Happy Runner: Daniel Z

When did you first start attending MHRC classes? What inspired you to book your first class?

  • I tried MHRC for the first time towards the end of March 2015 through ClassPass. I was never a runner and in fact, I had never run once in my entire life until then. During the last month of 2014 I was taking a Spanish class with an amazing lady named Yoshie, who was twice my age and had just finished the NYC Marathon. I was inspired and wanted to become a runner too so I put “start running” on my 2015 New Year’s Resolution list. However, starting to run in NYC was hard! I found the streets intimidating because of the crowds, and I was unfamiliar with the city as I had just moved here so naturally I put it off. When I saw the DASH 28 listed on ClassPass I knew that it was my chance to really start. The description of the class includes “28 minutes of running” and “for beginners”. It was perfect for me! I went to my first class and haven’t stopped running since.

How often do you participate in MHRC classes?

  • I started slow with just one class per week using ClassPass. I then moved up to 2 classes per week and ClassPass was just not enough so I started buying class packages through the studio. By the time I was more running regularly I was doing treadmill classes at MHRC at least three times a week. This January I joined MHRC’s new Outdoor Program to start marathon training so I’m now participating in outdoor classes twice a week.

Do you have a favorite instructor, and if so who is he/she?

  • Can I have more than one favorite? I love Coach Debora and Coach Corky because they are the most encouraging instructors, they talk about races and training during the runs. I also love Coach Luke because he has the best playlist, and Coach Hollis because she has the most energy - she dances and jumps around while we run. That helps to take my mind off the hills!

What do you like most about MHRC?

  • Predominantly I like the structure of the classes. It’s great that they all incorporate speed work, hill training, endurance and recovery. The DASH 28 even even includes strength training! In less than an hour I get in a great workout that has all of the important elements needed for competitive training. Running by perceived effort instead of a mandatory pace is wonderful too because a seasoned runner and a newbie can be in the same class and not be constrained by the other’s level.

What keeps you coming back?

  • I owe it to MHRC for how far I have come in my training to become a runner. Now I’m in love with running, and that’s what keeps me coming back. Living in NYC and dealing with less than ideal weather conditions, often too cold or too hot, makes MHRC the perfect alternative that allows me to follow my training program all year long.

How have you changed since beginning to run with MHRC? Is your training program different?

  • My entire lifestyle has changed since I started running with MHRC. I was never an active person and I now consider myself an athlete. It’s a big step for me towards a healthy life. I work as a programmer so I spend much of my time sitting and coding. Running has turned me into an active person, jumping at any opportunity to get outdoors. Through MHRC classes I also got to know a wide variety of people - some who just started running, others who are coming back to the sport after an injury, and still others who are training for their first 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon or even ultra. These people continue to inspire me to do more with my life.

Beyond a great run, what do you get out of a MHRC class?

  • Usually at the beginning of each class some of the coaches will ask who is training for a half marathon and who is training for a full marathon. When I first started I was jealous of the people who were able to run such distances! However, I was inspired and encouraged to try these races on my own. It’s been truly motivational.

How has your lifestyle changed?

  • I run so much more than I used to and I feel great. It’s not only a boost to my self confidence to know I’m a runner, but it’s also helped me eat healthier and pay closer attention to food labels for their nutritional value. It’s also made me happy that my parents love the fact that I started running, especially my mom. I have been living in foreign countries by myself since I was 18, and my parents always worried that I didn’t get enough exercise and wasn’t eating healthy. Now I share my running with my mom every week, telling her how much I’ve run and sending her photos. It all makes her really happy.

What, if any, tools have you gleaned through participating in MHRC classes?

  • I learned a lot about running here. When I first started I learned about good form through coaches and other runners and the format of the class taught me about the different types of training. Most importantly, though, I developed dedication. It was not easy for me to wake up on weekends and drag myself to the studio when I first started and now I can’t wait to wake up early on Saturday for my longest run of the week!