2019-20 Beginners Week 27

Hi everyone,
I hope you had a great break and are ready to get back down to business this week with some rested legs!

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 Canada Water and Kew as well as the race.  You will want to have at least two for the race just in case.

Also, for those of you going to the race, there will be a couple of emails this week that you will need to respond to ASAP – one for the meals and one for the photo book.  So be on the lookout and please don’t forget to respond!

We’re coming into the final stretchI know you all know this, but we have one 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!
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.

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).  If you have any questions about this, feel free to ask me or any of the coaches.

The Schedule
(this week) Week 27 Feb 27 – 110 min = Wembley
Week 28 Mar 5 – 120 min = Canada Water
Week 29 Mar 12 – 90 min = TBD
Week 30 Mar 17 – 130 min = Kew Gardens (this is a Tuesday)
Week 31 Mar 25 – 45 min = easy run through Regents Park (note this is a Wednesday since we leave for the race the next day)

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 (Jubilee and Metropolitan lines).  There is a Costa just down the steps towards the stadium so we will head there for coffee afterwards for those who can stay.

2019-20 Beginners Week 25

Hi all,
Such a bummer about the Winter 10K today.  I know you must be disappointed.  You can use this Thursday’s run to show a 10K run in order to get your medal if you’re interested.  It sounds like you’ll need a tracking app – it may be easiest to download Strava and use that.  Let me know if you have questions about that.  And then you can connect to me on Strava!

If you are keen to run a 10K before the half, your best bet will likely be the Regent’s Park 10K on Sunday 1 March.  It won’t be the huge crowds but it will still be a race and could be good fun for you all to do.  The course is 3 laps around a course in Regent’s Park.  https://www.theraceorganiser.com/race-course-map/the-mornington-chasers-regent-s-park-10k-series-march-01-03-2020-09-00.

This Tuesday, assuming that you ran 45 minutes this weekend, you should run the regular 60 minutes.  And afterwards come to the…

**** Money Collection – Tuesday 11 Feb 8:30-11:00am ****
You should have already received an email, but just a reminder that Tuesday is money collection day.  Here is the info if you didn’t, or if you’ve misplaced the email.

Please stop by Carolyn’s house at 20 Loudoun Road (a short walk from ASL’s Loudoun Gate) sometime between 8:30-11am with cash (cash only, please!) to cover the costs as detailed below.  Please note, we’ve learned in recent years that cash machines/ATMs in the St Johns Wood area always run out of money on the couple of days before kit collection/race payment.  It’s a good idea to organise your cash at least a few days early so you won’t be caught short!  IF YOU CAN’T MAKE IT AT THAT TIME ON TUESDAY, PLEASE ARRANGE FOR A FRIEND TO TAKE YOUR PAYMENT FOR YOU AND COLLECT YOUR KIT!  

Cost and Kit Breakdown
All Prague Race Attendees £175*, which includes:
Thursday dinner — £40*
Friday dinner — £45
Saturday dinner — £65*
Race hat — £10 
WRW fee — £15**
*If you are not arriving until Friday, the cost of the Thursday night dinner will be deducted from your total.  Similarly, if you are leaving before the Saturday celebration dinner, that amount will be deducted from your total.
** WRW fee helps to cover the costs incurred by WRW, including appreciation gifts, the end-of-year “leavers” celebration, and website costs

Optional Prague Extra:  Saturday tour — £25

WRW Annual T-shirt:  £25    

Next week – ASL break week
Next week is a rest week to let your body recover from the work it has been doing to build up your muscles.  The schedule has you running 60 minutes on Thursday.  You’re also supposed to now be running 60 minutes on Tuesday.  If you can’t run because you’re off on a ski slope, it’s OK.  But if you can, try to get a least a couple of runs in even if only for 30 minutes.  

Revision to the schedule – Kew on Tuesday 17 March – MARK YOUR CALENDARS
We are going to change our scheduled run to Kew from Thursday 19 March to Tuesday 17 March.  This is for 2 reasons – first, Jess will be out of town on the 19th and is keen to run with you all on this iconic run; second, with the race a day earlier than usual, it is better to run this longest run a couple of days earlier as well to give your bodies a chance to rest, recover and be ready for the race.  So please MARK YOUR CALENDARS for Tuesday 17 March for the run to Kew.

This week – gels!
This week we are going to try gels on the run.   Gels are basically carbohydrates to give your 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, 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.  We will also have some Shot Bloks and energy jelly beans if you want to try those.  Some people like the Shot Bloks which are chewy rather than jam-like.  This is a very individual thing – some people like fruity flavours, some like chocolate, etc.  Different brands can have different effects on your stomach so it’s important to try them first.  

Places to buy gels:
Runners Need stores or runnersneed.com (individual GU, SIS, TORQ, Shot Bloks, sport jelly beans)
amazon.co.uk  (may only be available in boxes but you could share with others in the group)
energysnacks.co.uk (individual packets available)https://www.ultramarathonrunningstore.com (individual GU, TORQ, Clif Shot Bloks and gels)
Ocado (Clif Shot Bloks, SIS isotonic gels)

The Schedule
(this week) Week 25 Feb 13 – 100 min = Big Ben and back 
Week 26 Feb 20 – February break – 60 min run
Week 27 Feb 27 – 110 min = Wembley
Week 28 Mar 5 – 120 min = Canada Water
Week 29 Mar 12 – 90 min = TBD
Week 30 Mar 17 – 130 min = Kew Gardens (this is a Tuesday)
Week 31 Mar 25 – 45 min = easy run through Regents Park (note this is a Wednesday since we leave for the race the next day)

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 🙂

The route this week – to Big Ben and back
It was a huge deal when we ran here in October.  Now we are running there 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.

2019-20 Beginners Week 24

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!  

If you are feeling tired and sore after your runs, you might try doing an epsom salt bath.  Melissa swears by them and the few times I’ve tried them it really does seem to help my legs from feeling tired.  You can get epsom salts from health stores or even Ocado.

This week
This week is ASL’s parent teacher conferences.  I am hoping most of you who are at ASL were able to schedule your conferences so you can run.  But let me know if you will not be able to make this Thursday.
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 on Tuesday 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 (4 Feb)
  • 90 minutes Thursday (6 Feb)
  • 70ish minutes Sunday at the race
  • 45 minutes EASY PACE Tuesday (11 Feb)
  • 100 minutes Thursday (13 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!

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!