The Nike+ watch was one of the very first purchases I made when I decided I would start running. What I liked most about the Nike+ watch and the Nike+ website was the social aspect (adding friends, discovering popular running routes, etc.) as it exposed me to a world I knew very little about, but couldn’t wait to discover. Even when my needs changed and I started to use a running watch from another brand, I was very happy I was able to continue syncing my runs with Nike+.
While the the Nike+ movement started about 16 years ago, it really started to take flight when Nike released the Nike+ Running App (originally called Nike+ GPS) in 2010. In 2012, a year before I started running, Nike launched neighborhood running clubs in Toronto. I always knew these clubs existed, but was never able to attended any of their events because my schedule did not permit it. That all changed last Saturday when myself and a few friends participated in our first Nike+ Run Club (NRC) Long Run.
Nike+ Run Club Events and Registration
Nike+ offers six free events throughout the week for runners to choose from. The event summaries below were captured from the Nike+ Toronto website.
NRC Ready, Set, Go, Run (Mondays) – “Want to learn to run? Our experts will get you mentally ready and physically set to go run your first kilometre. In less than an hour, you will be on your way to a lifetime of running.”
NRC Speed Run (Tuesdays) – “Speed helps all runners, no matter the pace, get faster and stronger. Whether it’s a track, park or roadway, this mix of speed and intensity will take your running fitness to the next level.”
NRC Home Run (Wednesdays) – “Bring your friends and get ready to make new ones. Pick your distance. Pick your pace. When you run with this crowd there’s a place for everyone.”
NRC H.I.T & Run (Thursdays) – “You run some days. You train some days. This workout brings the two together. We’ll mix high intensity training into your run to improve your overall endurance, speed, balance and mobility.”
NRC Long Run (Saturdays) – “This is the LSD run – we’ll cover a long, social, distance. You bring your social skills and we’ll bring the support you need to go the extra kilometres.”
NRC Morning Miles (Sundays) – “Get a running start on your morning. It’s simple. We’ll provide the Pacers and route. You take care of the miles. When you’re done with this no-frills morning session, we’ll have what you need to recover and keep it moving.”
To attend any of these events, you will need to reserve a spot at the Nike+ Toronto website. Every Sunday, runners can register for events for the upcoming week.
NRC events start from one of four locations in Toronto. The event we attended was the NRC Long Run which started at The Loft located at 548 Richmond Street W, Toronto. When you arrive, you’re registration details are confirmed and you’re provided with a wristband. Each wristband is a different color and represents a specific pace group. Pace groups range from 4:30/km to 6:30/km. I chose the black wristband for the 5:00/km pace group mostly because I like the color black, but partly because I wasn’t sure what to expect being my first time running with NRC.
Coaches and Pacers
NRC provides both expert coaches and pacers on the runs. NRC Coaches deliver expertise through one-on-one guidance and specialty training plans designed for all runners, motivating each runner to succeed in their goals. NRC Pacers support runners at every session by motivating and encouraging runners before, during and after every run.
What really pushed us to participate in an NRC event was the fact we know their newest coach, Brittany Moran. Brittany was instrumental in the progression I made this year thanks to the amazing “Building Better Runners” clinic I attended at The Runner’s Academy and recently joined NRC. My buddies Dom and Daniel also participated in the same clinic. We spotted Brittany and the NRC Long Run crew a week prior and decided then we would register for the next event.
NRC Long Run has both a 16km and 20km option for runners. My training schedule called for 28km that day, so I went with the 20km option. The routes change depending on the starting point and a few other factors. Our run took us North on Bathurst where we stopped at a small park for some running drills. A few minutes later, we were back on Bathurst heading towards Eglinton Avenue. The pace at this point was just over 5:00/km. At the 5km mark, we picked up the pace a bit and headed East on Eglinton Avenue. We then headed South on Yonge Street.
Having two pacers with the 5:00/km pace group allowed some of the faster runners to break off from the group and speed up a bit. Anyone who ran the Yonge Street 10K or Sporting Life 10K knows that Yonge Street is mostly downhill and you can really fly; however, this wasn’t a race, so we did have to compete with pedestrian traffic and traffic lights! We finally hit Richmond Street and headed West towards The Loft to drop off anyone who wanted to run the 16km distance. To complete the 20km route, we ran a loop around the neighbourhood and back to The Loft. Dylan asked if I wanted to sprint the final 200-300 metres and I obliged. I was close to 21km by the time we finished, so I just rounded up.
After the run, everyone headed into The Loft for water, snacks, and high-fives. The vibe was incredible and I finally understood why everyone raves about NRC! From start to finish, everything was well thought out and everyone from coaches, pacers, and other runners were very supporting and full of energy! While we were hanging out, I already started to think through my next opportunity to run with NRC again!
Now that I’ve completed my first ever NRC event, I have three words for anyone still deciding if they should register as well: