You Might Be a New York City Runner If…

I moved to New York after having lived and run in the Denver and Chicago suburbs.

I mastered the head nod or itty bitty wave for the early morning trails on the Highline Canal, where I would invariably acknowledge every other human being I passed on my morning run.

I learned to run against traffic so there are two sets of eyes looking out for me, not one. I also waived to the drivers as they slowed down to pass me.

I dutifully passed on the left and hugged the right side of whatever sidewalk I chose to pound my cross country miles on that day.

New York City is a different animal, and entirely different beast all together. We have our own rules and our own quirks. Here are my Top 10 “You Might Be a New York City Runner If…”

1. You see the same person every time you run but neither of you ever acknowledge the other’s existence.

2. Your run includes multiple boroughs. Or states.

Where Brooklyn at?

Where Brooklyn at?

3. You bring cab fare or a Metro card with you when you long run.

4. You know the run routes through boroughs that you don’t know how to get to by train or car.

5. You are more paranoid of being hit by a bicyclist than a car.

6. Your runs regularly include going over at least one bridge.

Bridges!

Bridges!

7. You run through neighborhoods you would never consider walking through.

8. On any given day in Central Park, you might see nuns on roller skates, a guy juggling while running, and Meb Keflezighi all on the same run.

9. You accidentally crash the JP Morgan Chase Challenge and audibly groan when you realize what you’ve done.

10. People say “The Park” and you know they mean Central Park.

What are your “You Might Be a New York City Runner If…” moments? Or maybe your city has its own little quirks. Tell me about it in the comments and I’ll feature my favorites on Friday!

Now go out and run.

My Favorite Track Workout: Ladder Up

I’m the biggest fan of track workouts. Last summer, it was Track Tuesdays and I would meet my (MUCH faster) friends Birdie and Minnie and they would lap me while I do my favorite workout.

Just a normal day at the track wearing makeup and a skirt.

Just a normal day at the track wearing makeup and a skirt. Just kidding. I look gross during track workouts.

Best part about a track workout is that it’s broken up and none of the sections last very long. This workout is my favorite because it hits lots of different gears and makes me feel strong in the end.

Ladder Up

  • 2 mile warm-up (super easy and relatively slow)
  • 4 x 200 meter sprints (200 meter jog in between repeats)
  • 3 x 400 meter sprints (200 meter jog in between repeats)
  • 2 x 800 meter hard tempo (400 meter jog in between)
  • 1 x 1 mile all-out
  • 1-2 mile cool down (relaxed pace)

This is a surprisingly long workout that goes by very quickly when you take one repeat at a time.

Win the argument.

Win the argument.

3 things to remember are:

  1. Maintain the same pace for each repeat in the set (all 400s the same pace, all 800s the same pace, etc).
  2. Your pace should be fastest for the 200s and slowest for the mile, not the same throughout the entire workout.
  3. Maintaing the pace through each lap in the 800s and mile is also key.

This workout is designed to get you in shape, help you find your true comfortable pace, and to find different gears in your pace. And isn’t it nice to mix it up a little on the oval?

Now go out and run.

Core Series: Hamstrings

Hamstrings…not exactly the muscle group you think of when someone says “core”, amiright?

  1. Biceps femoris
  2. Semitendonosus
  3. Semimembranosus
The problem children of runners the world over.

The problem children of runners the world over.

I kept that picture HUGE so you can see all the little details. See how the hamstrings attach to the bottom of the pelvis (called the ischial tuberosity–please STOP CALLING IT A SITS/SITZ BONE) and then shares an attachment site with the sacrotuberus ligament that attaches to the sacrum?

Here’s the point: tight hamstrings are more than just a pain in the leg. Tight hamstrings can pull your pelvis downward, causing a posterior pelvic tilt. What does that mean? Low back pain and asymmetry. Remember my 3 S’s? Strength, stability, symmetry. Asymmetrical –> injury.

So, tight RIGHT hamstring can also put too much stretch on the RIGHT hip flexor, causing a tension reaction (also can indicate a weak RIGHT hip flexor) and mess up your gait when you walk and run. It’s also just painful.

How to strengthen it?

You can do basic hamstring curls, but that’s not very practical in everyday use. My favorite exercise: Physioball Roll-ins.

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The key part of this exercise is to lift your butt and KEEP YOUR HIPS AT THAT HEIGHT while you bend your knees inward. If your hips go up or down, you lose the exercise completely.

It’s hard, I know. If it’s too easy for you, check your form. The strongest of athletes can’t do this exercise without wobbling.

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For those of you who need a less strenuous hamstring exercise, there’s the Standing Leg Curl. They key part of this exercise is to make sure your bending knee’s hip doesn’t dip as you lift your foot. Standing against a wall or a table will assure your hips stay level when you do it.

Most importantly, SUCK YOUR BELLY BUTTON IN and stick your chest up and out to activate your other core muscles.

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You can add an ankle weight or a Theraband with cuffs when you get stronger.

In order to perform these exercises and get a benefit from them, I recommend starting with only a few reps (2-6) for 3 sets. Only do as many reps as you can maintain perfect form. Stop as soon as your form goes. Rest. Try again after a full minute.

Now go out and run!