How I Shaved More Than 3 Minutes Off My Average Mile Pace — in Just a Month
It was 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning, and I was running down the middle of the deserted 90 freeway in LA, shoulder to shoulder with about 8,000 other people. While this scenario might sound like the opening scene of a zombie horror movie, I was actually competing in my second-ever 10K — and when my Nike Run Club app alerted me to my average pace as I hit my first mile, I realized I was completely obliterating my own expectations.
Let me back up. Five weeks earlier, the team at Nike emailed to ask if I wanted to join a group of editors training for its "Choose Go" 10K. We would be coached by one of Nike's pro running coaches, Blue Benadum, and outfitted with a pair of its newest running shoe, the Nike Epic React Flyknit. It seemed insane — even shameful — to pass up the chance to be coached by a guy who usually only bothers with elite athletes and Olympians. But did I really have time to commit to a training regimen? It had also been less than a year since I'd gone to physical therapy to correct my radiculitis-contralateral pelvic drop (say that three times fast!). As I understood it, I'd been dropping my left hip, crunching a nerve, and sending a buzzing, insistent pain down the back of my right leg every time I jogged, though PT seemed to have corrected it.
I had completed a 10K trail run the previous Thanksgiving, but I hadn't really trained. Plus, that course was crazy steep, completely bottlenecked with hundreds of people trying to navigate the narrow trail, and it was nearly 90 degrees on race day — not exactly the ideal conditions to really get a sense of my capabilities.
So, before I could change my mind, I hit send on my reply. I was in.