How long and hard can I run now that I'm pregnant?

Q: I was a distance runner in high school and college. I'm now 28 and in my first trimester. Can I keep up my training routine through pregnancy?

A: First, let me say that if you are interested in athletic training during pregnancy, you should talk with your doctor about an appropriate regimen for you. That said, I offer the following rules for a trained athlete as long as she's in good health, has no pregnancy complications and had no problems such as miscarriage or preterm labor in a prior pregnancy:

- Stick with the training conditions you are used to. If you run on a track, this is not the time to start negotiating hilly streets.
- Do not become overheated. Also, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise.
- Use the "talk test": Work out only so hard that you can comfortably carry on a conversation while exercising.
- If you wish to maintain the number of miles you run each week, be prepared to reduce your pace as your pregnancy advances.

Whatever exercise you do, let your body be your guide. If you experience pain, dizziness or shortness of breath at any time, stop and call your doctor.