Posted by: Ingrid | May 7, 2009

Changing it up a bit


While I know I normally talk about running here, I also realize the need to do other things, like weight training and cross training as part of a balanced routine. This has not come easy to me, partly because I had difficulty getting past the fact that while a 30 minute run torches quite a few calories, lifting weights does not. The other part was falling into an 8 year rut. Yes, that’s 8 years of doing the same rotation of weight machines. Is it any wonder I was bored?

Right before getting pregnant, I talked with the guy who runs our gym on campus. He encouraged me to change things up (gee, do you think?) and move from the machines to using free weights.

I won’t go so far as to say that it changed my life, but it definitely got me interested again. Of course, I had to unlearn the fact that that just because I wasn’t hitting 16 different machines 3 times in 30 minutes didn’t mean I wasn’t doing anything. It was as easy as picking a couple exercises for chest, shoulders, back, biceps, and triceps (I’m still really bad with the leg stuff) and doing them a couple of times a week.

I tried it out and the next morning I was sore.  The good kind of sore where you know you’ve changed something and your body is responding.   Not only did it help to change things up and use free weights, which require your muscles to work a little harder just to stabilize, but it was fun to have a challenge and something new to work on.

Enter pregnancy, and suddenly it’s been over 6 months of doing the same thing (it’s recommended to switch up your routine every few months). Am I a creature of habit? Why yes, yes I am. After running the half marathon on Sunday, however, I realized that having met that goal things were looking just a little depressing. There’s a reason why people do an event and then sign up for another one as soon as (or before) they finish. There’s a definite sense of feeling just a little blah when I think about not running another half marathon until October at least. Sure, I’ve been out and about doing recovery runs since Tuesday and will probably sign up for a few more shorter events before giving birth, but it’s not the same.

So Monday I had the brilliant (if somewhat belated) idea of changing up my weight routine again. It was so much fun! First, I found a great site that was helpful in selecting some new exercises (and who doesn’t like a site with moving animated figures). I picked a couple of exercises, went off to the gym, and had a fantastic time!  It was great to have to learn something new and feel just a little off balance and unstable as my arms tried to do things that they hadn’t done before. 

Just for reference’s sake, a couple of interesting sites I’ve found about women’s weight training (though I haven’t looked too hard) are here (and she also has a bit about lifting weights during pregnancy) and here (includes some good examples of how you can arrange your week in terms of weight training, which I find helpful, since I tend to think it all needs to be done at once).

I would highly recommend trying out some of the exercises.  Not only is weight training good for you, but it’s fun too.  Provided you don’t do the same routine for 8 years straight!



  1. I am in love with free weights, they are so amazing at toning your body and developing coordination and balance. 🙂 I don’t think I’ve done “machines” in years and I hope to never go back 🙂 What great links to articles thanks!

    I have a question for you, do you wear a heart monitor while you run so you know your heart rate. I am so amazed as I am running (especially) how fast my heart rate accelerates when I’m pregnant, I don’t feel fatigued at all, but when I “check” to make sure I’m not exerting over 80% I am always (way) over. (sigh) How do you monitor this? Did you find a big difference too? I feel like I need something for race day or the spirit of competition will really throw me off…

  2. Amie, I actually was sure I would be one of those people who got a HR monitor to make sure that everything was okay and that all of the numbers looked right. While it’s not good to over exert yourself, doctors are moving away from a hard and fast line (don’t let your HR get over 140) and using perceived exertion gauged by whether or not you’re able to talk while exercising instead. When I first found out I was pregnant I would take a couple of 10 second walking breaks and check my pulse during a run and my HR was always 132-138. I’ve found what’s comfortable for me while running and only recently checked my HR again on a run and found that I was at 126.

    Speaking from my experience of over-exerting just a little at the surf city half marathon… it’s not worth it and you’ll recover faster if you don’t. 🙂 I do find that I run faster than my normal pregnancy pace at events, but I’m more concious of my breathing and make sure to talk to people once in a while to make sure I’m not pushing too hard.

    Your heart rate might just tend to be higher than mine. For peace of mind, do you know anyone who has a HR monitor that you can borrow for the day?

  3. I don’t but I could look into it. I was running with a friend and was talking the whole time and feeling quite comfortable, my heart rate however was in the 170-180 range yikes! It is so very odd for me so I think I’ll have to try and track one down and have a chat with my doctor…this is actually different then when I was running during the first part of my pregnancy it was much lower with the same perceived level of exertion. Just wondering what your experience was…

  4. I’m with you, learning to like weights. It does seem so much more productive to run, but I know in the long run weights help.

    Great links – I was looking for some. I also like “CrossFit Mom” ( for routines. They are a little cryptic (in crossfit lingo) but easy to look up.

  5. good…

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