Beginner Running Group 27 February 2012

Hello Runners,

Canary Wharf……. done.  Now we’re moving on to Kew!  Congratulations on a fabulous run last week.  Canary Wharf is HUGE – it’s such a long run.  Kew is further, but it should feel a bit easier than the run to Canary Wharf.   For Kew, we run down Lisson Grove to Hyde Park.  We’ll do a diagonal across the park then run west out Kensington High Street to Hammersmith where we cross the river Thames.  Once we cross the river, we run along the riverbank on a dirt path to Kew.  It’s lovely – a beautiful route.  There is a Starbucks in Kew.  After some stretching and a coffee, we’ll take the train back to West Hampstead or Finchley Road, then tube or bus back to SJW.  
If you have some gels, bring one.  If you don’t have any gels yet, I’ll have plenty to choose from in my backpack.  You will also need your water bottles and Oyster card.  For the gels, if you are running in the front or middle packs, try to wait until 8 miles to do your gel.  If you are in the back of the pack, we’ll probably do it a bit earlier.  You need to do the gel before you feel you need it, so try to be diligent about that.  Once you feel as though you need a gel, it’s a bit late.  
As for the next few weeks, I’m not 100% sure what we will be doing.  We will definitely be going to Wembley on Thursday, 8 March, but the following week (15 March) I’ll decide about after this run to Kew.  We may do another long run.  Let me know if you have a preference or you feel you need another long run or would prefer to have more of a rest.  The Thursday before the race we’ll be running an easy 60 minutes at a very gentle pace.  Does that crack you up?  When did 60 minutes of running become easy?
Ladies, I know you don’t believe me (yet), but you’re ready for this race.  There have been many years when the beginners group longest run was to Canary Wharf – and then they went on to do the half-marathon and all finished.  You are way ahead of schedule.  You’ll be doing Kew this week, then possibly one more long run before the race.  You’re amazing.  Please let me know if it’s all becoming too much.  I’ll keep pushing you until you tell me that’s it – you’ve had enough!  
One final comment – to the “Carols” and Sujatha….  running to Canary Wharf is enough – there is no need to add mileage here and there.  If you want to run further, let me know!!!  We can leave the group at Kew this week and carry on to Richmond.  No worries!!!  (Please know I’m kidding!).
One more final comment/question, if you have “found” your running partner or your running “pack”, let me know how you’re seeing that.  We need to start finalizing how/where everyone will be running in the race.  It would be most helpful to know where you see yourself fitting in.  Honestly.  Like this……  I feel comfortable running with x, I’m usually slightly ahead of y, and usually I’m slightly behind z.  Some of you have told me this while we’re running but I must be getting old.  I can’t remember it 2 minutes later when I’m home and looking at your group listing.  Thanks a million for that!
See you Thursday,

Beginner Running Group 19 February 2012

Hello Everyone,

We’re in major countdown mode for the half-marathon – 5 weeks to go!!!  The last week we’ll be tapering down our training, so basically we have 4 weeks of training left which will look like this:
23 Feb – 1 hour 50 minutes to Canary Wharf
1 Mar – 2 hours to Kew
8 Mar – “only” 90 minutes to Wembley – we cut back a bit this week to allow for recovery.  This route is important as it is almost 100% non-stop running – very similar to how the race will feel
15 Mar – 2 hours 10 minutes – route to be determined

All of these times are only estimates.  You’ve seen now how the front of the pack sometimes finishes the route slightly under the suggested “running time” and the back of the pack is running for more minutes than the estimated time.  This is fine – no worries.  It’s supposed to work this way.  At this point in the schedule, I’m giving you the minutes of running time but I know what that will equate to in terms of mileage.  If you are completing the run, then you’re doing the necessary mileage to be ready for the race.  It doesn’t matter if that distance takes you 1:48 instead of 1:50 or 2 hours instead of 1:50.  

Over the next few weeks, you should continue to run three times per week with one run being long, one 60 minutes and one 45 minutes.  If your goal in Lisbon is to finish the race (with dignity intact!!!) then there is no need to push your pace on any of these runs.  It’s more important that you enjoy the running and not get hurt.  This program takes a lot of discipline – the long runs alone can be overwhelming.  If you are stressing your body/mind on the shorter runs, it may all become too much.  That being said, if you are wanting to get faster or do the half-marathon in a certain time, then do your 45 minute run at a tempo pace.  That means try to run a route that doesn’t have a lot of street crossings (the canal is perfect) and run hard enough that you could talk but you don’t really want to.  This type of running is not necessary to perform well in Lisbon.  It’s 100% your choice, but what I would recommend is to hang with the pace we’ve been doing for now then after the race work on increasing your speed.  
For Thursday, bring your water bottles and a gel if you’ve bought some.  I’ll have a bunch of gels with me for anyone who needs one.  We’ll take the Jubilee Line back to SJW.  For anyone in a hurry, you should be back to SJW by 11:00-11:15 depending on how the run goes.  
Lastly, I know these times/routes may seem intimidating, but you can do it.  As we run, we’ll talk about how to mentally tackle long-distances.  We’re a strong group – you have a ton of support from your co-runners.  Some people find it helps to not think of running an hour and 50 minutes, but to think “This is only 10 minutes more than what I did 2 weeks ago”.  And to all of you who are not coming to Lisbon, please keep coming out and doing these long runs.  We miss you!  You don’t have to be going to Lisbon to get yourself fitness enough to do a half-marathon.  Come train with us!
See you Thursday,

Beginner Running Group 5 February 2012

Hello Everyone!

Well, we survived last week.  We did it!  That was a tough run.  I thought that we’d have lots of mini-breaks at lights running through Chelsea, but no such luck.  It was as though all the street crossing signs were stuck on green men, but we made it.  This week’s long run will be 100 minutes of running time.  We’ll keep the route interesting so we are all distracted from the running.  Our route will take us out the canal to the west.  We will run past Notting Hill, past the Sainsbury’s at Ladbrook Grove, and come off the canal at Wood Lane.  We will basically run south on Wood Lane to Hammersmith Bridge, cross over the river Thames, and run along the river back to Putney.  We will come home by train from Putney to Waterloo, then the Jubilee Line to SJW.  It’s a quick trip home.  We will do gels again this week.  I’ll bring a bunch for you to sample.  Some of you found the gel you like last week and have already ordered some for yourself.  If you need help in finding these gels online, let me know.  Don’t forget your water bottles!
This is our last long run for two weeks – during the ASL break you have a recovery week.  Your long run that week will be 60 minutes.  It will feel great!    Ladies, we are really almost done.  Get through this week, then you have a rest week, then we have 3 more long runs.  That’s it.  You’re almost there.  Psychologically these long runs are tough.  I have no profound words of wisdom on how to prepare for them.  Just remember to get back to the basics – eat a good breakfast, eat well the night before, hydrate, try to have a restful night, and most important…  tell yourself positive things.  Pump yourself up.  If you hear that negative tape playing in your mind, choose to shut it off.  You can do this.  I know you can.  I also know it’s hard and can be overwhelming.  Think of your friends – they are all doing it and they are all as scared as you.  Show up – just make yourself show up at Starbucks.  Once we get going, you’ll be OK.  You have a group of people ready to hold your hand or give you a pep talk, but you have to get yourself there.  
Your Tuesday, mid-distance run should be 60 minutes from now on unless it’s a recovery week (Tues, 14 Feb and Tues, 6 March).  I’ve given a route option to your fearless Tuesday leaders, but know you can always just run along the canal in either direction, run down to Hyde Park or run loops around Regent’s Park until you have your 60 minutes done.  No worries.
Lastly, the weather should be slightly better by Thursday.  We run in all conditions except ice.  If it’s snowing, that’s fine.  If it’s raining, that’s fine.  But, if there’s a risk of hitting ice, it’s not worth it.  If that’s the case, I’ll send out an email the night before to cancel and we’ll figure out how to adjust our schedule to do a “make-up” run.
See you Thursday if not before!
Happy Running,