2020-21 Beginners Week 4

Hi everyone,I hope you all are having a great weekend!
For this week, as usual, please repeat last Thursday’s run on Tuesday.  Keep it SLOW!!  Also, please look out for new people joining and welcome them – we should have a few new additions this week.

Here is the link to join the group What’sApp if you are not already on it:  

And there is a WRW group on Facebook – request to join Women Running the World:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/577037932320990

Weekly Reminders:

  • Always bring a mask for the initial meet-up
  • Stay socially distant when you are first meeting up
  • Break up into groups of 6 or fewer for the walk and run as soon as you can within the park
  • Please be extremely mindful of others on the sidewalk and in the park – do not run/walk more than 2 abreast

This Thursday’s run time will be just a slight increase from last week’s.  We are taking our time building up to make sure your bodies are becoming adjusted at a nice slow pace.  As always, please let one of us know if you are hurting or struggling.  It is normal for your body to be aching in new ways because you’re using muscles differently.  We get concerned if an ache doesn’t go away after about 10 minutes of running/walking or if you have a sharp pain. I heard that some of you are having back pain.  It may help to think about your posture as you run – keep your shoulders back and don’t hunch over.  This actually opens up your chest and allows you to breathe more easily and will give you better posture beyond running even.

If you are on this email and are not planning to join us or continue this year, please let me know – we won’t take offense!  We don’t want to junk up your inbox any more than it already is.  But if you are planning to join, come on out!  It’s not too late to get started.

Hope to see everyone on Thursday,
Your coaches

A beautiful day in the park last Thursday!  Photo cred to Melissa 🙂

2020-21 Beginners Week 3

Hello everyone!

Well done on Thursday getting through those 2 minute running intervals with apparent ease.  We are so glad so many of you were able to run together on Tuesday.  It’s great to start to set that routine early on.
So for this Tuesday, as for last week, repeat what we did this past Thursday based on the training plan we sent out last week.  

Welcome to those of you just joining us.  I hope you can make the run this Tuesday.  Just look for the group at the entrance to the church gardens and introduce yourself.  This is a very friendly group and they will take care of you!  

Changes to the Latest Guidelines
The changes to the guidelines mean we need to be extra diligent about breaking into smaller groups for the run.  The coaches aren’t there on Tuesdays to monitor so we need you all to be constantly aware and helping each other follow the rules.  I know it can be really easy to be chatting away and forget – I do it more than I should admit.  Please try to get into smaller groups as soon as you can inside the park, staying 8-10 meters away from each other.  I know this is not the greatest for group bonding and I’m really sorry about that.  Hopefully the UK can get this latest increase under control quickly so we can relax a bit more.  Please be on the lookout for new beginners and welcome them!
Weekly Reminders:

  • Always bring a mask for the initial meet-up
  • Stay socially distant when you are first meeting up
  • Break up into groups of 6 or fewer for the walk and run as soon as you can within the park
  • Please be extremely mindful of others on the sidewalk and in the park – do not run/walk more than 2 abreast

What’sApp Group
Thank you to Sue for setting up the What’sApp group!  This makes it easy to connect with one another if you can’t make a Tuesday or Thursday run.  For example, if you can’t make a run, you can send out a message and see if someone else might be around to run with you another time.  This is just for you guys – the coaches don’t need to be on it.  Here is the link to join if you are not already on it:

This Week
This week we will be adding one 3 minute interval running interval to our two minute ones.  It is absolutely essential we keep the pace very very slow so we don’t allow our heart rates to get too high, both for psychological reasons (so you don’t feel exhausted and worn out when you finish, and start hating it) and for physiological ones (as most of you haven’t run before, you need to give your bodies time to adjust to keep injuries at bay).  Please let us know if anything is hurting.  Most aches and pains can be quite easily addressed early on – it’s continuing to run on an injury that causes bigger problems.  We have a list of professionals (physios, osteopaths, etc.) that our runners use that we can share with you – just ask!

A note on the pace – I had said in an earlier email that you should be running at a pace where you can talk comfortably.  This is true, but that doesn’t mean you need to be talking all the time.  It is perfectly fine to not be talking – I just want to make sure you CAN talk.  Otherwise, you are going too fast.

We will not be doing much street running just yet, but please make a point of being very careful at the few road crossings we do have – it is very easy to just follow the person in front of you out onto the road without checking for cars or bikes, so please be careful! 

Gear/Shoes
For shoes, as I mentioned previously, if you can wait to get new shoes, please do.  As we start to increase running time, your gait will start to develop and it will be better to go to a store to be fitted for proper shoes after your body has had time to develop that gait.  I ran in cross-trainers for the first 4 months when I was a beginner.  However, if you don’t have any sort of appropriate shoes then go ahead and get some!

I noted before that you don’t need to go buy any gear yet.  However, a few of you may want to get a running belt so I’d thought I’d share my opinion.  First, a running belt choice is really individual.  I have purchased at least 5 over the years and I keep coming back to the cheap one I bought when I was a beginner.  This is the current version of what I have although you’ll have to get it from a third party seller on Amazon.  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Karrimor-Unisex-Audio-Belt-Black/dp/B00SJ14CYM/ref=sr_1_2?crid=3FAC1AWMVK7GZ&keywords=karrimor+audio+belt&qid=1567680746&s=gateway&sprefix=karrimor+audio%2Caps%2C128&sr=8-2
This other one is fairly close to it  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Befekt-Gears-Waterproof-Sweat-proof-Adjustable/dp/B07Q9PZ3TN/ref=sxbs_sxwds-stvp?keywords=karrimor+running+belt&pd_rd_i=B07Q9PZ3TN&pd_rd_r=1292ac68-678a-4ef8-b296-e6d3eff20b7f&pd_rd_w=oznXy&pd_rd_wg=buQsq&pf_rd_p=7dc56c0d-8a5f-4d97-9143-7233b106859a&pf_rd_r=H3VB8XV6VER7G83PRTCZ&qid=1567680547&s=gatewayhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Karrimor-Unisex-Audio-Belt-Black/dp/B00SJ14CYM/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1536333617&sr=8-4&keywords=karrimor+running+beltThe reasons I like it:

  • it has 2 pockets so if you pull your phone out of the bigger one, you don’t have to worry about your keys or money or whatever being pulled out at the same time because those can go in the smaller one
  • the belt is not stretchy (some people really love the stretchy belt (Spibelt is the popular brand) but I don’t, maybe because I got used to the non-stretchy one)
  • it doesn’t soak up sweat like the kind that some runners like – the FlipBelt
  • it’s cheap so if you don’t like it, you don’t feel like you’ve wasted too much money

For a belt that holds water bottles, this is the sort of thing I have https://www.amazon.co.uk/Karrimor-Unisex-Bottle-Belt-Black/dp/B00SJ12WNU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536334083&sr=8-1&keywords=karrimor+bottle+belt
I can tell you, though, that every runner will have her favorite belt for various reasons so it often comes down to trying one and if it doesn’t work, trying another.  And people often try to buy running tights that have side pockets that will hold everything you might need.

Also, if you go out to a store to check out running belts, it might be a good idea to also get a pair of running gloves.  It will start to be chilly in the morning and you will want something that doesn’t soak up the sweat.  This is not a necessity certainly, but just wanted to put it out there.
Finally, if you are on this email list and have decided to not join our group, please let me know and we will take you off the distribution.  Otherwise, it is certainly not too late to join us!

Enjoy the warm weather and we will see you on Thursday!
Your coaches

2020-21 Beginners Week 2

Hello everyone,
We are off to a great start!  We are so excited to get to know you – we clearly have a fabulous group this year as usual! 

So… this is another long email with lots of information so please bear with us.

First, I want to reiterate the guidelines in the current times:

  • Always bring a mask for the initial meet-up
  • Stay socially distant when you are first meeting up and you are in the larger group
  • Break up into groups of 6 or fewer for the walk and run
  • Please be extremely mindful of others on the sidewalk and in the park

I realized on Thursday that we hadn’t talked about being aware of others around you.  Several times pedestrians in the park needed to move onto the grass to avoid our big group.  I know it is easy to get into conversation and not pay attention, but we should not be walking/running 4 abreast and taking up the entire path.  Please be aware and move to the side and keep it to 2 abreast.  We are a big group and we want to make sure there are no complaints about us that might cause us to shut down.  Thank you!!

What’sApp Group
Our beginner groups in the past have found it really helpful to set up a beginner What’sApp group.  This makes it easy to connect with one another if you can’t make a Tuesday or Thursday run.  For example, if you can’t make a run, you can send out a message and see if someone else might be around to run with you another time.  This is just for you guys – the coaches don’t need to be on it.   You will all have each others’ email address via this email, so someone should take the lead and create the group.  You can just send the link to join to everyone on the email so you don’t have to collect numbers.  If you send me the link to join, I will pass it on to anyone who joins our group later.

Training Program
We have attached our program as a two page PDF.  Please note, however, that the race date is not yet determined (and really, who knows if there will even be a chance to run a race – but we remain ever hopeful and will still work towards that goal).  I have based this schedule on an assumed date that may not be the actual date.  Once the race is chosen, I will revise the schedule if needed and resend.  One page is the specific running/walking intervals week by week.  The other page is more of a broad weekly view of what we are doing.

For those of you who are just joining us, don’t worry!  You’ll be fine.  Our routine is this:  on Thursdays the coaches will run with the group.  The following Tuesday, the group will meet at the main entrance of the Church Gardens at the same time (8:20 am) and repeat what we did the prior Thursday.  To time your intervals, we find that an app called IntervalTimer works very well (see below for what it looks like).  I’m sure there are others out there, but that one is free and fairly easy to set up.  You can also use an old fashioned method of folding a piece of paper 10 times or making 10 marks and move your thumb to hold it on the next mark for each interval.  It generally works best if someone is the official timer person each Tuesday and someone else guides the group.  We will be running in Regent’s Park for the first few weeks so it’s not too tricky to guide.  We are happy to help you all manage it – just ask!  For anyone who was not able to join us on Thursday, just show up on Tuesday, introduce yourself, and you will be fine.  Also, if you find you cannot make a Tuesday or Thursday run, try messaging the group to see if there are others who might be able to join you later or on a different day.

So for this Tuesday, follow the intervals in the program for week one.  

The key for the Tuesday runs is to go SLOW!  The founder of WRW, Paula Mitchell, explained the philosophy of running so slow and having walking breaks this way:”Most of us have tried to run at some point in our lives or we had to do it in school.  Usually we have less-than-wonderful memories about running.  In my opinion, most people trying to learn to run go too fast.  They head out the front door like a rocket, chest pounding, lungs gasping for air, legs screaming, etc.  No wonder we don’t stick with it.  It’s horrible.  From my experience, if we start very slowly, run at a very gentle pace and don’t get our heart-rates too high, then we’re OK to keep at it.  When we finish running as a group, you should be feeling like you did something but you shouldn’t be exhausted.  That is the psychological side of it.  From a physiological viewpoint, if you are new to running then your body isn’t necessarily ready to support that activity.  By starting the program very gently we give our bodies time to catch up.  Over the first few weeks, there are small changes happening within your muscular system.  The small stabilizer muscles surrounding joints will strengthen.  The larger muscles which drive movement will start to “wake up”.  Most likely you will not notice these changes in the mirror, but they are happening.  By beginning a new training regime gradually, we can hopefully keep injuries at bay.  This is one of the reasons we definitely need to keep our pace slow on Tuesdays.  Rein each other in!!!  Try to replicate the pace we do together on Thursdays.  If you run too fast, it can lead to injury or make you very frustrated with running.  I’ll repeat this because it’s critical……  keep the Tuesday run SLOW, very SLOW!!!

During the first few weeks of our program, we’ll continue to have additions to the group and start to see some attrition.  Usually by October, the group settles into a pack and running becomes part of your weekly routine.  For any of you who have some running experience, please consider moving up to our Mon/Wed/Fri groups.  We have another 100+ runners who run a wide range of pace and distance.  You will have people to run with and you will be able to keep up.  The beginner group progresses very slowly and we will continue to keep the group running at a very slow pace.  It’s part of the master plan!!!  One last thing here…  if you are already a runner (therefore have a natural pace/gait), running this slow can actually hurt – that slow pace will create an unhealthy amount of impact on your joints and can throw off your already-developed gait.   Let me know if you want to discuss this – we are happy to talk about how you could transition to the next level in our running group.  Lastly on this topic, if you are already a runner, after a few weeks you’ll be running circles around our true “newbies”.  It’s depressing for them to feel that they are working SOOOOOOO hard and you’re flitting around as though it’s a gentle stroll in the park.  
People often ask whether we run through the winter and in the rain.  The short answer – yes!  The only time we cancel runs would be for icy conditions which are dangerous.  Otherwise, we run in rain, sleet, snow, hail, etc.  That being said, you might consider buying a good running rain-jacket.  It needs to be lightweight and breathable.  Runners Need sells them as do most of the outdoor shops, or ask any of the coaches for recommendations.  You might be surprised to hear that we don’t usually have to run in rain.  We like to joke that the sky clears for WRW – it will be raining as you walk to the run and by the time we start running, it’s over.  And if it does rain, it passes over quickly.  It’s rare we run in heavy rain but it does happen.

If you’re in the market for new shoes, we recommend waiting a month or so.  Often, as you start running each person develops a gait and it actually improves (or becomes more efficient) over time.  If you go in now for shoes, they may fit you in shoes that are appropriate for your current gait.  That gait may very well change in the next few weeks so hold off if you can make yourself wait! 

OK – the last few things.  First, our running group has a website:  www.womenrunningtheworld.com.  We will post this email under “Beginners” so if you misplace it and are looking for information, you can find it there.  Our program will also be out there as well as some route information if you’re interested.  So the website could be helpful but don’t worry about any of the other information posted out there for the Mon/Wed/Fri group.  Second, our group has a Facebook page – WRW London.  You can request to join and we will add you.

Finally, here are the photos from our first day.  It’s going to be fun to look back and see us all at the start of our adventure!

We look forward to seeing you on Thursday and hearing about how SLOW you ran on Tuesday!

Your Coaches