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So you found your way to Ali On The Run, but perhaps you have some questions. Allow me to answer them for you! And if there’s anything else you want to know, click here to send me a message or email me at email@example.com.
ALI ON RUNNING
How did you get started running?
I moved to New York City in December 2007, a few months after graduating from college. I grew up dancing so I always assumed I would hate running — nothing about it looked fun to me. But when I got to the city I was poor and I didn’t want to dance anymore. So one day I put on a pair of sneakers and hit the path along the East River near my Spanish Harlem apartment. I started running at 102nd Street and barely made it down to 96th Street — that’s about a quarter of a mile — before I was completely winded and out of breath. I didn’t hate it though, so the next day I tried again, and went another block. I slowly started to build up, knowing that if I ran a full mile I would reach the nearby dog park. Whatever motivates you, right?
How often do you run?
I usually run five days a week including, a long run on Saturday (anything more than 10 miles).
What do you wear running?
In the summer, I like Lululemon Groove Shorts and Cool Racerback tops. The shorts don’t ride up and the shirts aren’t too tight and are nice and long. I also love these Saucony shorts. In the winter, I swear by this GapBodyFit jacket.
What kind of sports bra do you wear?
Wearing the right sports bra is crucial! After years of under-boob chafe suffering, I finally discovered the Moving Comfort Juno bra. Now it’s the only one I’ll wear — I own it in a whole bunch of colors.
Do you wear a running watch?
I sure do. I am in love with the Garmin Forerunner 110. It picks up a signal quickly, the battery lasts fairly long and I’ve never had a problem with it.
I want to become a morning runner but I can’t get out of bed. Any advice?
I’m a natural morning person — not everyone has to be a morning exerciser, though! For a while I used to leave my alarm away from the bed so that I had to get up when it went off. I find that once you make morning running a habit, it just becomes part of your daily routine. Remind yourself that getting out of bed is the hardest part. It sounds lame, but it’s true. Don’t let yourself make excuses. Hear the alarm, get your butt up and start sweating.
Do you have any tips for new runners?
Start slowly. Don’t set crazy expectations, like time or mileage goals. Run for the fun of it. If you hate running, that’s OK. You don’t have to do it just because it seems like “everyone else is doing it.”
ALI ON OTHER EXERCISE
What exercise do you do other than running?
I love cross training! I also know how much cross training helps improve my running performance. I strength train 1–3 times a week, including a Chisel class at my gym and weight lifting on my own. My favorite strength training moves are tricep dips on a bench (you can do this outside at a park!) and bicep curls on an incline bench using dumbbells.
I also do spinning a few times a week and have recently started doing yoga. I love the occasional TRX class, too, and am always up for any kind of group fitness class such as the Refine Method, kickboxing and rebounding.
This just in: I also started bike riding. It’s fun. I like to feel the breeze in my face and the bugs in my mouth. Only minus the part about the bugs. Note to self: Ride with mouth closed.
What is your “morning ab routine?”
I start every single day by doing 200 crunches: 50 regular, 50 right side oblique crunches, 50 left side oblique crunches then 50 alternating side crunches. Doing this in the morning wakes me up immediately.
What gym do you go to?
Crunch, and I love it!
Why did you stop dancing?
Although I danced competitively my entire life, I never wanted to be a professional dancer. Instead I chose a career in the dance industry that didn’t require me to stuff my sausage-like feet into pointe shoes. Dance classes are expensive in New York City, and though I’m always up for the occasional (easy) hip hop class, I’m well past my days at the ballet barre.
How do you stay motivated?
I read lots of blogs! Click here for a few of my favorites. I’ve developed awesome relationships through blogging with lots of like-minded people. The encouragement and support in this community is incredible. I’m also lucky because I genuinely like running and working out. You can’t look at exercise as a punishment or as something you have to do. Find a workout you like — whether it’s boxing or Bikram — and think of it as a treat for yourself.
ALI ON RECOVERING
Do you take rest days?
Yes! Before I started training for the marathon I viewed rest days as lazy days. Now I know my body needs to recover in order to grow stronger. I didn’t get that for a long time — now I do.
What is your foam rolling routine?
I use my foam roller to roll out my quad muscles, my IT bands and my butt. I started foam rolling when I was running a lot and having knee problems. Foam rolling has done wonders for my knees!
How many hours do you sleep at night?
Not enough, I’ll admit that. On average I go to sleep around 10:30 PM and wake up at 5 AM.
ALI WITH CROHN’S DISEASE
What is Crohn’s Disease?
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when I was 7 years old. It’s a chronic digestive disorder that basically causes miserable stomachaches, a whole lot of time in the bathroom, high fevers, fatigue and joint aches. Click here to read more about my life with Crohn’s.
Does having Crohn’s Disease affect your running?
It sure does. Some days I can get through a dozen miles feeling fine, but other days my stomach kicks in after one and I find myself bolting for the nearest bathroom. I have learned to plan my runs according to where a bathroom might be, which isn’t necessarily convenient, but keeps me much more at ease while I’m cruising around.
How do you treat Crohn’s Disease?
There’s no cure. Boo. But every eight weeks I go to the hospital to receive an IV infusion of a drug called Remicade, which is supposed to keep the disease at bay. (Click here to read more about Remicade Day.) It hasn’t always worked, but I’ll keep getting it until some smart scientists find a cure.
ALI AT WORK
What do you do for work?
I am the Editor in Chief at Dance Spirit magazine.
Do the people you work with know about your blog?
I tried to hide it for a while, until I really found my voice on the blog and figured out what I wanted it to be. Now some of them know about it, but I don’t broadcast it at the office. If they discover it on their own, that’s fine. I don’t write about work much, so there’s no conflict.
ALI ON THE BLOG
Why did you start blogging?
I had been reading various blogs for a while and in October 2010 I finally decided to start my own. I write constantly at work, but I wanted an outlet where I could write freely about whatever I want. I also wanted a way to document my running. Another huge reason I started blogging was to meet like-minded people, and I couldn’t be happier about how that’s worked out for me. I’ve met incredible people!
ANY OTHER QUESTIONS?