26 Beginner Note 27 January 2014


Dear Runners,


I heard you all had a great run last week!  I am sorry to have missed it but I was delayed in the US (though when I heard it had rained quite heavily, I wasn’t too sorry!) 

We are perfectly on track for the March half marathon, and believe me, the hardest part is behind us.  You have run for 60 minutes quite consistently now, so bumping up 10 minutes each week is not significant in terms of fitness/cardio requirement.  We have done all the hard work in making the transition from walking/jogging intervals to non-stop running and are more than ready to start extending our mileage.  Just remember that as you look at the schedule over the next few weeks – even though the lengths of the runs may be daunting, you can do it.  At the start, our longest running interval was 1 minute, and now we are running 70 times that fairly comfortably.  Having increased it 70 fold, you can certainly double your training run from now till our longest one on March 20.  If you are having trouble, please let us know – we have all run the distance and understand the psychology of it.  Don’t doubt that you can do it – we all know you can.


I know I keep repeating myself, but it is very important to get the long runs in between now and race day (80, 90, 100, 110, 120 and 130 minutes).  It is great how you organise yourselves when there is a conflict – keep the emails going and let us know if you have any conflict with the Thursday runs – we will work something out. 


This week we will be running an interesting route through Brompton Cemetery finishing at Whole Foods.  We will head from Barclays Bank, towards Hyde Park and run down to Hyde Park Corner, where we will turn right (west) staying along the inside edge of the park.  After about .3 of a mile, there is an exit leading to Knightsbridge which we will take and run along Brompton road, past Harrods and onto Fulham Road.  We will continue along until we reach the cemetery on the right after running past Finbourough and Ifield Roads.  We’ll enter and run through the cemetery and exit at Brompton road, then right to run to Earls Court Road and up to Cromwell Road.   From there, we will wind our way up via Marloes Road to High Street Kensington and on to Whole Foods, where we will end.  



It is time for us to start using gels (this week or next).  Most of us can handle sessions up to 80-90 minutes without ‘topping up’ fuel.  Basically, up to that time, we can use the ‘fuel’ we have in our bodies ready to burn.  It varies from runner to runner – two runners can be running at the same pace, but the one more comfortable with the pace will burn less calories, or need less fuel than the one pushing herself.  This is why we stress the importance of ‘finding your pace’ – if you are pushing your pace your body will require more fuel (which may complicate fuelling for the first time half-marathoner).  Once a runner has gone through the readily-accessible fuel, it is time to top up, and the easiest way to do that is through gels.  Gels are simple carbohydrates.  Most gels have similar formulas, so when deciding what gel to use, most runners go with the gel that is the most palatable to them.  The important point is that it is almost impossible for a beginner runner to complete a half marathon without taking in carbs during the race, so you will need at least one gel to complete the race (some may need 2).  Now is the time to try the gels and decide what tastes best for you, or what texture works.  You will also need water at this point and I will be happy to run with you to Runners Need, perhaps on your Tuesday run, to purchase a water bottle/belt and gels.  


Finally, starting February, the 45 minute run each week should be bumped up to 60 minutes.  

I apologise for the length of this email – I meant to send the blurb on gels last week, but was unable to while I was in the US.


See you Thursday!






Beginner Note 26 January 2014

Sunday, January 26, 2014


20 Beginner Note 20 January 2014


Dear Runners,

Great job last week on your 60 minute run!  You are all amazing!!

Syma is out of town for a couple more days so I am sending you a quick email with our route for this week.  Hopefully there aren’t any meetings this Thursday and we will get everyone running together, but the map is attached if you need it.  It is important that you get your long run done every week as we lead up to Germany — it is great that you have grouped together when you can’t join the 8:15 Thursday run.  Please let Syma, Bonnie or I know if you are having trouble finding someone to run with.

The route on Thursday will take us on the canal in an easterly direction to Islington (hopefully it won’t be closed this time!).  We will exit the canal when we hit ‘the wall’ in Islington and we will turn right (south) onto Farringdon.  We then turn right (west) at Clerkenwell/Theobold’s Rd.  This will eventually turn into Oxford St and we will stop at Selfridges.  If you have time, join us for coffee on the 4th floor Starbucks — always the best part of the run!

We will start needing gels to top up our energy levels once we start running over 80 – 90 minutes.  We can discuss gels on the run this week and Syma will send out more information about them in the next week or so.  It is also important to have some water with you on your long runs.  Let us know if you’d like a run to end at Runners Need so you can get a water bottle, belt or pack.

See you Thursday!!



Beginner Note 20 January 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014


13 Beginner Note 13 January 2014


Dear Runners,


What a nice start of the year run last week – you all did really well!  I know some found it easier than others, but that is normal, and we still have another 60 minute run before we increase the time again.  From here on, it is really important that you make the long runs – if at any time you have a conflict, please let me know and we can see if we can sort something out.  I hope you are all running 3 times a week now – in addition to the long Thursday run, you should aim for a medium run of 45 minutes, and a short run of 35 minutes.  Beginning February, the medium run will be increased to 60 minutes.


This week’s run will be another loop back to SJW.  The route takes us towards Avenue Road turning right at Elsworthy Road and left at the end, till we hit Adelaide Road, when we will turn right towards Camden.  Once we get to Chalk Farm Road, we turn right and continue on Camden High Street, and Hampstead Road till we arrive at Euston Road.  The group will run along the road for a couple of minutes, and then turn right again towards the outer loop of Regents Park.  We will continue along the sidewalk on the outside of the park until we reach Charlbourg where we normally enter the park, only this time we will head back to Allitsen Road and SJW High Street.  I have attached the route in case you want a copy of the map.  I will not be there this Thursday, but Bonnie and Betsy will lead and Chris Roberts will most likely join too.


See you on the 23rd, and happy running!






Beginner Note 13 January 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014