What happened when I started to cross-train post-baby…

Many of us feel the urge to get active post-baby. It’s not so much about what our body looks like, but more the way we feel after exercise. It’s a feeling we crave. The clarity in our minds, the sense of accomplishment and feeling strong again.

After having a baby, it’s not any different.

After my second child, I managed to hold off until the 5 week mark. It was probably a little early, but I couldn’t wait to give it a try.

Running had added a new challenge, not only was I at postpartum fitness levels, but the double stroller was no joke. Running with the double stroller, with the car seat adapter was heavy. Oh, so heavy. High fives to all you who are stroller runners. You are dedicated.

When I started exercising, I only tried to run. I had a newborn and a 2 year old, time was limited. Well, let’s be honest, energy was limited too. Being a parent of an infant can be exhausting. (If you know someone with an infant....stop reading this and text them to see when you can take over baby watch so they can nap.)

About 10 weeks postpartum, I realized I needed more. I was seeing small improvements on my running time, but I was still almost 5 minutes slower than usual. I had not seen a “normal” pace in awhile. I knew I had work ahead of me.

I did run through pregnancy but was forced to stop during my third trimester. Temps above 90 degrees and being high risk didn't help. Although my doctor did tease me of trying to "run the baby out" when I admitted doing some treadmill running in every effort to avoid being induced. Hey, I tried.

When my little guy was about 2 months old, I started strength training 2 to 3 times a week for 20 minutes or so. Wow, was I weak. I realized my body spent 9 months growing a baby, but I didn’t realize how much strength I had lost during that time.

The steady program of strength training and adding in use of the rower helped tremendously. Now when I ran, I felt powerful. I felt the double stroller become lighter, it seemed to glide effortlessly.

Adding cross-training made me feel strong and my run times became so much faster. Within a month, I had dropped over 2 minutes off of my mile time. I was feeling great.

Cross-training has stayed in my routine. I learned it not only makes me stronger and run faster. It makes me feel great. I love the sense of accomplishment after strength training and the pay off of some muscle definition isn’t bad either.

To take the next step and add cross-training to your routine, begin at The Start Line. Having workouts pre-planned makes the process so much easier. Add them at the end of a run or as your entire workout.

Remember...sprinters have muscles. To be faster, get stronger.


Dr. Shari

Orthopedic Physical Therapist + Exercise Scientist