2018-19 Beginners Week 23

Hi everyone,You all rocked the 80 minute run last week to Whole Foods. I know it got a bit hard towards the end but it should be hard towards the end – that is when you are building up!  You all did it – we are so proud of how well ALL of you are doing!

We are doing 90 minutes this week, running down through Sloane Square, along the Thames, past Big Ben and on to Green Park.

Increasing your non-Thursday run time
Starting this week, you should increase your running time so you are running 45 minutes on the weekend and 60 minutes on Tuesdays (so start this tomorrow if you can).  You’ll keep doing this for the rest of the training until the race. Remember to keep it nice and slow!   

Winter 10K
Several of you are running the Winter 10K next Sunday.  For those that do, you should do a leisurely 45 minutes for next Tuesday (so you are basically swapping your 60 minute and 45 minute runs).  So you would do:

  • 60 minutes this Tuesday (29 Jan)
  • 90 minutes Thursday (1 Feb)
  • 70ish minutes Sunday at the race
  • 45 minutes EASY PACE Tuesday (5 Feb)
  • 100 minutes Thursday (7 Feb)

Just some thoughts about the 10K – don’t stress about it as a race – treat it as another training opportunity where you can get that feeling of energy that comes from the racers and also witness the mass of bodies at the start and how you will likely not move very quickly at the beginning.  Don’t push yourselves too much – we don’t want any injuries!  [Note – we had two beginners injure themselves in prior years – so BE CAREFUL!]   You may feel great that morning or you may not – every race day is different.  So if you’re feeling tired, slow down.  You have all run this distance before so you know you can do it.  The most important thing is to have fun!

Our remaining schedule:
Week 24 – 100 min = Big Ben and back (note – this is parent-teacher conf at ASL)
Week 25 – 110 min = Wembley
Week 26 – February break – 60 min run
Week 27 – 120 min = Canary Wharf (with margaritas and breakfast burritos!)
Week 28 – 90 min = TBD
Week 29 – 130 min = Kew Gardens
Week 30 – 45 min = easy run through Regents Park

New Shoes?
If you are feeling like your shoes are getting old, NOW is the time to replace them.  You want to be able to fully break them in before the race.  Don’t feel that you have to get new shoes – if you are feeling good in yours, it’s fine.  You just don’t want to get new ones a week or two before the race.  When I get new shoes, I generally run a shorter run in them first just to make sure they don’t give me any problems.  I’ve definitely had shoes in the past that throw me off a little and cause some niggles.  They always break in, but it takes time and you want to make sure they are fully broken in by the race.

Route this week:
We start out by running to Hyde Park, taking the usual route: west on Circus Road, left on Grove End, all the way down to Seymour Place where the road ends.  Right on Seymour, across Edgware, left on Stanhope and enter the park. At the silver orb, turn left and run down to the southern edge, following the path to the right before it leaves the Park.  Run to big gated exit before the tall ‘One Hyde Park’ complex, cross over Knightsbridge at William Street, quick right on Knightsbridge then a left onto Sloane Street continue past Sloane Square down Lower Sloane St/Chelsea Bridge Road to the Thames.  Turn left on the Thames side of Grosvenor Rd and run along the Embankment to Westminster and continue left on Birdcage Walk, cutting through St James Park to the Mall, then left on the Mall towards Buckingham Palace, crossing before the circle to reach Green Park.  Run up to the Green Park Tube on Piccadilly St and take the tube home!

2018-19 Beginners Week 22

Hi everyone,
A HUGE thank you to Jess for hosting our fabulous brunch last Wednesday.  It was so nice to see each other out of our running gear and get some social time.  And it was fun to play the game and get to know each other a bit better.
And what a fabulous run to Borough Market on Thursday!  The clouds parted just for us and you all made it look easy.  A little secret – we really ran for 75 minutes.  So this week is just 5 minutes more.  Seriously.   
You may not believe us, but the hardest part is behind you.  Once someone can run an hour, bumping up a session 10 minutes each week is not a significant jump in terms of fitness/cardio requirement.  The hard part is learning how to run and building a base.  It’s tough to move from walking/jogging intervals to non-stop running.  We’ve done that hard work and are more than ready to start extending our mileage. A few notes about training over the coming weeks:

  • It’s very important to get in the the long runs each week, even if they are not on Thursday with the rest of the group
  • It’s important to not steadily increase your time every week – it is best to lengthen your session for 3-4 weeks then drop back for one week to allow your body to recover/rest.  We will rest the week of ASL’s February break and then again 2 weeks later.
  • Please continue to email/talk to each other when you have scheduling conflicts – it’s a great way to get those longer runs in if you can’t make a Thursday, and if there are a bunch of you who will miss, you can always see if a coach can run with you later (like this week!)

I’m pretty sure that you have all done the Google form for the race, or have communicated with me about it.  If not, just know that going forward, the overall emails about the race will only go to those who have filled in the form – this is our RSVP list basically.  So if you haven’t filled it in, please do so ASAP.  Let me know if you need the link again.

We’ve had some questions in the past week or so that I wanted to address before I get to today’s lecture, below.
What should we do about running before/after the Winter 10K?
I will email about strategies for the race itself the week before the race, but from a run length perspective, you will swap your normal weekend and Tuesday runs – so you will run our regular long run on Thursday, you’ll do the 10K on Sunday and you’ll do your shorter (normally on the weekend) run on Tuesday.  Then the long Thursday run again.  Let me know if that doesn’t make sense.  
What are we going to do about running after the half marathon?
First, let me say I am psyched you’re already thinking about running after the half.  Yay!  (They are all sucked in – check!)  We will talk lots more about this as we near the race but basically you will all fold into the regular MWF group after the race.  Don’t be nervous.  It will feel a bit weird at first, because you will be used to just your group being there and running together and then suddenly there are all these other people that maybe you met at the race but don’t really know.  It will all be OK – we promise.  But think about this when you are planning your spring schedule.  I found after my beginner race that I was so used to clearing my calendar for Tues/Thurs that I had a bunch of conflicts in April after the race for Mon/Wed/Fri.  So start scheduling your haircuts and pilates and whatever on Tues/Thurs in April, OK?  Put those run days in your calendar now so you don’t forget.
I’ve heard the half marathon will pull people off the course if you haven’t run 10K in 1 hour 30 min.
You ALL just ran 10K in 1 hour 15 minutes on Thursday.  And we were slower than we will be in the race AND you are at the start of building your mileage.  DO NOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR TIME!  Trust us, trust the training.  You will be fine.
My knees hurt, my hips hurt, my <insert body part> hurts
First, buy a foam roller.  Something basic, like this:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Maximo-Fitness-Superior-Instructions-Included/dp/B06Y97NVKZ/ref=cts_sp_1_vtp  (mine is 45 cm,  not 90 but I’m sure either is fine).  Use it on your IT band.  Search YouTube for videos on how to roll.Second, go see an expert to make sure all is OK.  I have used Victor and Soliman and find both are good for different areas.  Victor is great for making sure things are “working” the way they should.  He is also great for any doubts you have about if you can do this.  Soliman has been better for me with sciatica.  Let me know if you want their information. Other people see various people, too – but go if you’re having niggles that won’t resolve within about 10 min of the run.

OK – today’s lecture – why we run slowly.  This is from Paula Mitchell, our founder.

Why do we run the long run slower than race pace?
The quick answer is that it has to do with how your body builds fuel, which is something you’ll need for the race! I’ll delve into the basic science of fueling (which I have hugely over-simplified but hopefully it’ll get my point across). To fuel our runs we have 3 options – Creatine Phosphate (CP), glycogen and fat.
Creatine Phosphate– You have about 15 seconds worth of CP fuel – that’s it. Think Usain Bolt running the 100m – he fuels with CP and it works because he can run 100m in less than 15 seconds. CP is where your body will go first looking for fuel, particularly if you take off like a rocket from Barclays. Think of CP as kindling on a fire – it catches fire easily but burns out very quickly.
Glycogen– Glycogen is the next fuel option. Glycogen is basically stored in your muscles and in your liver and because of that it makes glycogen a bit more difficult to burn as fuel (think of damp firewood – it will eventually burn but it takes quite a bit to get it going).
Fat– Fat is the 3rd source of fuel and most runners, even the very lean women, have an ample supply of it. Think of fat as a butane tank of gas on the BBQ grill – once it’s lit, you can have countless cook-outs before the fuel is gone.
Here’s the important part– All of those fuel sources – kindling, damp firewood or butane gas need something to ignite them and keep them burning. Physiologically speaking that ignition or burning “tool” is ATP which is created by mitochondria; so, the more mitochondria you have the more efficient you are as a fuel burning machine.
What is mitochondria and how do we get more of it?  Some of us are genetically blessed with higher mitochondria counts. Thank your mother for that – it comes through the maternal side of the genetic equation. If you didn’t win the genetic lottery, then the only way you can increase mitochondria is through LONG, SLOW, ENDURANCE training (LSE). When you go for a long run at a slow pace, you actually produce mitochondria. Kind of cool, huh? Now remember – we need mitochondria to help ignite our fuel sources. So what does that mean for you? It means SLOW DOWN on your long run – give your body a chance to become a mitochondria production factory. If you do your long run at a strong pace, you’re missing out on this benefit.So we will be keeping it SLOW on Thursdays, and now you know why.
This week’s run
FIRST – there is a group of you who have 6th graders who are going to the 6th grade parent breakfast on Thursday.  Melissa and Vicki will run with you after – meet them at 10:30 at Barclays for the run.  If anyone else needs/wants to run then, that is fine, too, just let them/me know so they know to look for you.

This week we are running an interesting route through the Brompton Cemetery to finish at Whole Foods in Kensington. We’ll head down to Hyde Park in the normal fashion via Lisson Grove/Seymour. As we near Wellington Arch, we’ll veer to the right (or west) staying along the inside edge of the park. exiting at the gate we normally use at William Street [next to the French Embassy].  Cross the street, take a right.  Turn left at Brompton Road (just past the tube) and take Brompton all the way (admiring Harrods as you pass) until Fulham Road.  Veer left on Fulham Road and continue to Brompton Cemetery.  Turn right to enter the Cemetery.  Run through the Cemetery then exit and turn right onto Old Brompton Road, then turn left onto Earls Court Road. Cross Cromwell Road, then turn right onto Cromwell Road and then turn left onto Marloes Road. Continue north on Marloes making your way through the streets to Kensington High Street.  Whole Foods will be to your right. Whole Foods is a great place to finish. There is plenty of room for everyone to sit together for coffee after the run (if you have time). To get back to SJW, some people may decide to share cabs or you can tube home from Kensington High Street station (Circle Line).

2018-19 Beginners Week 21

Hi everyone,
WELL DONE to ALL of you on Thursday!  We had a looonnnggg 3 weeks off and I know it was difficult to keep up the running.  But you guys kicked ass on Thursday.  You may have been a bit sore after Thursday and that is totally normal.  I can tell you that many of the regular MWF runners were sore last week from getting back into the routine.

Well, we are really starting things this week.  Up until now, we have been building our muscles and our lungs and our psyche to know that we can run for 60 minutes.  We will now start to add on a bit each Thursday to build you up to the distance you need to run that race.  The other thing to know is that while we plan the runs for a certain amount of time, we won’t all finish the planned distance at that time.  So depending on your pace for that day, you may run a little less than the expected time or a little more, but we will all need to run the same distance for the race so we all need to build up to that distance even if it takes different times for each of you.Think of how far you’ve come – it really is amazing.  We can’t wait to watch you grow from here!
A few reminders:

  • You should be running 3 times per week now
  • The Tuesday run should be about 45 minutes and the weekend run should be about 30 minutes (Tuesday runs will get longer in a few weeks, but not yet)
  • It is OK to break up into smaller pace groups on your weekend and Tuesday runs but it is normal for pace groups to ebb and flow from week to week
  • Bring water for the Thursday runs
  • Eat something before the Thursday runs
  • The Thursday run is SLOW

We cannot emphasize enough that the way to build up to the half is to just put in the time and miles.  Also, it is important to understand that the pace groups will continue to morph throughout our training and that is completely normal.  Some days you feel like you want to be towards the front, sometimes you feel like it’s just not your day and you’re slower.  This happens in the M/W/F group, too.  We have lots of time and as you know, it’s about finishing and feeling good about it, not about how fast you can go.  Save that for next year.  Also, as we run for longer times on Thursdays, we will continue to make you run more slowly than you might otherwise.  Running slowly builds your body and muscles in a different way.  I will send our founder, Paula’s, lengthy description of that next week.

Water and Nutrition
As our runs get longer, you will want water along to hydrate.  It will make you feel better on the run and will help your body recover faster.  Also, please please eat something, just a little something, before our Thursday runs.  We don’t want you feeling faint from lack of energy.  Maybe some yogurt or a banana – just a little something for your body to use to fuel you.  As our runs get longer in a few weeks, we will talk to you about fueling for much longer runs and during the race, but we’re not ready for that yet.

The route this week:
Please make sure to bring your Oyster Card or contactless card for the tube ride back.  Also, you might want to have some cash – not all vendors accept cards.  We will head first to Monmouth Coffee – legendary filter coffee – and then we can head into the market together or separately or head home – whatever works for everyone.  
Borough Market via Westminster Bridge
We head to Hyde Park via the usual route:  start heading west on Circus Road and turn left on Grove End and follow south as it becomes Lisson Grove.  Cross over Marylebone Road and continue on Seymour Place until the end.  Turn right and cross over Edgware Road and then left to enter Hyde Park at the intersection with Stanhope Place.   Run along the eastern edge of the park to Hyde Park Corner, under Wellington Arch and down Constitution Hill.  Run past 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.  Continue past Big Ben and cross Westminster Bridge. After the bridge turn left to run along the Thames until the river path ends after Southwark Bridge. Borough Market is under the railway bridge near the London Bridge station.

2018-19 Beginners Week 20

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a wonderful break.  We are looking forward to running with you on Thursday and hearing how you spent your break.  I hope you all managed to do at least a bit of running over the past few weeks.  If you haven’t, please let one of us know so we can help you take it easy – we don’t want any injuries!

For this week, we will be doing a 60 minute run to remind ourselves that we can do this!  We want to make sure you all have a strong base to build on when we start to increase our time and mileage next week.  Thursday, we will do a loop that will have plenty of opportunity for red men for most of the run.

Please note that after Thursday, most of our runs will start to be destination runs, meaning that we will end someplace that is not SJW.  This is because we need to run further and longer while also trying to keep us as flat as possible and with some interesting places to keep us distracted while we run.  We have mapped out a tentative schedule below, subject to change.  This should help you determine your timing for getting back to SJW after the run.  Please make it a habit to bring your Oyster Card or contactless card.  If you have questions, please let us know.

Week 21 – 70 min – Borough Market
Week 22 – 80 min = Brompton Cemetery/Whole Foods Kensington
Week 23 – 90 min = Sloane Sq/Green Park
Week 24 – 100 min = Big Ben and back (note – this is parent-teacher conf at ASL)
Week 25 – 110 min = Wembley
Week 26 – February break – 60 min run
Week 27 – 120 min = Canary Wharf (with margaritas and breakfast burritos!)
Week 28 – 90 min = TBD
Week 29 – 130 min = Kew Gardens
Week 30 – 45 min = easy run through Regents Park

For now, keep doing 45 minutes on Tuesdays and 30-35 minutes on the weekend.  This will increase in a few weeks, but not yet.

This week’s route:
This route takes Elsworthy Rd to Primrose Hill Rd (left) and quick right onto King Henry’s Rd to the end to cross the bridge and turn right onto Regent’s Park Rd then turn right onto Chalk Farm Rd/Camden High Street.  Just after crossing the canal, turn right onto Jamestown Rd and left to Arlington Rd.  After Mornington Crescent, run briefly on Hampstead Rd and then turn right on Granby Terrace (if you can – it may be blocked) or at Vardell or Robert Street to meet up with Stanhope St.  Turn left on Stanhope and run to Triton Rd. Turn right and at the end, turn left.  At the light, turn right and make the next right into Regents Park.  Staying on the pavement/sidewalk on the outside of the hedges, follow the outer loop back to the Charlbert exit of the park then finish at Starbucks.