I was in London this week on business and didn’t fancy the prospect of staying in my hotel room all evening, and didn’t want to go out spending money unnecessarily just because I was somewhere else away from home.
I turned to social media to try and find a running group that I could latch onto for the evening. I was soon pointed towards Nike who run their NRC Nike Running Club each Thursday at their Stratford store in the Westfield Centre.
They require you to book your place in advance so they know who is coming and how many they have got. When you arrive at the store you check in and you decide what pace group you want to run with that evening. I chose the 9m30s/mile pace group.
Everyone was really friendly, and the Nike pacers were very welcoming and interested in everyone and paid special attention to the newbies who had turned up for the first time. The coach and the pacers introduced themselves and discussed the plans for the session.
To start the session, we ran down to near the Olympic Stadium which is about 1/2 mile away. Rory, the Nike coach for the evening, briefed everyone about the warm up. We were doing some dynamic stretches to start with, in a fun manner so that everyone felt included and to the same level as much as possible. We did some runs and drills on ladders laid on the ground, working on our footwork and getting started with some power drive running.
The different pace groups set off on their runs for this speed session which was the theme of the night. Our group had a pacer at the front, and a pacer at the rear – finely decked out in their high visibility Nike pacer shirts. There were about 18 people in our group so it was a good number for the pacers to work with, and for us to be able to chat amongst ourselves along the route.
Our training schedule was to run 1.5km at our 10km pace, and then to do the last 100 meters at our 1 mile pace, so a lot faster finish to complete our one mile loop. We would then have a two minute breather, and then repeat this rep two more times.
I am not sure whether the plan was for us to increase our pace slightly on each mile, but we definitely did so! My first mile was 9m18s, second was 8m54 and the third was 8m36. You could tell that we were doing a good beasting workout and there were still smiles on our faces! That is the sign that it is a good workout in my book!
We were social, we were working hard, and we were working together. When the faster pace groups were coming past we clapped and cheered them on, and when we went past them on our laps when they were resting, they did the same to us. There was just a very supportive feeling across the whole group which was a lovely feeling.
After our last lap, the three groups got together for some more exercises as a group. We got into pairs, one person would hold a plank for a minute while the other person started in the plank postion next to them, jumped up into a burpee, jumped across over the planking partner, then down into a plank at the other side. Jumping up into a burpee and jump back across their partner. This rep continued for a minute then the partners swapped roles. We did six reps of this and by then I think we were all feeling the burn!
We congregated together for a group photo of everyone who had taken part, and then we all ran back together as a group back the 1/2 mile run back to the shop.
So many happy people took part in this event. So many friendly people paying interest in each other. So many people enjoying the social aspect of their running as well as the running itself too.
For everyone who ran at Nike’s NRC at Stratford, they get a stamp on a card that after ten visits they get a Nike NRC t-shirt with RUNNER on the front. Running with Nike is free, and after ten occasions you get something out of it. More than this though, I’d say that even after ONE occasion, you get something out of it! I had such a good time and it reinvigorated my passion for running and to be able to see how good a training session can be with some thought and commitment was a real lift to me.
Nike NRC also do some other activities at other times too at a number of their other stores, while I was down there I saw that their Covent Garden store did an early morning run at 7.30am on a Friday, and I also heard that their Oxford Street store do events as well. I really hope that they expand on this very successful venture of providing runners with a community and group to develop their running in. Come on, please get one in YORKSHIRE! Just do it! 😉
If you are ever in the location of a Nike NRC run, I would very much recommend you book a place and go along. I am sure that you will have a fab time as well. Thank you to Nike NRC Stratford for a lovely evening, and I hope to be down again next time that I am in London midweek.
You can find out more about Nike Running from their Facebook page.