2021-22 Beginners Week 23

Well done ALL of you!  Such a great run to Borough!  I know you were all nervous about adding on time but look at you!  So just keep that in mind as we go forward – YOU CAN DO IT!
You may not believe us, but the hardest part is behind you.  Once someone can run an hour, bumping up a session 10 minutes each week is not a significant jump in terms of fitness/cardio requirement.  The hard part is learning how to run and building a base.  It’s tough to move from walking/jogging intervals to non-stop running.  We’ve done that hard work and are more than ready to start extending our mileage.
This is another crazy long email so bear with me – sorry!

A few notes about training over the coming weeks:

  • It’s very important to get in the the long runs each week, even if they are not on Thursday with the rest of the group
  • If you want to run a little faster, you can push your pace on the shorter weekend run.  But keep your Tuesday runs slow please!
  • It’s important to not steadily increase your time every week – it is best to lengthen your session for 3-4 weeks then drop back for one week to allow your body to recover/rest.  We will rest the week of ASL’s February break and then again 3 weeks later.
  • Please continue to email/talk to each other when you have scheduling conflicts – it’s a great way to get those longer runs in if you can’t make a Thursday, and if there are a bunch of you who will miss, you can always see if a coach can run with you late

Coaching on Tuesday
Based on feedback from you all, we are going to add a coach on Tuesdays.  That coach will provide the route for the day and will help with pace, mainly in the rear of the group.  This week will be Sue and she says it’s “Sue’s surprise!” for this week 🙂  We’ll let you know each week who will be the coach so you know to look out for them at Barclay’s.

This Week After the Run
I believe there is a movement to have brunch at Dishoom after the run on Thursday – it’s right around the corner from our end point.  So please join if you can!

Running Playlists
If you find yourself running on the weekend, or occasional weekdays, by yourself, you might want to consider running playlists and songs that can match the pace you want.  It’s important to test out the beats per minute (bpm) yourself and not just rely on what I say or what websites say.  It can vary quite a lot based on your stride length.  I have found that for me, especially as I’m getting tired, I take smaller strides at a faster pace, so 180 bpm, which one site says equals a 7 min/mi equals more like a 9+ min/mi for me when I’m tired.  Conversely, when I was trying to keep myself slower during a run, when I used one for 10-10:30 min/mi (150 bpm) I ended up going faster.  So I think perhaps take some music out that you like to run to and pay attention – does one song cause you to speed up?  Or slow down?  Then type those songs into the links below to see what the bpm is to get a sense.
I have created a bunch of playlists on my Spotify for a wide range of bpm – 120 – 180.  You can go to my profile and follow any of them that you want and/or use them to help build your own:  https://open.spotify.com/user/aewgrace?si=bapDYQyZR9CJfBZdPLZcsA
Sites I use to find songs:
https://jog.fm/workout-songs – can search for songs with a certain bpm or search a particular song to find the bpm
https://songbpm.com – this one has a nicer interface but you have to type the song in, you can’t just look for songs with a certain bpm.
I know there are many others out there – just do a search for them.

Finally, we’ve had some questions in the past week or so that I wanted to address.

What should we do about running before/after the Winter 10K?
I will email about strategies for the race itself the week before the race, but from a run length perspective, you will swap your normal weekend and Tuesday runs – so you will run our regular long run on Thursday, you’ll do the 10K on Sunday and you’ll do your shorter (normally on the weekend) run on Tuesday.  Then the long Thursday run again.  Let me know if that doesn’t make sense.
What are we going to do about running after the half marathon?
First, let me say I am psyched you’re already thinking about running after the half.  Yay!  (They are all sucked in – check!)  We will talk lots more about this as we near the race but basically you will all fold into the regular MWF group after the race.  Don’t be nervous.  It will feel a bit weird at first, because you will be used to just your group being there and running together and then suddenly there are all these other people that maybe you met at the race but don’t really know.  It will all be OK – we promise.  But think about this when you are planning your spring schedule.  I found after my beginner race that I was so used to clearing my calendar for Tues/Thurs that I had a bunch of conflicts in April after the race for Mon/Wed/Fri.  So start scheduling your haircuts and pilates and whatever on Tues/Thurs in April, OK?  Put those run days in your calendar now so you don’t forget.

My knees hurt, my hips hurt, my <insert body part> hurts
First, buy a foam roller.  Something basic, like this:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Maximo-Fitness-Superior-Instructions-Included/dp/B06Y97NVKZ/ref=cts_sp_1_vtp  (mine is 45 cm,  not 90 but I’m sure either is fine).  Use it on your IT band.  Search YouTube for videos on how to roll.Second, go see an expert to make sure all is OK.  I have used Victor and Soliman and find both are good for different areas.  Victor is great for making sure things are “working” the way they should.  He is also great for any doubts you have about if you can do this.  Soliman has been better for me with sciatica.  I have also worked with Zoe who is great at giving exercises for your specific issue (and she tends to have more availability than the other 2).  Let me know if you want their information. Other people see various people, too – but go if you’re having niggles that won’t resolve within about 10 min of the run.

When should we increase our weekend/Tuesday running time?
This will happen starting next week (8 Feb).  You will start running 60 min on Tuesdays and 45 min on the weekends.  I’ll put it in next week’s email as a reminder.

Can we/should we add another run in during the week?
No.  Running is a repetitive movement and we don’t want you to injure yourselves by running too much.  However, you can certainly do other exercise – spinning, yoga, pilates, walking, swimming, whatever! – to increase your stamina and muscle strength.

The Schedule
(this week) Week 23 Feb 3 – 80 min = Brompton Cemetery/Whole Foods Kensington
Week 24 Feb 10 – 90 min = Sloane Sq/Green Park (note – this is parent-teacher conf at ASL)
Week 25 Feb 17 – 100 min = Big Ben and back 
Week 26 Feb 24 – February break – 60 min run
Week 27 Mar 3 – 110 min = Wembley
Week 28 Mar 10 – 120 min = Canada Water
Week 29 Mar 17 – 90 min = TBD
Week 30 Mar 24 – 130 min = Kew Gardens
Week 31 Mar 31 – 45 min = easy run through Regents Park

This week’s run
RunGo: https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/Sv1mfzlEl2
This week we are running an interesting route through the Brompton Cemetery to finish at Whole Foods in Kensington. We’ll head down to Hyde Park in the normal fashion via Lisson Grove/Seymour. As we near Wellington Arch, we’ll veer to the right (or west) staying along the inside edge of the park. exiting at the gate we normally use at William Street [next to the French Embassy].  Cross the street, take a right.  Turn left at Brompton Road (just past the tube) and take Brompton all the way (admiring Harrods as you pass) until Fulham Road.  Veer left on Fulham Road and continue to Brompton Cemetery.  Turn right to enter the Cemetery.  Run through the Cemetery then exit and turn right onto Old Brompton Road, then turn left onto Earls Court Road. Cross Cromwell Road, then turn right onto Cromwell Road and then turn left onto Marloes Road. Continue north on Marloes making your way through the streets to Kensington High Street.  Whole Foods will be to your right. You can get coffee at Whole Foods or head around the corner to Dishoom for brunch!  To get back to SJW, some people may decide to share cabs or you can tube home from Kensington High Street station (Circle Line).

2021-22 Beginners Week 22

Hi everyone,
Well, we are really starting things this week.  Up until now, we have been building our muscles and our lungs and our psyche to know that we can run for 60 minutes.  We will now start to add on a bit each Thursday to build you up to the distance you need to run that race.  The other thing to know is that while we plan the runs for a certain amount of time, we won’t all finish the planned distance at that time.  So depending on your pace for that day, you may run a little less than the expected time or a little more, but we will all need to run the same distance for the race so we all need to build up to that distance even if it takes different times for each of you.  This week’s run to Borough Market is a WRW favourite!  I hope you can all make it – it is a special run.
Think of how far you’ve come – it really is amazing.  We can’t wait to watch you grow from here!

Money Collection – tomorrow!!
Don’t forget to come to xxx) tomorrow after your run (or another time, if you’re not running – 9 am – 1pm) if you are coming to Berlin and/or if you ordered kit.  If you cannot come, please make sure you give your money to someone who IS coming and ask them to pick up your kit.  We have over 175 runners we are collecting from/distributing to and we don’t have time to chase people.  If you paid your deposit, you will owe £100 plus £20 if you signed up for a tour plus any money for a shirt that you may have ordered.  I think only 2 of you signed up for a tour.  The tour signups have now closed but if you missed it and still want to do a tour, let me know ASAP and I will see if we can add you in.

OK – today’s lecture – why we run slowly.  This is from Paula Mitchell, our founder.
Why do we run the long run slower than race pace?
The quick answer is that it has to do with how your body builds fuel, which is something you’ll need for the race! I’ll delve into the basic science of fueling (which I have hugely over-simplified but hopefully it’ll get my point across). To fuel our runs we have 3 options – Creatine Phosphate (CP), glycogen and fat.
Creatine Phosphate– You have about 15 seconds worth of CP fuel – that’s it. Think Usain Bolt running the 100m – he fuels with CP and it works because he can run 100m in less than 15 seconds. CP is where your body will go first looking for fuel, particularly if you take off like a rocket from Barclays. Think of CP as kindling on a fire – it catches fire easily but burns out very quickly.
Glycogen– Glycogen is the next fuel option. Glycogen is basically stored in your muscles and in your liver and because of that it makes glycogen a bit more difficult to burn as fuel (think of damp firewood – it will eventually burn but it takes quite a bit to get it going).
Fat– Fat is the 3rd source of fuel and most runners, even the very lean women, have an ample supply of it. Think of fat as a butane tank of gas on the BBQ grill – once it’s lit, you can have countless cook-outs before the fuel is gone.

Here’s the important part– All of those fuel sources – kindling, damp firewood or butane gas need something to ignite them and keep them burning. Physiologically speaking that ignition or burning “tool” is ATP which is created by mitochondria; so, the more mitochondria you have the more efficient you are as a fuel burning machine.

What is mitochondria and how do we get more of it?  Some of us are genetically blessed with higher mitochondria counts. Thank your mother for that – it comes through the maternal side of the genetic equation. If you didn’t win the genetic lottery, then the only way you can increase mitochondria is through LONG, SLOW, ENDURANCE training (LSE). When you go for a long run at a slow pace, you actually produce mitochondria. Kind of cool, huh? Now remember – we need mitochondria to help ignite our fuel sources. So what does that mean for you? It means SLOW DOWN on your long run – give your body a chance to become a mitochondria production factory. If you do your long run at a strong pace, you’re missing out on this benefit.So we will be keeping it SLOW on Thursdays, and now you know why.

The route this week: BOROUGH MARKET!
Please make sure to bring your Oyster Card or contactless card for the tube ride back.  Also, you might want to have some cash if you plan to do some shopping – not all vendors accept cards (all most do these days).  We will head first to Rabot for coffee/hot chocolate – and then we can head into the market together or separately or head home – whatever works for everyone.  

Borough Market via Westminster Bridge
RunGo: https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/6U5vDjwEEA
We head to Hyde Park via the usual route:  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.   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.  Continue past Big Ben and cross Westminster Bridge. After the bridge turn left to run along the Thames until the river path ends after Southwark Bridge. Borough Market is under the railway bridge near the London Bridge station.

2021-22 Beginners Week 21

Hi everyone,

WELL DONE to ALL of you on Thursday!  We had a looonnnggg 3 weeks off and I know it was difficult to keep up the running.  But you guys kicked ass on Thursday.  You may have been a bit sore after Thursday and that is totally normal.  I can tell you that many of the regular MWF runners were sore last week from getting back into the routine.
For those of you going to Berlin, don’t forget to select any tours you might want using this form HERE.   The deadline is this Wednesday so don’t forget!

Also, kit distribution and trip money collection will be next Tuesday 25 January.  An email will be going out in the next day or two regarding that.  Just come after your Tuesday run – the address will be in the email along with a reminder of any kit you may have ordered plus a list of the trip expenses.  Please let us know if you have any questions once it comes out.
A few reminders:

  • You should be running 3 times per week now
  • The Tuesday run should be about 45 minutes and the weekend run should be about 30 minutes (Tuesday runs will get longer in a few weeks, but not yet)
  • It is OK to break up into smaller pace groups on your weekend and Tuesday runs but it is normal for pace groups to ebb and flow from week to week
  • It is OK to try to run a bit faster on the weekend run, but only if you want to
  • Bring water for the Thursday runs
  • Eat something before the Thursday runs
  • The Thursday run is SLOW

Remaining Schedule after this week
Week 22 Jan 27 – 70 min – Borough Market
Week 23 Feb 3 – 80 min = Brompton Cemetery/Whole Foods Kensington
Week 24 Feb 10 – 90 min = Sloane Sq/Green Park (note – this is parent-teacher conf at ASL)
Week 25 Feb 17 – 100 min = Big Ben and back 
Week 26 Feb 24 – February break – 60 min run
Week 27 Mar 3 – 110 min = Wembley
Week 28 Mar 10 – 120 min = Canada Water
Week 29 Mar 17 – 90 min = TBD
Week 30 Mar 24 – 135 min = Kew Gardens
Week 31 Mar 31 – 45 min = easy run through Regents Park 

We cannot emphasize enough that the way to build up to the half is to just put in the time and miles.  Also, it is important to understand that the pace groups will continue to morph throughout our training and that is completely normal.  Some days you feel like you want to be towards the front, sometimes you feel like it’s just not your day and you’re slower.  This happens in the M/W/F group, too.  We have lots of time and as you know, it’s about finishing and feeling good about it, not about how fast you can go.  Save that for next year.  Also, as we run for longer times on Thursdays, we will continue to make you run more slowly than you might otherwise.  Running slowly builds your body and muscles in a different way.  I will send our founder, Paula’s, lengthy description of that next week.

Water and Nutrition
As our runs get longer, you will want water along to hydrate.  It will make you feel better on the run and will help your body recover faster.  Also, please please eat something, just a little something, before our Thursday runs.  We don’t want you feeling faint from lack of energy.  Maybe some yogurt or a banana – just a little something for your body to use to fuel you.  As our runs get longer in a few weeks, we will talk to you about fueling for much longer runs and during the race, but we’re not ready for that yet.

This week’s route:
Start out on Circus Rd to Hall Rd.  Just past Randolph Ave, go left onto Warrington Crescent and at the Warwick Ave tube, turn right onto Clifton Villas.  Left onto Blomfield Rd and then right onto Westbourne Terrace Rd over the canal and under the Westway to Westbourne Bridge/Westbourne Terrace.  Keep right onto Sussex Gardens to Lancaster Terrace.  Enter Hyde Park at the Italian Gardens and run so the fountains are on your left.  Keep to the path closest to the water, run under the bridge and hook around to the right at the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain to go up to the road.  Turn right to run across the bridge and go diagonally across the park to Speakers Corner.  Turn right and then left past the Animals in War Memorial.  Cross Park Lane and turn left at the next street, Park St.  Run up this street as it becomes Gloucester Rd and turn left when it ends at Park Rd.  Run up Park Rd to St John’s Wood High St and Starbucks.

2021-22 Beginners Week 20

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a wonderful break.  It was so fun to run with many of you on Thursday!  We are looking forward to running with you this Thursday and hearing how you spent your break.  I hope you all managed to do at least a bit of running over the past few weeks.  If you haven’t, please let one of us know so we can help you take it easy – we don’t want any injuries!  We can help bring you back up to speed over the next couple of weeks – no worries.  We have done this before, we can do it again!  If you’re having trouble getting runs in, please please reach out to a coach.  We are really happy to run with you on your non-Thursday runs if it will get you out there or do your longer run at different/time day if you have an occasional Thursday conflict.

For the next 2 weeks, we will be doing 60 minute runs on Thursday to remind ourselves that we can do this!  We want to make sure you all have a strong base to build on when we start to increase our time and mileage the week after next.  Thursday, we will do a loop that will have plenty of opportunity for red men for most of the run.  I am attaching the revised training schedule based on the race date (which is one week later than our original plan had).

Please note that after next week, most of our runs will start to be destination runs, meaning that we will end someplace that is not SJW.  This is because we need to run further and longer while also trying to keep us as flat as possible and with some interesting places to keep us distracted while we run.  We have mapped out a tentative schedule below, subject to change.  This should help you determine your timing for getting back to SJW after the run.  Please make it a habit to bring your Oyster Card or contactless card.  If you have questions, please let us know.

Week 21 Jan 20 – 60 min – probably a loop going down to Hyde Park and backWeek 22 Jan 27 – 70 min – Borough Market
Week 23 Feb 3 – 80 min = Brompton Cemetery/Whole Foods Kensington
Week 24 Feb 10 – 90 min = Sloane Sq/Green Park (note – this is parent-teacher conf at ASL)
Week 25 Feb 17 – 100 min = Big Ben and back 
Week 26 Feb 24 – February break – 60 min run
Week 27 Mar 3 – 110 min = Wembley
Week 28 Mar 10 – 120 min = Canada Water
Week 29 Mar 17 – 90 min = TBD
Week 30 Mar 24 – 135 min = Kew Gardens
Week 31 Mar 31 – 45 min = easy run through Regents Park 

For now, keep doing 45 minutes on Tuesdays and 30-35 minutes on the weekend.  This will increase in a few weeks, but not yet.
Note – SAVE THE DATE – the WRW kit pickup is scheduled for Tuesday 25 January in the morning.  I will give more information as we get closer but I wanted you to have it on your calendar.

This week’s route:
This route takes Elsworthy Rd to Primrose Hill Rd (left) and quick right onto King Henry’s Rd to the end to cross the bridge and turn right onto Regent’s Park Rd then turn right onto Chalk Farm Rd/Camden High Street.  Just after crossing the canal, turn right onto Jamestown Rd and left to Arlington Rd.  After Mornington Crescent, run briefly on Hampstead Rd and then turn right on Granby Terrace (if you can – it may be blocked) or at Vardell or Robert Street to meet up with Stanhope St.  Turn left on Stanhope and run to Triton Rd. Turn right and at the end, turn left.  At the light, turn right and make the next right into Regents Park.  Staying on the pavement/sidewalk on the outside of the hedges, follow the outer loop back to the Charlbert exit of the park then finish at Starbucks.