2021-22 Beginners Week 12

Hi Everyone,

We’re really moving along now in our training and you guys are all doing AMAZING! As I noted after the run, last week was another large jump in time and you all took it in stride (hah!). We will be going up a bit more this week but we know you’ve ALL got this.  So great to see many of you after the run at coffee!  The photos from the week are on the same Flickr album for your viewing pleasure.This is a very long email, sorry.  But it has important information so please do your best to read it.  First, the administrative bit:

Reminder – London Winter 10K
Continuing to poke about this race!  I know, I’m a pain in the rear!  The link again: https://www.londonwinterrun.co.uk

30 November – happy hour at Jess’ house – details will be announced soon but please mark your calendars to join us for a social event to kick off the holiday season
2 December – Holiday Lights Run – 6 am start

The schedule until the holidays:
18 Nov – loop back to SJW – Maida Vale/Paddington
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

Next, a bit of talk about our training – why we do what we do and what you need to do to be as strong as you can be.
We have some significant increases in our training coming up, but you all are ready – really! But there are some important things we need to discuss, so bear with me because this email is a bit long.

We have reached a turning point in our training with this coming week’s run. We will be running 3 15-minute segments with 3 minutes of walking in between. Think about that – remember running 60 seconds those first weeks and we all thought we were going to die. Then two minutes…. well, it might as well have been a lifetime. We know it’s not easy – learning to run is challenging, but think of where you’ve come from. We’re putting in an hour of total time now – it’s amazing what you’re doing. We are at a critical point in our training where the routine begins to change… so I’ll just jump right in and start explaining.

  • 3 runs a week? If you are aiming to do the half-marathon in the spring, you should be adding a third run each week if you haven’t already. It will make the race a lot easier if you can get in a third run as much as you can. Let’s be clear – it’s never easy running 13.1 miles, but the more miles you’ve put in, the more comfortable your body will be running that distance.
  • Varying each run – This is the good news….. We have progressed to the point where our runs/routes will begin to vary. Next Tuesday 23 November (or whichever day you are doing your second run) you will no longer simply repeat the route we did together the previous Thursday. After this week, you will be doing one long run with your coaches on Thursdays, one medium run and for the third weekly run, you will do a short run. The medium run (beginning Tuesday 23 Nov) will be 45 minutes total exercise time. Feel free to break that up into whatever intervals you are comfortable with. If you’re not sure where to start, you could try doing a 2 minute warm-up walk (after your warm up exercises) followed by three 13 minute jogging intervals separated by 2 minute walking breaks and 2+ minute walk at the end. The third run should be 30-35 minutes total exercise time. This also can be broken down into whatever length intervals make you happy. A place to start may be…. 2 minute warm-up walk followed by three 8-9 minute intervals separated by 2 minute walks. Particularly for this 30-35 minute session, some of you may be interested in doing a walking warm-up then just jogging slowly until you feel you need a break. Then walk for a couple of minutes and jog some more until you reach the 30-35 minute total time. If you want to try that, here are a few tips. First of all, run SLOW, like what we do on Thursdays. Second, don’t look at your watch. Do your warm-up then start jogging. Look around, watch the people on the streets or in the park, think about anything but running, notice the yellow/gold/red leaves, make a grocery list in your mind, think about what book you want to read next or where you want to go on holiday…. anything but running. When you’ve had enough, then check your watch to see how much time you did, take a walking break and carry on. You may just amaze yourself. On these additional runs, go wherever you want. You know how to get to Hyde Park, Regent’s Park is right there, and access to the canal is super easy. We’ll help you come up with some other ideas if those routes get boring.  You can also use that short run to go push the pace a bit – but not too much!
  • Consistent Training – For just a minute here we’re going to be a little bit more tough than usual. These Thursday long runs are getting more and more important. If there is any way you can get there, please join us. We know some of you have things you have committed to ages ago and we get it. Until now it has not been a problem because we are simply repeating the Thursday run on the following Tuesday. We’re not asking you to cancel travel plans or quit courses. We are all busy and there are always weeks here and there when we can’t run. Not a problem! The bottom line is this… if you cannot make the majority of the Thursday runs, particularly in the new year, but truly even throughout December, it will be very difficult for you to contemplate doing a half-marathon. We’re not trying to be mean or demanding or threatening, just realistic. As our Thursday long run lengthens, you will want and need help, advice, pacing and someone to complain to. We will be discussing fueling/hydration and trying out different options in that regard. Those are things we need to learn/practice together – it’s not the same as reading it in an email. The other one or two runs each week are much, much less important. That’s the end of that speech….. next topic!
  • What’s your pace? We are beginning to settle into pace groups. This is natural and is not a reflection of your fitness level. We need to each find the pace that feels comfortable. Some of you have longer strides, some take smaller steps, some of you have long legs, some of you are tiny and have to take two steps to every one stride of a taller runner. It’s not only down to height – some tall people have a natural up and down movement with less forward propulsion. Most runners say that if they are asked to adjust their natural pace, things start hurting so it is important to find your natural speed. We need to start thinking about where in the group you are pace-wise. For the race, we will divide ourselves up based on these training paces so everyone will have a group and a trainer to run with. During our training runs start trying to identify others in the group who are running your pace. Who do you seem to naturally fall in sync with? You probably have noticed that we don’t talk about pace in terms of numbers or precise times in this group. It’s not important to have a specific number – it is important to know what feels comfortable to you…. not too fast, not too slow, but just right!
  • Hydration – As our runs get longer, we need to start taking in fluids while we’re running. Hydration requirements vary vastly from runner to runner, but experts suggest targeting about 500ml of fluid for each hour of exercise. Our needs are probably less than that as we are operating at a lower intensity level doing long distance training. You may consider buying a belt that holds little bottles, a tiny camelback (one that sits very high up on your back), or one of those bottles that slips over your hand. I wouldn’t recommend a large backpack – it changes your gait. This need to carry water applies only to your weekly long run. You are fine running 30-45 minutes if you drink before and after your session.

I understand that you have no point of reference, so you have no idea how well you are doing. We’re running about 4 miles now, over and over again. I know it’s not easy, but you are doing it. You have the worst of it behind you. It’s A LOT harder going from 0 running minutes to 1 running minute, or from 1 to 2 minutes – those are difficult beyond belief. In the next few weeks, we are transitioning into straight running, no designated walking breaks. That may sound scary, but think about where we run. Even though I say we are running 50 or 60 minutes non-stop, there will be street crossings. You will learn to pray for the little “red-man light”. My message is that you can do this. You have each other to lean on and all of your coaches to help out however we can.As always, if you have questions or concerns, please talk to one of the coaches.

Now, on to this week’s route!
This week’s route:RunGo:  https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/mkZqnaUEBg
Head down Circus and continue on to Hall.  Continue on to Sutherland Avenue until Harrow Road.  Turn left onto Harrow Rd and cross the canal.  Shortly after, take a right onto Alfred Rd and take the path on the left side next to the Harbour Club.  Cross over the tracks and at the bottom of the steps, turn left onto Westbourne Park Villas.  Turn right on Porchester Road and then left onto Bishop’s Bridge Road.  Run until the bridge over the tracks at Paddington.  Cross over the tracks and go left, circling left around the basin to enter the canal.  Go left on the canal and then take the first right up and over the canal to circle back towards SJW.  Exit onto Blomfield Road, cross Maida Vale and stay on Aberdeen Place.  Turn left on Cunningham Place and right on St John’s Wood Road.  Take a left on Grove End and then right on Circus to get back to Barclays.