2016-17 Beginners Week 23

So wonderful to see you all in something other than running gear last night!  A big THANK YOU to Tamar and Cameron for the amazing food and drink.  It was nice to meet many of your other halves, too.  You guys really are a FABULOUS group!  But you knew that 🙂

And of COURSE you guys were all fantastic on the run through Brompton Cemetery to Whole Foods.  80 minutes done and dusted!  I know you guys are starting to realize this really is possible.  I think I even heard someone say, “You know, if we just turned around and ran back to SJW from there that’s basically the half marathon.”   Um.. what??  I love that!

Tuesday is a big day! Please stop by McKenzie’s house at Ordnance Hill which is near the corner with Acacia Road (a few blocks from Starbucks) some time between 8:30-11:00am. THANK YOU McKenzie for letting us invade your house!  We’re collecting money for shirts, hats, half-zips and all outstanding items for the Warsaw trip. We’ll also be handing out the apparel. The dinners and tour are requiring large deposits so we’re trying to simplify things for everyone by doing the collection now. IF YOU CAN’T MAKE IT AT THAT TIME ON TUESDAY, PLEASE GIVE YOUR MONEY TO A FRIEND TO BRING AND TO COLLECT YOUR KIT. The costs are listed below:
All Warsaw Race Attendees:
Friday dinner – £45
Saturday dinner – £35
Race hat – £10
Appreciation gifts/End-of-Year celebration/WRW costs- £10
Warsaw Extra (by sign-up):
Saturday afternoon tour – £10
WRW Apparel (by order):
T-Shirt – £25
White or Navy hat – £25
Half-Zip – £50
Normally, starting next week, we would have you start running 60 minutes on Tuesdays and 40-45 min on the weekends.  However, since you are doing the 10K on Sunday, you should hold off on that and instead do a leisurely 30 min on Tuesday 7 February.  I’ll remind you of that in next week’s email.
Just some thoughts about the 10K – don’t stress about it as a race – treat it as another training opportunity where you can get that feeling of energy that comes from the racers and also witness the mass of bodies at the start and how you will likely not move very quickly at the beginning.  Don’t push yourselves too much – we don’t want any injuries!    You may feel great that morning or you may not – every race day is different.  So if you’re feeling tired, slow down.  You will all have run the distance before so you know you can do it.  The most important thing is to have fun!
This week, since ASL’s lower school is off on Thursday, we are splitting the groups.  Meg and Amy will run on Wednesday and the other coaches will do Thursday.  This is who we have down for each day (Krishna is away):
Wednesday – Julie, Tamar, Maria, Laura, Rachel
Thursday – Sue, Noelle, Grace, Susie, Kris, Kira, Paige
We will meet on Wednesday at Barclay’s as usual, just be aware that the regular MWF group will be there as well.
Our remaining schedule:
Week 23 – 2 Feb – 90 min = Sloane Sq/Green Park
Week 24 – 9 Feb – 100 min = Big Ben and back
Week 25 – February break – 60 min run
Week 26 – 23 Feb – 110 min = Wembley
Week 27 – 1 Mar – 120 min = Canary Wharf [NOTE – WEDNESDAY]
Week 28 – 9 Mar – 90 min = TBD
Week 29 – 16 Mar – 130 min = Kew Gardens
Week 30 – 23 Mar – 45 min = easy run through Regents Park
Route this week:
We start out by running to Hyde Park, taking the usual route: west on Circus Road, left on Grove End, all the way down to Seymour Place where the road ends.  Right on Seymour, across Edgware, left on Stanhope and enter the park. At the silver orb, turn left and run down to the southern edge, following the path to the right before it leaves the Park.  Run to big gated exit before the tall ‘One Hyde Park’ complex, cross over Knightsbridge at William Street, quick right on Knightsbridge then a left onto Sloane Street continue past Sloane Square down Lower Sloane St/Chelsea Bridge Road to the Thames.  Turn left on the Thames side of Grosvenor Rd and run along the Embankment to Westminster and continue left on Birdcage Walk, cutting through St James Park to the Mall, then left on the Mall towards Buckingham Palace, crossing before the circle to reach Green Park.  Run up to the Green Park Tube on Piccadilly St and take the tube home!

2016-17 Beginners Week 22

Well done on running 70 minutes on Thursday!  You may not believe us, but the hardest part is behind us.  Once someone can run an hour, bumping up a session 10 minutes each week is not a significant jump in terms of fitness/cardio requirement.  The hard part is learning how to run and building a base.  It’s tough to move from walking/jogging intervals to non-stop running.  We’ve done that hard work and are more than ready to start extending our mileage.

A few notes about training over the coming weeks:

  • It’s very important to get in the the long runs each week, even if they are not on Thursday with the rest of the group
  • It’s important to not steadily increase your time every week – it is best to lengthen your session for 3-4 weeks then drop back for one week to allow your body to recover/rest.  We will rest the week of ASL’s February break and again the second week of March.
  • Please continue to email/talk to each other when you have scheduling conflicts – it’s a great way to get those longer runs in if you can’t make a Thursday

We heard from several of you that the Thursday run felt much easier than the Tuesday run because of the pace.  If you are feeling like you’re going too fast on Tuesday, please please slow down a bit.  Often, if you say that you want to slow a bit, there will be someone around you who is thinking the same thing and would love to slow down as well.  We don’t want anyone to be injured or be too exhausted to be ready to run longer on Thursday.  If you’re feeling like you want to push the pace for the run on Tuesday, though, that is also fine.  Just listen to your body.  I know you all want to try to stay together but it’s not always possible, and you are all close enough in pace that even if you are separated, you’ll get back to Starbucks within a few minutes of each other.

Here is a reminder of our runs until the race.  It sounds like everyone can do Wednesday 1 March for Canary Wharf so please mark your calendars for that.

Week 22 – 26 Jan – 80 min = Brompton Cemetery/Whole Foods Kensington
Week 23 – 2 Feb – 90 min = Sloane Sq/Green Park
Week 24 – 9 Feb – 100 min = Big Ben and back
Week 25 – February break – 60 min run
Week 26 – 23 Feb – 110 min = Wembley
Week 27 – 1 Mar – 120 min = Canary Wharf [NOTE – WEDNESDAY]
Week 28 – 9 Mar – 90 min = TBD
Week 29 – 16 Mar – 130 min = Kew Gardens
Week 30 – 23 Mar – 45 min = easy run through Regents Park

I appreciate that the lengths of upcoming runs could seem daunting, but I promise that you can do it. When we started running together, our longest jogging interval was one minute. You are now doing 60-70 times that rather comfortably.  The coaches are here for you. Let us if know if you’re having trouble. Each of our coaches have a lot of running experience and they truly understand the psychology of the half-marathon distance. At this point in our training, our hardest work is convincing ourselves that we can run 13.1 miles. It’s a mind game and the mind is a powerful thing! Try to start playing the tape over in your head that says “I can do this”. When doubts creep in, turn off that negative feed.  We do believe you can do this.  We are down to our core group now and we believe in each and every one of you. The next few weeks should be a lot of fun!  Seriously!

Route this week
This week we are running an interesting route through the Brompton Cemetery to finish at Whole Foods in Kensington. We’ll head down to Hyde Park in the normal fashion via Lisson Grove/Seymour. As we near Wellington Arch, we’ll veer to the right (or west) staying along the inside edge of the park. exiting at the gate we normally use at William Street [next to the French Embassy].  Cross the street, take a right.  Turn left at Brompton Road (just past the tube) and take Brompton all the way (admiring Harrods as you pass) until Fulham Road.  Veer left on Fulham Road and continue to Brompton Cemetery.  Turn right to enter the Cemetery.  Run through the Cemetery then exit and turn right onto Old Brompton Road, then turn left onto Earls Court Road. Cross Cromwell Road, then turn right onto Cromwell Road and then turn left onto Marloes Road. Continue north on Marloes making your way through the streets to Kensington High Street.  Whole Foods will be to your right. Whole Foods is a great place to finish. There is plenty of room for everyone to sit together for coffee after the run (if you have time). To get back to SJW, some people may decide to share cabs or you can tube home from Kensington High Street station (Circle Line).

2016-17 Beginners Week 21

Hi everyone,

Well, we are really starting things this week.  Up until now, we have been building our muscles and our lungs and our psyche to know that we can run for 60 minutes.  We will now start to add on a bit each Thursday to build you up to the distance you need to run that race.  The other thing to know is that while we plan the runs for a certain amount of time, we won’t all finish the planned distance at that time.  So depending on your pace for that day, you may run a little less than the expected time or a little more, but we will all need to run the same distance for the race so we all need to build up to that distance even if it takes different times for each of you.
Think of how far you’ve come – it really is amazing.  We can’t wait to watch you grow from here!
Here are my bullet points for the week (these may look familiar…):
  • Running 3x/week – Thursday long, weekend 30 min, Tuesday 45 min
  • It is normal to move among pace groups each week or day
  • Bring water for the Thursday runs
  • Eat something before the Thursday runs
  • The Thursday run is SLOW
Looking ahead, the week of 6 February following the 90 minute run, we will be increasing your non-Thursday run time to 35-45 min on the weekend and 60 min on Tuesdays.  Until then, keep doing what you’re doing.
Today’s lecture – why we run slowly.  This is from Paula Mitchell, our founder.
Why do we run the long run slower than race pace?
The quick answer is that it has to do with how your body builds fuel, which is something you’ll need for the race! I’ll delve into the basic science of fueling (which I have hugely over-simplified but hopefully it’ll get my point across). To fuel our runs we have 3 options – Creatine Phosphate (CP), glycogen and fat.
Creatine Phosphate- You have about 15 seconds worth of CP fuel – that’s it. Think Usain Bolt running the 100m – he fuels with CP and it works because he can run 100m in less than 15 seconds. CP is where your body will go first looking for fuel, particularly if you take off like a rocket from Barclays. Think of CP as kindling on a fire – it catches fire easily but burns out very quickly.
Glycogen- Glycogen is the next fuel option. Glycogen is basically stored in your muscles and in your liver and because of that it makes glycogen a bit more difficult to burn as fuel (think of damp firewood – it will eventually burn but it takes quite a bit to get it going).
Fat- Fat is the 3rd source of fuel and most runners, even the very lean women, have an ample supply of it. Think of fat as a butane tank of gas on the BBQ grill – once it’s lit, you can have countless cook-outs before the fuel is gone.
Here’s the important part- All of those fuel sources – kindling, damp firewood or butane gas need something to ignite them and keep them burning. Physiologically speaking that ignition or burning “tool” is ATP which is created by mitochondria; so, the more mitochondria you have the more efficient you are as a fuel burning machine.
What is mitochondria and how do we get more of it?  Some of us are genetically blessed with higher mitochondria counts. Thank your mother for that – it comes through the maternal side of the genetic equation. If you didn’t win the genetic lottery, then the only way you can increase mitochondria is through LONG, SLOW, ENDURANCE training (LSE). When you go for a long run at a slow pace, you actually produce mitochondria. Kind of cool, huh? Now remember – we need mitochondria to help ignite our fuel sources. So what does that mean for you? It means SLOW DOWN on your long run – give your body a chance to become a mitochondria production factory. If you do your long run at a strong pace, you’re missing out on this benefit.
So we will be keeping it SLOW on Thursdays, and now you know why.
The route this week:
Please make sure to bring your Oyster Card or contactless card for the tube ride back.  Also, you might want to have some cash – not all vendors accept cards.  We will head first to Monmouth Coffee – legendary filter coffee – and then we can head into the market together or separately – whatever works for everyone.  It sounds like several of you have favourite vendors so hopefully we can compare notes and do some serious shopping!
Borough Market via Westminster Bridge
We head to Hyde Park via the usual route. Start heading west on Circus Road and turn left on Grove End and follow south as it becomes Lisson Grove.  Cross over Marylebone Road and continue on Seymour Place until the end.  Turn right and cross over Edgware Road and then left to enter Hyde Park at the intersection with Stanhope Place.   Run along the eastern edge of the park to Hyde Park Corner, under Wellington Arch and down Constitution Hill.  Run past the Victoria Memorial down the mall and enter St. James Park.  Run over the pond and out of the park, turning left onto Birdcage Walk and down into Parliament Square to Big Ben.  Continue past Big Ben and cross Westminster Bridge. After the bridge turn left to run along the Thames until the river path ends after Southwark Bridge. Borough Market is under the railway bridge near the London Bridge station. The official address is 8 Southwark Street SE1 1TL.

2016-17 Beginners Week 20

HI everyone,

What a fun evening it was on Thursday!  So nice to see everyone out and not in hats and ponytails!  And well done to jumping right back into the routine for Thursdays run.  You are such a strong group, and we love how you motivated each other over the break through WhatsApp.

OK – first, Tamar noticed that the day we are scheduled to to the Canary Wharf run is a parent-teacher conference day for the middle and high schools.  Given that this is a big milestone run (plus a FUN milestone because we celebrate with breakfast burritos and margaritas), we would like to see if you all could do the run on Wednesday instead.  We considered doing it on Tuesday but having only 5 days between long runs is not good and two coaches are not available.  Please let me know if you can arrange your schedules so you can do it on Wednesday 1 March.
Next, a few reminders:
  • You should be running 3 times per week now
  • The Tuesday run should be about 45 minutes and the weekend run should be about 30 minutes (Tuesday runs will get longer in a few weeks, but not yet)
  • It is OK to break up into smaller pace groups on your weekend and Tuesday runs but it is normal for pace groups to ebb and flow from week to week
  • Bring water for the Thursday runs
  • Eat something before the Thursday runs
  • The Thursday run is SLOW
We cannot emphasize enough that the way to build up to the half is to just put in the time and miles.  Also, it is important to understand that the pace groups will continue to morph throughout our training and that is completely normal.  Some days you feel like you want to be towards the front, sometimes you feel like it’s just not your day and you’re slower.  This happens in the M/W/F group, too.  We have lots of time and as you know, it’s about finishing and feeling good about it, not about how fast you can go.  Save that for next year.  Also, as we run for longer times on Thursdays, we will continue to make you run more slowly than you might otherwise.  Running slowly builds your body and muscles in a different way.  I will send our founder, Paula’s, lengthy description of that next week.
Water and Nutrition
As our runs get longer, you will want water along to hydrate.  It will make you feel better on the run and will help your body recover faster.  Also, please please eat something, just a little something, before our Thursday runs.  We don’t want you feeling faint from lack of energy.  Maybe some yogurt or a banana – just a little something for your body to use to fuel you.  As our runs get longer in a few weeks, we will talk to you about fueling for much longer runs and during the race, but we’re not ready for that yet.
This week’s route:
Start out on Circus Rd to Hall Rd.  Just past Randolph Ave, go left onto Warrington Crescent and at the Warwick Ave tube, turn right onto Clifton Villas.  Left onto Blomfield Rd and then right onto Westbourne Terrace Rd over the canal and under the Westway to Westbourne Bridge/Westbourne Terrace.  Keep right onto Sussex Gardens to Lancaster Terrace.  Enter Hyde Park at the Italian Gardens and run so the fountains are on your left.  Keep to the path closest to the water, run under the bridge and hook around to the right at the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain to go up to the road.  Turn right to run across the bridge and go diagonally across the park to Speakers Corner.  Turn right and then left past the Animals in War Memorial.  Cross Park Lane and turn left at the next street, Park St.  Run up this street as it becomes Gloucester Rd and turn left when it ends at Park Rd.  Run up Park Rd to St John’s Wood High St and Starbucks.

2016-17 Beginners Week 19

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a wonderful break.  We are looking forward to running with you tomorrow and hearing how you spent your break.  I hope you all managed to do at least a bit of running over the past few weeks.  If you haven’t, please let one of us know tomorrow so we can help you take it easy – we don’t want any injuries!
IMPORTANT – we are assuming it will be fine to run in the morning but with the temperature forecasted to be below freezing overnight, we need to make sure the sidewalks are not icy.  We will run in fog, rain and snow but an icy sidewalk is dangerous.  Assume the run is on unless you hear from us in the morning.
For the next 2 weeks, we will be doing 60 minute runs on Thursday.  We want to make sure you all have a strong base to build on when we start to increase our time and mileage.  Tomorrow, we will do a loop that will have plenty of opportunity for red men for most of the run.
Please note that after tomorrow, most of our runs will start to be destination runs, meaning that we will end someplace that is not SJW.  This is because we need to run further and longer while also trying to keep us as flat as possible and with some interesting places to keep us distracted while we run.  We have mapped out a tentative schedule below, subject to change.  This should help you determine your timing for getting back to SJW after the run.  Please make it a habit to bring your Oyster Card or contactless card.  If you have questions, please let us know.
Week 20 – 60 min – TBD
Week 21 – 70 min – Borough Market
Week 22 – 80 min = Brompton Cemetery/Whole Foods Kensington
Week 23 – 90 min = Sloane Sq/Green Park
Week 24 – 100 min = Big Ben and back
Week 25 – February break – 60 min run
Week 26 – 110 min = Wembley
Week 27 – 120 min = Canary Wharf (with margaritas and breakfast burritos!)
Week 28 – 90 min = TBD
Week 29 – 130 min = Kew Gardens
Week 30 – 45 min = easy run through Regents Park
Tomorrow’s route:
This route takes Elsworthy Rd to Primrose Hill Rd (left) and Adelaide Rd (right) over towards Camden then turn right onto Chalk Farm Rd/Camden High Street/Hampstead Rd to Euston Rd. The group will turn right, run a couple of minutes, then turn right towards Regents Park. Staying on the pavement/sidewalk on the outside of the hedges, follow the outer loop back to the Charlbert exit of the park then finish at Starbucks.