The Workouts of #HarlemGetsFit

Week in and week out we put in work together. Whether we are getting faster or stronger, we get fit. For those who’ve joined us on more occasion than one, this may be a refresher, but for those who will be joining us soon, we wanted to breakdown our Thursday night speed workouts.

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Hill Repeats

Our normal location for this workout is Harlem Hill at the north side of Central Park. It’s always about working in teams. We head out in groups of similar speeds, which also includes walkers and run/walkers. We start out at the bottom of the hill and run all the way to the top at about 85-90% and then either a jog or walk back down. That is one rep. After three reps we go to the opposite side and do another three reps. Some choose the alternative of doing fewer reps depending on their own personal fitness.

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Marcus Garvey Park is home to our annual #Harlem1Miler, and the location for this workout. It happens to have four sides, which will serve as our square. We head out in groups of similar speeds and run two sides of the park. Half run towards one side of the park and the half run towards the opposite side of the park. When the other side is reached, each group waits exactly two minutes. After that they head out to complete the other two sides of the park. Each group repeats that two more times for a total of three. Alternatives of few reps are always optional depending on your level of fitness.

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Groups of similar speeds go out together and run in single file. Once the group is ready, the person in the front gives the signal to start. The last person in line sprints all the way to the front of the line and returns to the moderate pace. This is repeated for 2-3 times as each group follows the one-mile, upper loop of Central Park.

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This sequence of numbers can be broken down as follows: 3 minutes on, 2 minutes off, 1 minute on, 2 minutes off. Then you repeat it all over again for roughly 30 minutes of speedwork. When you are on you are putting out 90% of effort. When you are off you are either walking or jogging.

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This is simply 3 minutes of hard effort, and 3 minutes of recovery. Recovery can be walking or jogging. Just be sure to keep it moving and don’t come to an immediate halt. The Great Hill in the northwest part of Central Park is home to this workout.

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The key to any tempo run is maintaining a consistent and specific pace. Joining groups of similar speed and pace hold everyone accountable in pushing each other. We go out at about a 90% effort circle the Harlem Meer in the northeast part of Central Park. We generally stay within 30-45 minutes of speedwork, but the goal is a specific distance.

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We are no stranger to stairs thanks our #HarlemRunStairs event, but every now and again we will utilize either Morningside Park or St. Nicholas Park. With a 20 minute time limit, the goal is to run up and down and cover as many stairs as you can. In some cases there are a lot of stairs to cover, so we offer modified versions for our walkers and run/walkers.

As with all of our workouts, HGF speed workouts welcome all ages, abilities, and performance levels. Whether you are a speed demon or are just beginning to build up your strength, these nights are for you! We hope to see you out with us on a Thursday night.

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- HR Captains & HGF Regulars

Amir FigueroaComment
Harlem Run News - August 2018

Hey everyone! Happy August. We hope the summer is treating you well and you're enjoying the beautiful weather while staying hydrated and healthy. For those doing long runs and training for fall marathons, we salute you! We have a few things coming up this month ... here they are:

August 13: School Supply Drive with #TakeCareOfHarlem

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Join us for our regular MNR, but meet up at Harlem Haberdashery (245 Lenox) with school supplies in tow! See the Facebook page in the previous link for the supplies that are most in-demand. See you there!

August 25: UA Mountain Running Series - Killington Mountain, VT

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Throughout the summer we've been showing you our journeys around the country for Under Armour's Mountain Running Series. At the end of this month, we're headed to Vermont! Stay tuned to social media for updates and cheer on our runners virtually. 

August 25: Percy Sutton 5K

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And last but certainly not least -- New York Road Runners comes to our backyard! On Saturday, August 25 at 8:30am runners will go through the streets that we love ... so let's show them our love. If you're not running, come out to cheer and join our after-party at Harlem Tavern afterwards for food & drink specials.

 ... and that's a wrap on August! We hope to see you at all or some of these events. Drop any questions in the comments section!

- HR Captains



How Can Runners Handle the Heat?

Winter in NYC felt like it would never end and the first part of summer had been kind, but now this week is sending us into the “those snow storms weren’t that bad, right?” zone.  With the days still long and the roads still clear of ice and snow, we should continue getting out there and exercising in our neighborhood as much as possible. Don’t forget that it is not just the temperature you see on your phone’s screen, but also the humidity that plays a role in determining how hot your run will feel. This blog post will hopefully give you some ways to handle the heat while you run.


What should you wear? Sunscreen! Lots of it! Especially on your face.  Be sure to get the sweat resistant kind and apply it at least 20 minutes before you go out.  Other important items include:

·      Sunglasses

·      Hat

·      Light colored, loose fitting clothing that are moisture wicking (i.e. not cotton)

When should you run? Run early or run late to avoid the hottest part of the day, but if it is dark out, run with a friend.


How should you prepare? Nutrition and hydration are always important when running, but they are even more important when you are dealing with the heat. The best thing to do is to stay hydrated ALL the time. Be proactive! There is no correct amount to take in each day, as that is very specific to each person.

Your best guide is to monitor the color of your urine…Bet you didn’t see that coming! Your urine should be a pale straw color all the time.  If it gets too yellow, start drinking those fluids.  If you all of a sudden decide to chug a ton of water (not beer) before you run, even as late as the night before a race or run, you may find yourself needing to pee more often. Whereas, by maintaining a proper hydration level, you should not see a dramatic change in your number of trips to the bathroom. 

How can you stay hydrated on the run? If you are able to maintain your hydration, you will often not even need to drink during a shorter run, just be sure to drink after your workout. For longer runs, have a hydration plan using some or all of the following methods: 

·      Bring money to buy a drink at the bodega

·      Know where the water fountains are on your route

·      Carry water with you either in your hand, on your waist, or in a backpack

Do you know what electrolytes are?  Electrolytes are the smallest of chemicals that enable the cells in your body to function, which allow your body to work. Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and others generate electricity, contract muscles, and move water and fluids within your body. If you are doing a long run, you may end up needing more than just water to prevent your electrolytes from getting out of whack … yes that is a technical term. 

If you experience things like cramping, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, or dark urine, you may need additional nutrients to get your body functioning properly again.  Consider drinking some coconut water, eating a banana or a few pretzels, or adding something fancier like a Nuun (or other electrolyte tablet) to your water bottle.  Worst case scenario you can use a sports drink, but I highly discourage those…which can be a conversation for another day!


Bottom line? All that being said, running in this heat is no joke.  Sometimes you may just need to skip your run on a really hot day and adjust your weekly training schedule.  Or you could swap your outdoor run for some other type of exercise like going to the gym, the pool, walking, or even jumping on your bike.  Now go to the bathroom and check your pee!

Rachel Cutler has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Florida. She is also a Certified USA Triathlon Coach. 

Amir FigueroaComment