2017-18 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…  🙂  As we noted on the run on Thursday, the canal is a great place to run out for a distance and turn around at the halfway point.  It allows for non-stop running and it’s easy to get to.  But please always be careful of the bikes!

If you haven’t yet joined the group, there is still time to join us and not be far behind, but please join us this week!  Or let me know if you’d like to punt out a year and I’ll keep your info for next year if you’d like.
As many of you know, Purvi is creating a What’s App group for you all so you can easily communicate with each other.  This has been a great tool in the past few years for finding others to run with if you can’t make the Tues or Thurs run as well as encouraging each other over breaks.  If you haven’t already, please send Purvi your information so you can be added if you’d like.
Just a note about the training schedule – I noticed that it is incorrect in that it has a 5 minute walk break before the last run segment for this past week.  It should be a regular 2 minute walk break (for whoever is timing you all on Tuesday…).

We are hoping to announce the race destination this week and when we do, I will send out a revised training schedule for us.  Note that the run to Big Ben was originally scheduled for 19 October but since that is ASL parent-teacher conferences, we are going to push it out a week (sorry, Clay!  But hopefully the group will repeat the following week on Tuesday when you are back…).  So SAVE THE DATE for Oct 26 – it’s a great run.  Don’t worry – we will still be running and walking, and there will be plenty of breaks at traffic lights 🙂

Now that we are a few weeks in to the program, we wanted to give a bit more information on shoes, nutrition and aches/pains.

Shoes – if you are feeling like you want/need a new pair of shoes, you can go out at any time now and buy some.  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 any pains during 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.  There are experts such as physios listed on the womenrunningtheworld.com website if you are interested.

All of us will benefit from lots of stretching and some squats or lunges 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.

See you Thursday,

Your coaches

2017-18 Beginners Week 4

Hi everyone,

I hope you all had a great weekend!
For this week, as usual, please repeat last Thursday’s run on Tuesday.
This Thursday’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.
If you are on this email and are not planning to join us this year, please let me know – we won’t take offense!  We don’t want to junk up your inbox any more than it already is.  But if you are planning to join, come on out!  It’s not too late to get started.
Hope to see everyone on Thursday,
Your coaches

2017-18 Beginners Week 3

Hello everyone!
Wow!  We are a big and fantastic group!  Well done on Thursday getting through those 2 minute running intervals with apparent ease.  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.
So for this Tuesday, as for last week, repeat what we did this past Thursday based on the training plan we sent out last week.
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
Our photo from this week:
Front row:  Amy Grace (coach), Claudia Figueroa, Shakha Mehta, Nancy Cutler, Anne Scolari, Melissa Kay (coach), Jen Conk, Tessa Erdei, Dani Burke (coach)
Back row:  Hiba Injibar, Vered Regev, Keri Haines (coach), Sara Shahidi, Tracy Lynch, Clay Kelly, Jenn Shulman, Denise Abner, Fernanda Spinelli, Dhana Bhide, Carol Osborne, Barbara Kim, Purvi Sawhney, Megan Marine (coach), Nancy Pace

2017-18 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.  Please note, however, that the race date is not yet determined.  I have based this schedule on last year’s date and it’s likely that will not be the actual date.  Once the race is chosen, I will revise the schedule accordingly and resend.  One page is the specific running/walking intervals week by week.  The other page 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.
So for this Tuesday, follow the intervals in the program for week one.
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 can request to join and we will add you.
 
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