Beginner Running Group 30 January 2012

Hello Uber-runners!

We have a great week ahead of us.  Thursday will be our longest run to date – 90 minutes of running.  Yeah!!!  I’ll bring a backpack full of gels for you to sample.  If you like the one you try, then save the packet so you can order the exact brand/flavor.  Most of the gels that I recommend are available in limited supplies at the running or biking stores here in London, so I usually just order them online.  That way you don’t waste your time going to Runners Need then find they don’t happen to have the exact gel you’re looking for.  Please remember your water bottles – you will need them this week. 90 minutes is a very long run so you need to stay hydrated, but you’ll also need some water after you eat a gel.
I’ve heard from some of you that last week’s run was very difficult.  Don’t beat yourself up over that!  Those long loops from St. John’s Wood are difficult.  I’m serious that London sits on an incline.  It’s uphill from the river to St. John’s Wood.  Loops are great as we get back to SJW more efficiently, but we’ll always have that incline to deal with.  It’s doable and you’ll get used to it, but it takes a few weeks.  For most of our super long runs, we’ll be doing destination running to keep the route flat.  As for hills in general, I wouldn’t recommend running hills until after the Lisbon race.  I know some of you are running to Hampstead and loving it – that’s great!  But as a rule, if you are a beginner runner, I try to keep you away from hills until after the race.  The reasons are more psychological than physiological.  I’m happy to explain sometime while we’re running.  For now, treat it as a free pass!  Hills are hard and you can procrastinate attacking that challenge until you get your distance up.  Let’s concentrate on running long until after the race, then I promise I’ll take you on some fabulous routes through Hampstead, Highgate, Finsbury, Dollis Valley, etc.  There’s some beautiful running up there!!!
We are going to try tweaking our Tuesday runs.  Here’s the problem – we’re a big group.  That’s a good thing, but a big group can’t always stay together particularly on runs through the city with street crossings.  Until now Sherry has kindly taken the lead on setting a route and making sure no one gets lost.  Here’s what we’re going to try…..  I’ve asked (translation – basically I held them down, twisted an arm behind their backs until they agreed) Carol Whittaker and Sujatha to work with Sherry on leading/pacing the group.  Carol usually runs in the middle of the pack and Sujatha is usually towards the back of the pack.  All three of these girls are fabulous at keeping a steady pace.  So beginning tomorrow, Sherry, Carol and Sujatha will know the route.  If the group becomes separated, no worries – they’ll be someone with you who knows where to go.  So if the front of the pack makes a light, there will be no need to wait – they can keep on running.  I’ve told them that they’re not responsible for anyone (I know you all feel responsible for each other – I love that about your group).  In fact, it will be even more important that they keep their steady pace.  If people fall behind, that’s OK.  It’s London – there’s always a way to get home.  Anyway, let’s give it a try.  If it doesn’t work, we’ll scrap this idea.  Eventually everyone in the group will learn these routes, but for now, let’s see if it helps with 3 of you being familiar with the route on Tuesday.  Tomorrow is the last time that your mid-distance run is 45 minutes.  Next week, we’ll be doing 60 minutes on Tuesday, the long run on Thursday and 35-45 minutes on the weekend.  If you want to go ahead and do 60 minutes tomorrow, that’s fine.  You’re ready for it.  Sherry, Carol and Sujatha have a route idea that easily allows for a 45 minute or a 60 minute run.  
On Thursday, we’ll be running to Vauxhall via Hyde Park and Battersea Park.  We’ll run by the Battersea Power Station and the New Covent Garden flower market.  The trip home by tube is pretty quick.  We’ll jump on the Victoria line to Green Park then switch to the Jubilee to get back to SJW.  
Have a great week of running!

Beginner Running Group 25 January 2012

Hello Runners,

This week we are doing an 80 minute long run on Thursday.  The route will be a loop through Regents Park, down Regent St., along Piccadilly, then into Hyde Park, up Seymour/Lisson back to Starbucks.  I am in the US so won’t be joining you, but your other coaches will take good care of you!
The last couple of miles of this route are on a slight uphill incline so you may find this run more difficult than last week’s run.  If it feels harder, don’t be disheartened – hang in there.  If you have to slow your pace – do that.  Try not to walk; just slow your pace down to a very slow jog.  It is convenient to do a loop to and from St. John’s Wood from time to time, but that usually means running on an incline.  From SJW, everything generally slopes down to the river so if you run south, it’s uphill coming home.  If you run north, you have to run uphill to start then downhill to finish.  Let’s see how this goes.
The following week we are up to 90 minutes of running and the route will not be a loop (so it will be slightly downhill and/or flat).  It will feel easy like last week’s run, so we all have that to look forward to!!!  I’ll be sending out another email this weekend giving you a lot more information about our training in the upcoming weeks, some suggestions for your Tuesday and weekend runs, as well as specific information about how the 90 minute, gel-fueled run will work.
I’ll miss you all, but I must admit this warm and sunny Texas weather isn’t bad!

Beginner Running Group 16 January 2012

Hello Runners,

Some of you are going to extremes to get out of these long runs!  Just a word on how I operate – once you’re in my radar, you can’t escape.  It takes a heck of lot more than throwing out a back for me to let you off the hook!!!  But good try Mary! 330.png  (just kidding!)
Last week’s run was a good one.  We did it and we did it well.  Ladies, I know last week was hard for most of you – we are getting up to some serious mileage.  Long distances are hard, but you should feel a step-change in your running in the next week or two.  This week will be a repeat of last week in terms of distance/time but the route is going to be fabulous and I think you will find it easier than last week’s run.  If I’m right, I’ll explain why this is true after our run.  If I’m wrong, let’s just pretend I never said that!
On Thursday, we’ll head down to Borough Market and finish at the Starbucks down there (which is quite large and has a lot of seating).  The market is much smaller on Thursday and doesn’t open until 11:00, but some of the vendors will be setting up stalls by the time we finish coffee.
As these runs get longer you may consider eating a bit more breakfast than you normally do, you will definitely need to carry water with you, and I encourage you to eat something at the finish of the run (within 30 minutes of running if possible). I’ve given you the guidelines in terms of carbs/protein/fat so aim for that mix, but at a minimum – eat something!  We have this week’s run at 70 minutes, next week is 80 minutes then the following week is 90 minutes.  On that 90 minute run (2 February), I’ll carry a backpack full of gels and we’ll try those for the first time.  Yum!  Yum!
Let me know if you have any questions/concerns.  I’m happy to help!

Beginner Running Group 11 January 2012

Hello everyone,

Goodness, I’m so sorry for the extremely late email.  I’ve just left you ladies to your own devices all week.  You must have thought I had gone into hermit mode or something!  We have a lovely run scheduled for tomorrow.  It’s 70 minutes of running time and we have a fabulous route which mixes up a stretch along the canal with some street running.  We’re going to take the pace very gently – particularly along the canal so don’t worry!  We will be finishing at the big Starbucks on Oxford Street across from Selfridges.  That location is big enough to accomodate us if people want to stay for coffee afterwards.  I may or may not be with you – I’m nursing an injury and will just wait and see how I feel in the am.  If I’m not there, remind Becky to slow down, tell Syma to not make you run any extra bridges and be extra nice to Bonnie as she’s been unwell this week.
Including tomorrow we have 5 long runs before the February break.  Tomorrow and next week will be very similar runs, then the following 3 weeks we will be increasing the length of the runs.  The break in February will be a recovery week for us.  We will cut back on the length of our long run and let our bodies rest a bit.  So, no worries if you will be away that week.  We will all cut-back on our training.
I hope to see you tomorrow,
PS – There are a few ladies on this email distribution who I haven’t seen in awhile.  You are most welcome to stay on the distribution, but if you are getting tired of the weekly blah, blah, blah – just let me know.  If you’ve decided this is not the year for you to do this but are interested in trying again sometime, I’m happy to put you on the list for the next beginner group which will start in September.

Beginner Running Group 1 January 2012

Hello Runners,

I hope you had a fabulous holiday season.  January is here and I guess it’s time to get back into a routine.  We have a great few weeks ahead of us.  I’m so excited!  I’ve attached the training program for those of you who don’t have it.  Our long runs (in minutes of actual running time) for January are 60, 70, 70, 80 minutes.  Yeah!  This week’s 60 minutes will be a re-hash for those of you who have been on the regular schedule over the holidays.  For those of you who have been on an adjusted schedule over the holidays, the run this week will just get you back up to where we were before the break.  We’re ready for this – I promise.  The last run we had before the break was incredible.  You actually messed me up by running so well.  The plan I had about where we were running was blown to bits as we far exceeded the mileage I had hoped for.  Well done!  Now we can carry that fabulous running into January!!!
This week we’ll be doing a nice route down to Big Ben then we’ll cross over Westminster Bridge.  From there, we’ll run along the south-side embankment in front of the London Eye and National Theatre then cross back over the river at the Hungerford Bridge.  Then we will run along the north-side embankment back to Westminster tube station.  We are actually crossing over two bridges so feel free to follow Syma – she’s not trying to add on mileage this time!!!
During January, your other two weekly runs should be 45 and 35 minutes (running time).  Beginning in February, those runs will go up to 45 minutes and 60 minutes (this is a bit of a change, an increase, from the attached program).  You will be absolutely fine following this schedule and running at the pace we normally do.  The pace we run on Thursdays is what we will do for the half-marathon.  If you are interested in pushing yourself a bit more (again, this is NOT necessary but some of you have asked), try doing the 35 minute weekly run at a quicker pace.  You don’t even really have to think about running faster – just think about picking your feet up off the ground a bit more quickly.  DON’T think about lengthening your stride – DO think about picking up your feet like that hot potato game.  A quicker foot turnover translates into a quicker pace without adjusting your normal gait (which can lead to injury).  It may help to think about picking your knees up in front of you as though you are marching.  That action forces your gluts to “participate” which also will increase your speed.  If you don’t want to do this, don’t do it.  Don’t feel guilty about that.  You’re doing extremely well to stick to the program and you’re doing great with the distances we are running.  There is no need to go any faster, but I completely understand why some of you are asking about it.  It’s kind of fun to test yourself.
As our runs get longer, you may want to think about what you are eating for breakfast pre-run.  Experts suggest 50g carbs, 3-5g protein and 2-3g fat (the fat is very important pre-run).  That could be half a bagel spread with nut butter or cream cheese, oatmeal with nuts or nut butter mixed-in, cereal with milk, yogurt with some granola or crushed cereal on top, or yogurt and a banana.  Those are just some suggestions.  Within 30 minutes of a long run, you should aim to take in another 50g carbs, 10g protein and 1-2g fat (the fat is less important post-run).  This could be a tall latte and half a muffin, bagel or scone from Starbucks or yogurt and a latte, or a latte and a banana or mixed fruit cup.  You are probably fine with whatever you are doing until February.  It works like this…..  your body has about 1000-1200 stored, fairly-accessible calories available to you.  For most of us, that will be enough fuel for exercising 1:30 to 1:45 hours.  Beyond that, we need to “top-up” fuel sources to power you through the last few miles of the half-marathon.  We’ll do that with gels.  Once our runs get to 90 minutes in length, I’ll bring along a bunch of gels that you can sample.  You can try different flavors and brands and decide what you like.  Once you “find your gel”, then you can buy some either online or at running stores.  We will test gels on most of our training runs during February and March.  We need to make sure they don’t make you feel sick.  For those of you new to gels, you’ll love them!  They don’t taste great but they give you this boost after about 6-8 minutes – it’s like magic!  Some of you may prefer to use sports drink as fuel.  That is a little more complicated, but we can make it work if that’s what you want.
OK, that’s probably more than enough information for one email.  Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  I’m happy to help!
See you Thursday,