Beginner Note 24 November 2012

Hello Beginner Runners,

For those of you who celebrate American Thanksgiving, I hope you had a fabulous day last week. I’ve heard from a few of you that there is a bit of turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie to run off! So, let’s get to it….

BegRunnersNeedWe have 3-4 weeks of training left before most of our runners scatter for the holidays. How about we start the shopping now???? Our plan had been to run to Runners Need on Thursday, 6 December, but the shop will be under renovation that week so let’s go this Thursday! The route to Runners Need will take us along the canal past Camden. We will exit from the canal at the edge of Islington then head south along Farringdon Road. At Theobalds Rd, we turn right to run towards the west until we reach Procter Rd where we turn left. Runners Need is on the right hand side about 200 meters from the Procter/Theobalds intersection (it sits above an Evans Cycle Shop). We will be doing two 25 minute intervals separated by a short walking break. The first 25 minute interval will be along the canal (where there are no street crossings). Feel free to slow down your pace during that first running interval. The second interval will be easier as we’ll be running on the streets through town.

There are a few things to think about while we’re running:

  • Most important, these long runs should be done at a comfortable pace. You should be able to run and chat. If you are struggling to breathe comfortably and/or carry on a conversation, then slow down. Don’t be tempted to walk (until our designated walk break) – just slow down.
    If you are a quicker-paced runner, please migrate to the front of the pack before we get to the canal. Once we’re on the canal, it’s difficult to move up in the group as the towpath is pretty narrow in places.
  • While we run on the canal, we always get into a single file line and move away from the water for bicycles to go past us. Always put the bike closest to the water. It is our responsibility to see a bike coming and try to get out of their way. It’s best to hop into a single file line (closest to the wall) so the biker understands which way to go.
  • Notice who you end up running with. Who is in your “pace-pack”? Where are you most comfortable (front, middle or back of the group)? Please remember that your pace is not necessarily an indication of fitness. It’s not a competition – we’re each trying to find our natural pace.

What should be on your shopping list for Runners Need?

  • Have a look at their hydration systems. Reread the notes from our meeting (this is the link) for tips on water bottles, hydration belts, camelbacks, etc.
  • Have someone analyze your gait and give you shoe recommendations if you haven’t had that done before.
  • Check out their winter running gear and rain jackets.
  • Browse through the gels, shot blocks, sport beans, etc to see if any of the flavours interest you. I can show you which ones I prefer and which ones are favorites with our runners.

I look forward to seeing you this week! Please feel free to call or email with any questions/concerns you have.

Happy Running,

Beginner Note 16 November 2012

Hello Beginner Runners,

Congratulations on your fabulous run this week! That was supposed to be hard – how dare you prove me wrong by skipping, singing and smiling all the way around that 4.5 mile loop! Actually I love it. You are all amazing. It was soooooo much fun seeing you run so well and finishing our run at Bonnie’s house was perfect. It was nice to have a chance to get to know each other a bit better. Thank you Bonnie for opening your house to us (sweaty running clothes and all). For those of you who weren’t able to join us, this is a link to the information that was handed out. In the nutrition information, I mention an article about Disordered Eating (click here for the link). This is so illegal (for me to “distribute” the article without permission from Runners World magazine), but hopefully we won’t get in trouble. Not that it makes it any better, but I feel that whoever wrote it would want any/every runner to read it whether they paid for the magazine or not.
As we discussed on Thursday, it is time to add a 3rd weekly run if you haven’t already done it. That run should be about 30 minutes of running time broken into whatever intervals you want. The pace can be quicker than our Thursday run pace (if you want but doesn’t have to be). Beginning Tuesday, 11 December, your weekly schedule changes a bit. The Thursday run stays as it is, your Tuesday run becomes a 45 minute session (non-stop running – no walking breaks) and the weekend run should be 35 minutes (non-stop running – no walking breaks). For Tuesdays, I would recommend starting out together but then stringing out into different pace groups. The majority of our group is happy running a similar pace on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the majority of our group should be running a similar pace on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Most of us are taxing our bodies enough by running at any pace. There is no need to push any harder – you are doing a brilliant job. You are exactly where you should be – your progression is right on track. However, there are some runners in our group who want to go a bit faster (which is fine). Let them go – don’t be tempted to fall into their wake and get swept into a quicker pace than you want to run. It is not necessary to run any faster than what we do together. You will be ready for the race following the program as it is.
AnatomyITBSyndromeSeveral of you are complaining of tightness on the outside of your upper leg combined with achiness in the knee. This condition is what most people call “Runners Knee”. There is a membrane-type tissue that runs from your hip to your knee called the ITB (Iliotibial band).  You can think of this membrane as Scotch-tape that runs along the outside of your upper leg. When we stress the leg muscles, this band can tighten or get crimps in it. It works a bit like Scotch tape when it folds back on itself (it’s near impossible to “un-stick”). Once the ITB is shortened/tightened/crimped, it pulls up on the knee (usually the outside, upper corner of the kneecap but it can also cause pain at other insertion points). To lengthen the ITB, we can “roll it out” on a syrofoam roller. To see how this is done, have a look at this video. You can buy one of those foam rollers at gyms/physios or online at   You can also have a sports masseuse “strip” the ITB. Believe me, it’s nothing like a spa massage but it works like a dream. Tracey Tofts at APPI is a fabulous sports massage therapist (APPI on Kilburn High Rd. – 0207 624 5314). APPI also has physio-therapists on staff who can diagnosis/treat any injuries/aches/pains you are experiencing. APPI is currently offering our runners 15% off all treatments. There are many good physios/sports-massage-therapists in and around London. Please don’t feel compelled to use APPI – but do see someone if you are having problems. Minor aches/pains can become full-blown injuries if they are not addressed early on.
Our half-marathon trip is coming together nicely. Quite a few of our beginner runners have committed to the race, bought airline tickets and are registered for the race. Could you do me a favour regarding the Bratislava trip?  Check this spreadsheet (click here for the link) before this Sunday at midnight. Please make sure your flight and hotel information is correct. If you have not emailed me your travel information, your line will be blank. Please make any corrections and/or additions. Also, please input the following:

  • Have you registered for the race? yes or no in Column D
  • Do you want to ride the coach from the Vienna airport to the hotel? If so, the 2:30pm or the 6:15pm? (just put an x in the correct column K or L, or leave it blank if you are finding/arranging your own transport). We need these numbers so we know whether to order a large or medium coach.
  • Input Sat and Sun dinner information. For now, we just need estimated headcounts for restaurant bookings. When it gets closer, we’ll deal with specifics. I’ll let you know when we need final decisions about dinners.
  • Please add any comments that need to be noted in Column AN.

The spreadsheet is available to edit until this Sunday at midnight. After that time, any changes will need to be emailed to me. Next week I will be communicating our room counts to the hotel. You are free to make changes after Sunday, but they need to go through me (so I can call the hotel and say “now we are x # of doubles/singles/etc” instead of me needing to constantly check the spreadsheet and try to figure out what has been changed). Throughout the next four months, we’ll open the spreadsheet so everyone can make final decisions on meals, tours, etc then close it again so headcounts can be passed on to restaurants and tour guides. Again, you have plenty of time to decide about the trip. The timing of Sunday’s deadline is only so we can give the hotel/bus co/tour guides an estimate of our numbers.
That’s it for this week. Congratulations again on your fabulous run Thursday! Just as a reminder, Syma will be leading a group on Thursday (American Thanksgiving Day) at the regular time and regular place. Join in if you’re in town! If you are traveling, don’t fret about your running. We’ll get back to the routine following the holiday.
Happy Running,

Beginner Note 10 November 2012

Hello Runners,

I missed you all so much while I was away but it sounds like you did a fabulous job of carrying on with your running, continuing to train regularly and supporting and encouraging your fellow runners to keep at it.  Thank you so much ladies!  You’re the best!

Beginner Runner Coffee Morning at Bonnie’s house on Thursday:
This Thursday, we will finish our run at Bonnie Bandeen’s house (Hamilton Terrace) for coffee.  I will bring some more detailed information about our training program, some information about nutrition for performance (basically what you should/could eat pre/post/during running), specific info on hydration, and you will have the opportunity to register for the Bratislava race.

Bratislava Race:
The race registration is open and they continue to improve the process.  There is now more English on the website and the race director has informed me that they will continue to update the website up to race day.  There are now photos of last year’s races on the site which are interesting.  It’s nice to get an idea of where we’ll be running.  I will bring my computer to Bonnie’s coffee post-run this Thursday so people can register.  It’s easier to do if you see somehow else go through the steps.  Please remember if you register on your own to put “WRW- Women Running the World” or some version of that under our group name.  The director is finding that helpful in identifying our runners.

Running Group T-shirts:
Our t-shirt order has been placed and we are expecting it to arrive the first week of December.  We’ll figure out a way to distribute the shirts as quickly as possible once they are here.

Adding a 3rd weekly run:
If you are feeling up to it, consider adding a weekend run to your program.  The weekend run should be shorter than your Tuesday and Thursday run.  Keep the running portion to 30 minutes in any format you desire.  For example, you could do 4 x 7:30 minute jogging intervals separated by 2 minute walking breaks, or 3 x 10:00 minute jogging intervals, or 2 x 15:00 minute jogging intervals.  The pace should still be slow but can be slightly quicker than our Tuesday and Thursday runs if you want.  If you don’t like going any faster, there is no need to push the pace.  You will still reap the benefits of this 3rd weekly run.  If you are experiencing aches/pains from the running, I would recommend a weekend brisk, power-walk instead of a run.

Running over Thanksgiving:
Many of you will be away from Wed, 21 Nov through Sun, 25 Nov or home with children and not able to run the regular days.  Please don’t worry!  Our program allows for holiday breaks, illnesses, injuries, travel, etc.  You will be just fine – I promise!  If you are completely unable to run, don’t fret.  Try to get out for some walks if at all possible.  If you are able to continue with your regular routine, Syma will be leading the group on Thursday, 22 November, at 8:15am from Starbucks.

This Thursday, we will be doing a loop (see map below) to finish at Bonnie’s house for coffee post-run.

In an effort to provide full disclosure (wow, that sounded soooo official!!!), this run will most likely be difficult.  I don’t want to discourage you or make you apprehensive but I also don’t want you to have a rough time with the run and think there is something wrong.  It should be hard.  We’ll be doing 3 x 15 minute jogging intervals and the first long interval will be a lot of non-stop canal running.  The last two intervals should be easier for you as there are numerous street crossings.  This run combined with the run to Whole Foods this past Thursday (which also had some long non-stop running stretches) should set us up for some major breakthroughs.  The problem is that our bodies are trying to figure out where to get fuel for this type of running.  For most of you, running is entirely new.  Your body hasn’t learned how to fuel itself – but it will!!!  Hang in there and after 2-3 weeks this will seem easier again.

To summarize our upcoming routes:

  1. 15 Nov – Little Venice/Kilburn loop to finish at Bonnie’s house

  2. 22 Nov – Thanksgiving – Syma will lead the group on a loop route

  3. 29 Nov – This will be a destination run – bring your Oyster cards and/or cash!!

  4. 6 Dec   –  Runner’s Need in Holborn

                                                        Happy Running!