23 Beginner Note 23 March 2014


Dear Beginners,


What an amazing run last week.  We were a big group and everyone managed to finish.  It was a tough run, but there is nothing easy about running 11 miles.  Us coaches and Chris, as well as Jane (who emailed us afterwards to see how the run went) got goosebumps when you all came through – I know I keep saying it, but it is inspiring to us to see how far you have come in the last 6 months.  You make our jobs so much easier!


Next week, you should be running about 60 minutes on Tuesday, and 45 on Thursday.  As a group, on Thursday, we will run to Big Ben.  This should be a nice fun run, and a piece of cake compared to last Thursday.  You won’t need any gels, just bring your Oyster cards as we will be getting onto the tube at Westminster to head back to SJW. 


You should all have received the email from Jane with the itinerary and details for the trip next weekend.  Let me know if you have not.  As far as we are concerned, we would like you to think about what your goals are for the race.  If you have a specific time you would like to run it in, let me know.  Other than that, we will be running similarly to the way we have been in the past few weeks.  I will run out in front, with Bonnie in the middle, and Betsy behind Bonnie and you should decide which ‘sub group’ you want to run with.  This does not mean you are bound to any group/coach, but it will give us coaches some idea of who to look out for.  We may well all split up, as we did last week so it would help if you could pick one, or a couple of people who you can, and have run comfortably with just so you are not alone if you lag behind your coach, or indeed decide you can go faster.  We will all start off pretty slowly for the first couple of miles – the tendency is to rush off at the beginning, but your coaches will make sure you run at the right pace so that you do not tire early on.  Don’t forget, you will need to take your gels at 70 minutes, and then again at 1:55 or 2 hours.  Please be sure to do that, even if you are not tired – once you become too tired, it is usually too late for the gel to kick in!  The most important thing is to enjoy yourselves.  There is no reason this should be any different to the training runs – you should all be chatting, and running in the way we have been doing all along.  No need to be nervous – treat it like another training run! 


See you all next Thursday,



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Beginner Note 23 March 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014


16 Beginner Note 16 March 2014


Dear Runners,


Well, here we are, ready to run our last long run before the half marathon!  You have all worked so hard, and kept up with your training, and are now more than ready.  I know some of you (myself included) found the run last week hard, but it was warm, and we had a long stretch in the park, followed by an incline home, so there was nothing easy about it, even though we cut back the time and mileage!  You have to keep reminding yourselves, that there is nothing easy about running these long distances! 


This week we will be running to Kew Gardens.  We will run down Seymour Place, through Hyde Park (either diagonally across or along the perimeter – I am not sure just yet), along High Street Kensington to Hammersmith, and then across Hammersmith Bridge and down along the river where we will run to Kew Bridge, when we will come out onto the road and follow it to Kew Bridge Station.  There is a Starbucks right there by the station.  Please bring your Oyster cards – we will most likely take the overground to West Hampstead, and then get onto the Underground to SJW.  There is also an option of taking the Underground directly from Kew, although I find that takes longer.  I have attached a map, although we may take a slightly different route through the park to make it slightly longer.  The aim is to run 130 minutes.


Please bring plenty of water, your gels (you may need to take 2) and an Oyster card.  You may want a jacket to put on after the run as the ride home can be cold, although the forecast is for good weather.  Make sure you fuel before the run and have a good breakfast – different things work for different people, just go with what works best for you, but in general, even if you don’t normally have breakfast before you run, do have something to eat before this long run.


As you have noticed in the past few runs, we are falling into a pattern with pace groups, although as the runs get longer, we do spread out more.  I will bring a couple of more detailed maps with me on Thursday morning, just in case you think you may lag behind or go ahead of the group.  One of the coaches will be waiting at the bridge where we leave the river, and also at the Starbucks in Hammersmith, so that we can make sure no one is left behind.  At this point you should be thinking of who you will be running with in the Half Marathon, and what sort of pace you would like to run it.  If any of you have a specific goal, please let me know, and I will try to help you towards achieving your goal.  It always helps to have a partner (or a few) that you can run with during the race, although your three coaches will try to keep with you.


See you Thursday




Beginner Note 16 March 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014


9 Beginner Note 9 March 2014


Dear Beginner Runners,


What an incredible run to Canary Wharf by all of you!  Kavita and Colleen – great job for getting out early – we loved having coffee with you both and well done for manoeuvring it all alone!  For those of you who ran with the coaches, you did a great job too – chatting throughout most of the run, and keeping your sense of humour, and negotiating your way along the canal with all those crazy bikers!  Julie, Leeann and Peg, hats off to you for getting out this morning and running it instead of enjoying a lazy Sunday, after what must have been a hectic few days at ISSTs.   It is so hard to believe that 6 months ago you were asking me if it was time to walk, after only a couple of minutes of running!


Ladies, 21 days to go!  You are all ready, the next few weeks is just about fine tuning, and preparing ourselves mentally.  You could actually run the 13.1 miles now if you had to (Karen showed us that by running it last week) but the next few weeks will be about making the whole thing easier.  This week we will be stepping down the mileage and time. We will run down to Hyde Park, and run the entire circumference of the park and then back up to Starbucks in the High Street.  This way we will also have the upslope on the way back to help prepare for the gentle slopes of the race.  This Hyde Park loop is a good one to know as there are many ways you can lengthen or shorten it. 


A few things to keep in mind for the race weekend:


1. Take a few options in the way of athletic clothing for race day.  The weather seems to be changing all the time, and having more rather than scrambling around to find extra layers, is safer.  Having said that…


2.  Don’t do anything different on race day than you have been doing.  Wear the clothes/shoes that you have been wearing.  Also, eat the same breakfast.  By now you should have all figured out what is best for you in these long runs.  A lot of people swear by oatmeal/porridge a couple of hours before the run.  If you can’t eat that far ahead of and are running out of the door then simple white carbs are the best – a piece of toast with nut butter, half a bagel with half a banana, etc, the closer you are to the run, the simpler the carbs should be.  If you have a specific breakfast, consider bringing whatever food you may need with you so you are not put out on race day.  We will check out breakfast on the Saturday and if there is something specific that you want that is missing, we can try to find a grocery store so that on Sunday, you have exactly what you want. 


3.  Carry your shoes on the plane with you.  If your bags get lost for whatever reason, you will always be able to find clothing amongst the others travelling with you or at the race expo.  You will not find shoes as easily and do not want to be running in a brand new pair, so having them with you on the plane takes care of that. 


4.  Pack your gels in a Ziploc bag in your checked luggage.  Even if they are less than 100 ml, some airport security people can be funny about gels and make you throw them out.  You will need at least 2 gels for the race and I would carry a couple more just in case.


Fingers crossed the weather stays this glorious for the next couple of weeks – I am checking out the Kew route tomorrow to make sure it isn’t too muddy with all the rain we have had this past winter!





A great run to Canary Wharf last week!

Beginner Note 9 March 2014

Sunday, March 9, 2014


2 March Beginner Note


Dear Beginners,


Another great run last week, and it was not an easy one, with very few stops!  However, at least the conditions were perfect, and in spite of rain having been forecast from the week earlier, it stopped in time for us to have a dry run!  You are all troopers, and would have run and taken it in your stride, something I can’t say for myself, so I, as you all know, was very happy the sun came out!


This week we have the run to Canary Wharf.  You are all ready for this, so don’t worry – just be prepared to be absolutely exhilarated once you get there – it is a great feeling!  Please make sure you have a good breakfast, and bring your gels, water and Oyster card as we will return by tube to SJW.  For those of you who haven’t managed to run the long runs for a couple of weeks, please resist the temptation to migrate to the front of the group.  We will tend to split up quite a bit over the next few runs, and you have got to make sure you are running a comfortable pace.  I have copied the route directions that were sent out to the MWF group when we ran to Canary Wharf a couple of weeks ago – Jane actually went out the Saturday before and took photos, and modified the route so it would be easy for anyone to get there if they got separated from the group.  Hopefully, most of you will be behind one of the coaches but here is the route anyway.  We will be taking the gels between 70 and 80 minutes into the run – roughly at around the Victoria Park area.  Also, from now on, we will start to run right away from Barclays Bank, so please warm up as you are waiting for all the runners to show up. 



Section One – Canal to the Wall


We will run past Panzers and turn right down Cochrane Street to the High Street and cross Prince Albert Road at the SJW zebra crossing.  Run along Prince Albert Road to join the canal at Charlbert Street.  Run along the canal for approximately 3 miles until the canal pathway ends at the famous “Wall.”  

Section Two – Angel Roads

We need to run through the Angel neighbourhood until we can re-enter the canal path.   At the wall follow the ramp up to Muriel Street.  (This is a good place to wait for your pace group.)  Take a right and then an almost immediate left up a path that winds between the apartment buildings.  See the picture below for the entrance to the path.  

Keep going straight on the path and it will become Maygood Street.  When you get to the intersection of a main road (Barnsbury Road) turn right.  Run until you make the second left onto Chapel Market.  (There is a metal archway saying Chapel Market and a zebra crossing at the intersection.)  Follow Chapel Market until the end.  (NB:  There is a public Ladies Room at the end of White Conduit Street, which intersects with Chapel Market at the euphorium bakery.)  Turn right at Liverpool Street to the major road Upper Street.  Cross Upper Street and turn left.  (NB:  Angel Tube Station is to your right if you are going home from here.)  Make your first right at Duncan Street (Jack Wills shop at the corner) and follow until the end.  The entrance to the canal path will be directly in front of you.  Go straight along the canal (NOT a sharp right turn.)

Section Three – Canal to Limehouse Basin

We run for about 4 miles following the canal path to the Limehouse Basin.  We exit the canal path at the wire looking bridge – see picture below – and take the brown brick steps up to the left.  

Section Four – Limehouse Basin to Canary Wharf

At the top of the brick steps, go straight.  At the Limehouse Gallery and Bronze Age shop turn right.  Run along the water until you reach the second metal foot-bridge leading to a park.  Cross the bridge and run through the park.  (You’ll see that the way we have gone in the past is blocked so we need to make a slight detour.)  When you reach the road (Narrow St.), turn left and run past the Dunbar Wharf and make your first right on Three Colt Street.  Run until you hit the water again and turn left.  Run with the water on your right until you see the long flight of steps next to Royal China – see picture below.  You’re almost there!  Only a third of a mile remaining!

Run up the steps and straight ahead, through the small park to India Drive and then veer slightly right along Cabot Square.  You’re heading for the big sky-scrapper building in front of you.  Stop when you see the sign for the Canary Wharf DLR Station at the ‘mall’ entrance on the South Collanade.  We’ll meet at the Starbucks inside the building on the right, next to the DLR station.  After a much earned coffee, we’ll head to the Canary Wharf Tube station [Jubilee Line] and tube it home to SJW.



On a different note, thanks to all of you who made it to the ‘filming session’ last Friday!  You made it an absolute blast for us coaches (who knew we had so many multi-talented runners?) and were real troopers.  For those who didn’t make it, please sign up for one of the other days – you should have all received an email giving other options.  You will not be doing what we did on Friday, but can join in the MWF runners.


See you on Thursday, 




Beginner Note 2 March 2014

Sunday, March 2, 2014