2016-17 Beginners Week 5

Hi everyone,
You are all doing so well!  I was about to say it seemed to be a walk in the park for you, except for once we weren’t in the park…  🙂  If you haven’t yet joined the group (there are a couple of you, including one new addition – welcome Katherine!), there is still time to join us and not be far behind, but please join us this week!

First, a huge THANK YOU to Meg for hosting our breakfast last week.  We thrilled that so many of you have already booked your flights for the trip and we can’t WAIT to share that experience with you, even if it seems quite insane right now.  So just forget they are booked and concentrate on each week and then suddenly…

Next, importantly – next week is ASL’s October break and many of the group may not be around for the Tuesday run.  But not all of you are ASL and not all may be going away, so please reach out to each other to see who is available to run and when.  If you are away, try to get one run in between this Thursday and next Thursday, even if it’s just a few 2 or 3 minute intervals.  Don’t worry about keeping track of how many intervals – just get out there and run/walk for about 35-40 minutes if you can.  We want your legs to get used to running on a regular basis.

There were a few questions this week about footwear and nutrition and comments about aches and pains so here are a few thoughts on that so everyone can have the same information.

Shoes – if you are feeling like you want/need a new pair of shoes, it may be good to wait another couple of weeks to make sure you have developed your gait.  After that, Runners Need and the Asics store on Oxford St both do gait analysis and will help you find the proper shoe.  However, you do not need to go out and buy a new pair of shoes if you are feeling like yours are fine.  There may be a point when we will advise you to get a new pair of shoes because if yours are getting old, they won’t have the support you will need as we start to increase our run times.  But for now, as long as you’re comfortable, you’re fine.

Nutrition – it’s good to eat a little something before you come out to run, but you don’t want to eat a lot.  Everyone is different in what works for them so try different things each week and see what works for you.  Things to try – a banana, yogurt, toast with peanut butter, a granola bar.  It’s fine to have coffee before the run.  When we are running longer distances, we will give you more information about nutrition for before, during and after the run, but we aren’t to a point yet where we need to be thinking about it.  More things to look forward to!

Aches – some of you may be experiencing some aches and pains. It is common to have some aches and pains during the first 2-3 months of this program.  For the most part, it’s just our body’s way of telling us “Thank you very much, but I would prefer hanging out at Starbucks and skipping the running part.”  Many of you are already fit through other types of sports/hiking/tennis/etc, but we use different muscles in running and those muscles/joints will speak up.  As a very general guideline, most experts suggest ignoring the first 10-15 minutes of an exercise session then after that monitoring whether the pain/discomfort is stabilizing or increasing.  If the pain increases while you are running, then you should stop – if the pain is consistent or lessens during exercise then usually you’re fine to continue.

All of us will benefit from lots of stretching and some squats or lungs whenever you have a bit of time.  You don’t have to go to a gym to do squats/lunges – you can do them anywhere.  Those exercises build muscle in your legs particularly around your knees.  The stronger those muscles become the more they can help to stabilize your knee joint which is extremely helpful in running.  Don’t let these suggestions overwhelm you!  None of it is required, it’s just the more you do, the easier the running will be.  Lastly on this topic, we are still only running twice a week.  This is SO important.  Feel free to do as much walking as you want, and tennis, or swimming, yoga, pilates or whatever….. but not running.  Twice a week is the perfect amount right now.  In a month or so we will come to a point where we’ll tell you it will be good to add a third run, but not yet.
Meg had some equipment at the breakfast that she uses before and after runs.  Here are some links to similar things.

Hard foam roller (what Meg uses):  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B018NMBZ5A?ref_=ams_ad_dp_asin_3

Softer foam roller (what Amy uses):  https://www.amazon.co.uk/PhysioWorld-Foam-Roller-Blue-90/dp/B009ABLT14/ref=sr_1_5?s=sports&ie=UTF8&qid=1474971689&sr=1-5&keywords=foam+roller

Spiky massage balls (recommended by Nicky):  https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B001G9IN6C/ref=pd_sim_200_4?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=FG77YJXV0RN9B3DV7R27

Regular massage balls:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0113KAQU4/ref=pd_sim_200_53?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=YVZ2D315EBHYS1366AWA

It looks like Meg’s foot massage pad is only available on US Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Garden-Massager-Reflexology-Board/dp/B00J0BXMQ4/ref=pd_sbs_121_8?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=7F8MY3E14M3GV6QQEMMX

But this looks similar:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stimulate-Acupressure-Massager-Circulation-Reflexology/dp/B01L3OVDBQ/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1474972177&sr=8-9&keywords=foot+massage+pad+reflexology

Finally, SAVE THE DATE for Thursday 20 October.  This is our storied run to Big Ben.  At that point, our longest interval will be 7 minutes – we won’t be running non-stop.  Plus, there are traffic lights along the way.  But it is a big milestone for us and we’d love to have everyone there.

See you Thursday,

Your coaches

2016-17 Beginners Week 4

Hi everyone,
Well, it looks like summer is officially over and fall is here.  That’s actually a good thing from a running perspective – Thursday was HOT!
For this week, as usual, please repeat last Thursday’s run on Tuesday.
For Thursday, we have a last minute add-on after our run – we are going to end our run at Meg’s house in Maida Vale and have a bit of coffee and nibbles and talk about this year’s half-marathon.  Normally we don’t have this beginner coffee this early in our training; however, we are finalising plans to announce the race and once the race is announced, the airfare will increase rapidly as runners purchase their flights.  Some years there are many flights to our destination so the prices aren’t impacted as much, but this year there are not as many flights and with a group the size of WRW, we make an impact!
Anyway, we want you, the beginners, to have the same opportunity as others to buy your flights once the race is announced.  You CERTAINLY do not need to do so right away in order to take part in the race.  We expect to have plenty of hotel rooms and the race itself won’t open for registration until late October at the earliest.  The breakfast is a time to ask questions and talk to prior beginners who can tell you their experiences which hopefully should make it a little less daunting.  PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU CAN STAY AFTERWARD ON THURSDAY SO WE HAVE A HEAD COUNT.  If you cannot make the run on Thursday or stay afterward, we are happy to talk to you individually!
This week’s run time will be just a slight increase from last week’s.  We are taking our time building up to make sure your bodies are becoming adjusted at a nice slow pace.  As always, please let one of us know if you are hurting or struggling.
See you on Thursday,
Your coaches

2016-17 Beginners Week 3

Hello everyone!

We are so glad so many of you were able to run together on Tuesday.  It’s great to start to set that routine early on.  

This week we will be adding one 3 minute interval running interval to our two minute ones.  It is absolutely essential we keep the pace very very slow so we don’t allow our heart rates to get too high, both for psychological reasons (so you don’t feel exhausted and worn out when you finish, and start hating it) and for physiological ones (as most of you haven’t run before, you need to give your bodies time to adjust so as to keep injuries at bay).  Please let us know if anything is hurting.  Most aches and pains can be quite easily addressed early on – it’s continuing to run on an injury that causes bigger problems.

We will not be doing much street running just yet, but please make a point of being very careful at the few road crossings we do have – it is very easy to just follow the person in front of you out onto the road without checking for cars or bikes, so please be careful! 

A few logistical things for this week –

1) The first St. John’s Wood Women’s Club meeting is on Tuesday at 9:30 am at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue on St. John’s Wood Road across from the cricket ground entrance.  If you are not already a part of this club, I encourage you to come to the meeting to see what it’s all about.  It is completely acceptable to show up in your running gear so it could be fun for you all to do your run and head over together.  If you have any questions about it, feel free to send me an email.
2) The first ASL PCA meeting is on Thursday at 8:30 am.  If you want to go to that and run later, please let me know so we can figure out if it makes sense to have the coaches split and do a later group as well as the regular 8:15.
3)  Finally, if you are on this email list and have decided to not join our group, please let me know and we will take you off the distribution.  Otherwise, it is certainly not too late to join us!

See you on Thursday,

Your coaches

2016-17 Beginners Week 2

Hello everyone,
We are off to a great start!  We are so excited to get to know you – we clearly have a fabulous group this year as usual!  This is a long email with lots of information so please bear with us.
We have attached our program as a two page PDF.  One is the specific running/walking intervals week by week.  The other is more of broad weekly view of what we are doing.
For those of you who are just joining us, don’t worry!  You’ll be fine.  Our routine is this:  on Thursdays the coaches will run with the group.  The following Tuesday, the group will meet at Barclays at the same time (always 8:15 am for an 8:20 start) and repeat what we did the prior Thursday.  To time your intervals, we find that an app called IntervalTimer works very well.  I’m sure there are others out there, but that one is free and fairly easy to set up.  It generally works best if someone is the official timer person each Tuesday and someone else guides the group.  We will be running in Regent’s Park for the first few weeks so it’s not too tricky to guide.  We are happy to help you all manage it – just ask!  For anyone who was not able to join us on Thursday, just show up on Tuesday, introduce yourself, and you will be fine.  Also, if you find you cannot make a Tuesday or Thursday run, try emailing to group to see if there are others who might be able to join you later or on a different day.  For this Tuesday, coach Melissa may join you to help get you started.
The key for the Tuesday runs is to go SLOW!  The founder of WRW, Paula Mitchell, explained the philosophy of running so slow and having walking breaks this way:
“Most of us have tried to run at some point in our lives or we had to do it in school.  Usually we have less-than-wonderful memories about running.  In my opinion, most people trying to learn to run go too fast.  They head out the front door like a rocket, chest pounding, lungs gasping for air, legs screaming, etc.  No wonder we don’t stick with it.  It’s horrible.  From my experience, if we start very slowly, run at a very gentle pace and don’t get our heart-rates too high, then we’re OK to keep at it.  When we finish running as a group, you should be feeling like you did something but you shouldn’t be exhausted.  That is the psychological side of it.  From a physiological viewpoint, if you are new to running then your body isn’t necessarily ready to support that activity.  By starting the program very gently we give our bodies time to catch up.  Over the first few weeks, there are small changes happening within your muscular system.  The small stabilizer muscles surrounding joints will strengthen.  The larger muscles which drive movement will start to “wake up”.  Most likely you will not notice these changes in the mirror, but they are happening.  By beginning a new training regime gradually, we can hopefully keep injuries at bay.  This is one of the reasons we definitely need to keep our pace slow on Tuesdays.  Reign each other in!!!  Try to replicate the pace we do together on Thursdays.  If you run too fast, it can lead to injury or make you very frustrated with running.  I’ll repeat this because it’s critical……  keep the Tuesday run SLOW, very SLOW!!!”
During the first few weeks of our program, we’ll continue to have additions to the group and start to see some attrition.  Usually by October, the group settles into a pack and running becomes part of your weekly routine.  For any of you who have some running experience, please consider moving up to our Mon/Wed/Fri groups.  We have another 100+ runners who run a wide range of pace and distance.  You will have people to run with and you will be able to keep up.  The beginner group progresses very slowly and we will continue to keep the group running at a very slow pace.  It’s part of the master plan!!!  One last thing here…  if you are already a runner (therefore have a natural pace/gait), running this slow can actually hurt – that slow pace will create an unhealthy amount of impact on your joints and can throw off your already-developed gait.   Let me know if you want to discuss this – we are happy to talk about how you could transition to the next level in our running group.  Lastly on this topic, if you are already a runner, after a few weeks you’ll be running circles around our true “newbies”.  It’s depressing for them to feel that they are working SOOOOOOO hard and you’re flitting around as though it’s a gentle stroll in the park.  
I know a few people asked whether we run through the winter and in the rain.  The short answer – yes!    The only time we cancel runs would be for icy conditions which are dangerous.  Otherwise, we run in rain, sleet, snow, hail, etc.  That being said, you might consider buying a good running rain-jacket.  It needs to be lightweight and breathable.  Runners Need sells them as do most of the outdoor shops, or ask any of the coaches for recommendations.  You might be surprised that we don’t usually have to run in rain.  We like to joke that the sky clears for WRW – it will be raining as you walk to Barclays and by the time we start running, it’s over.  And if it does rain, it passes over quickly.  It’s rare we run in heavy rain.
If you’re in the market for new shoes, we recommend waiting a month or so.  Often, as you start running each person develops a gait and it actually improves (or becomes more efficient) over time.  If you go in now for shoes, they may fit you in shoes that are appropriate for your current gait.  That gait may very well change in the next few weeks so hold off if you can make yourself wait! 
OK – the last few things.  First, our running group has a website:  www.womenrunningtheworld.com.  We will post this email under “Beginners” so if you misplace it and are looking for information, you can find it there.  Our program will also be out there as well as some route information if you’re interested.  So the website could be helpful but don’t worry about any of the other information posted out there for the Mon/Wed/Fri group.  Second, our group has a Facebook page – WRW London.  You will need to request to join and we will add you.
IMPORTANT – this Thursday, the ASL PCA has its first meeting and it conflicts with our 8:15 start.  Some of the coaches are willing to run later if some of you want to attend the meeting.  PLEASE RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL and let us know if you want to run at 8:15 or after the PCA meeting (probably around 10 am).
Finally, here is the photo from our first day.  Its going to be fun to look back and see us all at the start of our adventure!
We look forward to seeing you on Thursday and hearing about how SLOW you ran on Tuesday!
Your Coaches