2021-22 Beginners Week 10

Happy Halloween!

Thank you to Sue for hosting a lovely post-run coffee at her home last week.  It was so nice to get a chance to talk to those of you who could stay.  I really encourage you all to try to make time to have a quick coffee/tea together after your runs – it is a great way to decompress and get to know each other better.  

Photos from Big Ben

I am so sorry for the huge delay.  I have finally gotten the photos from Big Ben onto Flickr where you can download them.  Here is the link to the album:  https://flic.kr/s/aHsmX3gaPZ  Let me know if you have any issues with it.

London Winter 10K
The London Winter 10K is a race that many beginners have done in the past.  It is a great way to get a taste of what the half will be like in terms of the crowds and energy.  This year it is on Sunday 13 February 2022.  This is NOT mandatory.  However, it can be a good intermediate goal and is also a good way to experience what race day feels like.  By race day, you will have run 10K on our Thursday runs so it will not be a stretch for you in terms of distance.  However, it’s important to treat it like a training run and not like a race.  We will talk more about it as the day approaches if some of you decide to run it.  It is a fun race!  I’ve heard that it might sell out so if you all can get motivated, you should go for it and sign up!  https://www.londonwinterrun.co.uk  Please feel to chat to any of your coaches about it.  It can be great to all decide to do it together.

This Week and Future Runs
We have a jump up in time intervals this week but don’t be nervous – you can do it!  You are all doing so well.  If you are worried about the time, or feel tired during the run, just slow down.  We’re not in a hurry!  

We are going to throw in a few destination runs over the next few weeks to keep things interesting and give you ideas for where to run on your weekend and Tuesday runs.  I know some of you need to get back for various things so we will alternate between loops and destinations and the destinations will aim to end at a tube stop for a quick exit.

Here is the tentative schedule:
4 Nov – loop back to SJW – Camden to Regent’s Park
11 Nov – destination – Covent Garden
18 Nov – loop back to SJW – Notting Hill
25 Nov – ASL Thanksgiving – some coaches may be here to run if others are, route TBD
2 Dec – holiday lights run (6 am start)9 Dec – destination – Green Park via Hyde Park
16 Dec – loop back to SJW

For the 2 destinations, we are ending where there is a good-sized place for coffee for those who can hang out a bit.

We will do our annual Holiday Lights run on Thursday 2 December.  This is a very special run – we will leave at 6 am and run down to Oxford and Regent Streets and see the London holiday lights in all their glory.  You can make it back home by 7:15 if you have a shorter run (often, the group split and those who want the full run for the week go a little longer).  I want to give you enough time to make arrangements with your family if you have younger kids.  This is a run that is not to be missed!

Adding A Run on the Weekend
I think some of you have started adding in an extra run on the weekend.  This is the time for all of you to start doing that if you haven’t already.  This will really help you continue to build your stamina and will make the runs during the week easier.  In general, you don’t want to run a longer segment on the weekend than we are doing during the week – so if you ran next weekend, it shouldn’t have segments longer than 10 minutes.  The run should be no more than 30-35 total minutes including walk time.  Pay attention to your pace, too, so you don’t go too fast.  Your muscles have been building so you can add that third run, but we don’t want you to push too much and get injured.  However, since it is shorter, you CAN go a bit faster, especially as we get further into the program.  As we run longer segments, it will become more important to have that extra run on the weekend so the longer runs during the week aren’t so tiring.

Eating Before the Run
Some of you have asked about eating before the run.  In general, it is good to have something in your stomach before you run, but not too much.  The key for all of you is to experiment.  A little later, as we are running for longer, I will send a long, information-packed email put together by WRW’s founder, Paula, on the science and theory behind what to eat before and after a run.  But I don’t think we need that level of detail yet.  For now, you should be trying different things to see what works for you because everyone is different.  Personally, I usually have a yogurt or a banana along with coffee and whole milk.  It’s enough to keep my stomach from grumbling and will give me a little energy, but won’t sit like a lump.  I know other runners like oatmeal or a smoothie or maybe half a bagel with cream cheese.  The important thing is to have something.  As we start to run longer, you will need a little more energy and it’s good to start trying things now.

Also, many of you will experience an increased appetite as a result of this training.  That is normal.  Many runners will say they didn’t lose a pound when they started running.  Usually it’s because you’re hungrier with increased activity levels, so you eat more.  Generally, women don’t lose or gain weight in training, but they have more energy, they can eat more and often digestive issues disappear.  Plus, your body composition will change as you build your muscle.Let us know if you have any questions about any of this!

See you Thursday,


The route: Modified Camden/Mornington Crescent
RunGo: https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/50BFao5nRg

Head towards the Charlbert entrance of Regent’s Park and get onto the canal towards Camden Lock where we cross the small, cobblestone bridge, exit the canal and turn right onto Camden High Street. Take the first right turn onto Jamestown Road and then the first left onto Arlington Road. Run straight down Arlington Road, make a slight right onto Mornington Crescent, follow it around and turn right onto Hampstead Road.  Run down to Robert Street.  Turn right on Robert for a few blocks and then a left on Albany Street and then the first right onto Chester Gate.  Based on where you are in your timing, you can cut into and across the park or run on the Outer Circle of Regents Park until you get to the exit for Charlbert Street.  Take Charlbert back up to St John’s Wood Terrace and then to Starbucks.

2021-22 Beginners Week 9

Hello all!
What a great run!  Big Ben (or I guess we should call it the scaffolding tower that was Big Ben) is done and dusted.  That run was a huge milestone and you all did it with smiles on your faces.  Remember when you said you couldn’t imagine running all the way there?  On top of that, we had a pretty big jump up in running time – we went from 28 to 36 total minutes and from 5 to 7 minute segments.  Great job!  Hopefully any of you who missed it can run it again on Tuesday.

I am working on getting all of the photos uploaded to an online album.  Unfortunately, my desktop completely crashed and is being rebuilt (yike!) so it’s going to be a day or so until I get everything back up and running.  I will send it out as soon as I can.  I’m attaching one from the finish as a teaser.

This week, the running segments are not too different from last week – just a few more 7 minute ones.  

This Thursday – Post-Run Coffee
This Thursday is our post-run coffee.  Please please do everything you can to make a bit of time for this event. The coffee will be at Sue’s house and the run will end there.  If you can’t do the run itself, please meet us there around 9:15-9:30. The coffee is a chance to connect with each other and your coaches socially.  We will talk about the race and answer any questions you might have about the program thus far.  We will also have a couple of beginners from last year who will talk about their experiences.  Please let me know if you will NOT be there – but again, we ask that you try to clear your calendars.

Berlin Half Marathon
I’m hoping that after your great run this week that many of you have now signed up for the half marathon in Berlin.  If you haven’t signed up, what are you waiting for??  🙂   Make sure to put Women Running the World as your club and that you have not run a race before (so we all get into the same corral of > 2:15).  Don’t forget to book your hotel, too.  It’s fully cancellable up to a week ahead so there is really no risk. 

Stretching/Rolling Equipment
I know sometimes we all get some super fun aches and pains after running.  Some stretching/rolling equipment can be useful to help work things out.  These are some suggestions – take them or not.

Foam Roller – Something basic, like this:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/VLFit-Pilates-Massage-Exercise-Crossfit/dp/B00GYYCWCU/ref=dp_prsubs_3?pd_rd_i=B073V5YB1G&psc=1.  Use it on your IT band.  Search YouTube for videos on how to roll.  Melissa has a thicker one that is better for lower back.

Slant Board – helps to stretch your calves.  Some runners leave it in their bathroom to use when they stand at the sink.  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00HVJRSQM/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_c_api_i_tijODbNX5EZBR

Trigger point balls – either spiky or not:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fitness-Mad-Trigger-Massage-Multicolour/dp/B00BJJZN94/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1DIQCCDJ4DIHA&dchild=1&keywords=pressure+point+balls&psc=1&qid=1571602752&s=sports&sprefix=pressure+point+%2Csports%2C128&sr=1-3https://www.amazon.co.uk/ResultSport®-Pack-Reflexology-Myofasical-Environmental/dp/B00CCPNDWI/ref=sr_1_7?crid=1DIQCCDJ4DIHA&dchild=1&keywords=pressure+point+balls&psc=1&qid=1571602752&s=sports&sprefix=pressure+point+%2Csports%2C128&sr=1-7

WRW Discounts
If you’re in the market for running kit, WRW gets a discount at Runners Need and the Marylebone Lululemon.  Just say you are part of Women Running the World to get the discount.

Weekend Running
Some of you have asked about running a bit on the weekends.  It would be good to start that in a week or so.  In general, you don’t want to run a longer segment on the weekend than we are doing during the week – so if you ran next weekend, it shouldn’t have segments longer than 7 minutes.  The run should be no more than 30-35 total minutes including walk time.  Pay attention to your pace, too, so you don’t go too fast.  Your muscles have been building so you can add that third run, but we don’t want you to push too much and get injured.  As we run longer segments, it will become more important to have that extra run on the weekend so the longer runs during the week aren’t so tiring. I’ll talk more about this in the next few emails.

Last week’s route – Big Ben
RunGo:  https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/JDPjKnb1VC
If you all want to re-run Big Ben on Tuesday, here is the RunGo link and the directions and map.
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.   Turn left to 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.

2021-22 Beginners Week 8

Hi everyone,

It sounds like you all had a great run on Thursday!  I was sorry to miss it but I can’t wait to see you all this week!

I want to make sure you all received the emails about our destination half in Berlin. Thank you to Sue who has worked really hard to make this happen.  Please let me know if you did not get it. We are really excited about the race and hope you are, too. We can answer any questions you have about signing up and the trip.  The race may sell out so we want everyone to get signed up as soon as possible. I know it may seem crazy, but I suggest just signing up and then forgetting about it 🙂

And so… this is the week we’ve all been waiting for!  Believe it or not, you are all ready to run to Big Ben, our first destination run. Don’t be intimidated – it is really not much farther than you have already been running. In addition, there are a lot of traffic lights along the way that will give us some extra breaks.  We are so excited to do this run with you!We will take a photo in front of Big Ben (well, what you can see of it given the scaffolding…) and probably the river and maybe grab a coffee at the Nero across the street.

We at WRW have started using an app called RunGo for some of our routes.  The great thing with this app is that it will give you turn-by-turn directions verbally so you don’t have to stop and check the map if you’re not sure of the route.  I have created a WRW London Beginners group that will have our routes in it starting with Week 5 (before that we were just running around Regent’s with no particular route).  There is also a regular WRW London group as well as a Wonder Woman Runners group (for the ramp up group that is kind of between regular and beginners) that you are welcome to follow if you’re looking for route ideas, especially starting late November when the Tuesday run changes.  The link to the beginner group is here:  https://routes.rungoapp.com/group/wrw-london-beginnersI have put last week’s route, if you’re interested, in RunGo:  https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/dLa3pk6HBB

Can’t wait to see you all on Thursday!

2021-22 Beginners Week 7

Hi everyone,

I hear you all had a great run on Thursday.  I was definitely thinking of you all and missing being there.  I’ll still be away this week but back next week.  I’ve been watching the Boston Marathon today (the course is just at the end of my street here) and the runners are all so inspiring.

Running This Week
This week is ASL’s October break and some in the group may not be around for the Tuesday run.  But not all of you are ASL and not all may be going away, so please reach out to each other to see who is available to run and when.  If you are away, try to get one run in between now and Thursday, even if it’s just a few 3 or 4 minute intervals.  Don’t worry about keeping track of how many intervals – just get out there and run/walk for about 35-40 minutes if you can.  We want your legs to get used to running on a regular basis.  And if you’re traveling, use it to explore where you are!
For the Thursday run this week, we are starting to increase our running increments, doing 4 and 5 minute segments.

Running the Week After (week of 18 Oct)
For Thursday 21 October, we have our run to Big Ben so clear your calendars for this beginner group milestone!  PLEASE NOTE – this is during one of the parent-teacher conference days at ASL so please try to work around this run if you can.

Save the Date reminder:
Thursday 28 October – after-run beginner coffee

Running Kit
I know there have been questions about recommended gear for running and where to buy it.  First, know that you don’t need to run out to buy things unless you want to (always good to have a shopping excuse!).  My beginner year I bought super cheap stretchy cotton yoga pants at Sports Direct (for literally less than £10 each) and a super cheap running belt (that I still use) and then bought things like shoes and running tights when I went back to the states at Christmas.  I was also not convinced I would last at this running thing beyond Christmas so was reluctant to buy running tights that I would never use again (of course, this was before everyone walked around in running tights as normal wear – my daughter told me she was embarrassed to walk to school with me when I was wearing them because “Who DOES that, Mom??”…)

The coaches recommend you consider the following gear to get you through the training season:
Rain jacket – it does rain here and it’s not going to stop us.  You want one that is breathable if possible (although again, I got by for almost 3 years with a super cheap not-breathable lightweight waterproof shell that I already owned).  They can be very expensive but you don’t have to get an expensive one by any means – just do some web searching.

Baseball cap – good for keeping light drizzle off your face, helping with sun, taming your hair; does not need to be an official running cap – just something you are comfortable in

Thermal layer/light fleece – I have two weights of fleece.  As we get into colder months, the heavier fleece is all I’ve ever needed for a warm layer for running.  Some runners swear by the inexpensive Uniqlo lightweight down jackets as an extra layer.

Running gloves – again, I have two weights of gloves for various temps.  You just want something form fitting that won’t soak up sweat

Ear warmer band and/or warm hat – I have both of these because if it’s really cold, I want a full hat but sometimes I just want ear protection.  Any wool or fleece hat that isn’t floppy is fine.

Running belt – I discussed this in an earlier email but will copy what I said then here in case you missed it: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.  Unfortunately, my same one is no longer available but this other one is fairly close to it (although it appears to be on backorder at the moment):https://www.amazon.co.uk/Befekt-Gears-Waterproof-Sweat-proof-Adjustable/dp/B07Q9PZ3TN/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=befekt+gears+running+belt&qid=1631365333&sr=8-5
The 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

This one might be similar: https://www.amazon.co.uk/GORWRICH-Waterproof-Adjustable-Sweatproof-waistpacks/dp/B07XNX296N/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=befekt+gears+running+belt&qid=1631365333&sr=8-6

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  or https://www.amazon.co.uk/Laelr-Hydration-Waterproof-Adjustable-Marathon/dp/B07VNMLY4Q/

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.  Maybe ask the coaches this week which belts they like and why.

And Jess recommends this option at NinePine that she loves:  https://www.nine-pine.com/collections/accessories/products/running-utility-waistband?variant=32254434082897

Places to buy:
Runners Need (both in store and online) for clothes, gear and shoes (they do gait analysis)
Wiggle (online only) for gear
Asics store on Oxford St for shoes (they do gait analysis)
London Designer Outlets by Wembley (Asics, Nike, New Balance Adidas are all there) for better prices
Sports Direct/Lillywhites (not a great experience but can get cheap stuff there)Amazon

Have a great week!
Your coaches

2021-22 Beginners Week 6

Hi Everyone,

Congratulations to Jess who just ran the London Marathon this morning along with several other WRW runners!  Jess has returned from the states and will be joining us this Thursday.  She is really excited to meet you all!  As I mentioned on Thursday, I will be away the next 2 Thursdays and Melissa is temporarily sidelined with her hamstring pull.  
We are covering a lot in this week’s email so try to bear with me.

This week
For the run, we will be running a total of 22 minutes, slipping in a few 4 minute blocks.  Going forward, the amount of time spent running starts to increase more quickly since you have built the base you need to start to run longer.  It is really important to get that second run in each week so you keep that base up and build from there.  Anyone on this list who hasn’t been out running with us – now is the time to jump in before we are too far along in the program.

Save the Date reminders:
Thursday 21 October – Big Ben
Thursday 28 October – after-run beginner coffee

Stretching and Warm Up
I am attaching the warm-up exercises we did on Thursday so you can start to incorporate them into your Tuesday run as well.  It is good to get your muscles activated and warm before we start out now that we are starting to increase the minutes we are running.  I skipped the last one, the hop, because we’ve had people in the past say it hurts their knees.  But it does get your glutes going for sure.

I sent this last week but I’ll send it again – for post-run, walking at the end is intended to act as a cool-down.  As we have said, it is very important to stretch after the run which is why we build in that time before heading in to Starbucks/Pret.  This link provides some good stretches:  http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/how-to-stretch-after-a-run.aspx

And Micki, the head of WRW, often does this 15 minute yoga video after she gets home from a run: Yoga For Flexibility | 16 Minute Practice | Yoga With Adriene 16 Minute Yoga For Flexibility! Make space and cultivate flexibility so that you can be available and open for life’s tasks and opportunities with more ease … youtube.com

Physio and other experts
A few of you asked about aches and pains.  If you are feeling like something is hurting, please go see a professional.  We have several people listed on our website:  https://womenrunningtheworld.com/training/expert-help/
Victor St. Ange is the physio that many people in the running group use.  He is terrific and he can do an overall analysis of how well your muscles are engaging as they are needed.  The con is that he is very popular and it can take a few weeks to get an appointment.  But ask to be put on the waitlist and you’ll often get a call.  http://www.physionorthwest.com

Many runners also swear by Christian Antonee and I believe he is easier to book on short notice.  I also have personally used Soliman Laurence who is more of a massage therapist.

Tuesday Runs
We heard from several of you that the Tuesday runs have been a bit fast.  This is very common with the beginner group.  It is hard to keep a slow pace, but it’s important to try to do it.  You will all feel better for it.  If you are in the front, don’t feel the people behind you are pushing you to go faster – they aren’t!  And if you’re in the back, you don’t need to try to keep up with those in the front.  Run the pace that is right for you.

You should be running around a 13 – 13 ½ minute mile on Tuesdays, maybe even slower.  This translates to a little faster than an 8 ½ minute kilometer.  You can use apps on your phone to show your pace.  Apps I’ve used in the past are MapMyRun, Runkeeper and Strava.  You do not need a running watch!  As a beginner, it’s nice to be able to focus on building your stamina and creating a bond with your group, not worrying or thinking about your pace and distance.  Use the apps to guide your pace, as a quick check in.  Also, make sure you set it to auto pause so it doesn’t calculate you standing still as part of your pace – otherwise it will show your pace as artificially slow.

If you are feeling like you don’t want to talk during the run, SLOW DOWN!  Sometimes it helps to designate a person to keep the pace and you can switch off each week.  Let us know how it goes!

Here is the route we did last Thursday in case you want to repeat it.    

Directions:  Make your way to Allitsen Rd and run straight until you get to Primrose Hill.  Run diagonally to the left across the park, exit, and run down the high street.  Cross the bridge over the tracks and make your first left onto Adelaide.  Run all the way to Swiss Cottage, cross Avenue Rd, and turn left on St. John’s Wood Park Rd.  Run until you reach St. John’s Wood Terrace and turn right to get back to Starbucks.