Jess Learmonth pushed pregnancy boundaries on road to Olympic return
Olympics champion Jess Learmonth says she pushed the boundaries during her unexpected pregnancy in a bid to keep her Paris 2024 dream alive.
Learmonth, who won gold in the triathlon mixed relay at Tokyo 2020, became a mum for the first time when giving birth to Frederick last September.
The 35-year-old from Leeds fell pregnant during her recovery from a serious hip injury and, having not competed since May 2022, is on a mission to get back to her best in time for this summer’s Olympics.
She told the PA news agency: “I probably shouldn’t have run on the day I gave birth. I actually pulled my calf on a run in the morning and then gave birth that evening.
“Looking back, I was heavily over my usual running weight and obviously my gait was completely different because I had a big belly.
“Maybe if I hadn’t pulled my calf I’d have said it was fine. But yeah, looking back, with two weeks to go, I probably could have just chilled out a little bit.”
Learmonth, determined to hit the ground running once Frederick was born, found medical research into training while pregnant to be limited.
Until the turn of the century, it was rare to see women return to the top of their sport after giving birth.
Learmonth is grateful to the doctors and sports scientists at the National Sports Centre at Bisham Abbey and British Triathlon for their support.
“There were certain things I obviously did follow,” she said. “The massive one is not running for 12 weeks post-birth. If you come back too early, you can have problems later down the line.
“I followed all the advice, but it was the stuff they weren’t sure on that I kind of explored myself. I was still lifting heavy weights in the gym. I took the information and filtered it for me. They helped me find my own