You are on the list for the WRW beginner group. We hope you are still interested and excited to begin! The beginner running group starts this Thursday, 1 September at 8:15 am at Barclays Bank in St John’s Wood at the corner of Circus and Wellington Roads. We are so excited to get going! If you have changed your mind and are no longer interested in learning to run, or believe you may belong in the regular non-beginner group, please let us know. Otherwise, you can expect to receive an email from us each week explaining what we’ll be doing the following week. We expect that there will be more beginners joining us over the next several weeks as the new school year starts.
A bit about your coaches:
- Amy Grace, Meg Stone and Stacey Towfighi have previously coached the beginner group so they can help you with what to expect during the year. They have been in London and running with WRW for 3 – 5 years.
- Melissa Kay and Karina Kalb are new to coaching and are excited to go on this journey with you! Karina was a beginner 3 years ago and Melissa has been running with WRW for over 2 years.
- Jane Novak is the overall leader of Women Running the World and will also run with us many weeks because she loves getting to know everyone!
A bit of information about the program:
- Very important – this group is for women who have never run before. If you can run even a mile or two, you likely belong in the regular running group that meets Mon/Wed/Fri. We need to all be working through this process together – if someone is running circles around us, it’s demoralizing. Plus, it will be boring and frustrating for you. Feel free to talk to any of the coaches about where you belong.
- 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.
- We understand it’s difficult to believe, but by late 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 have not yet chosen the half marathon location but we expect it will be in late March/early April. More on this to come!
- 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.
- Each Thursday, we 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.
- If you know of other people who want to join us, please encourage them to come and start with us. It is very difficult for people to join the group after a month or two as by then we are running quite a bit, so tell them to come and come now! Particularly keep an eye out for women new to London who might would be interested in joining the group. For many new-comers, by the time they hear about the group, it’s too late (we’ve made too much progress) for them to catch up.
- We will address injuries/aches/pains as we go. Most problems can be dealt with without having to stop running. We have a list of specialists that we can guide you to. It is much better to see someone quickly than to let something minor turn into something bigger.
A few guidelines:
- 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 can tell you where to go in London once you’ve settled into the program. One year a beginner 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. So no worries about how you look, just show up.
- 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 us know. We’ll try to figure something out.
- No dogs or strollers allowed (sorry!).
- 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.
The program works – we 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 we can put down in words. So give it a try, show up on 1 September and see what happens. We 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 – we promise. We’ll hold your hand or pick you up and carry you if need be – just show up. That’s all you have to do is show up – we’ll guide you through each step along the way.
See you on Thursday!