2017-18 Beginners Week 29

Hi everyone,
Kew – done and dusted!  You guys rocked it, as we knew you would.  We are SO proud of all of you amazing women and we can’t wait to run with you one week from today!
So – this is it!  The last week of you being Beginners!  Next week you will officially be ex-Beginners.
This email is a little long – feel free to read it or skim it or ignore it, whatever works for you.
This week’s plan
Tuesday – do your normal 60 minute run but don’t push it.  Thursday we will just do 45 minutes around Regent’s Park at a slow pace.  The goal this week is to enjoy your running (!!) and your group.  Relax!  If you push the pace this week, it may make your legs feel a bit heavier than normal on Sunday from the muscle damage that comes when you are building up muscle (you may have noticed this on your weekend runs after a long Thursday run).  Your training is done, you are READY!  As Paula said in the final email my beginner year, this week is about finding the joy in running and in your amazing group.
After the run on Thursday, we coaches will hang at Pret so you can ask any questions.  And feel free to email any of us this week if there is something on your mind.
NOTE – We have heard from a few of you that you are unwell or having some physical issues.  If you aren’t feeling up to it, DON’T RUN.  You have done the work.  You are ready.  Don’t push yourself this week – we want you to be as healthy as you can be next weekend.
Notes for the weekend
You’ve received Jane’s great and detailed email about the race.  I am sure there is so much information coming at you that it’s a little overwhelming so I’m going to just list a few things that you may have skimmed over:
  • Bring your running shoes on the plane – they are the most important thing for the weekend (and I usually bring my bra and socks since they will fit easily and they are also important to me)
  • Cut your toenails, or bring clippers – seriously
  • If you have space, bring your roller if you use one – you will be anxious, which can tighten up your muscles, so better to have it so you don’t worry about it so much [note – I will be bringing mine so if you need one, you are welcome to borrow it!]
  • Overpack the possible running outfits – the clothing isn’t bulky and better to have what you suddenly want than wish you’d packed it
  • Bring at least 2 gels – better to have too many than too few
  • Consider having some Starburst or Tootsie Rolls or jelly beans along with you on the race – they can give a quick little “wake up” for your mouth that can help
  • Don’t forget your hat!
A few other things:
  • Try to get a good night’s sleep on FRIDAY.  Getting good rest at least one of the two nights before the race is important so get yourself to bed at a decent hour on Friday.  You might be nervous on Saturday which could impact your sleep.
  • This week, try to eat well.  What you eat the week before is more important than the night before.  Keep your protein intake fairly high, don’t drink too much alcohol, drink water slowly but consistently.
  • On Saturday and Sunday nights, the beginners will all sit together (with your coaches) at dinner, so we will have plenty of time to answer last minute questions on Saturday and then CELEBRATE TOGETHER on Sunday.  Yay!
  • On race morning, we will group you with your assigned coach(es) similarly to what we’ve been doing the last few Thursdays.  We will all go to the start line together and we will start off together but you should stay with your assigned coach until she says it’s OK to go ahead.
  • If you run with music when you run on your own, consider bringing music for the race.  And have it ready to go so you’re not trying to fiddle with it during the race.  We are lucky to have such a high coach to runner ratio, but there is still a good chance you will end up running on your own for part of the race.  Be prepared for that mentally as well as musically.  The great thing is there are so many WRW runners (and plenty of non-WRW runners) that you won’t be running all by your lonesome on a road
  • The race is likely going to feel very crowded at the start.  Many of you ran the 10K and so know what that is like.  We will feel like we are crawling and then it will start to break free.  It’s at that time that we will need to closely watch our pace so we don’t get too carried away with the crowd.  Your coaches will do the watching so you don’t have to.
  • Psychologically, when a stretch seems long, it can help to try to visualize running in London for a similar distance – like running back from Hyde Park is about 2 miles, visualize running to and crossing Oxford Street, then up towards Marylebone Road and on to Park Rd.  And if your legs are feeling tired, try doing some high stepping or side shuffling to wake your muscles up.
  • Also as Jane noted, try to take time to ENJOY the race.  Look around at the scenery, the other runners, the spectators.  Think how far you have come since running for 1 minute in September – you are all INCREDIBLE!
After the race
Next week, you officially become part of the regular WRW group (including those of you who have gone through the training but aren’t running the race).  Congratulations!  You will receive an email each week with the suggested routes for the week.  Generally, the runs after the race tend to be fun destinations.  We no longer need to worry about mileage, it’s more about being social and keeping fit (since we can use that as an excuse to eat all the good things at Borough Market…).
For the first week after the race, don’t worry about getting right out there to run.  You may or may not feel sore from the race – a lot of it will depend on the weather and how hard you push at the end.  My beginner year, my group got together the Thursday after the race and did 3 – 4 miles in Regents Park, just to get out there and to reconnect with each other post-race.  Also, for those of you willing to brave Fitzjohn’s and the Heath, we are happy to run with you on an upcoming Friday, to give you a few tips on running up the hill.  It’s hard, but it’s such a great feeling to get to the top.  Plus, the Heath is beautiful.
I know it can be tricky to start running on MWF after you’ve gotten into such a TTH schedule for the year.  It can also be intimidating to run with all those super scary advanced MWF runners.  But trust me, you are running at paces that fit within the larger MWF group.  Your coaches will help connect you with the women in your pace group and I swear, they are all really nice.  And you will meet many of them this weekend.  So please please come out and run with us whenever you can.  It will also make it easier for the fall if you meet some of your fellow pace group runners over the next month or so before school gets out.
We will see you on Thursday!

2017-18 Beginners Week 28

What a fabulous run to Canary Wharf! Not.

OK – wow. This weather is crazy. Really, none of us who run WRW have ever seen anything like it. We had one winter 5 years ago that was cold with some snow, but nothing that lasted more than 1 day. And you all got to be a part of it – lucky you!
I’m writing this a bit early because I’m away for the weekend and I wanted to get it out to you. Nothing like a little getaway to the Lake District for hiking in the middle of the coldest weeks in the UK in a decade 🙂
First of all, and this is REALLY IMPORTANT SO LISTEN UP!
Here’s the thing with the race. Our goal is to finish the race and to run the whole time. The goal is not to beat the world record. Every single one of you will have a personal best time with this race. You have ALL put in the training. Yes, it would have been nice to have that run this week, but really at this point, 90% of it is psychological – to prove to you that you can do it. I am completely serious.
So – do not fret. But DO get out there (or on a treadmill) this weekend and on Tuesday and do your regular runs. If you want to make this weekend’s run longer than normal, that is completely fine and in fact might be a good idea if you didn’t do the treadmill yesterday or today. But don’t make Tuesday’s run longer than the usual 60 minutes. We don’t want your legs too tired for Thursday.
Regarding the race:
  • the beginners and coaches will sit together on Saturday and Sunday nights – this is tradition – Saturday so we can answer any last minute questions and help you calm your nerves and Sunday to CELEBRATE!! Use Friday night’s dinner to mix it up a bit – meet some of the other MWF runners. They are really nice and fun!
  • Jane will send out an email probably at the end of next week/over the weekend with more details about the whole weekend and tips about packing and other things like that. In my email for our last training week I will emphasize some of those as well.
  • I’ll be sending out the photo directory at the end of next week as well –Carol & Vered– I still need your answers and a photo for the directory
OK – a few things for the run this week:
  • We would like to have our group of 6 (Carol, Claudia, Fernanda, Nancy, Purvi, Sue) leave at 8:10 if possible – please let me know if you cannot make that time.
  • Use this run to try out what you might wear in Utrecht – your shirt, waist pouch, hat, leggings, socks. If the weather isn’t cooperative, it’s OK to wear different bottoms, but it would be good to wear your expected shirt so you make sure it doesn’t chafe. We want no surprises on race day that something that worked for a 6 mile run suddenly starts chafing at 9 miles. Right now, the weather in Utrecht looks to be highs in the mid 40s (7-8 C) and a lows in the mid 30s (1-2 C). With the race at 12:30 pm, the temp will probably be in the low 40s to start. If it’s sunny, it will feel a little warmer but it seems that it will be a temperature we’re very familiar with and that’s perfect.
  • Bring your Oyster card or contactless card to take the tube back plus money for Starbucks
  • Bring a gel, maybe two and maybe something like jelly beans, starbursts, etc.
  • Bring water
  • Eat well and get a good night’s rest the night before and don’t go out partying
  • Stretch the night before if you can
  • Eat something for breakfast
A note about bathrooms along the run – around mile 5, there is a Costa Coffee attached to the Hilton Hotel on the Kensington High Street (just past the intersection with Holland Road) which has a few toilets. There is also a Starbucks at mile 5.7 but it only has a single toilet. We are not going to plan a stop – it’s better to keep running – but if you need to stop, a coach will wait for you and other coaches will continue on with the group.
If you have any questions/concerns, let one of us know. Otherwise, we’ll see you Thursday!
The route:

We start out the normal way running to Hyde Park. Once in the park, we’ll turn to the left and run down the main walkway as we regularly do, to Hyde Park Corner. At the end of the walk, turn right to follow the main cross route in the park—beware of the bike lane! When this ends at West Carriage Drive, cross the road at the crossing and continue on the pathway towards the southwest corner of Kensington Gardens. We’ll run out of the park at the Broadwalk, turning right onto Kensington High Street and continue for about two miles until we reach the Hammersmith Tube gyratory. Run counter clockwise towards the left, ending up on Queen Caroline Street which gets you to St. Paul’s Church green. Run along the green to the right, heading to and crossing over Hammersmith Bridge. Exit Hammersmith Bridge Road to your left, go down the stairs and run under the bridge onto the Thames footpath. Now it’s time to enjoy the view as we run along the Thames for almost four miles—it’s beautiful!

This is the bridge just BEFORE the bridge we exit on. I find it useful to know what this looks like because then I know it’s the next bridge where we get off the path:

We will exit at the Kew Bridge, see photo below:

Run UNDER the bridge and then turn left, past a couple of tiny shops and garages. Run through the small parking lot until you see the stone steps leading to the top of the bridge.

At the top of the steps turn right towards town (not back over the river) and run along this road [Kew Road] for about a third of a mile until you reach a 3-way intersection. At the 3-way intersection, veer right and follow Kew Road along the boundary wall to Kew Gardens until you reach the first main pedestrian entrance to Kew Gardens, the Victoria Gate. Across from Victoria Gate, is Lichfield Road (it is only sign posted on the left-hand corner). Follow Lichfield Road straight into Kew village. Starbucks is on the left where we’ll all meet up to congratulate ourselves on such a great run!

2017-18 Beginners Week 27 update 2

Hi all,
ASL has just announced it is closed today. I am going to let ASL guide me and I am officially cancelling the outdoor run options.
Please do you best to get to an indoor run option over the next few days. Ideally, you should do an 8-9 mile run. I know that is brutal on a treadmill so just do what you can. All of you are strong and have been diligent in your training and you will be FINE for next week’s run and the race. Really!
Stay warm and safe!