The Nike Running Clinic has formally started. Unlike the classroom-like session of the orientation, last night’s session makes you feel like an athlete, well, sort of, because the session was held in the Ultra oval. Plus you have real coaches to assist you and answer your questions.
I got to Ultra past 7pm (I walked from my office in Ortigas to Ultra) and when I arrived I saw several of my “classmates” doing their warm-up exercises, so I guess it started on time. Remember the “registration forms” I mentioned from the orientation with everyone’s cell phone number? Well it’s back (I think Nike wants all of us to know each other well that they are sharing our numbers to everyone, hehe), and it looks like it’s here to stay. It served as attendance sheets but I was surprised with our “ID…”
Since not everyone arrived at the same time, the participants are grouped by batches (of arrival) so it was more manageable and organized; each coach was handling only a handful of “students.”
This session is about assessing each individual’s running skills, and according to Coach Rio this helps group people by their running levels so you don’t get left behind by experienced runners on time trials (nobody wants to eat dust!).
The session began with a warm-up easy run (or jog if preferred), 4 laps around the oval, 1.6km (1 mile). This was followed by stretching and some exercises. I don’t know what these exercises are called as I never did any of those, but one of it involves butt-kicking (your own). You have to attend the session to see what I mean. And it was fun! We were laughing while doing some of the stretching activities especially the ones that involved balancing (can you tell me what a center of gravity is?).
Some were actually surprised by this but this was actually mentioned on the website. This involved three (3) sprints: 4-laps (1.6km), 2-laps (800m), and 1-lap (400m) runs. This is not an “or” selection but an “and” list meaning you have to do it ALL, but of course there’s ample amount of time to rest in between (about 10-15 minutes).
The men and women have different starting area so we don’t crowd each other, so our running group was composed of only seven (7) individuals (myself included) , all male. I was actually surprised by how competitive some of my “classmates” were. I didn’t expect them to run seriously and, being a competitive person myself, I ran at our group’s pace which was considerably faster than what we do on longer races. If I remember correctly, my time for 1.6km was 7:15 (about 4:32/km). And, like I mentioned earlier, this was followed by rest, then a 2-lap sprint, rest, and the final 1-lap dash. Coach Rio and his “associates” were the ones counting our lap and recording our times (he actually counts your lap and shouts “last lap!”). He’s actually more accurate than the tabulators during real races!
After the final 1-lap run we were told to cool down with a 1-lap walk. This time everyone’s exhausted (we ran like it was the real thing on the last run) so walking was quite relaxing. Lastly we had some final stretching (quite a few), still just the guys.
The Ultra oval was an excellent place for running, the track has room for improvements but it was excellent nonetheless. The coaches were so friendly and accommodating and even though your “classmates” are virtually strangers the “class” was relaxed. I guess runners are naturally friendly (except maybe during real races, hehe).
The session was well-managed, very organized, and I don’t have any negative feedback, a sports drink and food partner perhaps? They even have a baggage counter for your things so you don’t have to get back in your car just to get your drinks.
The next session on Friday at the Fort is similar to what we did, with the exception of running in the streets on time-trials. I highly recommend this clinic because not only is it free, it’s also fun! You actually learn new things, meet new friends, and you’re in the hands of the pros. To those who’ll attend the Friday session I advise you to bring drinks as these sprints really take their toll (I actually drank more liquid in these sprints than I do in 10k runs!). And don’t forget to have fun! Run safe!