Running a Marathon?

Alexandra Powell Allred's picture


Dear Fitness Expert,
I have been training for the NYC marathon and have completed two marathon's in the past 10 months. I am not a competitive runner, but enjoy marathon running and finished both marathon's in just under 5 hours. I just found out that I am pregnant and will be 6 weeks pregnant during the upcoming run. Both my primary care and OB/GYN had no objections. Both also advised that I be careful not to dehydrate.

I have also been advised to buy a heart monitor which I have and to make sure my heart rate doesn't exceed 140. In addition my doctor advised that I listen to my body and not push to finish if I don't feel well. This all sounds very encouraging and I would like to participate in the marathon. Do you have any thoughts/concerns regarding my situation?

Thank You.


Dear Marathoner,
All fabulous advice. Listen to your body, drink plenty of water and wear a heart monitor. New research shows you can exceed 140 beats per minute but not for a prolonged period of time. As a long distance runner, finding a heart rate below 140 would be ideal. When I competed as a national athlete, I did exceed 140 but only during sprint work.

I would only add that you might want to invest in a rectal thermometer. It is an excellent way of finding out your inner core temperature. So many athletes believe they know when they are overheated. It seems logical, right? But because the baby has no way of sweating and is one degree Celsius higher than your own temperature, it is vital that you make sure you do not overheat.

Fortunately for you, there has been a great deal of research on long distance competitors who were pregnant. We know from this research that there is no reason for you to worry about the health and welfare of your child as long as you use common sense and make sure you do not overheat. Even more important than the heart monitor is the rectal thermometer. And, yes, there are plenty of Olympians who ducked into a bathroom in the middle of training to check that their temperature did not exceed 101 degrees.

Good luck!! You are an inspiration. Be safe. Have fun.

-- Alex


Submitted by Danniela on

Thank you for posting that question! I just finished Chicago Marathon and a half marathon this past weekend and just found out I'm also 6 weeks pregnant, and doing another full marathon this weekend coming up.

My body is used to doing events every weekend so it's nothing new but it was nice to see someone else will be running pregnant too.

Have an awesome race in NY!

Thank you,