We are off to a great start! We are so excited to get to know you – we clearly have a fabulous group this year as usual! This is a long email with lots of information so please bear with us.
We have attached our program as a two page PDF. One is the specific running/walking intervals week by week. The other is more of broad weekly view of what we are doing.
For those of you who are just joining us, don’t worry! You’ll be fine. Our routine is this: on Thursdays the coaches will run with the group. The following Tuesday, the group will meet at Barclays at the same time (always 8:15 am for an 8:20 start) and repeat what we did the prior Thursday. To time your intervals, we find that an app called IntervalTimer works very well. I’m sure there are others out there, but that one is free and fairly easy to set up. It generally works best if someone is the official timer person each Tuesday and someone else guides the group. We will be running in Regent’s Park for the first few weeks so it’s not too tricky to guide. We are happy to help you all manage it – just ask! For anyone who was not able to join us on Thursday, just show up on Tuesday, introduce yourself, and you will be fine. Also, if you find you cannot make a Tuesday or Thursday run, try emailing to group to see if there are others who might be able to join you later or on a different day. For this Tuesday, coach Melissa may join you to help get you started.
The key for the Tuesday runs is to go SLOW! The founder of WRW, Paula Mitchell, explained the philosophy of running so slow and having walking breaks this way:
“Most of us have tried to run at some point in our lives or we had to do it in school. Usually we have less-than-wonderful memories about running. In my opinion, most people trying to learn to run go too fast. They head out the front door like a rocket, chest pounding, lungs gasping for air, legs screaming, etc. No wonder we don’t stick with it. It’s horrible. From my experience, if we start very slowly, run at a very gentle pace and don’t get our heart-rates too high, then we’re OK to keep at it. When we finish running as a group, you should be feeling like you did something but you shouldn’t be exhausted. That is the psychological side of it. From a physiological viewpoint, if you are new to running then your body isn’t necessarily ready to support that activity. By starting the program very gently we give our bodies time to catch up. Over the first few weeks, there are small changes happening within your muscular system. The small stabilizer muscles surrounding joints will strengthen. The larger muscles which drive movement will start to “wake up”. Most likely you will not notice these changes in the mirror, but they are happening. By beginning a new training regime gradually, we can hopefully keep injuries at bay. This is one of the reasons we definitely need to keep our pace slow on Tuesdays. Reign each other in!!! Try to replicate the pace we do together on Thursdays. If you run too fast, it can lead to injury or make you very frustrated with running. I’ll repeat this because it’s critical…… keep the Tuesday run SLOW, very SLOW!!!”
During the first few weeks of our program, we’ll continue to have additions to the group and start to see some attrition. Usually by October, the group settles into a pack and running becomes part of your weekly routine. For any of you who have some running experience, please consider moving up to our Mon/Wed/Fri groups. We have another 100+ runners who run a wide range of pace and distance. You will have people to run with and you will be able to keep up. The beginner group progresses very slowly and we will continue to keep the group running at a very slow pace. It’s part of the master plan!!! One last thing here… if you are already a runner (therefore have a natural pace/gait), running this slow can actually hurt – that slow pace will create an unhealthy amount of impact on your joints and can throw off your already-developed gait. Let me know if you want to discuss this – we are happy to talk about how you could transition to the next level in our running group. Lastly on this topic, if you are already a runner, after a few weeks you’ll be running circles around our true “newbies”. It’s depressing for them to feel that they are working SOOOOOOO hard and you’re flitting around as though it’s a gentle stroll in the park.
I know a few people asked whether we run through the winter and in the rain. The short answer – yes! The only time we cancel runs would be for icy conditions which are dangerous. Otherwise, we run in rain, sleet, snow, hail, etc. That being said, you might consider buying a good running rain-jacket. It needs to be lightweight and breathable. Runners Need sells them as do most of the outdoor shops, or ask any of the coaches for recommendations. You might be surprised that we don’t usually have to run in rain. We like to joke that the sky clears for WRW – it will be raining as you walk to Barclays and by the time we start running, it’s over. And if it does rain, it passes over quickly. It’s rare we run in heavy rain.
If you’re in the market for new shoes, we recommend waiting a month or so. Often, as you start running each person develops a gait and it actually improves (or becomes more efficient) over time. If you go in now for shoes, they may fit you in shoes that are appropriate for your current gait. That gait may very well change in the next few weeks so hold off if you can make yourself wait!
OK – the last few things. First, our running group has a website: www.womenrunningtheworld.com. We will post this email under “Beginners” so if you misplace it and are looking for information, you can find it there. Our program will also be out there as well as some route information if you’re interested. So the website could be helpful but don’t worry about any of the other information posted out there for the Mon/Wed/Fri group. Second, our group has a Facebook page – WRW London. You will need to request to join and we will add you.
IMPORTANT – this Thursday, the ASL PCA has its first meeting and it conflicts with our 8:15 start. Some of the coaches are willing to run later if some of you want to attend the meeting. PLEASE RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL and let us know if you want to run at 8:15 or after the PCA meeting (probably around 10 am).
Finally, here is the photo from our first day. It’s going to be fun to look back and see us all at the start of our adventure!
We look forward to seeing you on Thursday and hearing about how SLOW you ran on Tuesday!