in the NY Times, as she adjusts to being a new mom while getting back into competitive running.