Erica Stanley-Dottin — BKLYN MILE

The mile. On paper, it's so pure. So simple. As runners, we tick them off with flippant disregard. Just something else to count — mile after mile with little thought. But what about when the mile is the race? When it's everything. How do you train for that? How do you break it down? We spoke to Erica Stanley-Dottin about the method to prepare and the madness of the race experience, as she readied herself to defend her Masters title at the BKLYN MILE, New York.

”Last year there were quarter-mile markers, which helped. I was trying to look at my watch, but it's so short that it's hard. You don't even have time to think.”

"For me, this has always been my thing. My time away. My one thing that I get to be intense about — for myself. But it's difficult. When I'm out there I've got to maximize the time, just like any other busy New Yorker. Getting out, doing that workout. And it has to be set, because my schedule is tight. My time isn't as free-flowing as perhaps other people I train with."

"You go really hard that first quarter, even in a road mile when it's not always obvious where you are distance-wise. You settle in for the second quarter. And then the third one is where you really turn it up. Obviously the last quarter you bring it home. That's what I always think about."

"In our heads we think 'Oh, it's just a mile', but it's still a race. So I'll be a little more strategic about things like breakfast. I'm not a morning person. Definitely not a morning person. But when it comes to races, that's a different scenario, right? You're up. The adrenaline is pumping and it's easier."

"What I've learned over the last year or two — as my body keeps adjusting — is that the strength training has definitely helped, but before each session or any training, I have to go through a full warm-up. The day I don't do that, I feel different. And after training my recovery is intense — stretching and foam rollers. But I'm at the point where if I want to keep running like this then I just have to do all of it."

Not every race can come together perfectly and Erica relinquished her title. But the process and the journey are as important as those few minutes of tunnel-vision on Kent Avenue. 

“The pressure is more external, luckily. I'm not super hard on myself in that way. It's fun to me. I like to just have a good time.”

Words by Ross Lovell, Photos by Keith Montero.