Running Lately

I’ve mentioned in my last two race recaps that running hasn’t been a priority for me lately.

That doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned my beloved activity altogether. I’m still running! But between the move and an ever-increasing workload (that’s a good thing!), I just don’t have the time to commit to a structured training plan right now.

This is more my speed.

I wanted to train hard and get fast and fit for the Brooklyn Half-Marathon next month. But now, one month out, I know better than to put that kind of pressure on myself. So I’ll keep doing what I’m doing: running what I can, when I can.

Ideally, I would run four times a week, cross-train twice (spinning, yoga, anything I can get my sweaty hands on), and take one rest day. But I haven’t dug into the West New York, NJ, fitness scene yet, so for now I’m just running five-ish days a week, and resting two days. Cross-training, which I love and know is so good for me, not included. Though last week I took a spin class because I was in Manhattan for the day and was able to squeeze it in between meetings, and I went to Lyons Den twice. I’ve also gone for two whole bike rides since we moved.


I keep most of my weekday runs to 3–6 miles along the waterfront path. We have a gym at our apartment (at the “clubhouse” next door), and I’ve been two or three times to do some lifting, but when I’m in there, I’m thinking about all the work I need to be doing. So I tend to do a few little things and then scrap it and head home to hit the laptop.

I love that work is so busy right now. Last year I thought I was busy and told myself I was busy, but I wasn’t busy, and I wasn’t hustling. This year, I am absolutely a Full-Time Freelance Writer, whereas last year I was more of a Part-Time Writer and Part-Time Wedding Planner. I told myself I was working hard and doing the best I could, but now I LOL at that. It feels really good to bust my ass now, and it’s far more rewarding. I’m sleeping less and running less, but this newish chapter of my career has hit a sweet spot, and that’s something I’m proud of and psyched about. Ka-pow.

The sunrises here are top-notch.

As for where that leaves running.

Running right now is something I’m enjoying and not stressing about. I wish I were motivated to do more tempo runs or harder efforts. Instead, I’m mostly running to explore the new neighborhood, get some fresh air, and get a bit of time away from my screens. I meet my friend Emily on Tuesday mornings to do track workouts, which I love, but otherwise my miles are easy and relaxed. It’s not super disciplined, and I don’t feel fit or fast, but I’ve had a few decent race performances lately, so it can’t be all bad. I have a history of over-training, and this opposite approach feels good.

Track Tuesdays with Emily = one of my favorite times of the week!

I love running without a watch. It keeps me from obsessing over my pace and allows me to just run based on effort. Some days running feels easy and other days it doesn’t, but either way I’m not preoccupied with what my Garmin has to say about it. I run the Strava app on my phone sometimes and then stick it in my pocket so I can see how far I ran when I’m done. (And, as I’ve said before, I’m fairly certain Strava is always telling me I’m running way faster than I actually am.)

I’ll run the Brooklyn Half next month to the best of my ability (and still without a watch). Last year, I had a miserable race. I had a goal time and I stared at my left wrist for almost every step of that 13.1-mile run to Coney Island, watching my goal slip away. (I was over-trained, coming off a stomach bug, and mentally weak.) This year, my plan is to get in 10–12-mile runs on the weekends leading up to the race, maintaining a nice base, and then trying to kick whatever ass I can on race day.

Testing out the Nike LunarEpic shoe at a Nike Plus Live event. “Work.”

Then, I’ll recover, play around for a while, and then I will do my best to make running a priority, because I’m running the New York City Marathon this fall. (On my half-birthday which, yes, warrants a full marathon celebration.) I haven’t started thinking about training plans or time goals, but I’m part excited and part terrified to return to the 26.2 this year. It will have been two years since my last marathon so…slight ignorance is bliss?

A few years ago, I never would have missed a run, skipped a workout, or bailed on the gym. Now, if I get free time, I’m far more likely to spend it going for hikes with Brian and Ellie and exploring the world with them (or, fine, sleeping in with them) rather than trudging through a long run. And I have no regrets about that. Life changes, and priorities shift. But my relationship with running (and exercise in general) has never felt healthier.

Cousin Jackie, Puppy Cousin Ranger, and me. We went on a trail run when I visited them in D.C. last weekend!

To summarize: I am running. Not very hard. Mostly for fun. And I like it.

PS If you have recommendations for great fitness studios in the West New York/Weehawken/Edgewater/Hoboken areas, toss them my way! There’s an Orangetheory close by that I want to try, and I’m up for anything. (Running routes, restaurant recommendations, and dog park suggestions also welcome. And any other activities I should do now that I am so suburban! Two weeks ago, on a Friday night, I drove to Target and wandered around. Because I could.)

PSSSS Thanks to everyone who recommended checking out South Mountain Reservation! We took Ellie there on Saturday (because hiking all over the day before a half-marathon is super duper smart), and it was awesome.



20 Responses

  1. My friend lives in Hoboken and recommends the barre classes at Local Barre and the spinning classes at Prime Cycle. She absolutely loves the classes at these places. If you decide you want to try it, I can get you in touch with her, so maybe you can have a friend there for your first class.

  2. I just found your blog while psyching myself up for my upcoming training season – I´m running the New York marathon, too 😀
    I´m so excited about being part of the NY marathon!!!
    I haven´t been able to train properly all winter and am still not due to a foot injury, so like you I´m trying not to obsess about my fitness level and keep it positive. It´s so great to read your super-positive blog!
    Thank you for the inspiration!!
    Lots of love from Germany!

  3. Sounds like a good place to be with running. I run because it is good for my head and keeps me in shape. I have no clue what kind of pace I run. I guess it depends on how Miss Cocoa feels on any given day, lol!!

  4. Are you still a Hoka ambassador, Ali? I am on the fence about whether to buy some – they’re so cushion-y and I can’t tell if that would be awesome or drive me nuts on a run.

    1. I am! I am still very much in love with my Clifton 2s. I would suggest trying them out at your local running store and seeing what you think. I totally get that they’re not for everyone, but the Clifton 2 in particular is a LOT lighter than it looks! They obviously look a bit clunky, but I appreciate all that cushioning, and they don’t feel platform-y to run in.

  5. If you like Mexican food go to charrito’s in Weehawken. Also Anthony David’s in Hoboken for dinner or brunch… It’s amazing!

    Powerflow yoga in Hoboken is great! You could also run from where you are to Liberty state park. Just stay on along the water! So happy you’re loving jersey!

  6. This post made me smile – you look SO happy, it’s contagious 🙂

    I am in a similar place as you right now. I (currently) am over the whole “racing” thing, and have been spending my runs enjoying myself and not caring that I am slow. It took me a long time, years in fact, to be okay with that. I was never fast to begin with and I always punished myself for that. Now, I truly realize that I love to run for the sake of running and don’t let myself fall into the comparison trap. It is so freeing! I don’t know that I will ever race again, but I do know that I will always run.

  7. I went to OrangeTheory for a few months here in Houston – it is a lot of fun! Of course, it depends on the instructors and the group you are with. I quit going to focus more on running after work, but I do miss it!! A good mix of strength/cardio. You will love/HATE the row machine, haha!

  8. Sounds like a healthy relationship. I feel like unpressured running is the way to go. I run easy like 80% of the time and am PR’ing. Training plans stress me out!
    I lived in Hoboken for years before moving to Queens, try Local Barre, Work it Out, CKO, Devotion Yoga, & FitRxn to start!

  9. I don’t have any NJ recs for you but just wanted to say it’s great to see you looking so happy and healthy! Also….only one ellie photo in this post?!?!? 🙂

    1. HAHA that wasn’t even intentional. I’ll make up for it in the next edition of Fridays with Ellie. (And thank you for the kind words!)

  10. I love Local Barre in Hoboken. They have a spin studio in their West location with parking as well and their barre instructors are incredible. They have two other locations in Hoboken. For spin, I’m also a big fan of Prime Cycle in Hoboken.

    1. They’re definitely cool and the mid-rise is an interesting feature, but I’m still a hardcore HOKA girl. I like a lot of cushion. I appreciate a nice shoe (they feel like a hug for your feet), though, and I wear them to walk the pup all the time. Just not enough support for running for me.

  11. You sound happy and healthy which is great! I totally agree that wedding planning is a part time job so it’s nice you have more time to dedicate to working now- I see articles from you all the time, great job girl!

  12. great read — love the reflection on allowing yourself the breathing space to adjust to new life changes, new priorities, and what just works and feels right for you. see you at the BK half!

  13. It’s been a long time since I’ve lived in Hoboken, but I used to love Local Barre. I know they’ve opened a spinning studio as well, but I haven’t been.

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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