Beginners Week 13: 30 Nov 2015

Hi everyone,

If you celebrated it, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We have just a few more weeks before many of us go on holiday at the end of December.  We have some significant increases in our training, but you all are ready – really!  But there are some important things we need to discuss, so bear with me because this email is a bit long.
We have reached a turning point in our training with this coming week’s run.  We will be running 3 15-minute segments with 3 minutes of walking in between.  Think about that – remember running 60 seconds those first weeks and we all thought we were going to die.  Then two minutes…. well, it might as well have been a lifetime.   We know it’s not easy – learning to run is challenging, but think of where you’ve come from.    We’re putting in an hour of total time now – it’s amazing what you’re doing.  We are at a critical point in our training where the routine begins to change… so I’ll just jump right in and start explaining.
  • 3 runs a week?  If you are aiming to do the half-marathon in the spring, you should be adding a third run each week if you haven’t already.  It will make the race a lot easier if you can get in a third run at least from time to time.  Let’s be clear – it’s never easy running 13.1 miles, but the more miles you’ve put in, the more comfortable your body will be running that distance.
  • Varying each run – This is the good news….. We have progressed to the point where our runs/routes will begin to vary.  Next Tuesday 8 December (or whichever day you are doing your second run) you will no longer simply repeat the route we did together the previous Thursday.  After this week, you will be doing one long run with your coaches on Thursdays, one medium run and for the third weekly run, you will do a short run.  The medium run (beginning Tuesday 8 Dec) will be 45 minutes total exercise time.  Feel free to break that up into whatever intervals you are comfortable with.  If you’re not sure where to start, you could try doing a 5 minute warm-up walk followed by three 12 minute jogging intervals separated by 2 minute walking breaks.  The third run should be 30-35 minutes total exercise time.  This also can be broken down into whatever length intervals make you happy.  A place to start may be….  5 minute warm-up walk followed by three 8-9 minute intervals separated by 2 minute walks.  Particularly for this 30-35 minute session, some of you may be interested in doing a walking warm-up then just jogging slowly until you feel you need a break.  Then walk for a couple of minutes and jog some more until you reach the 30-35 minute total time.  If you want to try that, here are a few tips.  First of all, run SLOW, like what we do on Thursdays.  Second, don’t look at your watch.  Do your 5 min warm-up then start jogging.  Look around, watch the people on the streets or in the park, think about anything but running, notice the yellow/gold/red leaves, make a grocery list in your mind, think about what book you want to read next or where you want to go on holiday….  anything but running.  When you’ve had enough, then check your watch to see how much time you did, take a walking break and carry on.  You may just amaze yourself.  On these additional runs, go wherever you want.  You will know how to get to Hyde Park after this week, Regent’s Park is right there, and access to the canal is super easy.  We’ll help you come up with some other ideas if those routes get boring.
  • Consistent Training –  For just a minute here we’re going to be a little bit more tough than usual.  These Thursday long runs are getting more and more important.  If there is any way you can get there, please join us.  We know some of you have things you have committed to ages ago and we get it.   Until now it has not been a problem because we are simply repeating the Thursday run on the following Tuesday.  We’re not asking you to cancel travel plans or quit courses.  We are all busy and there are always weeks here and there when we can’t run.  Not a problem!  The bottom line is this…  if you cannot make the majority of the Thursday runs, particularly in the new year, but truly even throughout December, it will be very difficult for you to contemplate doing a half-marathon.  We’re not trying to be mean or demanding or threatening, just realistic.  As our Thursday long run lengthens, you will want and need help, advice, pacing and someone to complain to.  We will be discussing fueling/hydration and trying out different options in that regard.  Those are things we need to learn/practice together – it’s not the same as reading it in an email.  The other one or two runs each week are much, much less important.  That’s the end of that speech….. next topic!
  • What’s your pace?  We are beginning to settle into pace groups.  This is natural and is not a reflection of your fitness level.  We need to each find the pace that feels comfortable.  Some of you have longer strides, some take smaller steps, some of you have long legs, some of you are tiny and have to take two steps to every one stride of a taller runner.  It’s not only down to height – some tall people have a natural up and down movement with less forward propulsion.  Most runners say that if they are asked to adjust their natural pace, things start hurting so it is important to find your natural speed.  We need to start thinking about where in the group you are pace-wise.  For the race, we will divide ourselves up based on these training paces so everyone will have a group and a trainer to run with.  During our training runs start trying to identify others in the group who are running your pace.  Who do you seem to naturally fall in sync with?  You probably have noticed that we don’t talk about pace in terms of numbers or precise times in this group.  It’s not important to have a specific number – it is important to know what feels comfortable to you…. not too fast, not too slow, but just right!
  • Hydration – As our runs get longer, we need to start taking in fluids while we’re running.  Hydration requirements vary vastly from runner to runner, but experts suggest targeting about 500ml of fluid for each hour of exercise.  Our needs are probably less than that as we are operating at a lower intensity level doing long distance training.  You may consider buying a belt that holds little bottles, a tiny camelback (one that sits very high up on your back), or one of those bottles that slips over your hand.  I wouldn’t recommend a large backpack – it changes your gait.  This need to carry water applies only to your weekly long run.  You are fine running 30-45 minutes if you drink before and after your session.
I understand that you have no point of reference, so you have no idea how well you are doing.  We’re running 4 miles now, over and over again.  I know it’s not easy, but you are doing it.  You have the worst of it behind you.  It’s A LOT harder going from 0 running minutes to 1 running minute, or from 1 to 2 minutes – those are difficult beyond belief.  In the next few weeks, we are transitioning into straight running, no designated walking breaks.  That may sound scary, but think about where we run.   Even though I say we are running 50 or 60 minutes non-stop, there will be street crossings.  You will learn to pray for the little “red-man light”.  My message is that you can do this.  You have each other to lean on and all of your coaches to help out however we can.
So… on to this week!  Here is the route for the week
Head to Regent’s Park via Charlbert.  Cross the Outer Circle, enter Regent’s, and stay right, running past the first bridge and then crossing the second one.  Take a left on the Inner Circle and continue until York Bridge.  Go left onto York Bridge and head out of the park, crossing Marylebone Road.  Go left on Marylebone then right on Marylebone High Street which becomes Thayer.  Take a right on Hinde Street and a right on Manchester Square.  Run past the Wallace Collection and left on George Street to Seymour Place.  Go right on Seymour Place, cross Marylebone Road, and take Lisson Grove/Grove End back to Circus.  Take a right on Circus to end at Barclays.
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Beginners Week 12: 23 Nov 2015

Hi everyone!
I heard you all had a great run last week.  The key is to keep it slow, especially when you run on your own on Tuesdays.  It is so hard to pull yourself back, but it makes a huge difference in how you feel during the run.

For this week, we are making a change in the published schedule.  The schedule originally had us increasing our time but we are going to do the same time intervals this week as we did last week.  So you should run 11/12/12/12 with 3 minute walking intervals in between.

As I mentioned over the weekend, none of the coaches can run on Thursday morning.  However, I will run with anyone who wants to on Friday and I believe Jane can run then as well. Since it’s Thanksgiving the night before and some of us may be up a little late perhaps we could run a little later – maybe 9 am?  Let me know if that works for those of you planning to run on Friday.

If you will be out of town or unable to join us on Friday, please do what you can to run even a little bit whenever and wherever you can over the weekend.  If you can’t, it’s OK – just jump back in on Tuesday and make sure you go slowly!

Let me know if 9 am works for you Friday runners…

Amy, Meg & Vicky

Beginners Week 11: 17 Nov 2015

Hi everyone,

Well done last week!  That was a big jump up in time – going from 40 to 47 minutes total running time, plus going from 7 minute to 10 minute segments.  That’s HUGE!  I know it was hard, but you did it!  This week will be the same 47 minutes of running time, just compressed into fewer segments.  If you hadn’t noticed, we are increasing our time faster now so it is so important to make sure you are getting at least the Tues/Thurs (or substitute days) in and it will be much easier on you if you are doing that third run on the weekend.  It will be easy to suddenly feel like you’re falling behind and we don’t want that to happen!
Meg, Amy and Stacey will not be there on Thursday (wah!) but Vicky, Lesley and Jane will all be there ready to run.
This week for the route, you’ll be going to Notting Hill via Elgin Avenue in Maida Vale.  Have a great run!
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Beginners Week 10: 11 Nov 2015

Hi everyone,
Sorry for the late email this week – it’s been a crazy week for some reason.
First, hopefully you all received Jane’s email about registering for the race.  If you think there is even the slimmest chance that you might go, please please sign up for the race.  It is only 19 euros so if you don’t go, it’s not a huge monetary loss, and we wouldn’t want you to miss out because the race sold out.  We don’t know when the race typically sells out but why wait??  If you have any questions about it, please ask us.
Next, some of you may be away for ISSTs (the high school end of the season sports tournaments for those of you not with ASL high schoolers) this week so just try to get the run in when you can.  Meg, Vicky and Jane will be away but Amy, Leslie and Stacey will be there on Thursday.  I think several of you also were planning to run later, so whatever works for you is great.
We have a jump up in time intervals this week but don’t be nervous – you can do it!  You are all doing so well.  If you are worried about the time, or feel tired during the run, just slow down.  We’re not in a hurry!  Do your best to do an extra run on the weekend – it will really help you continue to build your stamina.
Finally, some of you have asked about eating before the run.  In general, it is good to have something in your stomach before you run, but not too much.  The key for all of you is to experiment.  A little later, as we are running for longer, I will send a long, information-packed email put together by WRW’s founder, Paula, on the science and theory behind what to eat before and after a run.  But I don’t think we need that level of detail yet.  For now, you should be trying different things to see what works for you because everyone is different.  Personally, I usually have a yogurt or a banana along with coffee and whole milk.  It’s enough to keep my stomach from grumbling and will give me a little energy, but won’t sit like a lump.  I know other runners like oatmeal or a smoothie or maybe half a bagel with cream cheese.  The important thing is to have something.  As we start to run longer, you will need a little more energy and it’s good to start trying things now.
Also, most of you will experience an increased appetite as a result of this training.  That is normal.  Many runners will say they didn’t lose a pound when they started running.  Usually it’s because you’re hungrier with increased activity levels, so you eat more.  Generally, women don’t lose or gain weight in training, but they have more energy, they can eat more and often digestive issues disappear.  
Let us know if you have any questions about any of this!
Amy, Vicky & Meg
Route for this week:
Start down St John’s Wood Terrace to Charlbert and then down to the canal entrance at Regent’s Park.  Run east on the canal towards Camden Market where we exit the canal over the bridge and turn right onto Camden High Street.  We’ll run down Camden High Street to Mornington Crescent Tube Station and veer right onto Hampstead Road, which we will take down to Robert Street.  Turn right on Robert for a few blocks and then a left on Albany Street and then the first right onto Chester Gate.  Run on the Outer Circle of Regents Park until you get to the exit for Charlbert Street.  Take Charlbert back up to St John’s Wood Terrace and then to Starbucks.
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Beginners Week 9: 2 Nov 2015

Well done everyone!  Big Ben was a huge milestone and you all did it with smiles on your faces.  Remember when you said you couldn’t imagine running all the way there?  On top of that, we had a pretty big jump up in running time – we went from 28 to 36 total minutes and from 5 to 7 minute segments.  Great job!

This week, the running segments are not too different from last week – just a few more 7 minute ones.
Some of you have asked about running a bit on the weekends.  It would be good to start that this week or next.  In general, you don’t want to run a longer segment on the weekend than we are doing during the week – so this weekend shouldn’t have segments longer than 7 minutes.  The run should be no more than 30-35 total minutes.  Pay attention to your pace, too, so you don’t go too fast.  Your muscles have been building so you can add that third run, but we don’t want you to push too much and get injured.  As we run longer segments, it will become more important to have that extra run on the weekend so the longer runs during the week aren’t so tiring.
Finally, we want to encourage you to book your hotel room for the race if you think there’s even a chance you might be going.  It looks like we may need to add rooms to our block and we want to do that before the race registration opens and the hotel has an influx of other runners looking for rooms. Remember – you have until January 15 to cancel if you decide not to go.  You don’t need to book your flight now if you’re not ready to take the plunge.
After you book please send an email to Kathy Anderson ( with the following information: room type, roommate name (if applicable), and flight details. We want to make sure that our list matches the hotel list (and we’ve already caught a few inconsistencies so it’s important that you do this).  If you aren’t booking flights yet, just let her know.
For example:
Hotel: Classic Double, roommate is Paula Radcliffe
Outbound flight: Friday BA 0346 departs 8:55
Inbound flight: Monday BA 0343 departs 11:50
Finally, here is the likely route for the week (we are going to test it first so it might change a little):
Cross Wellington and head down Circus Road.  Go left on Grove End to St. John’s Wood Road. Take a right on Grove End then a left on Cunningham Place.  Go right on Aberdeen Place and follow the road to the canal entrance on Blomfield.  Go west on the canal and exit at Harrow Rd.  Cross the canal on Harrow then go right on Sutherland to Castellain.  Take a left and run to Paddington Rec, entering at the Moorhead Road Gate.  Run through Paddington exiting at Carlton Vale.  Go right on Carlton Vale, right on Hamilton Terrace, and left on Hall back to Barclays.

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See you on Thursday!