25 Beginner Group Week One


Hello Everyone,

The beginner running group will start on Thursday, 5 September, at 8:15am at Starbucks in St. John’s Wood.  Bonnie Bandeen and Betsy LaMaster will be coaching you with me each week.  We are all so excited to get going!   Let me know if you’ve changed your mind, or your situation has changed, or if you somehow ended up on this list and have no interest in learning to run.  Otherwise you can expect to receive an email from me each Saturday or Sunday explaining what we’ll be doing the following week.  A little bit of information on the program/schedule follows:

  1. The program is gentle, but it’s still difficult.  For the first few weeks, we will be out there less than 45 minutes.  We will do a 5-10 minute walk to warm up, then we will jog very, very slowly for 60 seconds, then walk for 2 minutes.  We will repeat the 1 min jog, 2 min walk pattern 10 times, then finish with a 5-10 minute cool-down walk back to Starbucks.  So when we have finished our session we will have jogged for a total of 10 minutes.  Over the weeks, the jogging intervals increase gradually but we continue to go at an extremely slow pace.  

  2. I understand it’s difficult to believe, but by mid-December you will be running a steady 60 minutes without any walking breaks.  By March, you will be fully prepared for a half-marathon (13.1 miles).  We are finalising the details for this year’s half marathon trip.  

  3. Our training schedule will prepare us for the half-marathon, but please know that you do not have to go on the trip or have any intention of running those distances.  You do not have to commit to anything!  That is the beauty of this group….  you don’t pay to be part of the group and you don’t have to commit to a long-term program.  If you try it for a few weeks and don’t like it, you stop.  No hard feelings – at least you will have tried.  All of that being said, the women who end up most successful with the program are those who make a mental commitment to being there week after week.  

  4. Each Thursday, my co-coaches and I will run with the group, set the pace, tell you when to run/walk and set the route.  We will also encourage you to start meeting up one more day a week either as a group or as several small groups (most of the beginner groups in the past have done this on Tuesday mornings but that’s up to you).  For the first 8-10 weeks, this second run each week will be a repeat of whatever we did with you on Thursday.  Believe me, that second run each week (without  us) will teach you just as much as the Thursday run.    

  5. We will address injuries/aches/pains as we go; on the Women Running the World website there is a list of people (physios, trainers etc) that can help if there is a problem.

A few guidelines….

  1. Come dressed however you choose.  There is no need to buy a lot of running clothes at this point and definitely do NOT buy a new pair of running shoes yet – we will be able to recommend a store that can advise you on running shoes. One year there was a beginner who ran in jeans for the first 3 months as she was convinced she wouldn’t become a runner and didn’t need to invest in running clothes.  (You should see her now – one of the “best dressed” runners in the pack!).  So no worries about how you look, just show up. 

  2. Be on time.  We do not operate on an RSVP system so whoever is there at 8:15 runs.  If you’re late, you will be left behind.  For any of you dropping off young children or have other complications, just let me know.  We’ll figure something out.

  3. No dogs allowed (sorry!).

  4. Always carry with you a bit of money and an Oyster card (and possibly a Starbucks card).  For awhile we won’t be getting very far from SJW, but it’s nice to know you always have the option mid-run to grab a cab/tube/bus if you have a problem.  Also most of the women stay for a coffee after the run.  This is a great time to ask questions or discuss concerns as sometimes we don’t all get a chance to talk to each other during the run.  

  5. This one is most important…..  the group is strictly for non-runners.  If you can already run a bit, there are other groups for you – just give me a call or send an email and we can figure out where you best fit.  We need to all be working through this process together – if someone is running circles around us, it’s demoralizing.

If you are interested in joining the group, but know you have a conflict(s) – just let me know and we will try to work something out.  We work around the ASL schedule so we’ll be taking breaks when school is on break.  I know some of you may have children in other schools or no children here, but it just simplifies things to stay on the ASL schedule.  

The program works – I promise.  Countless women have come through it successfully.  It’s hard, but it’s good fun and the sense of accomplishment you will feel is simply more than I can put down in words.  So give it a try, show up on 5 September and see what happens.  I know it’s scary – most women are terrified, some don’t sleep the night before the first session, some show up feeling queasy, but don’t worry.  We are all in the same situation.  We are doing this to learn how to run – it’s impossible to “slow down the group” or “hold people back”.  You can do this – I promise.  There is a huge support system in place, plenty of people who have gone through what you have  

I hope to see you on Thursday, 5 September,



You will come to consider the SJW Starbucks an oasis of nourishment and companionship after your runs…

Beginner Note 25 Aug 2013

Sunday, August 25, 2013