We are the professional runners of the New Jersey-New York Track Club here to answer all of your questions! Ask us anything!
My short bio: Hey Reddit! We are a group of professional runners for the New jersey-New York Track Club here to answer all your questions about all things running, training, racing, and anything else you’re curious about.
In addition to all of our athletes, the legendary Coach Frank Gagliano is also on hand to answer your questions. And to highlight just a few of our athletes we have:
Donn Cabral-2012 Olympian, 3k SC and NCAA Champion
Robby Andrews-2xNCAA Champion, 1:44/3:34
Ashley Higginson-2013 World Championship Qualifier, 3k SC
Russell Brown-3:51 Miler
Delilah Dicrescenzo-2x World XC Qualifier, World Champship Qualifier, 3k SC
Mike Rutt-World Indoor Track Finalist, 1:45 800m
In addition to these runners, we have multiple All-Americans, Team USA Representatives, Collegiate Record Holders, Penn Relays Winners, and much more! (http://njnytc.com/athletes.php) So you can ask questions directly, or generally.
This AMA is in support of our spring fundraising initiative. Unlike many teams at this level, we do not have a corporate shoe sponsor. We are 501(c)(3) Non-Profit and rely entirely on donations to keep our club up and running (pun intended). Many of our athletes jobs and/or school. If you are interested in supporting our clubs travel, living expenses, health care, therapy, training costs, and entry fees, it would be greatly appreciated. (http://njnytc.com/support/annualgivingcampaign.php)
Additionally, we are selling T-Shirts at: www.booster.com/njnytrackclub and https://squareup.com/market/nj-star-ny-track-club
My Proof: www.twitter.com/njnytc
As long as you send me a picture of you in it. -Kyle
The Real Merb,
Are there any plans to make a follow up to The Real Maine? I think a documentary like that was a step in the right direction and with some real planning, it can generate a lot of interest in running.
We have talked about it a lot. What a lot of people don't realize is that was Erik's thesis and there were certain things he had to do to fulfill certain requirements. In the future we would hopefully be a bit further on in our career, and change the idea up and possibly add in a couple new faces. Erik has learned a lot since then and we have talked about it. One idea we had was to jump around the different groups we are a part of and get an inside look to compare NJ*NY, Brooks Beasts, Bowerman TC, etc. Really glad you enjoyed it, and it was a fun summer. Erik threatens us with releasing the R-rated version, which would be the demise of our futures. -Kyle
kyle, what was more devastating: not making nationals after running the 'American collegiate record' or your hs gf cheating on you?
This is the best question here. And the answer is yes.
Hey there Delilah,
What's it like in New York City?
Cloudy with a chance of meatballs. - Delilah
Kyle is a hipster, so first he cuts it in weird designs and then takes black and white photos of it.
I ate sandwiches before they were cool. -Kyle
Would you consider expanding to field a sub-elite team (organized workouts/coaching)?
yes but not at same time as elite and possiblity of rye, ny with asst coaches, gag
Yes. Gags is considering this. Keep in touch with our squad. If Gags pulls the trigger on this, we'll put the word out for anyone interested.
What was your most memorable moment while running at the 2012 Olympic Games?
Definitely the opening ceremonies! After a long walk to the stadium giving high fives to local kids chanting USA! USA! USA! we got to the track. When I walked in it was dark but the seats were lit up and I realized the magnitude of the ceremony & how the whole world was watching. Jitters just typing about it now! -Donn
Shorts or half tights? I've noticed that since being signed by Adidas you seem to be favoring the tights over the short shorts, any particular reason why?
Robby is a big fan of the manpris this year
The guys on the Princeton team gave me a lot of confidence to wear the short shorts, so I've been sticking with that this year!
How has having Hoka as a sponsor served you, as a middle distance runner?
The Hoka sponsorship is going GREAT! Their shoes are awesome for all of my recovery runs and even a few of my tempo runs. We are in the process of developing spikes, and there are some lightweight trainers that will be coming out in the next few months. They will be used ideally for my track workouts. They are doing a lot to work with me as a middle distance runner. It's great to know that they really want to help me out!
This one is for Mike Rutt,
I hear that when you go to Chipotle, you ask for a water cup for tap water, then fill it up with lemonade even though you didn't pay for a drink. Is this true?
Only on Wednesdays -Rutt
Top 5 best Dyestatters of all time?
Kyle, can you make your running2win log public like Donn. I literally prefer donn as a human being for this reason
Yeah Kyle! Stop being so selfish! -Donn
Message me to join a team I am on so you can see it. I don't want to make it public, because unlike Donn I am a human.
Robby, what's the most slices of pizza you've had in one sitting?
A whole pie. Haven't tried for anymore than that. Maybe this off season? - robby
Who was the coolest, most awesome, HOTTEST guy you ever met in clinic at law school and why was it me?
You know, I'm not sure if it was the flip flops in December or that mystery movie you should me where you play lead detective... somewhere in there I knew. -Ash
Robby - Is there ever a time when you race without the wife beater underneath your singlet?
Never! Old habits die hard
1st I gotta give a shout out to Wayne Bartholomew since I'm from Moco. 2nd, how do you guys approach workouts with such a big group? Are things more individualized or do you guys go with the group mostly?
Thanks for the shout out man. We usually split up into groups. Sometimes the groups are big on strength days but speed days they usually get cut down to groups for more specific events, etc. -Wayne
Kyle, what would it take for you to stop tweeting?
More friends. Kyle
A threat from Gags -Rutt
What does an average day for you guys look like? And how do you suggest one looks for clubs if one is considering running post-collegiately?
Also: having Genna latch on to me almost ruined my first three years of college. How do you deal with her? It seems like she feeds off of both attention and neglect...
Dear will I miss you. -Genna
THAT WAS NOT ME, LIES. also i knew this was you well before I had "This is not Will" read to me. - Love, Genna
Dear Will I miss you? -Genna
To any and all: Any up coming races on the schedule? If so what are they? How do goals shift in a non-championship year?
Heather Wilson just finished 3rd in the US Road Mile about 10 minutes ago! Other than that, we'll have a few guys and girls running the mile at Penn. THEN, it'll be a meet at Henderson High School in Pa., Payton Jordan, Oxy, (maybe someone at World Relays), Pre, another Henderson meet and onto USAs.
scratch that, Heather was 4th after official results came out. Still a great race for her.
Payton Jordan 5k Oxy 3kSC and I'm hoping for Golden Gala (Diamond League in Rome) 3kSC and maybe 1 other race in Europe the following week
After a rough yr last year my focus is just getting back to PR-type level. Placing well at USAs & getting a more respectable 5k PR are on the to-do list too! -Donn
I've got Payton Jordan and Oxy coming up next. Since its my first year post-collegiate, the goal for me is to run some big PRs and gain some experience. (Penney)
Hey Nic! Kyle wrote the short bios so he was definitely trying to cut me down a notch! I look up to different aspects of many of the athletes I know. Christian Taylor's intense drive & focus, not to mention talent, were really inspring during the 2012 year. Nick Symmonds' (at least seemingly) professional balance of running and life, plus his involvement and outspokenness in the sport is also something I hope to emulate at some point. -Donn
Will any of you be competing in any American Track League events this summer? Link here: http://www.americantrackleague.com
Specifically the first meet in Bloomington, IN.
Good luck to each of you this outdoor season!
no plans right now. did they get sponsors? gag
What is your most memorable moment at 10 Garth Ave.
Take your time, I can Waite...
It certainly wasn't the size of it. And rum helped blur most memories!
Ashley, Last year at the Henderson distance festival I gave you my number and never got a call back, whats up with that?
I know I look young, but I was afraid it might be against the law to contact you. - Ash
Delilah - Being a big steeple chase runner, how was the transition to half-marathon and marathon? I know that you were quite the cross country runner, but I can imagine that the transition can be difficult. Which event do you prefer? Thanks!
I love the steeple but cross country is where my heart is! It's been like that since HS. The transition to the marathon was difficult for me because I had to bump up my mileage and my body didn't respond too well. I was plagued with some injuries in training. If I do the marathon again I'll make adjustment to have a longer, slower build up instead of ramping up my mileage too soon. - Delilah
Merbs, What was your experience at Texas like? I think I remember hearing you were injured at one point but can't remember too well. PS. You will always be remembered as a Blue Nooge at Summit.
I loved it and consider it an extremely important part of my life and career. I learned a lot, and I feel bad that I couldn't give the coaches and my team a more healthy and consistent year. Austin is an exciting city to be in for a 20-something, and the experience of a Big 12 school was very different from an Ivy.
Here is a blog I wrote on it in the weeks after: http://kylemerber.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/my-time-in-texas/
Donn, how does it feel being less attractive than Evan Jager?
Keeps me up every night! -Donn
To the milers (and anyone else who wants to answer) what kind of mileage do you guys do? In buildup phase, beginning of season, and in the heart of the season? and do you take time completely off after the season or just drop the mileage?
65-75 in season but 75-85 in base training
How is training coming along? I know you have dealt with various injuries over the years but it seems like you are struggling to return to the form you had when you ran 3:35. Is there anything specific area you need to work on to get back to that level of fitness??
Also side question...do you ever wonder if that Swarthmore track is short?
Ever since the "glass incident" the challenge has always been to stay healthy. I did a great job of that during the indoor season and had the biggest consistent block of training I have had in years. I developed some muscle imbalances and have gotten significantly better at evening them out. I was really excited to run 1:47 at BU and come back the next day to hand off the relay in first. I thought I was prepped to run 3:55 or so the next weekend at Iowa St, but our flight got cancelled due to snow and I never got the chance. Unfortunately I had a small little niggle right after that, but am healthy and back training now. I'll be opening up a bit later in the season because of it, which I am OK with since the goal was always for a much later summer season, anyways. That's the perk of running post-collegiately--no conferences to rush back for. S
I don't think the track is short, although I will joke about it. It was the most perfectly set up race and weather possible for me, and I honestly felt invincible that day. If the track was short, I think you would see some ridiculous times coming from there more often. And even if it was short, it was still a competitive field.
[serious question]: what are your views on partying / drinking? Does it differ by athlete? Dry season?
All in moderation. Be smart based on the racing/workout schedule.
Dancing is recommended always. Basically whenever an opportunity arises... and even if they don't -Ash
Best advice for a HS junior looking to join Heps Nation? Also (to Kyle), what is your interest in joining me for a run this summer in Long Island?
I'm not Kyle but I can help! I would email all the coaches a short but pertinent list of your personal bests and interests. All of the coaches are great and very responsive and the best way to find out who is the best fit is talking to them as much as you can. Also, as far as financial aid, talk to as many schools as you can, it may help your aid. - Genna Hartung, Cornell '13
Well that's a great choice... if you go to Princeton! But in all seriousness, the league has a great atmosphere, and a great balance of athletics & academics. And indoor heps has more energy than any meet I've ever seen. I'll volunteer Kyle for a run with you! -Donn
Get your SAT scores up. The better you do on the standardized tests and in school, the slower you can be to get into an Ivy. It makes the coaches jobs much easier as they need to maintain a team average when it comes to HS academics. They'll only take someone bringing down the average if they've run really fast. Additionally, if you're really smart, you'll help out which is much appreciated. Don't be afraid to email the coaches either. Unlike a lot of schools, The Ivy recruits nationally so don't misconstrue a lack of contact from them as a lack of interest. And I am 100% always looking for running partners. My spot is Belmont Lake State Park. I'll post on the LI Runners Facebook page next time I am home. -Kyle
Easy runs fast or slow? Farah and rupp supposedly do their easy runs at 5k pace + 90s per mile
We usually take em pretty easy. We work out pretty hard M-W-F with a long run Saturday so on the off days we run by feel, which can get pretty pedestrian. -Donn
As Kyle said in The Real Maine, "easy days easy"
I was mad about getting dropped. But I stand by that. -Kyle
Dear Donn Juan, Hows the guinea pig? have you seen the South Park ep with Lemmiwinks? if not you should check it out.
Addison's a saint! But she's smart enough and could definitely find her way out if she needed to...
Hey this one's directed to Coach Bob. On a scale of 1-10 how big of a factor was having faith in your girlfriend when you won NCAAs from the Kick Heard Around Des Moines?
On the scale of 1-10 it was important to me that the people closest to me had faith!
Mr. Rutt, Chipotle or Qdoba?
That's a tough one....I dig the queso at Qdoba so I think that gives it the slight edge -Rutt
would u rather fight a hundred duck sized ducks or 200 horses that are ducks in disguise?
To anyone: What is the most memorable race you have ever had? What made it such a great memory?
Winning the 4x800 at Penn Relays in 2011! There is nothing like the rush of racing in front of 40,000 fans and winning a relay at one of the most prestigious meets in the world! - Cyd
my most memorable race was when I ran 1.59.6 that's because that was my PR.... BOOM -LaTavia
Hey Donn, Remember when you out kicked Merber at Penn? That made me mad. - Will
DMR or 4xmile? ;-) -Donn "Lion killer" Cabral
If you guys were to go door to door asking for donations, who do you think would get the most amount of money in a day?
edit: What are all of your 40m dash PRs?
I have a question focused on distance-running related injuries.
go for it!
Hey guys! I'm a huge fan so I really appreciate any advice you have :)
So I am a female redshirt-junior at a D1 university. I plan on returning next year to finish out my eligibility in cross/indoor/outdoor. As you can tell by 3 redshirts, I have struggled with injuries in the past but we got a new coach this past year and I've been able to remain healthy for almost a year now! I made a huge jump in my training and PRs and I think I am just on the brink of running even faster. I have a 4:39 mile (indoor) and a 16:11 5k (outdoor). I am confident I can go even faster within the next year.
So my question is how do I go about attempting a professional career when I am done with college running next spring? Or if I have any chance at all? I know I can so sub 16 and drop my mile PR, as well as my times in distances in between.
Thank you for any help and good luck in the rest of your season!
With your times as is right now, you'd most likely have a few different options for running post-collegiately. My advice is to ask around. Talk to different runners from the different pro groups and ask how they like it. Your coach can be super helpful with making contacts and connecting you. Most teams have websites that you can check out to see where your pr's match up against. If you're willing to relocate then your options will really open up. But in the short term, keep running faster and faster and you'll have more opportunities. It depends on the year, but some groups may be more picky or liberal depending on how deep their roster is. Think about what you want in a group/coach/training environment and see what fits. It's similar to the college search.
You can tell it's good advice because two of us gave it separately around the same time :)
Your times are definitely indicative of being able to move into the professional world, especially if you get more consistent, injury-free, training under your belt. The biggest thing is really whether or not you're ready to make the commitment to professional running. If you want to join a club similar to ours, it takes a huge time and life commitment, more so than in college. If you're ready for that I would recommend talking to different clubs. A lot of them have time standards posted (as ours does) on the website. That will give you a better idea if you qualify for the team. Many time standards are very close to your pr's so don't be too concerned :). My advice for picking a club is similar to picking a school. Make sure it's a good fit as far as the coach, how you get along with other team members, the focus of the training group (distance wise), etc. Good luck!
I guess this question is open for anyone. What's been the most difficult thing in terms of making the jump from racing at the collegiate level to the professional level?
The most difficult transition for me was getting used to each race being a battle. In college, it was possible to race the first few meets of the year without really "going to the well." Now, each and every single race takes every ounce of energy to pull out a victory or a PR. Luckily, Coach Gags works us in practice to simulate races and get ready for competitions. -Rutt
The most difficult thing jumping for collegiate to professional level for me was not having the trainers there....
Staying within yourself on a day to day basis in practice. It is very easy to get caught up in the high level workouts and push it to much and overtrain.
I live in New Jersey and it's pretty cool to have a professional team based off of an area versus a company sponsor. I guess my first question would be what is it like running for a team that is not apparel sponsored?
Also will any of you be at Penn Relays on Friday? I run the 4x8 at 9:20AM for the high school boys and it would be awesome to meet you guys.
EDIT: I'm an 800 runner too. Love me.
ITS LIBERATING!!!!! - LaTavia
Not sure if anyone will be there Friday night. Best of luck! -Rutt
My girlfriend has flat feet and a neuroma in her one foot. She wants to run distance. Any advice? Any specialist you would recommend?
She'd most likely take a stability shoe like the Brooks Adrenaline or Saucony Hurricane. Go to your local specialty running store to get fitted and try things on.
Anyone ever barefoot train? Minimalist shoes? Thoughts on that movement?
Donn does some of his runs in Nike Frees. I think the majority of us would say in moderation it could be good for you, like barefoot on the turf for a cool down, or some strides. But the majority of us wear real shoes for 98% of the running that we do.
All of you: If you could go back and run for any college (you can't say the school you went to) which school would you attend? and why?
stanford-- at the same time as russell brown ;)
Stanford. The weather is awesome. They have great coaches. And a Stanford education is top-notch.
Probably Florida, because it's warm and I hate the cold weather! -Wayne
Princeton, because I went there and know it's the right answer from experience. ;) - Ash
Columbia. I'd go there, bring a horrible attitude to practice every day and ruin the team culture so Princeton could reign supreme. -Donn
@ the NJ*NY girls: Marry/fuck/kill Donn, Merber, Robby
Donn. Robby. Merber. Mainly for Merber's sake. Any other choice would end in Merber's death anyway. -Ash
I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!!!!
Easy. Marry Russell.
Marry Russell Brown
MARRY TRAVIS"S HAIR
IT'S JUST HAIR PEOPLE!!!!!! - Liam BP
Who's the best mini-golfer?
ME - LaTavia
Is Liam Boylan-Pett still competing? Man he used to destroy me in high school. Never lapped me though!
I am! At least trying to. Thanks for asking. I will be racing the mile at Penn this weekend. Hoping for another sub-4. If you still live in Michigan, I should be back this summer for Ryan Shay Mile at end of July and then hopefully racing the Michigan Track Classic Mile at Saline on Aug 10. It was an awesome event last year. - LBP
It'd be great if you could jump into the track classic so I could try to lap you, though. Haha, thanks!
Any secrets of the trade? Nutrition? Recovery tools? Maybe some beet root juice?
Live by the clock -all of us
Meaning sleep and wake at the same time everyday, weekends included? Also, run at the same time everyday?
Do your best to. It will go a long way. And I'd also say it's better to train at 90% than 101%. Consistency is key.
For all, what is your take on Nick Symmonds's goal to go for a Beer mile WR this year? Would you guys consider a similar "joke" race to get attention/publicity?
Nick does a great job to market himself as well as the sport. I think we would consider doing something similar, given it was done at the right time of the year and nobody would risk getting injured. -Rutt
The indoor mile steeple gives me significantly more attention then running an actual race any day. I think anything that makes the sport fun and marketable is great! Especially when you can then show up when it counts - Ash
How do you feel about Jim Schlentz dying his hair? I kind of think he looks more normal if it's gray, but when he turns it like orange it looks weird. Do you think that the dying makes him look younger, or weirder? Both???
He has aged like a fine wine! and no longer dyes, as far as I have seen. I think he should go dennis rodman esque with it from now on:
Right off the bat I'm a hug fan of what you guys are doing with the NJNY Track club, awesome stuff. My question deals with mental strength, and I am curious how some off you guys have worked past your own mental roadblocks. I myself am currently I middle of the road d1 runner, and I feel that my own doubt and trepidation is whats holding me back, any insight would be awesome.
Also, is it true Merber has seen Mottram's sack?
Yes...and as he said, they were bigger than my own.
When it comes to mental toughness, sometimes you just need to say, "eff it" and take a chance mid-race and/or in training. Maybe it won't work, but sometimes you've got to go for it. There is also some saying about chipping away at a rock and it not being one hit but the thousand before it or something something.
You have to work on your mental fitness as much as your physical fitness. One book that I have read to really help me out is called Mind Gym: An Athletes guide To Inner Excellence...its a great read! -Rutt
I don't know if he's here, but Brian Gagnon--are you gonna be at Foss this year?
I'm at Foss every year! Wouldn't miss it. Best two weeks of the summer. - Gagnon
What advice would give for MS/HS runners?
Also: Hi Kyle! ~ Sophia
Have fun and listen to your coaches! If you take yourself too seriously you could easily burn out by college
Live by the clock.
Hey Sophia! Listen to the coaches in your life who are always there looking out for you. Learn to enjoy the sport as a process and make the best out of each step along the way. -Kyle
Kyle: any chance of you updating your blog soon? I really liked some of your entries! Also I'd like to say thanks for your coaching advice you gave me a couple weeks back and apologize I never replied back. Happy Running!
Tonight has motivated me to start putting out blogs a bit more regularly again. I don't want to force anything, but if I am feeling enlightend anytime soon, I will be sure to write it down there. And I hope the advice was helpful. I try and write back to everyone whoever emails or Facebook messages me, especially when it is about training.
This is for Erik Berg.
Hey Erik, I've been really tired in practice recently. A friend recommended taking an iron pill and a nap to take the edge off. What do you think?
dont ask berg. he is tired in races!!! gag
From a middle school track athlete, what would you recommend doing to help me improve? I run mile and 800.
It's all relative to how you're training currently. At NJNY we believe in mixing aerobic strength with food speed. To see what types of training we do, you can check out my blog at mikeruttrunning.blogspot.com where I log all of our workouts (since the beginning of 2014). -Rutt
Is Higginson there? How do you find the time to go to Law school and train? I work all day, then at about 6-7 o'clock I start to run and I am pretty tired. I want to do a half marathon but I just don't seem to have the time. Any tips?
While I will admit there are things I miss out on (be it evening activities at school, clubs, a social life generally), I am so happy with my school running balance - I can't imagine it any other way now. My biggest advice, 1. stick to a schedule, getting up early gets easier if it is the same alarm every day. 2. Write out your goals for the week, you are more likely to do something you have already put on a list. 3. Don't decide what life should look like by comparing to other people's lives - Do you! - Ash
For Erik Berg, if the moon were made of barbeque spare ribs, would you eat it? I know I would!
Heck I'd have seconds!!! And then polish it off with a tall cool Budweiser
kyle, plz send me a hedband. do not wash. thnk yu
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