Beginner Note 22 September 2012

Hello Everyone,

I’m so excited that I can hardly stand it!  We have such a fabulous group this year.  You are all doing so well.  I’m thrilled with our progress.  We do have a few additions to our group since my last email so I’ll give a brief recap of what we’re doing.  If you been running since the beginning, just skip down to the next paragraph.  We are all beginner runners who are trying to learn to run.  We will be following a walk/jog interval schedule which gradually builds over the weeks (see the attached interval schedule).  The program is designed to have us ready to run a half-marathon in the spring.  Everyone is welcome in the group whether or not they are aiming to do the half-marathon.  Some ladies want to learn to run but have no interest in running long distances.  That’s fine!  Everyone is welcome.  That being said, our group is huge.  I can’t turn anyone away – I don’t have it in me!  But there is definitely no need to continue “recruiting” for our group.  If we get too big, it’s hard to run through the city.  I will be leading the runs on Thursdays with help from Bonnie, Betsy and Syma.  I hope you have all meet our coaches.  They are a fabulous resource for you.  Each of them have come through the beginner group in some form or fashion.  The group meets without the coaches on Tuesday mornings to repeat the run we did together the previous Thursday.  It is important that you get that second run in each week.  If you are not able to meet the group, email everyone and see if you can find someone to run with you at a different time.  On Tuesdays (or whenever you do your second weekly run), it’s critical to keep the pace slow.  

In one of the first emails to the group, I asked you to wait (if possible) to go buy running shoes until you had settled into a running style.  Now’s the time – you have STYLE!  We have an arrangement with Runners Need (they have several locations around London) for a 10% discount on most merchandise.  Just tell them you run in the group with Paula Mitchell and they will honour that deal.  At Runners Need, they will watch you run on a treadmill and recommend a shoe that would be good for your running style/gait.  If you already have running shoes but aren’t sure they are right for you, go to Runners Need.  They’ll watch you run and let you know.  They are very helpful.  Just a FYI – running shoes last about 400 miles (more if you are lighter and possibly less if you are heavier).  I usually write the date of purchase on the insole so I can keep track of how old my shoes are.  Experts recommend that you buy a running shoe 1/2 – 1 sizes bigger than your street shoe size.  Our feet swell while we’re running so they need some space and you never want your toes bumping into the end of the shoe.  If you do buy a shoe a bit larger, let one of us know so we can show you how to tie the laces.  There’s a little trick to it.  Some other products you might consider buying are good socks (I use double-layer anti-blister socks but ask around – everyone seems to have a favourite) and a rain-jacket.  We will run rain or shine, snow or hail so you’ll need something weatherproof.  I’ve had better luck finding rain-jackets at Field and Trek, Black’s, North Face, Snow and Rock, etc.  Runners Need usually only has a couple of styles in stock.  The rain-jacket needs to be breathable.  For running clothes, dri-fit products are always the best.  I wear a lot of layers during the winter so I can peel off while I’m running and put them back on post-run.  For now I would recommend tying extra clothes around your waist and NOT buying a backpack.  I’ll explain why sometime when we’re running.  Little running belts can be very helpful to hold Oyster card/cash/keys/etc.  Those are great, just avoid running with a backpack for now.

For the first 8 weeks of the program, we will stay local and always loop back to St. John’s Wood.  Beginning on Thursday, 18 October, we mix it up and do some loop routes and some destination runs.  On that Thursday (18 Oct), we will do our first destination run to Big Ben.  We will take take the tube home from Westminster so bring your Oyster card and some cash.  Most of you are running now without carrying water which is fine.  Most people can exercise in moderate temperatures for 45-60 minutes without water, but some of you may really need water (which is also fine!!!).  As our runs get longer, everyone will need to carry water so in November, we will do a group run down to the Holborn Runners Need to look at hydration belts/bottles/packs/etc.  If you’re a big drinker, let me know and I’ll recommend something for you.  For now it’s fine to just carry a water bottle if you don’t want to buy a belt yet – no problem!

Plans are coming together for our trip to Slovakia for the half-marathon.  I’ll send out more information in the next few weeks as we finalize everything.  For the trip, I book the hotel, transport to/from the hotel, and most of the activities for the weekend.  All you have to do is book your flights (once we decide which flight to take) and register for the race (opens 10 January).  For now, you don’t even have to think about any of that.  There is a race website: but there’s not much English on the site.  As I get information from the race director I’ll send that out to you.

A couple of other things…..  I won’t be there next Thursday but Syma, Bonnie and Betsy will take good care of you!  Also, we will begin to stretch after we run starting in two weeks.  We’ll finish in the park at the end of the high street to stretch.  For now, consider stretching at Starbucks at the end of the run or at home after we run.  If you have any injuries or particular tightness, let me know – I’ll give you some specific stretches to address those areas.  

Some of you haven’t been able to open the program files.  I’ve attached the program in a pdf format and I will try to remember to bring some hard-copies next time I see you.  I’ll also post this email on our website –  – under the “Beginners” tab later tonight.  Congratulations on a job well done so far!!!

Happy Running,