**Please note: if you are cross training due to an injury or during pregnancy not all of these may be safe forms of cross training for you. Make sure you check with your doctor before beginning cross training both for injury or pregnancy!
If you are reading this post then chances are you either don’t feel comfortable running during pregnancy anymore, are struggling to figure out how to stay active during pregnancy or an injury, or just want some new options!
As many of you know if you follow me on Instagram, around 32 weeks I had to stop running. I am carrying our second little boy VERY low and after having a few scares and the pressure just getting almost unbearable I made the decision that it was time to end my pregnancy running journey.
It wasn’t an easy decision by any means, mostly because running has been an amazing outlet for me during pregnancy. It made me feel GOOD even though at times it was hard.
When I accepted that running wasn’t in the picture for me anymore, I knew I didn’t want to just quit everything. I like staying active and I believe it not only helps physically but mentally as well.
So, what exactly is the best cross training for pregnancy? What will help to supplement running? How often do you cross train?
I get a lot of questions about what I do so I thought putting it all in one place might be helpful!
Types of cross training:
There are many different types of cross training but I am going to share the ones that I have had the most benefit from.
Spinning/biking – I added spinning in during my first pregnancy when I started to slow down with running. It has always been something that I don’t necessarily enjoy but I do find that it can really break a good sweat and can keep my endurance up if add in things such as climbing or speed intervals.
Stair climber – I did not use the stair climber during my first pregnancy but have really loved it this time around! I think one of the biggest reasons I love it so much is how much of a challenge it is and it’s ability to work different muscles. I am building strong legs while also working on keeping my endurance.
Incline Hiking – This is another new one to me this pregnancy, but after the suggestion from my friend Meridith who uses it regularly during her training I thought this was a great time to try it out! I put my treadmill on 15% and then just hike usually around 3.5 mph. Many days I will alternate the incline between 15% and then a lower incline like 6% but will increase the speed I am walking on the lower incline. This just helps keep it fresh and me mentally into it.
Elliptical – To me the one cross training machine that feels the most like running is the elliptical. It’s simple to add in intervals on the elliptical both with speed and increasing resistance.
Walking – Don’t underestimate the benefit of simply getting out and walking! Sure, it takes longer and definitly isn’t the same as running but there is something about being able to get outside and just enjoy getting you heart rate up that makes it so much fun! You could throw in intervals, but I usually save the walking for days when I can push my sweet boy in the Thule and just enjoy being outside!
How long should you cross train for?
This is probably the second most popular question I’ve gotten and to be honest, I’m not sure there is a specific answer. I still try to get one “longer” cross training day per week just like I would a long run. Usually on Saturday’s I will attempt to get in anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours. This is roughly the same amount of time that I was out running my long run for.
Most of my cross training days average anywhere from 60-70 minutes. I was averaging around 6-7 miles most days when running which took me roughly the same amount of time. I really don’t have a set plan most days and just try to see what feels good to my body. I still feel pressure some days with cross training but nothing like when I was running and overall it is much more comfortable!
At this point my goal of cross training is simple to help keep up endurance. It will not keep me in top running shape, but it helps to keep some endurance and also keep my mental and physical well being up.
Choosing the right type of cross training
Most days what I do depends simply on where I’m able to go (gym vs. at home) or how I am feeling. There are days that I am super motivated to go and get on the stair climber and other days that sounds absolutely awful. Ha!
If I don’t feel like doing most of time on one machine I will switch it up. For example, Thursday morning the only way I could talk myself into 70 minutes of cross training was to break it up by spinning for 30 minutes and incline hiking for 40 minutes. Sometimes just being able to switch activities help me stay motivated.
During pregnancy my mind set is just “do what you can do.” It’s not the time to go crazy or overwork yourself, instead just do what your body feels best doing or what is most mentally engaging that day. You’ll have plenty of time to have to get those mentally hard workouts in, but for me the last trimester of my pregnancy was a time to just use exercise to keep up endurance and relax.
What cross training questions do you have? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll be sure to answer!