2021-22 Beginners Week 31

Hi everyone,
Kew – done and dusted!  You guys rocked it, as we knew you would.  We are SO proud of all of you amazing women and we can’t wait to run with you one week from today!

So – this is it!  The last week of you being Beginners!  Next week you will officially be ex-Beginners.
This email is a little long – feel free to read it or skim it or ignore it, whatever works for you.

This week’s plan
Tuesday – do your normal 60 minute run but don’t push it.  Sue and I will be there, maybe others, and my plan is to do the Kensal Rise route we did a while ago but ending in SJW versus West Hampstead.  Thursday we will just do 45 minutes around Regent’s Park at a slow pace.  Jess, Paola and Shannon will be there on Thursday as Sue and I will already be in Berlin.  

The goal this week is to enjoy your running (!!) and your group and just keep your muscles loose.  Relax!  If you push the pace this week, it may make your legs feel a bit heavier than normal on Sunday from the muscle damage that comes when you are building up muscle (you may have noticed this on your weekend runs after a long Thursday run).  Your training is done, you are READY!  As WRW founder Paula said in the final email my beginner year, this week is about finding the joy in running and in your amazing group.

After the run on Thursday, the coaches will hang afterwards so you can ask any questions.  And feel free to email any of us this week if there is something on your mind.

Notes for the weekend
You’ve received Micki’s great and detailed email about the race.  I am sure there is so much information coming at you that it’s a little overwhelming so I’m going to just list a few things that you may have skimmed over:

  • Bring your running shoes on the plane – they are the most important thing for the weekend (and I usually bring my bra and socks since they will fit easily and they are also important to me).  If you’re not checking your bag and they ask to gate check it, pull your shoes out if they are in it.  A few years ago, an airline misplaced the gate-checked luggage for 2 runners who didn’t get it until AFTER the race and one had to run in new shoes.
  • Cut your toenails, or bring clippers – seriously
  • If you have space, bring your roller if you use one – you will be anxious, which can tighten up your muscles, so better to have it so you don’t worry about it so much.
  • Overpack the possible running outfits – the clothing isn’t bulky and better to have what you suddenly want than wish you’d packed it; the weather is still changing and at this moment looks similar to what we run in BUT that could change. Consider bringing a light coloured shirt – darker shirts will soak up the sun. And seriously consider crops (or even shorts if the weather temps look warm as we get closer).  Just pack it – you don’t have to wear it!
  • If you have some safety pins, bring them for your bib, and pin the bib on your lowest layer
  • Bring at least 2 gels – better to have too many than too few
  • Sunscreen!!
  • Consider having some Starburst or jelly beans along with you on the race – they can give a quick little “wake up” for your mouth that can help
  • Don’t forget your hat (even if you think you’re not wearing it)!  We all wear them for the group photo (and then you can leave it at the hotel if you don’t want it).  And it really does help if it’s sunny.

A few other things:

  • Try to get a good night’s sleep on FRIDAY.  Getting good rest at least one of the two nights before the race is important so get yourself to bed at a decent hour on Friday.  You might be nervous on Saturday which could impact your sleep.
  • This week, try to eat well.  What you eat the week before is more important than the night before.  Keep your protein and carb intake fairly high, don’t drink too much alcohol, drink water slowly but consistently.  Keep a water bottle with you and sip it.
  • Don’t wear any shoes this week that might give you blisters – save the new sandals/flats/whatever for after the race.
  • On Saturday night, the beginners will all sit together (with your coaches) at dinner, so we will have plenty of time to answer last minute questions on Saturday and then you will all be together on Sunday to CELEBRATE TOGETHER.  Yay!
  • On race morning, we will group you with your assigned coaches.  We will all go to the start line together and then you will stay with your assigned coach until she says it’s OK to go ahead.
  • If you run with music when you run on your own, consider bringing music for the race.  And have it ready to go so you’re not trying to fiddle with it during the race.  We are lucky to have such a high coach to runner ratio, but there is still a possibility you will end up running on your own for part of the race (or will be sick of hearing your coach blabbing and will want some music for inspiration).  Be prepared for that mentally as well as musically.  The great thing is there are so many WRW runners (and plenty of non-WRW runners) that you won’t be running all by your lonesome on a road
  • The race is likely going to feel very crowded at the start.  Many of you ran the 10K and so know what that is like.  We will feel like we are crawling and then it will start to break free.  It’s at that time that we will need to closely watch our pace so we don’t get too carried away with the crowd.  Your coaches will do the watching so you don’t have to.
  • Psychologically, when a stretch seems long, it can help to try to visualize running in London for a similar distance – like running back from Hyde Park is about 2 miles, visualize running to and crossing Oxford Street, then up towards Marylebone Road and on to Park Rd.  And if your legs are feeling tired, try doing some high stepping or side shuffling to wake your muscles up.
  • Also as Micki noted, try to take time to ENJOY the race.  Look around at the scenery, the other runners, the spectators.  Think how far you have come since running for 1 minute in September – you are all INCREDIBLE!

After the race
Next week, you officially become part of the regular WRW group.  Congratulations!  You will receive an email each week with the suggested routes for the week.  Generally, the runs after the race tend to be fun destinations.  We no longer need to worry about mileage, it’s more about being social and keeping fit (since we can use that as an excuse to eat all the good things at Borough Market…).

For the first week after the race, don’t worry about getting right out there to run.  You may or may not feel sore from the race – a lot of it will depend on the weather and how hard you push at the end.  If you’re ready to come out with the MWF group on Wednesday after the race – fantastic!  It will be an easy 4 mile run across Hyde Park to the Kensington Whole Foods.  Also, for those of you willing to brave Fitzjohn’s and the Heath, we are happy to run with you on an upcoming Friday, to give you a few tips on running up the hill.  It’s hard, but it’s such a great feeling to get to the top.  Plus, the Heath is beautiful.
I know it can be tricky to start running on MWF after you’ve gotten into such a TTH schedule for the year.  It can also be intimidating to run with all those super scary advanced MWF runners.  But trust me, you are running at paces that fit within the larger MWF group.  Your coaches will help connect you with the women in your pace group and I swear, they are all really nice.  And you will meet many of them this weekend.  So please please come out and run with us whenever you can.  It will also make it easier for the fall if you meet some of your fellow pace group runners over the next month or two before school gets out.

We will see you on Tuesday and Thursday!

2021-22 Beginners Week 30

Hi everyone,
Well, this is it!  Our last big run before the race!  [on TUESDAY – don’t forget!] You may be a bit nervous about the run, and that is normal.  You all can do this – and we know you know you can do it.  It’s a long run, and it will feel long, and that’s OK.  We will make sure you are not running too fast and we will get there and it will be AWESOME!  

Thursday you should do your regular 60 min run.  We will let you know which coach will be there with you later this week.

WRW Coffee
Reminder – this Wednesday there is a WRW coffee at Regent’s Park Cafe (near the Open Air Theatre) from 9:30-11:30.  It’s informal – come have some coffee and nibbles courtesy of WRW and start to meet other runners.  As a courtesy and to make sure it doesn’t turn into a super spreader event a week before the race, we are asking people to please do a lateral flow before coming.

There will be a big email coming out tomorrow or Tuesday with a TON of information about the race weekend – logistics, flights, tour info, etc.  So keep an eye out, read it, and let us know if you have any questions.  Sue and Micki will talk a bit about things at the coffee but all of the information will be in that email.

OK – a few things for the run this week:

  • Use this run to try out what you might wear in Berlin – your shirt, waist pouch, hat, leggings, socks.  If the weather isn’t cooperative, it’s OK to wear different bottoms, but it would be good to wear your expected shirt so you make sure it doesn’t chafe.  We want no surprises on race day that something that worked for a 6 mile run suddenly starts chafing at 9 miles.  Right now, the weather in Berlin looks to be highs in the low 50s (11-12 C) and lows in the low 40s (5-6 C).  With the race at 11:10 am, the temp will probably be in the high 40s (9-10 C) to start.  If it’s sunny, it will feel warmer.  Generally, the rule of thumb is to dress like it is 15-20 degrees F warmer than the actual temperature.  It looks like Tuesday’s weather will actually be close to Berlin (assuming it doesn’t change between now and then!). I would personally recommend cropped tights if you have them – you will get hot in long ones.
  • Bring your Oyster card or contactless card to take the tube back plus money for Starbucks and a mask for the tube
  • Bring a gel, maybe two and maybe something like jelly beans, starbursts, etc.
  • Bring water (with no electrolytes please!)
  • Eat well and get a good night’s rest the night before and don’t go out partying 
  • Stretch the night before if you can
  • Eat something for breakfast

I’m not sure if I’ve said this to everyone already, but you do not have to wear the hat in the race if you don’t want to.  Not everyone is comfortable in the hat.  However, please do bring it to Berlin with you – we take a big group photo the morning of the race and everyone wears her hat for the photo.  In addition, if it’s sunny, you may want to have it because it will help keep the sun off your head which can make a huge difference.  It’s also a good identifier for other WRW people to connect with you and/or cheer you on in the race – some people opt to hook it on their water belt if you wear one.

A note about bathrooms along the Kew run – around mile 5, there is a Costa Coffee attached to the Hilton Hotel on the Kensington High Street (just past the intersection with Holland Road) which has a few toilets.  There is also a Starbucks at mile 5.7 but it only has a single toilet.  We are not going to plan a stop – it’s better to keep running – but if you need to stop, a coach will wait for you and other coaches will continue on with the group.If you have any questions/concerns, let one of us know.  Otherwise, we’ll see you on Tuesday!

The route:
RunGo:  https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/3vGe1fClDw

We start out the normal way running to Hyde Park. Once in the park, we’ll turn to the left and run down the main walkway as we regularly do, to Hyde Park Corner. At the end of the walk, turn right to follow the main cross route in the park—beware of the bike lane! When this ends at West Carriage Drive, cross the road at the crossing and continue on the pathway towards the southwest corner of Kensington Gardens. We’ll run out of the park at the Broad Walk, turning right onto Kensington High Street and continue for about two miles until we reach the Hammersmith Tube gyratory. Run counter clockwise towards the left, ending up on Queen Caroline Street which gets you to St. Paul’s Church green. Run along the green to the right, heading towards Hammersmith Bridge but don’t go over it. Turn right at Rutland Grove and a quick left to head to the river, then turn right on Lower Mall to run west along the Thames.

Keep the river to your left — mostly it will be visible, but sometimes there will be houses in between you and the river. After 2 miles, as soon as you pass two boat houses in quick succession, you will come to Barnes Bridge, a railway/pedestrian bridge. Climb the bridge stairs and use the pedestrian access to cross the river to the south bank of the Thames, then continue west along the river for another 2 miles.

This is the bridge just BEFORE the bridge we exit on.  I find it useful to know what this looks like because then I know it’s the next bridge where we get off the path (and it’s distinctive):

We will exit at the Kew Bridge, see photo below:

Run UNDER the bridge and then turn left, past a couple of tiny shops and garages. Run through the small parking lot until you see the stone steps leading to the top of the bridge.

At the top of the steps turn right towards town (not back over the river) and run along this road [Kew Road] for about a third of a mile until you reach a 3-way intersection.  At the 3-way intersection, veer right and follow Kew Road along the boundary wall to Kew Gardens until you reach the first main pedestrian entrance to Kew Gardens, the Victoria Gate. Across from Victoria Gate, is Lichfield Road (it is only sign posted on the left-hand corner). Follow Lichfield Road straight into Kew village. Starbucks is on the left where we’ll all meet up to congratulate ourselves on such a great run!

via Barnes Bridge

2021-22 Beginners Week 29

Great great job on the run to Canary.  I know it was long and tough but you all did it – and the margaritas at the end made it all worth it, right?!

We leave for Berlin in 2 and a half weeks.  I’m hoping that’s starting to feel a bit more like “YAY!” rather than “YIKE!”  Or maybe a bit of both.  We are in the home stretch and you guys are STRONG.  If you had to, you could do the race now.  The next few weeks are just about making it easier.
Jess will be with you for tomorrow’s run.

Race Gear
Make sure you try out any clothing or gear you might possibly use during the race.  We don’t know yet what the weather will be like (right now, for 28 March, my weather app shows high of 53F/11C, low of 37F/3C, so similar to London, but it could change and be cold or warm – I’ve seen both happen at the last minute in the past).  It could be good to have a pair of cropped running tights if you don’t already have them,  and do a run with them.  Make sure you’ve tried running in a short sleeve shirt.  And no new running bra on race day, of course.  This is the same for any water belt or whatever.  If you think you might want music because you’ll be sick of the coach talking in your ear,  don’t forget to make a playlist. (really – one year I helped a friend in a panic on race morning because she thought she’d synched her phone with iTunes and it hadn’t worked and she hadn’t checked.  I know that is olden days but you might want your Spotify tunes downloaded ahead of time in case having 30K runners messes with data!).

Trip Details
As the trip approaches, Micki and Sue will send more detailed emails about the weekend including timing and where to meet for meals, the tours, and anything else scheduled.  They’ll also send some trip packing tips which I will emphasize and add to in a future email.  If you have any questions at all about the race or the weekend, please don’t hesitate to ask.  I know it can be scary not knowing how it’s all going to play out and we want to make you all feel as comfortable and psychologically ready as possible.

This Week
This week is a bit of a break week.  This doesn’t mean we get to take it easy, unfortunately.  It just means we don’t increase our time/distance.  We are letting our bodies recover a bit from the last few long runs, giving the muscles time to repair before we move on.  

We are going to run to Hyde Park and back and do about 90 minutes.  Then we will meet up for coffee at Notes!
Lina – I’ll message with you later about possibly leaving a little early and doing a bit more since you missed last week – IF you are feeling up to it.

RunGo:  https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/ybk4zOsBh9

2021-22 Beginners Week 28

Well, what can I say?  You guys ROCKED Wembley. I’m sorry that we couldn’t run to Wembley Stadium itself but that will be something you can look forward to next year when you’re running with the regular group 


We are so incredibly proud of all of you and how far you’ve come.  We have two more long runs to go and we know you can ALL do this.
WRW Quiz Night – this Wednesday 9 March, WRW is taking over the Warrington Pub for a quiz night and all of WRW are invited, regardless of if you’re going to the race.  It’s going to be super fun.  It’s £2 to do the quiz plus any food or drinks you order.  Doors open at 6:30 and the quiz starts at 7:30.  Here is the link to the Evite so you can RSVP!  RSVP here

The Schedule
(this week) Week 28 Mar 10 – 120 min = Canary Wharf
Week 29 Mar 17 – 90 min = maybe Brick Lane
Week 30 Mar 22 – 130 min = Kew Gardens (this is a Tuesday)
Wednesday, March 23 – WRW pre-race coffee, 9:30 at Regent’s Bar and Kitchen
Week 31 Mar 31 – 45 min = easy run through Regents Park 

A few things:
Right now, the weather in Berlin is looking similar to what we have had in London, maybe a touch warmer, which is good .  So mid-50s F/11-13 C is what is predicted 10 days before the race, subject to change of course.  You should be trying out what you think you might wear on the race over the two weeks.  Make sure nothing rubs the wrong way, think about layers, and also some warmer weather things in case it’s warmer than we are used to.  For layers, some people will buy a cheap outer layer that they plan to toss when they get hot so they don’t have to carry it.  So think about whether you care if something is tied around your waist.  My beginner year, I bought that cheap layer but I realized during the race that I was so used to having something around my waist that I didn’t care, so I kept it.  Everyone is different, but think about what might work for you.

This week and for Kew, we will plan to take our gels while running (or maybe brisk walking).  We need to practice – we do not plan to stop to take the gels during the race.  Sometimes the gel packaging can be tricky – so just resort to pulling the tab off with your teeth if you have to.  This is why we practice 🙂  We will take the gels about 60-70 min into the run.
OK – for the run, don’t forget:

  • eat something before the run
  • bring water
  • bring a gel if you have one but we will have them, too
  • bring your Oyster card/contactless
  • bring money/credit card for breakfast burritos at Tortilla after the run!

Canary Wharf route
RunGo:  https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/xvRFnBzFKF
Section One – Regents Park to the Canal
Run down Wellington Road to Prince Albert, cross using the zebra crossing and then head down to the mosque where you enter the park.  At the light, cross the Outer Circle and enter the park, keeping to the left and going over the wooden bridge.  Run straight and take a slight left (not a hard left) and run, crossing over one cross path and turning left at the second one.  Run back over the Outer Circle, cross the canal and then take a right to go down onto the canal.

Section Two – Canal to the Wall
Run along the canal for approximately 3 miles until the canal pathway ends at the famous “Wall.”  

Section Three – Angel Roads
We need to run through the Angel neighbourhood until we can re-enter the canal path.   At the wall follow the ramp up to Muriel Street.  Take a right and then an almost immediate left up a path that winds between the apartment buildings.  See the picture below for the entrance to the path.

Keep going straight on the path and it will become Maygood Street.  When you get to the intersection of a main road (Barnsbury Road) turn right.  Run until you make the second left onto Chapel Market.  (There is a metal archway saying Chapel Market and a zebra crossing at the intersection.)  Follow Chapel Market until the end.  (NB:  There is a public Ladies Room at the end of White Conduit Street, which intersects with Chapel Market about midway.)  Turn right at Liverpool Street to the major road Upper Street.  Cross Upper Street and turn left.  (NB:  Angel Tube Station is to your right if you are going home from here.)  Make your first right at Duncan Street and follow until the end.  The entrance to the canal path will be directly in front of you.  Go straight along the canal (NOT a sharp right turn.)

Section Four – Canal to Limehouse Basin
We run for about 4 miles following the canal path past Victoria Park to the Limehouse Basin.  We exit the canal path at the wire looking bridge – see picture below – and take the brown brick steps up to the left.

Section Five – Limehouse Basin to Canary Wharf
At the top of the brick steps, go straight.  At the Limehouse Gallery and Bronze Age shop turn right.  Run along the water until you reach the second metal foot-bridge leading to a park.  Cross the bridge and run through the park.  After the park, you’ll run straight, under an arch and the water will be on your right.  Run with the water on your right until you see the long flight of steps next to Royal China – see picture below.  You’re almost there! 

Run up the steps and run one full time around the traffic circle.  [ALTERNATE – run past those steps, continuing along the water, to the end and turn around and go back to the steps] Then run a half circle and continue on as if you had run straight ahead from the steps, through the small park to India Drive and then veer slightly right along Cabot Square.  You’re heading for the big skyscraper building in front of you.  Stop when you see the sign for the Canary Wharf DLR Station at the ‘mall’ entrance on the South Colonnade.  We’ll meet at the Tortilla inside the building, just right of the entrance. Yay!