2020-21 Beginners – Week 13

Hi everyone,

Thursday was HUGE!  3 15-minute segments – that is fantastic.  We are SO proud of all of you. 

Remember, beginning this week, the Tuesday run is now a total of 45 minutes exercise time and your weekend run should be 30-35 minutes total.  Break it up with walk/runs however feels most comfortable to you.  If you don’t have someone to run with on Tuesday and would like someone, please reach out and we may be able to pair you up with a coach.

This is another lengthy email, so please bear with me.

This week’s segments
The schedule for this week has us repeating last week’s 15 min segments.  In a normal year, for Thanksgiving week, we repeat the prior week’s segments because usually many of you are traveling and would have to do the run on your own.  Some years, like last year, we had already gotten to the 25 min segment so that is what was repeated.  Since few of you are traveling this year, we are going to slightly increase this week’s segments so that next week’s 25 min segments don’t feel quite so big.  So for this week, we are going to run 17/20/17 with a 3 minute walk in between.  So for the handful of you who are away, please run those segments.  For the rest of you, we will let your coach know the segments so you don’t have to think about it.  I will send out the pairings in a day or so, once I get them finalised.

Since we have been running in one-on-one pairings, you may not have realized that 2 of our coaches are away but I wanted to let you know.  Renata traveled to NY in order to become a US citizen (congratulations, Renata!) and is now back in London and quarantining.  She hopes to be back running with us for the Lights Run (see below).  Jess traveled to Argentina this week since they have finally opened their borders and will return to London in early December.  Her quarantine time will depend on whether the UK government updates its quarantine policies – so hopefully for our sake they will!  In the meantime, Sue Wheeler and Shannon Ashton are our official coach subs – thank you Sue and Shannon!

Lights Run – Thursday 3 December – 6 am
Just a reminder that to celebrate our release from lockdown, we will be doing our annual favorite – the Lights Run.  I will send more detail in the next email but we will be meeting at 6 am SHARP for this run.  The church gardens will not be open at that hour so stay tuned for the meeting spot (it will be close to the gardens).  Of course, this assumes lockdown is actually over, but we are going to assume now that it will be.  If you have any questions in the meantime, just let me know.

Hampton Court Half signup
I believe many of you have signed up for the Hampton Court half.  Yay!  We are asking everyone in WRW to let us know their intentions for the race, even if you are not planning to run it, so we can start some organising.  Please fill out this form to let us know if you’re planning to run the half, if you’ve registered, and whether you would like to reserve a race hat.  If you wear a hat running, I highly recommend getting the race hat.  In a normal year, the race hat would be an automatic thing – part of going on the trip.  It is always a light or bright colour that coordinates with the annual shirt (if you ordered one…) and it allows us to quickly identify another WRW runner during the race.  In a race with thousands of runners, it is thrilling to spot fellow WRWers and cheer them on.  And they will cheer for you!  And if you haven’t yet registered but you intend to participate, please sign up now
WRW Hats
Speaking of hats, a tradition at WRW has been to give the beginners the prior year’s race hat because we always have leftovers.  Recently, we’ve given them out just before the Winter 10K – another beginner tradition that has gone by the wayside this year 🙁  Here is a photo of this past year’s hat.  If you are interested, please let me know in the next week.  If you don’t normally wear a hat, or aren’t interested, that is totally fine as we have several other non-beginners who are interested in them and we don’t have enough extras to give them out – you guys get first dibs!


And now for the lengthy part of the email.  Feel free to skim or skip it – I know it is quite verbose!

With Thanksgiving coming soon and many of us having food on our minds, I thought it would be a good time to talk about nutrition for runners.  The information here is taken directly from Paula, the founder of our group (she is the “I” in the text).  She has years of experience as well as trainer certification.  That said, everyone is different and you need to figure out what will work best for you.

Let’s start with protein because that is probably the most critical component as you increase exercise intensity or duration.  When you run, you create tiny tears in your muscle fibers and protein is required to repair that damage.  For female long-distance runners, experts suggest taking in about 90g a day (or 1.6-1.8g/kg of body weight).  That’s a lot of protein – it takes a concerted effort to get there and at our level, we don’t need that much.  Make it “clean” protein when possible – lean meats, fish, nuts, yogurt, lentils/pulses and low-fat milk (this is the one low-fat product that most nutritionists agree is fine).  Most professional runners eat salmon like crazy – I’ve never heard a nutritionist say that salmon is THAT much better than other fish, but a lot of very experienced runners sing its praises.

A lot of trainers will encourage you to increase your carb intake, but I don’t fully agree (particularly for our type of running).  It may be necessary for athletes training at extemely high intensity zones, but that’s not what we’re doing.  Bottomline….  we are trying to teach our bodies to use fat as 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 a half-marathon.  If you increase your carb intake on a daily basis, then your body starts expecting a constant feed of carb fuel and may begin to resist going to fat as a fuel source.  Your body needs carbs so don’t completely cut them out – just choose clean carbs, complex when possible, ie. grains, wholewheat products, basmati rice (the longer the grain the better – long grain basmati is better for you than even brown rice).  Bread is not evil, just don’t rely on it as your major carb source.  Sourdough bread is better for you (usually made with naturally occuring yeast) than traditional loaves.

Fat is necessary in our diets.  I would make a nutritionist cringe by explaining it so simply, but basically fat creates a slower release of energy/fuel.  It’s as though you’ve taken a time release medication rather than a typical dose when you combine a bit of fat with your other nutrition sources.  Fat from avocados, olive oil, nuts, etc is obviously better for you than fat in brownies, cookies, etc (sorry about that!!!).  Some current research is suggesting it is actually it’s the sugar in those products rather than the saturated fat that is causing a big problem with obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  We can let the scientists battle that out – for us, just try to get your fat from more natural foods.

With all nutrition, the closer you can get to whole food, the better (i.e., apples are better than applesauce, whole vegetables are better than pre-packaged ones).  Basically, the closer your food looks to how you would find it “in-situ”, the better.  That concept is one thing on which all nutritionists/dietitians seem to agree.
Before you run, I would suggest the following:
• 50g carbohydrates
• 5g protein
• 2-3g fat

That could be a half bagel with cream cheese, yogurt with nuts (if the nuts don’t upset your stomach), a smoothie, or try oatmeal/porridge – it wins the prize for a near-perfect carb/protein/fat mix for pre-run.  Most people find simpler carbs work better before a run than complex carbs as they are more easily digested (so a plain bagel instead of a wholegrain/seeded bagel).  Ideally, eat the pre-run meal 90 minutes before running.  Sometimes that is just not possible, so the closer to the run that you eat, the more you should consider simplier carbs for easier digestion.   The latest research on coffee/caffeine pre-exercise, suggest there is no impact on performance, but a huge impact on perceived exertion.  This is interesting to me – basically these new studies conclude that given two athletes who have eaten the exact same thing, and are asked to perform at the exact same level, and who have the exact same result feel differently about how hard the session was.  The one who has caffeine in their system will feel it was easier – their “perception of exertion” is lower.

Within 30 minutes after you run, I would suggest the following:
• 50g carbohydrates
• 10g protein
• 2g fat

The protein piece is critical as is the timing of this food.  Again, a nutritionist/scientist would cringe at how I try to explain this, but here we go… when you exercise your muscles are agitated/traumatized.  The cell membranes temporarily become more porous (instead of a wall, it’s more like a mesh allowing the flow of nutrients easy passage).  Some post-run ideas would be a latte and yogurt, a latte and a piece of fruit or a latte and half a skinny muffin.  I’ve attached the Starbucks nutritional info to make this easier for you.  Basically a tall, skinny latte has 14g of carbs, 10g of protein and 0g fat – so you’re looking for another 35g of carbs in addition to the latte.  All of this pre/post run info would apply to longer runs and what qualifies as a long run is different from runner to runner.  You are probably just fine eating whatever you normally consume until about mid-end January when our runs lengthen.

Click here for Starbucks beverage nutrition info
Click here for Starbucks food nutrition info