Getting Back in Shape (and a little neighborhood tour!)

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This post is brought to you by Poland Spring® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water.

I've always self-identified as a runner - I ran in junior high and high school, but it wasn't until college that I really got into distance running. I think that's when I learned about the true "runner's high" - when running is not a chore, it actually feels good. 

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coolest pavers ever. most tired legs ever.

Sadly, I have not been there enjoying that runner's high for a while now. So many excuses - work, kids, weird tetanus side effects, blah, blah, blah. To add insult to injury, this long, cold winter and all of New York's tasty food offerings have not been very kind to my waistline. So, I've recently re-committed to running again.

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My uber-fit friend, Nichole, wrote about her secret to running success here and I've been trying to follow her lead. She calls her technique the Cardio Sandwich - a great way to get in a toning and cardio workout quickly and efficiently. Basically, if your goal is to run three miles, run two of them at 100%, stop and do a toning workout as hard as you can, and then jog out your last mile. It sounds simple, right? I actually love it for how simple and quick it is - but I'm telling you, I've never been so sore. There is really something to that last mile on the end of the workout! And as for the toning part, I usually do a mat series from Tracy Anderson's 30 day method book and lately I've been doing this quick routine (that everyone's been talking about) when I'm in a hurry. Have you tried either of these? (OUCH - hurts so good).

I still have a ways to go, but I'm feeling great about this new routine. It feels really sustainable, which is about as much as I can hope for at this point! :)

Here's some of the gear I've been using and loving this year:

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Brooks PureConnect - My mom, who is a great runner, recommended these shoes to me. They are light, but feel very supportive on my ankles and arches. They are sort of meshy all over, so they breathe really well. Nice and cool for the summer months.

Nike GPS watch - Makes it a breeze to gauge your pace and mileage! And how can you not love the clean, bold font?

Spanx Compression Pants - Don't let the brand throw you off. These pants are spectacularly comfortable for a compression line. The slightly higher waistline is super flattering too. Especially great for all you post-partum mamas out there.

My favorite socks - Cute, so comfortable and soft. And, oh how they breathe!

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Extra thick yoga mat - I use this extra thick mat for doing the floor exercises between runs. Sort of necessary thing on hard wood floors.

The perfect-fitting earbuds - I have pretty small ear canals, so most earbuds are driving me nuts by the end of just a subway ride, let alone after an entire workout. These are divine.

iPhone armband - A necessity! iPhone in sportsbra or in waistband is not a viable option! :)

Tracy Anderson's 30-Day Method - My sister, Heather and I often do Tracy routines together. We  like to call her bad names while she is torturing us with her genius, killer moves that manage to make me sweat hard about 3.5 seconds in.

THE Tank - Surely you've experienced Target brand Merona's famous tank top line? These tanks are universally flattering with their long and lean cut. And they wash so well! At $6-8 a pop, you might as well get them in every color.

So, I'd love to hear what you're doing to stay in shape. What's the latest product or routine that's working for you? Also, if you're a runner, do you prefer outside running or the treadmill?  I have a really beautiful 4 mile route I like to run around my neighborhood. I used to think nothing could beat running along the Charles River back when we lived in Cambridge, but the Brooklyn Promenade takes the cake for me. Want to join me for a little (slash very long!) photo tour?...

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It seems like most New Yorkers are not really early risers. The 6:00 am streets belong to the runners. It's fun to see my neighborhood pretty much cleared out, and so, so quiet.

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I start my workout with a slow jog down Clinton to Atlantic Ave and then I head east toward the river.

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Past one of our favorite parks...

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And on to the waterfront.

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Where the view is spectacular.

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The Piers along the Brooklyn waterfront are mostly new or currently being built. These soccer fields are new and are a pretty amazing place to meet up for our AYSO games.

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If you're looking for THE best ice cream in New York, head to Ample Hills in Prospect Heights, sort of by the Museum. There's a little outpost on the waterfront that holds us over between trips. If you'd like your mind to be blown, try a scoop (or three) of the Ooey Gooey Butter Cake flavor. (wait. wasn't this post about working out? This ice cream is so worth an extra mile. Or three.)

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The path winds around the waterfront. There are cute footbridges that span the Expressway, art installations, more playgrounds and gardens. So many fun things to see while I jog my little heart out.

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Straight out of a scene from Hook, am I right?

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By the time I've reached the Brooklyn Bridge, I'm passing my third ice cream shop! Not fair!

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DUMBO! (And the famous Grimaldi's pizza just to the left)

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I run a loop around the park here on the waterfront and then turn back around toward the Heights. Which means a little bit of a climb.

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Not San Franciscan by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm fully out of breath by the time I've sprinted to the top.

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Right at the top of the hill (and about three miles into my run) is a little playground area, perfect for the seven minute work out.

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To finish up the last mile of my Cardio Sandwich, I like to meander through the streets in the Heights. This neighborhood is so unreal. 

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A few minutes later, I'm home and stretching out on my front stoop. Our simple building is not fancy, but it's a treat to get to live and run in such a beautiful neighborhood.  :)

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Suzan Sweatman said...

What a fabulous post ( I walked quickly beside you the whole way - too tired to run )
Gorgeous photos!

Carol said...

I'm coming to NYC in a few weeks for my annual visit and this time we're staying in Brooklyn Heights! I can't wait, thanks for the glimpse- if you see a super tall woman with a camera out at 6am that's probably me. I'm an early riser and a walker :)

Kimber said...

Thanks for the great tour!

Grace from said...

Come to Mama, yellow running shoes! LOVE those. Thanks for the run, Jenny. ;)

xoxo said...

Love this post! It was great to see your neighborhood, and a little bit of NYC this morning!

Michelle Panting said...

Oh my goodness Jenny, you're making me so excited for my trip to New York next month! We're staying in Brooklyn and I'm totally going to do this run (although I may walk it. Haha).

I took up boxing about a year ago to get into better shape. I love it and what it's done to my body. I also run and do yoga to try to balance out my training.

The Lunds said...

I always enjoy your posts, but this was a fun peek at your neighborhood and a GREAT way to do a sponsored post. You have perfected the art of doing this!

Jules said...

Your posts are always so creative!! I LOVE this one - so interesting and the pictures are beautiful...inspiring me to get out and run, too! :)

Angie said...

Love the neighborhood tour, thank you. And I have been doing the 7-minute workout (who can resist it with that great diagram, pretty red and blue) I love the 7-minute App, too.

Kim @ Home Love and Wanderlust said...

PureConnects are the best! As long as Brooks never goes crazy and changes them completely, I will wear them forever.

Great run. I was a total slacker this winter and am now trying to get back into my workout hasn't been pretty.

Lizzy said...

I am just over in Park Slope (close to the original Ample Hills!), but it was still great to see your view of Brooklyn Heights. I have only lived in New York for six years, but each year it seems like it will be harder to leave, if we ever decide to do so. And particularly, I love Brooklyn! Thanks for the tour.

Lizzy said...

I am just over in Park Slope (close to the original Ample Hills!), but it was still great to see your view of Brooklyn Heights. I have only lived in New York for six years, but each year it seems like it will be harder to leave, if we ever decide to do so. And particularly, I love Brooklyn! Thanks for the tour.

Tara said...

Thanks for the run! Loved every minute of it!

Portland Sunshine said...

I love this post. I often post runs as well. I thought you may enjoy this confession of mine.

keep it up! morning runs are the best! i love to sneak back inside before anybody is awake...without missing anything - all that me time.

Samantha Baldwin said...

I do the same run but from the other direction - bouncy bridge down to Atlantic and back. Love my neighborhood.

colleen said...

I am now really embarrassed I haven't tried Ample Hills!

Love the neighorhood tour. I don't get over there enough, and clearly I'm missing out.


Miggy said...

Personally I love Jillian Michaels for many of the same reasons you said--quick workouts, but intense. I started with her 30 day shred series--3 workouts that are only 20 minutes long with 1 being the easy workout and 3 being hard. I thought they were super hard until I moved on to her Ripped in 30 DVD that again boasts 20 minute workouts, but this time there are 4 levels. Seriously, they are killer. I love that you only need a yoga mat and some hand weights and that I can do it during the time my kids watch a show. She mixes cardio with strength training and sweat is dripping off my face every. single. time. It sounds like I might like Tracy Anderson too...I'll have to try her out. Thanks for the running tour!

G said...

I MIGHT be convinced to run on the road if I had that scenery to enjoy! As it is, I'm a die-hard trail girl (both bike AND running). My favorite shoes are the Hoka One Ones. They're amazing...especially for the super-long distances. I have another 50k and another marathon coming up this fall and I do plan on using them for both runs. As far as speed work, I swear by my Salomon Speed Cross. Killer tread and great in the arches (where I have the most issues).

sumslay said...

Love this post! I was trying to get into running (and I'll still hit the treadmill, but it's officially too hot outside now). I SO WISH I was an early riser! I haven't found a way to motivate myself to wake up early yet!

Also, is it weird that I still don't understand why NYers have to work out? With all the walking and stairs, I'd just assume yall were set!

Alla said...

awww, you ALMOST made me nostalgic for ny. it does have it's moments doesn't it!?

Bravo for getting back to running!

aly said...

I'm not a runner but that post made me want be one! I've been doing the 7 minute workout for a few weeks now and I love it, I even wrote a post about it ( It was working really well too, until my birthday on Tuesday. Now I need a little more exercise to even out all the donuts and hot dogs I've been eating! :)

Kimberlee Martin said...

I LOVE this post! Thanks for giving us a glimpse into this side of you. There's nothing like a good runner's high, is there? I'm getting back into running now too and make it a point to add in more strength training as I get older to preserve & build muscle. The cardio sandwich sounds like a great idea! I think I'll give it a try tonight. As far as quick, effective workouts go, you should look into Zuzka Light and The Fitnessista. I posted about how these workouts are helping me here:

Jamie said...

Oh, how I miss running! At 23 weeks pregnant, I'm mostly doing a fast walk, but I can't wait to get back outside this winter and claim my place on the quiet streets. Thanks for taking us on a tour of your neighborhood!

Jill Rennie Stillman said...

I live in the neighborhood and have just started running outside again (I starting running again last year after a minor, ten-year break). I think I'll trace your steps one of these mornings! I am still getting to know the neighborhood and this is a *much* prettier run than my straight down Henry, back up Clinton route.

stpatty said...

I'm a lifelong runner who fell off the wagon a couple years ago. To get back into it, I used the Couch to 10K app (there is also a Couch to 5K app if you're not feeling quite as ambitious or if you're new to running). Currently, I run 5-7 miles 3-4 days a week (outside...I HATE to run on a treadmill) and take a Flywheel class one day a week for cross training. I've found that adding spinning has helped my endurance and made me a stronger runner. I also use the Runkeeper app - it tells me how far and fast I've run, so there's no need for a sport watch. And the best running shoes ever (IMO) are Asics. I feel like I'm running barefoot (in a good way) when I'm wearing them.

Terese said...

Love these photos! You live in such an amazing place. Im so glad you share your fascinating life with the world. :)I remember going to DUMBO with you and being as prego as I am now but with little Chuck.

Ann said...

What a phenomenal route! So gorgeous! And I bet it's so fun to watch it change over the seasons.

I also love my brooks and smartwool. If your feet are happy, it's so much easier to stay out there. And cute gear ALWAYS helps motivate me to run. :)

Good for you, for getting out there! Great post!

Karen at Home Sweet Hollywood said...

Absolutely beautiful place to live! Gorgeous photos!

Becca said...

I love NY! This is a great post! happy running!

Phoebe said...

I'm a runner! I used to wear the Brooks Glycerin, then I switched to the Ghost, and now I'm in the Nike Free 5.0, which surprisingly has allowed me to be almost pain-free (I was having problems with my IT band). They also squish so well for packing, haha.

I prefer to run outside, especially if there's an interesting route. Unfortunately for me, I currently live in the South and it's already quite hot. My ideal running temperature is probably 45 degrees. But fortunately for me, I'm about to move to Chicago, where it will stay cooler longer. However, I'm sure when it's bitterly cold, though, I'll have to run inside.

Running on a treadmill is totally fine if I have a TV in front of me and can watch something like Law & Order SVU, ha.

I'm also excited to move to Chicago and have a lot of fun scenic things to look at on my route (like the lake/nice neighborhoods), kind of like your route in NY! Right now, the city I live in has too many hills. And when I say hills, I really mean small mountains. I'm looking forward to some flat running...

alison g. said...

I swear by Tracy. I did Metamorphosis before becoming pregnant, and have been doing the Pregnancy Project since. Considering this is pregnancy #4 for me, I assumed my body would just be comfortable getting big, but I haven't, and I think it's mainly b/c of the Tracy tapes. Up until this last month, I've done them 2-3x a week - that's it. The woman's a genius at getting the toned/lean look.

As for running...we'll let's just say I'm not quite as enthusiastic. ;)

alison g.

P.S. - Thanks for the tip on the Spanx compression pants - sounds like they're real winners!

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

Great post…I haven't been to Brooklyn Heights in the longest time. I enjoyed tagging along on your jog!

Lisa L said...

The perfect post for today! I too ran this morning (after a hiatus) and it was AWESOME. Thanks for the tour and the running tips!

LillyFuksYouWish said...

I recently moved into the area and love walking by all of the beautiful brownstones and non stalkerishly peaking into windows. Not typically up at 6am but the streets are just as charming at any hour. See you around Brooklyn Heights possibly!

nichole said...

Thanks for the shout out Jenny! I love my Cardio Sandwich and am so thrilled you do too! You're the best! I wish I could have run with you is morning- last year I would have met you on the bridge :(

xoxo - Nichole

C.B. said...

The equivalent of your "citi Bike" here in Ottawa (Canada's Capital) is called "Bixi". They're bright red with a white rectangle that says "capital"....which of course is reminiscent of the Canadian flag.

Jaime said...

So funny! I just recently discovered your blog and am continually surprised by the things we share in common. I'm mom to a 20 month old little girl and currently live in Boerum Hill in Brooklyn. Your pictures made me laugh because we see all of those things on a nearly daily basis on our walks around the neighborhood! We also lived in Cambridge, MA for 3 years while my husband was in law school and I miss it terribly. We moved to BK a little over a year and a half ago (after living on the UWS of Manhattan for nearly 8 years) when our daughter was 2 weeks old.

Just wanted to say hi as a fellow neighbor! Looking forward to reading and seeing more and possibly bumping into you one of these days!
All best,

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Clémence said...

Oh, how I would love to run in New York!
I'm french and i've been to NYC once and fell in love with this city. It has such a particular energy and is so beautiful.
I don't know if New Yorkers realize how muc we envy them! haha :D
If I were to run in my neighborhood, let me tell you, it wouldn't have the same charm ;)

musica gratis

kh said...

This makes me so excited for my Brooklyn trip in the fall. Thank you! And, yes, these shoes and socks ROCK! I'm such a fan of both. said...

What a fun post! I enjoyed seeing your neighborhood. Thank you, Jenny!

My husband and I run in Central Park. It's the best part of my day. And since we run quite late at night, we usually see only a handful of other people, more so the winter. (Which never fails to amaze me. This is NYC!) And I never tired of the view from the Reservoir or the Great Lawn! Rain or shine, it is glorious!

Libby said...

I HAVE to sign up for a race to stay on track with a consistent workout schedule. The longer distance ones work for me because I have to put in the training, otherwise I'll die on race day!

Kathryn W. said...

I used to run and swim a lot, but a few months ago I switched to strength training. I love it! I just did a pull-up for the first time this week :) With that and cleaner eating I love that I can see some nice toned muscle!!

Brett & Sydnie said...

Thanks for the great post Jenny! This was a great inspiration for all of us mamas that need continuemotivation to take care if ourselves. Keep up the great work!

Casey said...

I just wanted to say that I've been reading a long time and enjoy these posts when we get to know "you" a tiny bit better. Thanks for sharing!

Sabrina Webb, RD, LD said...

Thanks for the tips on gear. I can so relate to this post. Last year I had a bad auto accident (not my fault) and was told no exercise! I nearly went mad -- and I ate way too much to ease my troubled mind/body. Exercise is the only option for my weight and staying toned but also for the clarity it gives my brain and how healthy it makes me feel. It was quite the experience but finally I had to just get over it and get on with it.
Thankfully I am back to excercise and have just started to run again -- very lightly....I walk one song, run one song every other day. Building up slowly but a tiny bit embarrassed to admit it aint what it used to be back in my 20's. I like to think of my body like vintage furniture -- still good but maybe needing something to bring it back to I am usually game for trying a new workout.
Right now in additition to sorta running -- I also do Gillian Michaels 30 day shred - oldie but a goodie on most days and for fun have thrown in some of Tracey Anderson's Arm exercises. In either July or August I am planning on trying Tracey's metamorphasis program as the arm work feels great and I can see a difference in how my arms look which for me has always been rather hard to come by.
Again great tips on gear -- I need those socks and that arm band for sure! Thanks for always being so positive Jenny -- I really love your blog :)

Nikki said...

My daughter wants to pick up running this summer while she's on break from ballet school. I was always into sports in school, but didn't particularly like to run. I've committed to giving it a shot for her but honestly need it myself too. Maybe we will bump into you as we are in Carroll Gardens and plan to run to bklyn bridge park! I'll be the mom dragging behind a super energetic 11 y/o. Thanks for the gear info, im pretty clueless what to wear.

Arika Schienbein said...

I so wish I could run that path! Loved the neighborhood tour!

Erica M said...

You have made me want to move to NY even more after this post. My Oh My!!!

Thanks, Jenny!

Tina said...

Jealous! what a tour! I run at the Y in my suburban upstate city, for the childcare option. Your tank link goes to Mossimo, but your description says Merona. I'm curious which is your favorite? Always need a good long tank

Casie said...

I LOVE this post! I've also been doing the 7 minute workout and my Husband actually created an app for it called 7 min workout that's available in the app store!

or online at said...

Love that paving! So cool looking!!

xoxo PARIS BEE kids blog

Katie Black said...

This is my favorite post! You have inspired me to get out and run again!

Katie Black said...

This is my favorite post! You have inspired me to get out and run again!

Kelly Lynn said...

Thanks so much! I read this yesterday and tried it for my work out last night and Holy crap! that was the toughest mile I have ever run at the end. Was so impressed at how much more I got out of my workout! I'm training for the Peachtree Race in Atlanta July 4th and need all the tips I can get - THX!!

ordinette said...

I wish I were walking on those streets!!!!!

game man said...

Love the neighborhood tour, thank you.


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