For a while now, I've been focusing on running further. I'd completely forgotten the wheezy, iron taste of running so fast your lungs try to escape but it definitely has its place in training for endurance events. It teaches you the mental strength needed to keep going through pain, the experience to recover quickly and the knowledge that you can survive more than you thought possible. It also gets you used to running faster, so your race times are likely to shrink.
Nike want to help you find your fast with a new track club that will be sure to get you tearing round any course. The best way to start? See how fast you are now with a timed mile, then revisit it after a few weeks' training to see just how much you can smash off your time.
Before we tested our speed on the underground track, we were handed some inspiration and treated to interviews with legendary athletes Paula Radcliffe and Steve Cram, and superstars of the future from the GB athletics team, who practically strolled the mile curse in five minutes-something.
To psyche us up, we had a masterclass with a team GB sports psychologist, who took us through the visualisation skills, body language and positive talk of a winner. The secret? Focus on specific targets, go through your whole race strategy in your head, stand tall and know you're as prepared as can be.
Finally, we lined up to put everything we'd learnt to the test. With no distance markers and no pacers, my only option was to run hard, trying to leave some energy in the tank to make sure I finished. My heart thumped in my chest as I gasped for air, willing my legs to keep moving and for the end to appear. Whilst none of my mile felt comfortable, I was definitely more settled in the second lap of the looped course, as I started to accept the pain.
The professional tips obviously helped (along with the new Nike Air Zoom Vomero 10, which seem to rock your feet forward and ready you to sprint) – I ran my fastest ever mile! I can't wait to see how fast I can go with a few sessions at the track.
Join the Nike Milers every Wednesday at Mile End Park Stadium, 7–9pm.
Sign up here.