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!