I needed some MAJOR motivation to get my butt out of bed in the cold, snowy weather, so I signed up for NYC Nike Run Club Long Run on February 11th. The Nike Run Club is free and offered in various cities throughout the world (for a full list, see this link).
I created a Nike account, downloaded the Nike+ Training app, set an alarm for 2:55 PM ET on Sunday before (5 minutes before the sign up link goes live), and clicked “BOOK” at 3 PM on the dot. This may not have been necessary for a run in the middle of northeast winter, but I wanted to make sure I got a spot.
Nike doesn’t send out the route in advance, but they do advertise the bag check, which is critical if you have more than a 10 minute walk home in the winter. I know from experience walking in wet running clothes when it’s below freezing level is no fun at all.
I arrived at Nike 15 minutes before the 9:04 AM start, shed my extra layers, and checked my bag. I waited, somewhat awkwardly, for a few minutes. There were many people that knew each other (either they came with friends or had come previously), but there were many people also awkwardly standing and staring, so I felt totally fine.
The Nike “Coach” started with a brief welcome, explanation of the route, and then we broke into pace groups – 8, 8:30, 9, 9:30, and 10 minute mile pace groups are offered. It’s important to note that you estimate your pace when you sign up, but they aren’t strict, so if you’re having a super fab or bad day, you can change groups.
In regards to the route and timing, they did not publish the distance or route for this run. The total distance was based on your pace group. The run lasts for about an hour, but the time varies because they typically start and stop the official clock once you get on the actual route (e.g., East Side Esplanade, Hudson River Greenway, Central Park, Queensborough Bridge, etc.). When they begin marathon training, they provide the distances in the sign up link (e.g., 13, 15, 18, 20, 22 miles).
We stretched for about 5 minutes outside the store and were on our way. This particular run took us through the city for about a mile, thus there was a decent amount of starting and stopping. We ended up on the West Side, which proved to be particularly (read: VERY) icy so we ended up back on the sidewalk. Although some people were wearing headphones, everyone was particularly chatty on this run due to the icy conditions. Despite the start / stops and re-route, we maintained the promised pace, and finished strong as our last mile was our fastest.
Around mile 9, there was a quick pit stop to take a picture with the group (you can see how big our pace group was!):
There was a short wait to grab my bag. I grabbed the free water bottles, Clif Bars, and bananas while I was waiting. Once I had my bag, I used the Nike changing rooms to put on some dry clothes, said a quick goodbye, and began the walk back to my apartment.
Huge thanks to NRC and the 8:30 minute mile pace group for pushing us to run 10 miles on a cold and icy day!
What: Long Run
When: Saturdays at 9:04 AM
Where: Various Nike Stores (see website for locations nearest you)
Quick Tips: Download the Nike Training Club App & set an alarm to remind yourself to sign up!
Other Notes: Not in a city that has NRC? I recommend that you check it out when you’re traveling! It’s a great way to get a run in, meet some locals, and see the sights – for free!
Kate Scott is an avid runner, who has completed three marathons and numerous half marathons. She travels frequently, most recently to Toulouse and Bordeaux in France. She currently lives in Northern Virginia and is a certified public accountant.