2018-19 Beginners Week 30

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 and just keep your muscles loose.  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.

Notes for the weekend
You’ve received Micki’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).  If you’re not checking your bag and they ask to gate check it, pull them out if they are in it.  Last year, an airline misplaced the gate-checked luggage for 2 runners who didn’t get it until AFTER the race and one had to run in new shoes.
  • 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.
  • Overpack the possible running outfits – the clothing isn’t bulky and better to have what you suddenly want than wish you’d packed it; the weather will likely be a bit warmer than we are used to (hopefully not TOO warm though). Consider bringing a light coloured shirt – the black WRW shirt will soak up the sun. And seriously consider shorts.  Just pack it – you don’t have to wear it!
  • If you have some safety pins, bring them for your bib, and pin the bib on your lowest layer
  • Bring at least 2 gels – better to have too many than too few
  • Sunscreen!!
  • 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 (even if you think you’re not wearing it)!

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.  Keep a water bottle with you and sip it.
  • On Saturday night, 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 you will all be together on Sunday to CELEBRATE TOGETHER.  Yay!
  • On race morning, we will group you with your assigned coaches.  We will all go to the start line together and then you will 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 Micki 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.  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.  If you’re ready to come out with the MWF group on Wednesday after the race – fantastic!  It will be an easy 4 mile run across Hyde Park to the Kensington Whole Foods.  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 two before school gets out.

We will see you on Thursday!

2018-19 Beginners Week 29

Hi everyone,
Well, this is it!  Our last big run before the race!  You may be a bit nervous about the run, and that is normal.  You all can do this – and we know you know you can do it.  It’s a long run, and it will feel long, and that’s OK.  We will make sure you are not running too fast and we will get there and it will be AWESOME!  

WRW Coffee
Reminder – this Wednesday there is a WRW coffee at The Elgin in Maida Vale – 255 Elgin Ave, W9 1NJ from 9:30-11:30.  It’s informal – come have some coffee and nibbles courtesy of WRW and start to meet other runners.

OK – a few things for the run this week:

  • Use this run to try out what you might wear in Milan – 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 Milan looks to be highs in the mid-upper 60s (19-20 C) and a lows in the mid 40s (6-7 C).  With the race at 10:30 am, the temp will probably be in the mid 50s (12-13 C) to start.  If it’s sunny, it will feel warmer.  Generally, the rule of thumb is to dress like it is 15-20 degrees F warmer than the actual temperature.
  • 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 (with no electrolytes please!)
  • 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

I’m not sure if I’ve said this to everyone already, but you do not have to wear the hat in the race if you don’t want to.  Not everyone is comfortable in the hat.  However, please do bring it to Milan with you.  If it’s sunny, you may want to have it because it will help keep the sun off your head which can make a huge difference.  It’s also a good identifier for other WRW people to connect with you and/or cheer you on in the race – some people opt to hook it on their water belt.

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 Wednesday and/or 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 (and it’s distinctive):

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!

2018-19 Beginners Week 28

What an amazing job you all did running to Canary.  The route diversion and bikes were not so fun, and I know it felt long and hard.  But you all made it and we are so proud of you!  

We leave for Milan in less than 3 weeks.  I’m hoping that’s starting to feel a bit more like “YAY!” rather than “YIKE!”  Or maybe a bit of both.  We are in the home stretch and you guys are STRONG.  If you had to, you could do the race now.  The next few weeks are just about making it easier.

Don’t worry about the cut off!
From some of the chatter on the Canary run, it seems like there is a lot of stress about the cut off.  This is the point where we need you all to take several deep breaths and just BELIEVE.  Believe that your coaches know what they are doing, believe that it has worked for many others before you, believe that YOU can do it.  Worrying takes a lot of energy.  It is completely normal to be anxious before a run, but please try not to overstress or over analyze.  If we thought there was even a CHANCE of you not being able to do this, we would be talking to you about it and planning for the possibility.  Do NOT focus on what the race website says.  We have talked to the race coordinator about our group (and trust me, there will be regular MWF runners who are slower than ALL of you) and they have assured us that the 3 hour cut off is not hard and fast.  So we need you to do what you do during our long runs – just show up and do what we tell you to do.

It sounds like some of you are putting electrolytes in your running water.  In general, we advise against this.  Runners really only need to worry about electrolyte replacement if you are running really hard (which you aren’t, and won’t be even during the race) or if it’s really hot (which it is NOT here).  And even if it is hot during the race, the point that electrolytes might be at all useful will be towards the end of the race and you certainly will be done with any liquid you have brought along by that point.  Few, if any, of the MWF runners use electrolytes during their runs.  On race day, there may be electrolyte drinks available at the water stations but we strongly advise you NOT to take them because they will not be anything you have tried before (it’s always some local random drink) and you do NOT want to try something during the race that you haven’t already tested.  By drinking regular water during your runs, you are replacing the water your body is sweating out and also keeping your body used to taking in regular water, which is what you should be doing during the race.  Drinking electrolytes after the race will be fine (and I have to say, nothing tastes better than a beer after a race and the German Olympic training coaches agree https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/winter-olympics/43127307)

Race Gear
I know I said this last week but I’m going to say it again – make sure you try out any clothing or gear you might possibly use during the race.  It could be warm in Milan, so get a pair of cropped running tights if you don’t already have them, or maybe even shorts (!!) and do a run with them.  Make sure you’ve tried running in a short sleeve shirt, or maybe even a tank (!!).  And no new running bra on race day, of course.  This is the same for any water belt or whatever.  Also try out your music options – you’ll want to bring headphones but won’t start out with them in since we will all be together and chatting 🙂  so where will you put them?  And don’t forget to make a playlist. (really – one year I helped a friend in a panic on race morning because she thought she’d synched her phone with iTunes and it hadn’t worked and she hadn’t checked).

Trip Details
As the trip approaches, Micki and Carolyn P will send more detailed emails about the weekend including timing and where to meet for meals, the tours, and anything else scheduled.  They’ll also send some trip packing tips which I will emphasize and add to in a future email.  If you have any questions at all about the race or the weekend, please don’t hesitate to ask.  I know it can be scary not knowing how it’s all going to play out and we want to make you all feel as comfortable and psychologically ready as possible.
I am missing the photo book information from a couple of you but you should have received a separate email from me on that.  There are also 4 of you who have not done the dinner survey, also emailed separately.  You all have a green check mark next to your name for race registration – wahoo!

WRW Coffee
On Wednesday 13 March, we will be having an all-WRW coffee at The Elgin in Maida Vale, 255 Elgin Ave, W9 1NJ and you all are invited.  It is timed to start after the regular MWF run, so about 9:30 – 11.  We would love for you all to come because you are truly part of WRW and it will be a good chance to see some of the other runners who will be coming to Milan.

This Week
This week is a bit of a break week.  This doesn’t mean we get to take it easy, unfortunately.  It just means we don’t increase our time/distance.  We are letting our bodies recover a bit from the last few long runs, giving the muscles time to repair before we move on.  We are going to do a route that ends near the Kensington Dishroom, by request, so we can have brunch together 🙂
Don’t forget to bring your Oyster card for the ride home.  You won’t need your gels this week unless you really want the practice.
This week, we are going to start running immediately from Barclays.  In the race, you won’t have a walk to start running so let’s start to get used to running from the start.  Make sure you are warmed up a bit before you get to Barclays and keep moving while we wait for the group to gather.

The route…The usual way to Hyde Park, all the way across the north side of the park and then down past Kensington Palace.  Turn left to run along the south side of the park.  At the far end, loop back to the left to run along the north side of the Serpentine, turning left at the Serpentine Gallery to cross over the bridge and run down to the south edge of the park.  Turn right and finish the run at Dishoom.