Let me just say first that I'm ridiculous sometimes. I mean, who registers for four races (including the Brooklyn half marathon!) within a couple of months of each other right as Spring hits? I mean, let's be honest. Spring in Manhattan is the BEST and it screams one thing: play time! As I've been keeping in line with my half marathon training, the weather just seems to keep getting nicer and everyone under the sun is out having margaritas or picnics in the park. Me? I'm busting my butt to maintain a strict running schedule and cursing the people I see lounging outside as I run by. I just keep reminding myself (or trying to make myself feel better really) that I'll be nice and fit come summer. :P
Anyway, to switch things up, the other night my co-worker and I finally tried out the Nike running club. They meet several times a week and you gather at Niketown which is right down the street from our office. It ended up being awesome! Originally, I thought you basically just meet the group, pick which mileage you want to run, and knock it out together. Instead, they actually do different workouts and routines each time they meet. You stretch together and then break into groups of whatever mileage you choose and you stay together for the workout. Our particular night, the routine was hill drills and I kept thinking grrrrrrreat, I so don't feel like doing that. I needed to run 4 miles and doing hill repeats for it just wasn't what I was excited about. :P However, it ended up being terrific and a complete challenge that really switched up a boring old 4 miles. You ran from Niketown to the designated hill in the park (it happened to be the hill at Strawberry Fields) and basically ran as fast as possible up the hill and then a slow jog back around to repeat the same thing 5 times. Then, we ran back to complete the 4 miles (it was actually 4.2) and we all stretched together again.
The entire concept is awesome because it provides a lot of the "support" that comes with running races. Every runner is different but I love races so much because of the camaraderie and shared dedication of everyone on the road. Running is very mental and any runner will tell you that the struggle is 100% personal. Yes, I'm sure there are people who run to try and prove something to others but, generally, you find runners to be very competative with themselves and nobody else. Running in a group offers encouragement, drive, and focus so the idea of a running club is genius, in my opinion anyway. I'm definitely excited to go back and hope this will be a fun new way to keep my training runs from becoming monotonous. I have a feeling I'll meet some really great new people in the process, too. :)