Running for the next two weeks – 26 Sept – 7 Oct 2011

Hello Runners!

OK, how bossy can a person be????  I’m heading out of town tomorrow morning and will be away for the next two weeks, but am still telling you where I think you should run!  I promise you can do whatever you want to do – just push the delete button if you don’t want to hear the suggestions!  Not only am I going to tell you where to go, but I’m coming up with some pretty mundane routes so you’ll really miss me.  I’m thinking it may be a good idea for everyone to run some version of the same route for the next two weeks.  We have a number of new additions to the group who may still be figuring out where they belong in terms of pace.  If everyone is running in the same direction, then maybe we’ll see where those natural groupings occur.

Monday (26 Sept) – 
  • Fast Group –  Battersea Park.  I know we just did this route a couple of weeks ago, but it’s the perfect distance (10 miles) for those of you doing the half-marathon on 9 October and most of us know the route.
  • Front of the mid-level Group –  Those of you wanting to try to make the transition to the fast group – go for it!  This is a great route for you to push yourself.  If you don’t think you can do 10 miles at a strong pace, then consider running the first 7.5 miles of the route at finish at Green Park tube station or do the 10 miles just trying to keep those girls in sight.  If you prefer a loop, you could run down with the group to Sloane Square then turn around and retrace your steps (that’s also about 7.5 miles round-trip).
  • Core of the mid-level Group – You girls have been amazing.  Your distances are getting longer and you’re cracking me up with the “Oh, we only ran 6.5 miles yesterday” attitude.  If you’ve been steadily increasing your mileage, I’d shoot for 7.5 miles.  That would give you lots of options – you could do either of the 7.5 mile suggestions above or you could do a loop around Hyde Park instead (8 miles which you can shorten to about 7.6 miles by cutting off the end of the park – just turn south on the broadwalk by the Peter Pan playground instead of going behind and in front of Kensington Palace).
Wednesday (28 Sept) –
Everyone to “The Wall” (6 miles round-trip) – it’s the canal east to Islington for new-comers (it’s an out and back route – someone will show you the way).  For those of you wanting to get a bit faster, think about timing this run and making note of how long it took you to do it.  It’s great to have a “baseline” to work from.  If you are interested in timing yourself, I would recommend shooting for a negative split (run to the wall, make note of your time and come back a bit faster than you went).  Some of us when doing this sort of tempo work run really hard initially then get slower and slower.  What happens mentally is you finish the run feeling like you completely ran out of steam.  If the last half is faster than your first half, you finish feeling pretty proud of yourself (thankfully I’ll be in the US and won’t have to witness the “victory dances” at Starbucks).
Friday (30 Sept) – 
Everyone to the heath/Hampstead.  I think you all know the routine now – we all head up to Hampstead and whoever wants a long run heads into the heath.  Each group seems to have a routine they like and everyone runs whatever distance they chose.  Unless someone feels ready to lead the new route, the old route works just fine.
Monday (3 Oct) – 
Some version of the three parks (Hyde, Green, St. James).  For those of you running the upcoming half, you may want to just run the 8 mile loop around the perimeter of Hyde Park.  For anyone wanting more distance you could run around Hyde Park, go into Green Park or even St. James then back to St. John’s Wood.  The full 3 parks is about 11 miles round-trip.  You could always tailor it to whatever distance you want by grabbing a tube/bus/taxi home.  This is a perfect route for everyone.  For those of you wanting 4 miles, head down with the group to Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park then turn around and run home.  If you want something more like 6 miles, go down to Hyde Park and turn south before the road that cuts through the center of the park, come back along the Serpentine and head back up to Speaker’s Corner then home.
Wednesday (5 Oct) –
Notting Hill or Notting Hill in reverse.  If you loved that tempo work on the canal east to Islington last week, then consider doing Notting Hill in reverse.  You’ll have a great opportunity to stretch your legs once you hit the canal and are heading back to SJW.  Notting Hill in the regular direction is always fun also.  The full route is between 6.5 and 7 miles.  Anyone wanting less mileage could either run out the canal and turn around and run home or follow the group into Notting Hill but stop running at Paddington station (about 5.25 miles).
Friday (7 Oct) – 
Everyone to the heath/Hampstead.  Same routine as last week.
I’ll go ahead and tell you the plan for Monday, 10 October, for those planners amongst us.  I’m going to be running very long out the canal east to Victoria Park then north along the River Lea toward or just past the M25.  The first 6-7 miles of that run is our regular route to Canary Wharf so people could either join me for as many miles as you want (you’d get to see the Olympic site along the way) or carry on to Canary Wharf.  That’s always a fun run!
The last thing – remember we have some moms with K1 children in the group.  They get over to Starbucks between 8:15 and 8:20.
See you in a couple of weeks!
Happy running,

Running this week 19 – 23 Sept 2011

Hello everyone,

Apologies in advance, I keep messing with things just a little here and there to get our groups just perfect.  I thought it may be helpful to give more specific suggestions to the mid-level runners as there is a very wide range of pace in that group.  I hope I’m not just confusing the situation.  Let me know if you’re not sure where/with whom you should be running.  For the new ladies this week, we’ll sort it out over the coming weeks – no worries.  Could someone please forward this to Chris and Margo?  I don’t have emails for them yet.

  • Fast Group – To Kew (10 miles) – yay!  I love this run.  We’ll head down via Hyde Park then west out Kensington High Street to Hammersmith crossing over the bridge to the south side of the river then off we go.  I’ll be running on to Richmond (13 miles) to get a few more miles, but please feel free to do whatever you want.
  • Front of the mid-level Group – For those of you pushing the pace in the mid-level group, I would suggest you give Kew a try.  The first five miles to the river is a lot of stop and start so you’ll probably catch up with the fastest girls at the lights.  Once we hit the river you’ll definitely be on your own as the fast girls start to fly but all you’ll have to worry about at that point is when to turn off the river path to head to Kew.  Once you get to Kew, head to Starbucks and I imagine you’ll run into some of quicker-paced runners.  If you’re interested in this, it would be ideal to group yourself up with someone else who wants to give it a try.  If you don’t like that idea, how about running to Hammersmith and back (10 miles) or part way back (Green Park would be about 7.5 miles) or doing a loop around Hyde Park (8 miles).
  • Core of the mid-level Group – I know you have been creating some 4-5 mile routes that are great.  Here’s a couple of other ideas:  you could run down to Big Ben the normal way but then cross over Westminster Bridge go along the river past the London Eye go back over the river on the bridge to Embankment Station (5 miles) or onto Westminster Station (about 5.3 miles).  Another idea is the shopping route through Regents Park, down Marylebone High Street, Oxford St to Bond St then down to Piccadilly and west to Green Park station (3 miles) carrying on to Hyde Park Corner (3.6 miles) then up through Hyde Park to Marble Arch (4.5 miles) or all the way back to SJW (6.3 miles).

Wednesday –

  • Fast Group – What do you think about doing Notting Hill in reverse?  Once you get on the canal coming back to SJW you could do some tempo work on that stretch.  Fun, huh?
  • Front of the mid-level Group – The route this week is going to be a great run (see the next section), but I’m expecting it to be very fluid as we have new people joining us who won’t be sure where they fit into the group pace-wise.  Also the route has a lot of turns (it’s worth it, believe me), so if you are wanting to push the pace and run super-hard then please do that on Monday.  If you’re out in front of me, we will get separated.
  • Core of the mid-level Group – This week we are expecting several runners who are new to the group to join us.  We may be taking off just a bit late as a couple of them have kindergarten drop-off at school.  They are doing their speed work dashing over to Starbucks from ASL, but even at rocket speed they can’t get there until just after 8:15.  Goodness, I think we can all remember how stressful that was!  So, we’ll be heading out about 8:20 and doing a fabulous route running along the canal only to Paddington then cutting through the edge of Notting Hill to Hyde Park.  We’ll head across the park then down to Fulham Road, west out to Brompton Cemetery then back up to Kensington High Street finishing at Whole Foods Market.  For those of you who haven’t run through Brompton Cemetery, try to hang in there so you get to see it.  It’s an amazing place in the heart of London.  If you do the entire route back to Whole Foods, it’s 6.5-7.0 miles, but new girls…. don’t let that scare you.  We’ll have tube/taxi/bus options every mile or so along the way.  Everyone bring your Oyster card as we’ll all be taking a tube or bus home no matter how far you end up running.

Friday –

  • Fast Group – OK, how about we make a plan to try the new route in the heath?  I’ll hang with this group to show you the way if you’re interested in giving it a try.  Otherwise, the old route is always good fun.
  • Front of the mid-level Group – Some of you in this group did the new heath route with me on Friday which was a blast.  Thanks for that run – I loved it.  So for this week, you could try the new route on your own or do some version of the old route.  If you decide to run to Kew on Monday you may want to give yourself a break on Friday and do a shortened version of either route.
  • Core of the mid-level Group – These ladies have been doing all sorts of cool routes like up to Hampstead then down through Belsize winding back to SJW or other shortened versions of “the hill”.  It’s great.  The pace has been solid (don’t let them fool you, they say they’ve been running slow but it’s just not true) and you’re getting in some fabulous hill training.  Well done!
If you aren’t sure in which group you belong, let’s chat.  Also, there’s nothing wrong with floating between groups depending on the routes for the week.
Hope to see you out running this week,

Running this week 12 – 16 Sept 2011

Hello everyone,

Before we start talking about routes, could I mention a few things?
  1. As a group we probably aren’t doing a great job of stretching after we run.  Some of us touch a toe or two or stand on one leg doing a quad stretch while we’re in line for coffee at Starbucks, but it’s much less than what we should be doing.  So…. we’ve had a brilliant suggestion that we finish our run somewhere short of Starbucks (if we’re doing a loop run) so we don’t have to bend over in front of people trying desperately to drink their coffee in peace at the counter seat in Starbucks.  The suggestion is that if we are returning to SJW from the south we could stop at the church park at the bottom of the high street.  There are grassy spots and nice paved areas and plenty of room to spread out without disturbing anyone.  If we’re coming back from the heath, we could stop at the intersection of Acacia and Kingsmill Terrace (small grassy area).  You may have some other suggestions – so just group up wherever you prefer, but please encourage everyone to stretch somewhere.  I’m hopeful that if we do this for a few weeks, it will become a habit – one that keeps injuries at bay.
  2. Several of you have mentioned that you would like to do some local races of varying distances.  Almost every weekend there is a race somewhere in or around London.  Please do it (I know some of you already do)!  There are event listings in Runners World magazine and flyers at all running and biking shops in town.  I had hoped to organize one or two races for us in the fall, but I’ve gotten a bit lazy about it.  Personally, I have zero interest in running 5k/10k races which may have something to do with why I haven’t managed to get something together.  So please don’t let my preferences influence you!  If you know of a race that you would like to do, I’m more than happy to “advertise” it in this weekly running email for you.
  3. Our favorite running shop closed last month, but we have managed to secure our 10% discount at Runners Need in Camden.  They prefer we have membership cards to present (it’s not absolutely necessary) so I have ordered another lot of those cards we had last year for the Lago Maggiore race.  When I get them (hopefully at the end of this week), I’ll pass them around so everyone has one.  Also, at the Holborn location of Runners Need they are beginning a new, free physiotherapy service every other Monday beginning 12 September from 12-2.  There is a bit more information on their website if you are interested.
Routes for the week:
Monday – I told some of you we would be doing Kew, but I’m thinking now the Battersea Loop may be a better idea with the weather forecast.  The storm/hurricane coming in on Sunday night is expected to hit the northern regions of the UK, but they are forecasting rain and strong winds in the south.  I don’t know…. some of you may consider it less than fun to run to Kew in the rain and sit on a train soaking wet back into the city.  So, let’s try the Battersea Loop.  The full route is 10 miles, but you have the option of running to Sloane Square and back (7.5 miles) or Green Park tube and back (5ish miles) or most of the route over the river and back up Sloane St. but grabbing a bus or tube around Park Lane (Green Park or Marble Arch) which would be 8-8.5 miles.  Don’t forget to stop at the St. John’s Wood Church Gardens on your way back to stretch!
Wednesday – The mid-level group will do an interesting route along the canal east to the wall then down by Farringdon tube station (4.5 miles) to the river passing Embankment station (5.8 miles), then Westminster tube (6.3 miles), then Green Park (7.5 miles).  As noted, there are many distance options so bring your Oyster card.  This is a nice route through a different part of town and I find it very satisfying as you feel as though you’ve been everywhere when you finish (no matter where that is along the route).
Friday – Up to the Heath.
Lastly, it looks like the Lisbon Half-Marathon on Sunday, 25 March, will be our group race in the spring.  It falls on the same weekend as the ASL International Festival and I apologize for that.  Believe me, I’ve searched for other options but nothing else works.  Please know I tried to avoid all conflicts – it’s just impossible.  I’ll send out further information about hotels/flights/race info within the next few weeks.
I hope to see you out running this week,