2017-18 Beginners Week 27 update

Hi everyone,

Well, this weather is CRAZY!  You all get the dubious distinction of the first ever beginner group whose run to Canary was snowed out.  I’m so sorry to those of you actually looking forward to dodging bikes on the canal 🙂

So now the question is – what do we do.

Right now, we are looking at 3 options.

1) Meet at Barclay’s at the usual time, run to Hyde Park and then run 2 loops around the perimeter of Hyde Park.

2) Meet at Barclay’s at the usual time, take a bus to Hyde Park and then run 2 loops around the perimeter.

3) Do not run outside but find an inside running solution.  Some in the MWF group have discovered that you can book a 1-day membership online for Swiss Cottage Leisure Center for 8 pounds.  They did their long run today together on the treadmills there.  https://www.payasugym.com/gyms-in-london/swiss-cottage-leisure-centre-gym-details

We have had reports from MWF runners who ran today that Hyde Park was fine for running but it was a bit slippery on the way there.  This is why we are considering the bus option.

The issue is that we really won’t know the conditions until we are in them.

The important thing is that if you are feeling at all uneasy about running in this weather, don’t.  Find another option – get to Swiss Cottage in the next couple of days.  DO NOT feel that you need to try running in this.  DO NOT feel pressure from your fellow beginners or your coaches.  I do not want anyone to get hurt because she felt she had to get out there.  You can run the race if you don’t get out there tomorrow.  You can’t run it if you get injured by falling.  Coaches/Kris – this applies to you, too.

My plan at the moment is to go to Barclay’s in the morning after drop off and assess the sidewalks at that time.  If they are slippery, we will take the bus to Hyde Park.  And if HP is icy, we will not run.  But we can also run on the grass at HP which will likely not be icy.

I will not sugar coat it – running outside tomorrow is not going to be pleasant.  It’s supposed to be windy and running on slush may feel a bit like running on sand.  And if we run on the grass, you feet will be cold and wet.  I’m not trying to dissuade you – I just want to make sure you are prepared mentally (as well as wearing some wool socks and layers!).

The other variable is the possibility that ASL is cancelled.

SO, given all of that, my plan is to be at Barclay’s tomorrow and run, or bus/run, with anyone who is up for it.  And if it’s super icy, we will just slide our way to Pret 🙂

We won’t be doing the split time groups – this run will be much slower for all involved for safety reasons.  We will plan to do the split groups next week for Kew.

Also, for anyone super sad about missing margaritas, we have determined there is a Tortilla that is open early in Victoria station – a fairly quick jaunt from Hyde Park…

Let me know if you have any questions.


2017-18 Beginners Week 27

Well, what can I say?  You guys ROCKED Wembley.
A shoutout to Purvi who decided she needed a bit more mileage than everyone else.  And another shoutout to Keri who got in some interval training as a result of Purvi doing more mileage.  And finally to Dana who decided it would be fun to run to Wembley AGAIN with the make up group this past week because once is never enough!
We are so incredibly proud of all of you and how far you’ve come.  We have two more long runs to go and we know you can ALL do this.
A few things:
First, if you haven’t submitted information for the Utrecht photo directory, please do so ASAP.  Here is the link:
I’ll start chasing you down soon if you don’t submit…  Thank you to those who already have!
Right now, the weather in Utrecht is looking similar to what we have had in London, which is good (not including this week which is COLD!).  So low-40s F/4-7 C is what is predicted a few days before the race, subject to change of course.  You should be trying out what you think you might wear on the race over the next week or so.  Make sure nothing rubs the wrong way, think about layers, etc.  Some people will buy a cheap outer layer that they plan to toss when they get hot so they don’t have to carry it.  So think about whether you care if something is tied around your waist.  My beginner year, I bought that cheap layer but I realized during the race that I was so used to having something around my waist that I didn’t care, so I kept it.  Everyone is different, but think about what might work for you.
This week and next, we will plan to take our gels while running.  We need to practice – we do not plan to stop to take the gels during the race.  Sometimes the gel packaging can be tricky – so just resort to pulling the tab off with your teeth if you have to.  This is why we practice 🙂  We will take the gels about 70-80 min into the run.
I know we are all excited to do the run to Canary and get us some margaritas.  However, the weather is pretty crazy this week.  If it looks like the canal is going to be icy, we will change the route, probably to do the Battersea loop which is similar to the Sloane Square to Westminster to Green Park route we did a few weeks ago but it adds on some mileage by going through Battersea Park and going all the way back to SJW.
For now, we are going to assume that the weather gods will be nice and we can run to Canary.  I will hopefully confirm Wednesday night but I may leave the call until Thursday morning depending on how the weather looks.
This week, and hopefully next as well, we will do a staggered start so that we will all end fairly close together.  Carol, Claudia, Fernanda, Nancy, Purvi and Sue will start out at 8:10 with Megan and Amy.  Everyone else will start the usual time with Dani and Keri and guest coach Kris (a beginner from last year like Tamar – so ask her any questions you have!).  The two groups will pause at each turn in the route to make sure we don’t lose anyone – so the lead coach for the group will pause and wait for the rear coach to catch up, if needed, before continuing on.  This should hopefully avoid any more extra mileage mishaps…
OK – for the run, don’t forget:
  • eat something before the run
  • bring water
  • bring a gel if you have one
  • bring your Oyster card
  • bring money/credit card for margaritas and breakfast burritos!
I have extra gels and will bring some with me, but since I am leaving with the early group, I need to know if anyone NOT in that early group wants some and I will leave a bag with one of the other coaches.
Canary Wharf route
Section One – Regents Park to the Canal
Run down Wellington Road to Prince Albert, cross using the zebra crossing and then head down to the mosque where you enter the park.  At the light, cross the Outer Circle and enter the park, keeping to the left and going over the wooden bridge.  Run straight and take a slight left (not a hard left) and run, crossing over one cross path and turning left at the second one.  Run back over the Outer Circle, cross the canal and then take a right to go down onto the canal.
Section Two – Canal to the Wall
Run along the canal for approximately 3 miles until the canal pathway ends at the famous “Wall.”  Note – there is likely a detour we will need to take:
DIVERSION – Follow the bridge across the canal and turn right on Camden High Street. Take the first left on Hawley Crescent and then left on Kentish Town Road. There is an entrance back to the canal path on the left side of the bridge.

Section Three – Angel Roads
We need to run through the Angel neighbourhood until we can re-enter the canal path.   At the wall follow the ramp up to Muriel Street.  Take a right and then an almost immediate left up a path that winds between the apartment buildings.  See the picture below for the entrance to the path.

Keep going straight on the path and it will become Maygood Street.  When you get to the intersection of a main road (Barnsbury Road) turn right.  Run until you make the second left onto Chapel Market.  (There is a metal archway saying Chapel Market and a zebra crossing at the intersection.)  Follow Chapel Market until the end.  (NB:  There is a public Ladies Room at the end of White Conduit Street, which intersects with Chapel Market about midway.)  Turn right at Liverpool Street to the major road Upper Street.  Cross Upper Street and turn left.  (NB:  Angel Tube Station is to your right if you are going home from here.)  Make your first right at Duncan Street and follow until the end.  The entrance to the canal path will be directly in front of you.  Go straight along the canal (NOT a sharp right turn.)

Section Four – Canal to Limehouse Basin
We run for about 4 miles following the canal path past Victoria Park to the Limehouse Basin.  We exit the canal path at the wire looking bridge – see picture below – and take the brown brick steps up to the left.

Section Five – Limehouse Basin to Canary Wharf
At the top of the brick steps, go straight.  At the Limehouse Gallery and Bronze Age shop turn right.  Run along the water until you reach the second metal foot-bridge leading to a park.  Cross the bridge and run through the park.  After the park, you’ll run straight, under an arch and the water will be on your right.  Run with the water on your right until you see the long flight of steps next to Royal China – see picture below.  You’re almost there!
Run up the steps and run one full time around the traffic circle.  Then run a half circle and continue on as if you had run straight ahead from the steps, through the small park to India Drive and then veer slightly right along Cabot Square.  You’re heading for the big skyscraper building in front of you.  Stop when you see the sign for the Canary Wharf DLR Station at the ‘mall’ entrance on the South Colonnade.  We’ll meet at the Tortilla inside the building, just right of the entrance. Yay!

2017-18 Beginners Week 25

Hi everyone,

You all continue to impress us!  Last week was a tough run because most of the second half was uphill.  You all did it so amazingly well!

A few quick reminders for the run this week:

  • eat something before the run
  • bring your Oyster card
  • we will be bringing the gels again this Thursday.  Bring water!  Try a different gel and then go out and purchase a few of your own.  We will keep bringing our stash until it runs out but you will need gels for Canary Wharf and Kew as well as the race.  You will want to have two for the race just in case.

**** Money Collection – Tuesday 13 Feb 8:30-11:00am ****
Tuesday is a big day! Please stop by Kathy’s house at 15 St. John’s Wood Terrace which is near the corner of SJW High Street (a few steps from Starbucks) some time between 8:30-11:00am. THANK YOU Kathy for letting us invade your house! We’re collecting money (cash only) for shirts, hats, and all outstanding items for the Utrecht trip. We’ll also be handing out the apparel. The dinners and tours are requiring large deposits so we’re trying to simplify things for everyone by doing the collection now. Also please note that after this date we can not make refunds on the meal or tour costs if you need to cancel later. IF YOU CAN’T MAKE IT AT THAT TIME ON TUESDAY, PLEASE GIVE YOUR MONEY TO A FRIEND TO BRING AND TO COLLECT YOUR KIT. The costs are listed below.

All Utrecht Race Attendees:
Friday dinner  – £25
Saturday dinner –  £45
Sunday dinner – £60
Race hat – £10
WRW fee – £15
(WRW fee helps to cover the costs of WRW including appreciation gifts, the end-of-year “leavers” celebration and website costs)

Utrecht Extra (by sign-up):
Saturday afternoon tour – £25

WRW Apparel (by order):
T-Shirt – £25
Long-sleeve shirt – £30
Nike hat – £25

Attached to this email you will find the list of the Nike apparel order and the total Nike costs you owe. Just add that amount to the race costs that apply to you and you’ll have your total. On Tuesday. we’ll have a master list of the amount everyone owes, but it would be helpful if you can bring the correct change. Thanks so much!

We’re coming into the final stretch
I know you all know this, but we have just over a month until race day and we have 3 longs runs left.  You all are amazing and you ALL can do this.  Don’t worry about the times and the distances – they are long but we are in this together and we will DO THIS!

I know there has been some concern that we aren’t running enough.  If you are feeling antsy and want to do a VERY short 30 min run on some other day, that is OK.  But nothing more.  I don’t want any injuries from overuse.  It may be better to try to do some other cardio (biking, swimming, spinning) so you don’t mess up your running muscles.  I know it seems strange to not run the full 13 miles before the race but truly this is how most runners train.  The regular M/W/F group is running to Kew the same week we are and that is their longest run, just like us.  If you think about it, each week we are adding about a mile to our long runs.  Each week the run seems long, but it is also doable.  You know you can do just that extra bit.  And for the race, it will be the same.

If you are feeling stressed about it, please talk to any coach.  We have all run several races and have all trained in this way and we are happy to talk to you about it.

The rest of the schedule:
Week 25 – 15 Feb – 110 min = Wembley
Week 26 – 22 Feb –  60 min – ASL BREAK  (note – anyone who missed Wembley can run it this week instead)
Week 27 – 1 Mar – 120 min = Canary Wharf
Week 28 – 8 Mar – 130 min = Kew Gardens
Week 29 – 15 Mar – 45 min = easy run through Regents Park

Don’t forget – your Tuesday runs are now 60 min long and the weekend run is 45 mins.  It is CRITICAL that you are running 3 times a week at this point.  Put it in your calendar and get it done 🙂

This week’s run
Wembley is one of my favorites.  There are many people who do not love this run as much as I do so I am going to tell you why I like it and you can tell me your own opinions of it at coffee 🙂

Why I like the Wembley run:
1) You see many sides of London along the canal
Some runners complain that parts of the canal are very ugly.  This is true.  However, I enjoy seeing the transition from city and the older buildings along the canal and newer gentrified condos to the industrial parts to the country parts, with glimpses of Wembley Stadium along the way.  I feel like it’s the real London – many sides, not always so pretty but always something to look at.  And as you keep going, it changes.

2) You see a part of London you otherwise wouldn’t – Wembley
No, not the stadium but the streets.  There is a large Hindu population and there are many shops with brightly coloured saris and trinkets that are fun to look at.  And there is an amazing Hindu temple that was built in 2010 that took 14 years to build from stone from India.  It is incredible.  Look for it on the left hand side of the street.

3) It has a long, uninterrupted stretch of canal running
Once we get on the canal, we run for about 6 miles.  I believe this will be the longest stretch of uninterrupted running you will have had so far.  One of the things that makes me love this run is that it was on this part of the run in my beginner year that I had a running epiphany – I felt like I could just keep running forever.  I think I had settled into that pace where you feel good, you feel like you’re just cooking along and you can chat and run and all is good.  I hadn’t really felt like that before and it was a great feeling.  Some of you may have already had that feeling, some may never get it, but having a nice long uninterrupted stretch may put you in a similar place.  I hope so!

4) You get to say you ran to Wembley!
Most people have heard of Wembley.  And people in London know it’s a ways out.  So it’s fun to be able to say you ran there – so impressive!

The route
Start out heading west on Circus Road, turn left on Grove End to St John’s Wood Road and go west, turning left on Cunningham then right on Aberdeen to work your way to the canal entrance on Blomfield. Continue out the canal and exit at Alperton, see photo below, not quite 7 miles in. Turn right at the top of the stairs, cross the bridge and take the first right 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 for the 8-mile route. For 9 miles, continue until you make a left on Park Lane which becomes Wembley Park Drive. Continue past the turn off to the stadium on the right and up to Wembley Park Tube Station.  There is a Costa just down the steps towards the stadium so we will head there for coffee afterwards for those who can stay.

2017-18 Beginners Week 24

Hi all,
I hope those of you who ran the Winter 10K had a fun time!  It looks like you had good weather for it.  I can’t wait to hear all about it!  Melissa took the photo above last week – I love it!

RSVP for run this week

This week is ASL’s parent teacher conferences.  It sounds like we may have some difficulty coordinating schedules but we’re going to give it a go.  Please let me know which of the following days/times you can do:
Thursday 8:30 am
Thursday 9 am
Friday 8:30 am
This is a 100 minute run so keep that in mind when you think about which days/times you can do.

Save the Date – Tuesday 13 February – Shirt/Hat Distribution and Money Collection
On Tuesday 13 February in the morning, we’ll be collecting money and distributing the WRW shirts and hats. We will also be collecting money for certain expenses for the Utrecht Half-Marathon trip. More details to follow.

This week – gels!
This week 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/Friday, 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 stores or runnersneed.com (individual GU, SIS, TORQ, Shot Bloks, sport jelly beans)
sweatshop.co.uk  (you can buy individual GU gels here)
amazon.co.uk  (may only be available in boxes but you could share with others in the group)
Ocado (Clif Shot Bloks, SIS isotonic gels)

The route this week – to Big Ben and back
For this run we head to Hyde Park via the usual route and run along the eastern edge of the park to Hyde Park Corner, under the arch and down Constitution Hill.  Run pass the Victoria Memorial down the mall and enter St. James Park.  Run over the pond and out of the park, turning left onto Birdcage Walk and down into Parliament Square to Big Ben, then turn around and run the same route back to Starbucks.