Nike+ NYC

Last weekend, I switched it up from my usual JackRabbit long run on Saturday mornings and decided to try out the Nike+Live run leaving from their Upper East Side store (3rd Avenue between 66th & 67th Streets).

(Hello, random bike)

While I love my JackRabbit runs,  I highly recommend checking out a Nike+ long run if you are cracking down and getting serious about your marathon training (‘tis the season!)
I’ll tell you the main reasons why I say that.

1)        The Nike+ runs start at 8 a.m. Usually, I’m all for a 9 a.m. start time on a Saturday morning- a little extra time to sleep in after Friday night never hurts, after all.  But when your mileage starts increasing, and you’re spending upwards of 3 hours on a long run, finishing after noon can put a monkey wrench in plans for the day.  This particular Saturday, my parents were coming to visit, so I knew I needed to be done running by 11ish.
2)        The Nike+ runs get up there in mileage- this past weekend there was an option to run a 4 mile route, 12 mile route or 18 mile route! I had been wanting to do 16, but ending up settling for the 12 mile group and adding my own 2 miles on the way home to make sure I was back in time for my parents. The different options definitely helped- and there aren’t many free, organized running groups that I’ve come across that go 18 miles!
3)        The group was definitely geared towards people training for upcoming marathons. One of the Nike+ staff members gave a little speech on the megaphone before we set out, reminding us that with the weather changing, we should start getting using to running in capris and other warmer clothes since that’s what we’ll be wearing for our races.
4)        For each mileage group, there were pacers. So for the 12 mile group, there was a <8:00/mile pacer, an 8:30-9:30/mile pacer and a 10:00+ “sexy pace” pacer. They were dressed in neon green and it was my first experience running with a pacer and super helpful! Although I do find that whenever a runner sets out to run a specific pace- they end up going faster.
5)        The group was very organized. You checked in when you got there, could check your bag inside, use the restroom (although the line for the one stall was insane), and then head outside to your specific group. They took a group photo of each group and we left pretty much on time, which was impressive for the number of people there (my guess is around 150 for the 3 different mileage groups).
6)        At the half way point, and along the run for the 18 mile group, there was a stop where you could pick up water, Gatorade, Kind bars, Cliff bars and Gus!
7)        Because the group is broken up into different paces, there is no stopping and waiting if people fall behind.
8)        They have pre-printed, legit, running route cards- so again, if you fall behind, you know where the group is headed and we don’t have to stop and wait for you or be worried that you’re lost forever.
9)        There are photographers that follow you out on the course and then they email you the pictures the next day, which is pretty cool!

Saturday I set out with the 8:30-9:30 pace group but ended up running with the front group. The 8:00 pacer was a great guy named Fish, who I had some great conversations with and soon we realized we were cruising along with 7:45-7:50 miles. It was a pretty great run. At the end of it, there was more coconut water, water, Gatorade and chocolate milk to grab and then I ran another 2 miles to home to make a nice solid 14 mile total for the day.

The only real con I can come up with for the Nike+ run is that you need to register for it online, and they do fill up. But I mean, technically, there is nothing stopping you from walking by the store and hopping into the crowd (shh, I didn’t tell you that!)