For the weeks leading up until RTB:MA, we’ll have teammates from our blogger team, Team “OffBalance”, posting weekly about how they’re fitting in their training — whether it be with their other workouts or just a busy schedule.
In New York, the city that never sleeps, it’s not uncommon to feel like you’re being pulled in 15 different directions at once—which can make it difficult to fit a workout in. Below are tips from Theodora from Losing Weight in the City; Ashley from A Healthy, Happier Bear; and Melissa from Fitness NYC on how to fit in workouts and navigate running on busy city streets.
Ashley is a road warrior who frequently travels for work but never lets her travel schedule interfere with her workouts. Here’s how she does it:
Remember how it makes you feel: Before passing on a workout in lieu of sleep or even more time at the office, remember how you feel when you finish a 1/2 mile swim, a yoga class, or your favorite workout. That euphoric state when all is right in the world, your mind is clear and there is a smile on your face will make the rest of your day that much more productive.
Say it out loud: When I’m traveling, I let my companions know that I’ll be logging workouts while we’re on the road. This helps keep me accountable while sometimes gaining a workout partner at the same time. This fall, right before the New York City marathon, I was in Salt Lake City, Utah and really felt the need to squeeze in a run. Unfortunately the only time was from 5-6:30am. My co-worker Astrid gladly donned her winter running gear for a quality run through Salt Lake City’s beautiful, serene streets before the sun rose. This helped keep me safe and on track with my training.
Make it count: If you’re short on time, make sure you make every minute of the workout count. Put down that magazine or cell phone while you are on the treadmill and focus on engaging your core and perfecting your form.
Short and sweet: Every workout doesn’t have to be an hour. I’ve had some of my best and sweatiest workouts doing intervals on the treadmill that only take 30 minutes in total.
Take advantage of your commute: If you live within walking or running distance from your work, first thank your lucky stars. Next, lace up those New Balance shoes and run or walk home next time. I love running home from the office after a long day at work. It can help relieve the day’s stress and the sunsets are gorgeous.
Be prepared: Just like a good Boy Scout, every active person should always be prepared for the next workout opportunity. I keep a pair of running shoes, socks, sports bra, shirt, and shorts in my bottom drawer at work. This way if a meeting gets out early or I choose to eat lunch at my desk in favor of a quick gym workout, I never have an excuse!
Some say living in the city is like running a marathon—so imagine running in the city! Melissa and Theodora share their tips for navigating city streets to get their runs in.
There are two approaches to running in a city with lots of traffic, people, traffic lights and crazy cab drivers…you can avoid it or embrace the madness. (Or do a combination of both!)
For a good tempo or long run: Plan routes that are pedestrian-friendly. A few favorites include: Central Park, the West Side Highway, the East River Path and Riverside Park, all places offering long, uninterrupted stretches of pavement perfect for getting in some serious mileage—and scenic, to boot!
To just go: There are also times when I want to walk out the door and start running immediately and see and feel the city around me. This takes some patience because you are bound to get stopped at a light or two (or ten) when you run right through the heart of the city, but as long as I am prepared for it, I usually don’t mind too much. Rather than fight it, I jog at the stop light, follow the walk signs—even if it changes my route—or sprint to miss the light change! (Not totally safe, but we all do it sometimes.)
Run with a destination in mind: Generally, when I run through the city, I have a destination in mind, such as the Brooklyn Bridge or the Battery Park Esplanade. Since these are some of my favorite runs, I am willing to put up with a few stop lights now and again.
Run early: When it comes to running in the city, the earlier the better if you want to avoid traffic. There are very few cars and people out before 7:30AM on weekdays or even 9 on weekends. While the Brooklyn Bridge is thick with tourists and bikers covering every inch of the bridge around 11AM, at 8AM on a weekend, it’s completely empty! Apparently, the city that never sleeps likes to sleep in. On early mornings, I make sure it’s light enough for me to see what’s lurking in corners, and I leave the iPod at home. With a few safety precautions in place, I love the feeling of running in a city that I have all to myself.-Melissa
Go Half and Half: There’s sometimes when I just feel like running outside, but I feel like it’s getting too dark out, and I don’t want to run all the way east or west to get to a path. I hate the treadmill with the passion of a thousand suns, but I can run to a location of my gym for a warmup, bust out a few tempo miles on the treadmill, and run back home.
Avoid High-Traffic Areas (Or Use Them As Speedwork): I’ll never forget the time Ashley and I ran through Chinatown, and I wiped out colossally. Laying on the ground, I felt like I was going to get run over, and I learned my lesson—stay out of high-traffic areas, or make dodging tourists a game.
Will Run for Brunch: Sometimes, if I don’t allow myself enough time for a run on a Saturday morning, my run might end up cutting into brunch plans. Luckily, I don’t sweat a ton, so if I’m going someplace casual for brunch, I’ll end my run at brunch with friends. -Theodora
Reach The Beach Massachusetts (RTB:MA) 2012 is on Friday May 18 and Saturday May 19. Teams of 6 or 12 athletes run 200 miles across the state to arrive at the beautiful Cannon Beach for food, beer, medals and a lifetime of memories. Registration is still open and it’s definitely not too late to get a team together and join us. ALL running abilities are welcome and catered for. Details here – http://ma.rtbrelay.com/