Nick Wical

Monday, July 11, 2016

Q. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do for a living?

I’m a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. My background is in criminology, and I do research and evaluation for the city. I am also fortunate enough to have incorporated running into my professional life. I’m an RRCA-certified long distance running coach, and I coach for NYRR as well as privately in addition to working in NYRR Runner Services at races. And I love runners so much that I also work at JackRabbit doing gait analysis and shoe fits. I’m kinda everywhere in the running world. In short, I like to keep busy doing all the things that I love – crunching numbers and running around. 
Q. How do you balance your exercise regime and your professional life?

I’m fortunate enough to be able to include my exercise regime into my professional life. In addition to the coaching, I work out early Wednesday and Friday mornings at 6:28 am with the NYC November Project tribe. This usually means waking up before 5am alongside my partner to make it into the city and up to Gracie Mansion (on Wednesdays) in time for the workout (Fridays move all over the city each week). 
Q. When and why did you start running?

I want to say to get healthier and fit. The reality is I was depressed after the sudden loss of my best friend. Two days after visiting her in DC, she didn’t wake up. At the time, most of my friends were in Virginia or DC so I didn’t have much of a support system in NY. I found myself eating the worst foods, and avoiding being outside and around people as much as possible. After six months of living like that, I went for a walk, decided walking wasn’t enough to quiet my mind so I started running. I maybe only ran 1-2 miles, but somewhere in there, I didn’t feel terrible. So I started running more often, and signing up for races so I would have something to do every weekend. My first year of running, I ran a race nearly every weekend. 
Q. What motivates you to go out there, when you do not feel like it?
I have an accountabillabuddy, Chris Mosier, who checks in on me, and is a tremendous source of inspiration and motivation. My partner is also a runner, and she is also an incredible motivator. Even if I don’t feel like running, I always genuinely enjoy running with her since the pace is a little easier for me, we can talk, and we get a little extra time together. I’m sure that sounds cheesy, but sometimes the truth is cheesy.
Q. What is the longest distance you have ran?

A 60k – 9 loops of a 4 mile section of Central Park – yep, NINE loops over 5.5 hours. 
Q. What gives you the confidence to run in the streets?

I’m pretty compact and I’m quick and light on my feet. I’m pretty good at jumping up on the sidewalk or other objects to get out of the way of cars. I’m sure one day that might come back to bite me in the butt, but if I’m going to run in the streets, why not be a little cocky about it? 
Q. What do you think about the lack of exercise among the youth?

I know plenty of kids who are active and involved in numerous activities. My opinion is the lack of exercise among youth is equally detrimental as the overabundance of exercise for some youth. Kids should absolutely be active in some form or fashion, whether that’s a team sport, fitness classes, or just running around; however, there are so many kids who bounce between karate, gymnastics, basketball, baseball, cross country, and they get burnt out. But to get back to the question, I grew up in a generation in which I was not allowed to play video games all day and sit around, but I also didn’t want to sit around because I wanted to see my friends, and that meant going outside often. As much as I love technology, it’s become so much easier to connect to your buddies online so you don’t have to go anywhere. I’m hoping that the advancement of games continues to try and incorporate more active participation on the part of youth, like the Wii Fit, dance games, etc…. It’s better than just sitting still, and can be a launching point for getting outside.
Q. What was your best running experience?

I’ve finished 8 marathons, and the NYC Marathon stands out as my favorite race experience. It’s not just because I live in NY, it’s because of the incredible energy of the crowds along every part of the course. I used to listen to music on my runs and in races, but I popped out those headphones for NYC – nothing pumps you up more than thousands of people calling your name and cheering for you. 
Q. What was your worst running experience?

The Vermont Marathon this year (2016). I DNF’ed because of the heat, but it was and has continued to be mentally devastating. I trained with a good friend of mine and fellow coach hard and consistently, but all the training can’t account for the weather. By mile 11, it felt like mile 23, and I wanted to collapse. I pushed through to the half-marathon point, and I knew I was done. An hour and a half later, the race was stopped due to the heat, and I knew I made the right call. But this was only my second DNF over more than 100 races. 
Q. How do you push through the pain?

I don’t really have a mantra. I remind myself though that I can stop at any time. I choose to put myself through hard training days knowing there is a bigger goal in mind. And if I’m in actual pain, I’m experienced enough to know when to stop and have things checked out, and that’s not always easy for a runner to do since it can mean not running for a while. 
Q. What advice can you give somebody who wants to start running?

First, Get fitted for shoes. You really don’t know how good the right shoe feels until you’re in it. Second, speed is relative. I promise you no one cares how fast or slow you are, we’re just happy you’re here in our community. 
Q. Which Social media sites are you on and how can one follow you?

I’m on Facebook (nick.wical) and Instagram (@matthewous)

1. My best running shoes is the Luna Sandal Monos

2. I love running because it feels like flying

3. Injury is physical or mental, and TEMPORARY

4. My body is built to fly

5. My running playlist has Taylor Swift 
6. I hate running when it’s freezing outside and hailing

7. Pain is a flag to listen to your body

8. The road helps to propel me forward 
9. Sweat is what keeps me cool

10. In future, I would like to run a 50 miler

11. Indie means I have no idea

12. I do not like runners who complain about new runners not knowing how to hydrate or how to train. Everyone was new at one time or another. Listen, help if you can, and remember what it was like to be new. 

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