I Went to Strength Training for Runners at the NYRR RUNCENTER and This Is What I Learned

For our NYRR RUNCENTER series, NYRR’s Katie Manzi is going to a different class each month to see what’s on offer for runners and non-runners alike. Check out last month’s post here to learn what yoga can do for you!

With the summer heat often making it nearly impossible to exercise outside, I retreated to the air-conditioning of the NYRR RUNCENTER to get my workout in for the weekend. With a late summer racing schedule that includes the NYRR Virtual World Championship 5K and the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run, improving my base strength was my main goal. The RUNHealthy: Strength Class early Sunday afternoon was the perfect choice.

NYRR Staffer Katie Manzi doing "speed skaters" in a strength workout at the Run Center You don’t need weights to do a strength workout!

In this class, we used just the weight of our own bodies—no equipment required. Instructor Heather Laurel wanted to make sure we didn’t just get in a strength workout; she wanted us to learn moves that we could do at home and even at our desks during the work week to get the blood flowing. The focus for this session was glutes and core, two important parts of the body for runners.

The format of the class was simple. The first half we worked out standing up, the second on the floor using yoga mats. As a former collegiate runner, many of the exercises took me right back to those days on the track that were meant to be “rest” days but ended up leaving us sorer than our normal runs. I didn’t love it back then, but now it was exactly what I was looking for.

Runners doing an ab workout at the Run Center

In the moment, the exercises we did—which included “speed skaters” and “fire hydrants”—didn’t feel all that challenging or difficult. The next day, however, my muscles were sore, letting me know just how much those seemingly simple moves did for me.

There were a few more complicated exercises, such as a combination sit-up and V-up that I was not capable of doing no matter how hard I tried, and pedestrians walking by the RUNCENTER were treated to the sight of the class “crab walking” (not the one done on all fours in elementary school gym) in front of the window, which looked hilarious but was a powerful thigh burner.

Runners crab walking at the Run Center
Never be afraid to laugh at yourself. Sometimes you can feel silly working out, but don’t let it stop you!

Overall, in the class we sweat a lot and we laughed a lot. Heather kept it light and entertaining no matter what we were doing. She designed the class to not only target parts of the body that are often neglected by runners such as our hip flexors, but to be fun as well.

If you are looking to work on your strength or simply want to work out in the safety of an air-conditioned space (or heated if you are reading this in wintertime), you can check out the RUNCENTER event calendar to find the next strength class and sign up!


Katie Manzi

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