Well done for a great 100 minute run on Thursday! I know many of you were nervous about it, especially after having been off for a week, but you did it! And did it amazingly well!
This email is going to be a little long, so some quick bullet points to keep you (and me) focused:
- We are changing the route this week
- Some runners will start earlier than others
- You guys are right on plan – you can do this!
- We are trying gels for the first time this week – there is detailed info on the purpose of gels below
- Please bring your water bottles – you will want them with the gel
Route Change/Different Start Time
As you know, we were planning to do the run to Canary Wharf this week. However, given that we ran between 7.25 and 7.5 miles last week, we don’t want to push it too much to run a full 9. Plus, Meg is going to be in the states and she doesn’t want to miss margaritas!
So – we are going to swap the Wembley run with Canary. We will run to Wembley this week and do Canary on 24 March. The plan at the moment is to run to Wembley Central (about 8 miles) and take the Bakerloo line to Maida Vale and have coffee at the Starbucks that is right across the street from that station. If you can’t stay for coffee, you can continue on the Bakerloo line to Baker and switch to the Jubilee.
Also, we are going to start Vijaya and Swati early at 8 am so that we will all finish close to each other. This was something two of our beginners did last year for these longer destination runs and it worked really well (thanks, Jen, for the suggestion!).
I have to say that I love the Wembley run – you have a nice long unbroken run along the canal with a few glimpses of Wembley Stadium and then you run along a street with colorful shops and the most spectacularly carved Hindu temple – a place you would likely never go unless you were on this run.
You’re on plan!
I know we’ve said this before, but getting in these long runs on Thursday is critical. It will be very difficult to do the following week’s run if you miss the week before. You all have been great about working together if you can’t make a run – please continue that and help each other get these runs in if you can’t make it.
I know some of you may be worried that you won’t be ready for Nice. Trust us, you will. We have 8 weeks until Nice – plenty of time! Think how far you have come even in the last month! A month ago, we were just starting to up the time to 70 minutes. You guys have just run 100 and the longest time we have on the plan is 135 minutes and that’s in 6 ½ weeks. So seriously, you can ALL do it, you just need to stay committed and keep with it. We are SO excited for all of you – you guys are truly amazing. If we didn’t think you could do it, we would say so – and that is another reason why getting these long runs in is so important – we don’t want you to get injured by trying to jump up the mileage in a week. That’s also why we have switched the route for the week – we want everyone to build up appropriately – there is no need to push the mileage right now.
OK – so the other thing for this week is that we are going to try gels on the run. Gels are basically carbohydrates to give you body some extra fuel during the race. For the most part, we train in a way to teach our body to use fat as a fuel. Fat is easier to access as an energy source and requires less fine-tuning in terms of timing carb intake during exercise. Our bodies have about 1000-1200 “easy access” calories available which will get most ladies about 10-11 miles (depending on their weight and fitness level). After that we will use gels (carbs) to fuel that last 2-3 miles of the half-marathon. We, your coaches, will tell you when you should take the gel. We will plan to use them on our longer runs going forward so we get used to taking them – we don’t want anything “new” on race day to throw us off! On Thursday, we will bring a bunch of gels that you can sample. You can try different flavors and brands and decide what you like (it may be helpful to keep the packet if you like it so you remember it). Then you can buy some either online or at running stores. In general, gels don’t taste great but they will either give you a boost after about 6 – 8 minutes or, if you’re like me, they will keep you from losing energy.
Some of the gels we have are called isotonic and have more liquid so you may not need water with them. Others are more like the consistency of jam and you’ll want water to wash it down. So please please bring your water with you.
Places to buy gels:
Runners Need (this is where all of the isotonic gels came from)
sweatshop.co.uk (this is where I bought the GU gels)
amazon.co.uk (may only be available in boxes but you could share with others in the group)
I’m sure there are others, this is just where I’ve purchased in the past.
Here is the route – we go out the canal to the west almost the entire way (down Circus, left on Grove End Rd, diagonal across at St John’s Wood Rd, first left on Cunningham Pl, right at Crocker’s Folly onto Aberdeen Pl and go across Maida Vale. Enter the canal at the little entrance on the left before you get to the bridge for Warwick Ave. Continue out the canal and exit at Alperton. The steps are just before the bridge labelled number “11” and “Ealing Road Alperton.” (See photo below). Turn right at the top of the stairs and your first right again onto Ealing Road. Just after the turn you’ll see the Alperton station on your left. Follow Ealing Road to the High Road and turn right. You’ll see Wembley Central on your right. [Note – the route map below shows a route up to 9 miles which is going an extra mile to Wembley Park – this is an option that we sometimes do with the WMF group but the 8 mile point is where we will stop.]