2016-17 Beginners – Week 30

Hi everyone,
Kew – done and dusted!  You guys rocked it, as we knew you would.  We are SO proud of all of you amazing women and we can’t wait to run with you one week from today!
So – this is it!  The last week of you being Beginners!  Next week you will officially be ex-Beginners.
This email is a little long – feel free to read it or skim it or ignore it, whatever works for you.
This week’s plan
Tuesday – do your normal 60 minute run but don’t push it.  Thursday we will just do 45 minutes around Regent’s Park at a slow pace.  The goal this week is to enjoy your running (!!) and your group.  Relax!  If you push the pace this week, it may make your legs feel a bit heavier than normal on Sunday from the muscle damage that comes when you are building up muscle (you may have noticed this on your weekend runs after a long Thursday run).  Your training is done, you are READY!  As Paula said in the final email my beginner year, this week is about finding the joy in running and in your amazing group.
After the run on Thursday, we coaches will hang at Starbucks so you can ask any questions.  And feel free to email any of us this week if there is something on your mind.
Notes for the weekend
You’ve received Jane’s great and detailed email about the race.  I am sure there is so much information coming at you that it’s a little overwhelming so I’m going to just list a few things that you may have skimmed over:
  • Bring your running shoes on the plane – they are the most important thing for the weekend (and I usually bring my bra and socks since they will fit easily and they are also important to me)
  • Cut your toenails, or bring clippers
  • If you have space, bring your roller if you use one – you will be anxious, which can tighten up your muscles, so better to have it so you don’t worry about it so much [note – I will be bringing mine so if you need one, you are welcome to borrow it!]
  • Overpack the possible running outfits – the clothing isn’t bulky and better to have what you suddenly want than wish you’d packed it
  • Bring at least 2 gels – better to have too many than too few
  • Consider having some Starburst or Tootsie Rolls or jelly beans along with you on the race – they can give a quick little “wake up” for your mouth that can help
  • Don’t forget your hat!
A few other things:
  • Try to get a good night’s sleep on FRIDAY.  Getting good rest at least one of the two nights before the race is important so get yourself to bed at a decent hour on Friday.
  • This week, try to eat well.  What you eat the week before is more important than the night before.  Keep your protein intake fairly high, don’t drink too much alcohol, drink water slowly but consistently.
  • On Saturday and Sunday nights, the beginners will all sit together (with your coaches) at dinner, so we will have plenty of time to answer last minute questions on Saturday and then CELEBRATE TOGETHER on Sunday.  Yay!
  • On race morning, we will group you with your assigned coach(es) similarly to what we’ve been doing the last few Thursdays.  We will all go to the start line together and we will start off together but you should stay with your assigned coach until she says it’s OK to go ahead.
  • If you run with music when you run on your own, consider bringing music for the race.  We are lucky to have such a high coach to runner ratio, but there is still a good chance you will end up running on your own for part of the race.  Be prepared for that mentally as well as musically.  The great thing is there are so many WRW runners (and plenty of non-WRW runners) that you won’t be running all by your lonesome on a road
  • The race is likely going to feel very crowded at the start.  Most of you ran the 10K and so know what that is like.  We will feel like we are crawling and then it will start to break free.  It’s at that time that we will need to closely watch our pace so we don’t get too carried away with the crowd.  Your coaches will do the watching so you don’t have to.
  • As we’ve discussed, there is a hill around Mile 11 (or 18 km since the race will be signed in km).  Try not to worry about the hill – you’ve done similar hills and we will just take it slowly.
  • Psychologically, when a stretch seems long, it can help to try to visualize running in London for a similar distance – like running back from Hyde Park is about 2 miles, visualize running to and crossing Oxford Street, then up towards Marylebone Road and on to Park Rd.  And if your legs are feeling tired, try doing some high stepping or side shuffling to wake your muscles up.
  • Also as Jane noted, try to take time to ENJOY the race.  Look around at the scenery, the other runners, the spectators.  Think how far you have come since running for 1 minute in September – you are all INCREDIBLE!
After the race
Next week, you officially become part of the regular WRW group.  Congratulations!  You will receive an email each week with the suggested routes for the week.  Generally, the runs after the race tend to be fun destinations.  We no longer need to worry about mileage, it’s more about being social and keeping fit (since we can use that as an excuse to eat all the good things at Borough Market…).
For the first week after the race, don’t worry about getting right out there to run.  You may or may not feel sore from the race – a lot of it will depend on the weather and how hard you push at the end.  My beginner year, my group got together the Thursday after the race and did 3 – 4 miles in Regents Park, just to get out there and to reconnect with each other post-race.  Also, for those of you willing to brave Fitzjohn’s and the Heath, we are happy to run with you next Friday or the Friday after, or the Friday after break, to give you a few tips on running up the hill.  It’s hard, but it’s such a great feeling to get to the top.  Plus, the Heath is beautiful.
I know it can be tricky to start running on MWF after you’ve gotten into such a TTH schedule for the year.  It can also be intimidating to run with all those super scary advanced MWF runners.  But trust me, ALL of you are running at paces that EASILY fit within the larger MWF group.  Your coaches will help connect you with the women in your pace group and I swear, they are all really nice.  And you will meet many of them this weekend.  So please please come out and run with us whenever you can.  It will also make it easier for the fall if you meet some of your fellow pace group runners over the next month or so before school gets out.
We will see you on Thursday!

2016-17 Beginners Week 29

Hi everyone!

I was so sorry to miss last week’s run – it sounds like it was a good one.  But I had an amazing trip to Jordan – I’ll tell you all about it on Thursday.  We’ll have plenty of time for me to describe the wonders of Petra!
Well, this is it!  Our last big run before the race!  You may be a bit nervous about the run, and that is normal.  You all can do this – and we know you know you can do it.  It’s a long run, and it will feel long, and that’s OK.  We will make sure you are not running too fast and we will get there and it will be AWESOME!
Congratulations to Julie who already hit this major milestone today!  And thank you to Melissa for guiding her on the run.  We are SO proud of you!
OK – a few things:
  • Use this run to try out what you might wear in Warsaw – your shirt, waist pouch, hat, leggings, socks.  If the weather isn’t cooperative, it’s OK to wear different bottoms, but it would be good to wear your expected shirt so you make sure it doesn’t chafe.  We want no surprises on race day that something that worked for a 6 mile run suddenly starts chafing at 9 miles.  Right now, the weather looks to be a high of about 50 and a low in the upper 30s.  With the race at 10 am, the temp will probably be in the low 40s to start.  If it’s sunny, it will feel a little warmer but it seems that it will be a temperature we’re very familiar with and that’s perfect.
  • Bring your Oyster card or contactless card to take the tube back plus money for Starbucks
  • Bring a gel, maybe two and maybe something like jelly beans, starbursts, etc.
  • Bring water
  • Eat well and get a good night’s rest the night before and don’t go out partying 🙂
  • Stretch the night before if you can
  • Eat something for breakfast
A note about bathrooms along the run – around mile 5, there is a Costa Coffee attached to the Hilton Hotel on the Kensington High Street (just past the intersection with Holland Road) which has a few toilets.  There is also a Starbucks at mile 5.7 but it only has a single toilet.  We are not going to plan a stop – it’s better to keep running – but if you need to stop, a coach will wait for you and other coaches will continue on with the group.
If you have any questions/concerns, let one of us know.  Otherwise, we’ll see you Thursday!
The route:

We start out the normal way running to Hyde Park. Once in the park, we’ll turn to the left and run down the main walkway as we regularly do, to Hyde Park Corner. At the end of the walk, turn right to follow the main cross route in the park—beware of the bike lane! When this ends at West Carriage Drive, cross the road at the crossing and continue on the pathway towards the southwest corner of Kensington Gardens. We’ll run out of the park at the Broadwalk, turning right onto Kensington High Street and continue for about two miles until we reach the Hammersmith Tube gyratory. Run counter clockwise towards the left, ending up on Queen Caroline Street which gets you to St. Paul’s Church green. Run along the green to the right, heading to and crossing over Hammersmith Bridge. Exit Hammersmith Bridge Road to your left, go down the stairs and run under the bridge onto the Thames footpath. Now it’s time to enjoy the view as we run along the Thames for almost four miles—it’s beautiful!

This is the bridge just BEFORE the bridge we exit on.  I find it useful to know what this looks like because then I know it’s the next bridge where we get off the path:

We will exit at the Kew Bridge, see photo below:

Run UNDER the bridge and then turn left, past a couple of tiny shops and garages. Run through the small parking lot until you see the stone steps leading to the top of the bridge.

At the top of the steps turn right towards town (not back over the river) and run along this road [Kew Road] for about a third of a mile until you reach a 3-way intersection.  At the 3-way intersection, veer right and follow Kew Road along the boundary wall to Kew Gardens until you reach the first main pedestrian entrance to Kew Gardens, the Victoria Gate. Across from Victoria Gate, is Lichfield Road (it is only sign posted on the left-hand corner). Follow Lichfield Road straight into Kew village. Starbucks is on the left where we’ll all meet up to congratulate ourselves on such a great run!

2016-17 Beginners Week 28

So yeah, Canary Wharf… been there, done that!  You guys are AMAZING!  What a great run!  It was wonderful to see all of your smiling faces at the end, including Tamar and Melissa.  I’m so happy you two came out to cheer the group and celebrate.

Rachel – no more tripping over things for the next few weeks, OK?  Please?
We leave for Warsaw in two and a half weeks.  I’m hoping that’s starting to feel a bit more like “YAY!” rather than “YIKE!”  Or maybe a bit of both.  We are in the home stretch and you guys are STRONG.  If you had to, you could do the race now.  The next few weeks are just about making it easier.
As the trip approaches, Jane will send more detailed emails about the weekend including timing and where to meet for meals, the tours, and anything else scheduled.  She’ll also send some trip packing tips which I will emphasize and add to in a future email.  If you have any questions at all about the race or the weekend, please don’t hesitate to ask.  I know it can be scary not knowing how it’s all going to play out and we want to make you all feel as comfortable and psychologically ready as possible.
I think I have everyone’s photo book information.  If you haven’t already, don’t forget to respond to the dinner choice email survey.  And I believe Sue is collecting £5 for the bus that will take us to and from the race.
This Week
This week is a bit of a break week.  This doesn’t mean we get to take it easy, unfortunately.  It just means we don’t increase our time/distance.  We are letting our bodies recover a bit from the last few long runs, giving the muscles time to repair before we move on.  We’re going to do a Hyde Park/Sloane Square/Westminster run that will give you some stretches of non-stop running and a few red man breaks.  Neither Meg nor I will be there this week sadly for us but we will have at least one guest coach to help guide you and set the pace.
Don’t forget to bring your Oyster card for the ride home.  You won’t need your gels this week unless you really want the practice.
This week, we are going to start running immediately from Barclays.  In the race, you won’t have a walk to start running so let’s start to get used to running from the start.  Make sure you are warmed up a bit before you get to Barclays and keep moving while we wait for the group to gather.
The Route
Start out running down Circus to Hall Rd.  Cross Maida Vale and go left at Warrington Crescent at the traffic circle.  When you reach Warwick Avenue (you’ll see the tube), turn right onto Clifton Gardens.  At the end, turn right onto Blomfield and then right onto Westbourne Terrace Rd.  Go under the Westway and stay on Westbourne Terrace until Sussex Gardens when you’ll bear right and enter Hyde Park at the Italian Gardens.  Go diagonally right and hook around Round Pond and run back through the southern part of Hyde Park along the straight path.  Exit Hyde Park just after the end of the Serpentine, going past the French Embassy.  Cross Knightsbridge and turn right and then left on Sloane Street.  Run all the way down through Sloane Square and keep running on that road (which turns into Chelsea Bridge Rd).  At the river, turn left and run until you get to Westminster.