Running for the next two weeks 21 Nov – 2 Dec 2011

Hello Runners,

I have some good news and some bad news….  let’s start with the good news.  For most of you, we are using the week of Thanksgiving as a recovery week – a chance to cutback on your mileage and allow your body to rest a bit.  Now for the bad news….  I’m away for the next couple of weeks (that part could be good news for some of you!!!) so the routes will be a bit boring.  I am SO predictable.  I always send everyone on boring routes while I’m away just to make sure I’m missed!
A couple of things about the Lisbon trip – the price of the flight is creeping upwards.  The last I heard someone paid £217.  As I understand, there are no frequent flyer seats available unless you have a higher-tiered card (silver or gold).  Also, the cost of registering for the race goes up after 1 December (I think it’s maybe from €33 to €44).  There still is no pressure – the race won’t over-subscribe, and the hotel has plenty of room.  This is just a cost notification!
Monday (21 Nov)
  • Distance Runners – most of this group is away or we’ve sorted out your runs individually.  For Kelli and Patricia, you could consider The Serpentine Loop or “The Wall” – both of those routes are 6 miles.
  • Pace-setters – (6 miles) The Serpentine Loop down to Hyde Park, west to Carriage Rd, then south along the road crossing over the Serpentine bridge, then down to the Lido running east, then back to SJW via Baker St.
  • Flex-runners – (8.1 miles) the full Hyde Park perimeter.
  • Mid-level – (6 miles) The Serpentine Loop.  I’ve given Michele and Darcy this route description in more detail.  So at Starbucks, just look for them and try to group up.  They will set the pace and lead the group for the next two weeks.
  • Gentle Runners – (4 miles) how about Big Ben?
Tuesday (22 Nov)
  • EBR – (6 miles) – The Serpentine Loop.  I’ve given Beth Dierker and Gayle Walsh the details of this route.  They will lead you and set the pace for the group.  If you’re the type who is tempted to push the pace, try staying behind Beth and Gayle.  I think pace is going to be key for the EBR group.  From most of you I’m hearing that when the pace is restrained, you are happier with the run.  So try to keep it slow and steady!
Wednesday (23 Nov)
A fun run for all!!!  Usually during holiday periods, we have a much smaller group running and despite the pace differences, the group hangs together and does something fun.  We continue to meet at the same time, 8:15am, at Starbucks.  You could consider the shopping route which is down through Regent’s Park, down Marylebone High Street to Oxford Street.  East along Oxford to Bond Street then down Bond Street to Piccadilly.  Turn left (or east) and run to Piccadilly Circus then up Regent St. all the way to Regent’s Park then back to SJW.  This entire route is just under 6 miles but there are endless options to shorten it.  Have fun!
Friday (25 Nov)
Everyone up the hill to Hampstead or the heath.  Again, a lot of our runners will be away for the holiday, but we will meet at the same time, 8:15am, at Starbucks.  Group up however you feel comfortable depending on who’s there and run whatever distance you prefer.  Do pat yourself on the back as the rest of us are probably sitting somewhere, not running, suffering from the-day-after-Thanksgiving sluggishness!
Monday (28 Nov)
  • Distance Runners – most of this group is away or we’ve sorted out your runs individually.  For Kelli and Patricia, I would suggest the Notting Hill loop.
  • Pace-setters – (6.5 miles) – Kelly Ezickson will lead you on a speedy route through Notting Hill.  These ladies will probably be getting warmed-up running with the group down to the canal.  Once they hit the canal, they’re taking off.  If you’re not wanting a fast pace, let them go and try not to get sucked into their wake.
  • Flex-runners – (8 miles) an extended Notting Hill loop.  I’ve asked Kathy McMahon to lead this group – she’s traveling and I haven’t heard back from her.  I tried to time it perfectly when she would be sound asleep in the US.  So, we’ll just assume she’ll say yes (fingers crossed!!!).  This route follows the normal Notting Hill run but after about 4.4 miles you break off at Chepstow and head to Hyde Park.  If you’re wanting to do this route, just look for Kathy at Starbucks and she’ll take good care of you!
  • Mid-level – (6.5 miles) Notting Hill.  Darcy and Michele will lead you – I’ve given them a more detailed route description.  There are a lot of turns so don’t worry if you get a bit lost.  The pace is more important than the exact route.  Try to keep it steady and not too fast.  You can see that there are other runners following this route.  Try to group up together at Starbucks so you don’t find yourself miles into the route running with the super-fast girls.
  • Gentle Runners – (4-5 miles) I have a couple of suggestions.  You could go out the canal towards Notting Hill running at a pushed-pace once you get on the canal.  Run out about 15 minutes (start the clock once you’re on the canal), then turn around and jog much more slowly back home along the canal.  Another idea would be to run out the canal towards Notting Hill, come off the canal at the A4207 (just before where that skateboard park in the old pool is on the canal).  Cross over the canal and run to Harrow Rd.  At that major intersection of the A4207, Fernhead Rd., Harrow Rd, Elgin Ave, and Walterton Rd., take Walterton Road to Shirland.  Turn right on Shirland for less than a block then turn left on Kilburn Park Rd.  Run to Carlton Vale where you turn right heading back to SJW.  Run up to Abbey Rd., turn right and run along Abbey Rd., then take Grove End back to Starbucks.  That route is 4.25 miles.
Tuesday (29 Nov)
  • EBR – Beth Dierker will lead the group again – Gayle won’t be running that day.  The route is 6 miles in total.  You run out the canal past Camden to “The Wall” then turn around and come back the same way you ran out.  Beth has the specifics on the route but basically it’s like we ran to Runner’s Need except you don’t come up off the canal at “The Wall”.  This will be a very tough run.  There are no street crossings – you get no breaks at all.  So watch your pace!  Keep it slow, very slow.  Don’t be disheartened if you have trouble.  It should be hard.  Get the pace right and you’ll be fine.  You can complain when I get back!!!
Wednesday (30 Nov)
  • Distance Runners – most of this group is away or we’ve sorted out your runs individually.  For Kelli and Patricia, you have 9 miles on your schedule.  Maybe the Hyde Park loop (that’s 8 miles) plus a little 1 mile loop either in Hyde Park or Regent’s Park?
  • Pace-setters – (6 miles) The Wall
  • Flex-runners – (8.1 miles) The Wall
  • Mid-level – (8 miles) Hyde Park full perimeter loop.  Again for this week, I’ve given Michele and Darcy this route description in more detail.  The speedsters are heading out the canal east so you’ll be on your own going down to Hyde Park.  This is a great route to work on finding your natural pace.  Instead of running fast, think of trying to keep an equal speed all the way around the park (as though your body is stuck in gear 2).  Just steady, steady, steady.
  • Gentle Runners – (5 miles) Your choice – maybe the canal east stopping at the railway bridge short of “The Wall” or down to Hyde Park adding a 1 mile loop from Speaker’s Corner (take one of the diagonal paths down to the Serpentine, run through the holiday carnival area, then back up to Speaker’s Corner).  Then return to SJW by the US embassy and Baker Street home.
Friday (2 Dec)
Everyone up the hill!  The mid-level, EBR, and Gentle groups are shooting for 5 miles so the Betsy route is a good option.  Most of the rest of our runners will be doing the old route in the heath which is 8 miles in total.  For those of you joining us in Hampstead or along the way, you’d be getting in 6-7 miles.
I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.
Happy Running,

Running this week 14 – 18 Nov 2011

Hello Runners!

I’ll apologize for what will be a very long email….. sorry!  Our running group is growing and we have such a wide range of paces/abilities/goals.  It’s fabulous!  I am trying to see how we can best organise ourselves to meet the needs of the group.  I keep tinkering with it so it’s not your fault if you can’t figure out what’s going on.  Just as soon as you get the hang of it, I change something.  I’ve always been hesitant to assign people to groups or dictate training programs.  As a result, we have a lot of flexibility, but maybe not enough clarity in how our schedule works.  Over the years we have become quite focused on long-distance running.  I’m hearing from some of you that you would love to do the half-marathon, but more as a “one-off” and you would prefer to run shorter and faster.  Some of you want to run very long at a more gentle pace.  Some want short and slower paced.  Some of you are less focused in your training and would love the flexibility of just deciding week by week if you feel like running long or doing a mid-distance run.  So… I’m proposing that we start to label these training groups just so we can more easily identify other people who may have the same goals as you do.  If you’re not sure where you fit in, send me an email and we’ll figure it out together.
  • Distance Runners – approx. 10:00 min/mile pace for very long runs
  • Pace-Setters – This new group wants to run faster but not crazy-long distances (until late Jan when their long runs will increase to 9/10/11 miles to prep for the half-marathon).
  • Flex-runners – This group likes to run long (usually not over 10 miles or so) at about a 10:30 pace (so faster than the Mid-level runners but slower than the Distance Runners).  Most of this group is not terribly interested in pushing the pace but enjoy running long-distances.
  • Mid-level – These ladies run long distances on Wednesdays at about 11:00-11:15 min/mile.
  • EBR – This group is getting back into running or learning to run longer distances.  Their long runs are 5-6 miles on Tuesdays and those will be gradually increasing in distance from now until the half-marathon.  This group runs an approximate 11:00 pace – no faster!  We’re running at a steady pace but not super-speedy.
  • Gentle-runners – This group is the place to be!  They are training for the half-marathon and like the Pace-setters, they aren’t interested in running extremely long distances yet.  The long runs will build very gradually until mid-March (this week is 7 miles).  The group runs at about a 12:00-12:30 pace.
For anyone unsure of how you should train for the half-marathon, I would suggest you run 3-4 times a week doing 1 long run, 1 mid-distance run, and 1 hilly run.  If you ran a fourth run, it could be fun – whatever you want to do.  The long run is the most important run of the week – if you only have time for one run in a week, it really should be your long run (if you are hoping to do the half-marathon).  This is our long run schedule:
  • Mondays – Distance Runners, Pace-setters and Flex-runners
  • Tuesdays – Ease Back into Running (EBR) group
  • Wednesdays – Mid-level group and Gentle-runners
  • Thursdays – Beginners group
I would encourage you to chose the day you want to do your long run and stick with it.  If you get yourself into a routine, then you’ll usually be doing your long run with the same people and most likely you’ll end up running the race with the same ladies.  I’ve attached a little schedule so you can more easily see what everyone is doing each day.
So after all of that blah, blah, blah – here are our route suggestions for the week.  I run with a different group each day.  I highlighted my runs in red so you’ll know whether to follow me or not.  Some of you have told me you thought you were supposed to run wherever I ran every day and that didn’t always work out so well!!

Monday –

  • Long distance option – 16 miles – along the canal east towards Canary Wharf but exiting the canal at Victoria Park then running beside the River Lea to Ponders End (train back to Liverpool St. then tube home).  I’ll be doing this run at a steady pace after leaving the canal (after 7ish miles) so if you’re interested in doing the full 16 miles but are not sure you can maintain the pace, give me a call or email and we can talk through the options.
  • Pace-setters – 6 miles – to “The Wall” and back.  For any new runners, this is a great route to push your pace.  You would start on the canal with the main group, run 3 miles to what we call “The Wall” (the canal is bricked in and you are forced to go up a ramp onto the street – stop at the wall, turn around and run back alongside the canal the way you came.
  • Flex-runners – 9.5 miles – Canary Wharf (tube home on the Jubilee line).  If you don’t know the route, please pair up with someone who runs your pace (preferably beforewe meet at Starbucks).
  • Mid-level – 6 miles for your medium-distance run – “The Wall” is an easy route to navigate and you would get to run with a lot of ladies as most of the groups are heading in that direction.
  • Gentle – 5 miles – for your medium-distance run – if you wanted to run towards “The Wall” once you go under the train tracks that’s about 2.5 miles – then you could turn around and run back to SJW.

Tuesday –

  • Ease Back into Running group – Our long run this week is between 5 and 5.5 miles.  We’ll be doing a route along the canal (no traffic lights!!!) then down through the city (praying for the “red men” at street crossings) finishing at Runner’s Need in Holborn.  Many of you have been asking about carrying water on our long runs so this will give you the opportunity to buy water bottles that slip over your hand, or tiny backpacks, or waist belts with water bottles.  This store also has a lot more merchandise (running tights, jackets, tops, etc.) than the Camden location.  So bring some money/credit card and your Oyster card.  There are endless options to shorten this route if you don’t want to do the entire 5-5.5 miles.
  • Beginners – Our newest runners group up and do their medium distance run on Tuesday mornings.  Please don’t crash their party!!!  I intentionally leave them on their own as it’s important that they learn to pace themselves, they get to know the basic routes through London, and most important – they learn that Syma, Bonnie, Becky and myself aren’t magic.  They start to get it – they can run on their own or in small groups.  Their confidence grows and their running improves, so let’s leave them to it.  Thanks a million for understanding.

Wednesday –

  • Distance runners – If you ran long on Monday, you might consider doing the Green Park loop (down to Speaker’s Corner, then to Wellington Arch, a loop around Green Park, then home via Baker Street).
  • Pace-setters – 5-6 miles at a good clip!  I would suggest running down to Hyde Park and doing the Serpentine Loop (west from Speaker’s Corner to Carriage Road, then south along the road, cross over the Serpentine on the bridge, then head back east along the water, then back towards Speaker’s Corner and home via Lisson Grove or Baker Street).
  • Flex-runners – If you ran long on Monday, you might consider the Green Park loop.
  • Mid-level – 8.5 miles to Wandsworth Common – This route is a blast!  We’ll head down through Hyde Park, through Sloane Square to the river, along Battersea Park, then head south along the high street of Wandsworth which is packed with cute little shops, restaurants, boutiques, cafes, etc.  We will finish at the Wandsworth Train Station and train/tube home.  Bring your Oyster card and some money (I’m not 100% sure that we can use our Oyster cards from that station).
  • EBR – Some of the EBR group has been doing their mid-distance run on Wednesdays (some on Thursdays).  You have your email distribution list now so group yourselves up for Wed or Thurs. This week’s mid-distance run should be 4-4.5 miles.  An idea would be to run down to Hyde Park, do a very small loop up in that NE corner of the park, then run home by the US Embassy and up Baker Street.
  • Gentle – You have 7 miles on your schedule for your long run this week.  I would suggest hanging behind the mid-level group on their route until they head south from Battersea Park.  You could come back over the river Thames, run back to Sloane Square and tube home from there.  If you don’t like that idea you could do the Green Park loop.

Thursday –

  • EBR – Some of the EBR group have been meeting up on Thursday mornings for a medium-distance run.  See the route suggestion above.
  • Beginners – long run

Friday –

  • All groups head up the hill to Hampstead or the Heath.  I think you know the different route options now, but let me know if you need any further clarification or directions.  We have runners doing everything from 4 miles to 8 miles so you can definitely find someone to run with.
Again, sorry for the length of this email.  Please give me your suggestions on how we can make the group work for everyone.  I promise I won’t have my feelings hurt if you say this or that is a crummy idea.  I just want to make it work.  Thank you so much for being incredibly flexible.
Happy Running,
PDF-Weekly schedule.pdf

Running this week 7 – 11 Nov 2011

Hello Runners,

I’m happy (just thought I’d share that!).  Ladies, you are amazing.  What a fabulous and inspiring set of women we have in our running group.  It has been such a pleasure to see so many new faces, make new friends and get in some great runs.  Thank you all for being so welcoming to our new runners and so flexible in terms of our routes and pace.  I love that people feel free to show up and join in.  The more the merrier!!
This week on Wednesday, we’ll finish our run in SJW and have coffee at Cafe Richoux at 10:00am instead of Starbucks. We have so many ladies running in different groups now – this will give us all a chance to sit down and relax before the holidays are upon us.  We’re not fitting comfortably into Starbucks, so the room upstairs at Cafe Richoux will allow us to all be together.  Whether you run that day or not, come and meet some of our new ladies, compare training programs, chat about the Lisbon trip and have a chance to say goodbye to Randi who will be leaving London for New Jersey this week.  It would be helpful if you could let me know if you think you may join us.  Cafe Richoux doesn’t need an exact headcount (so I won’t hold you to it) – we just need to give them an estimate.
Monday – We’ll be heading out to Richmond via Lisson Grove, through Hyde Park, out Kensington High Street west to Hammersmith, then over the Hammersmith Bridge and along the river to Richmond.  We’ll take home a tube or overground train back to St. John’s Wood.  Some options:
  • 13 miles – Richmond
  • 10 miles – Kew (and train/tube back) or run to Hammersmith and turn around and run back to SJW
  • 7 miles – Hyde Park – down through the park on the diagonal with the group then instead of heading west on Ken High St. just do a loop around the outer perimeter of the park
  • 6 miles – Serpentine loop
  • 4 miles – Down to Hyde Park, a little loop by Speaker’s Corner, then back to SJW
Tuesday – The Ease Back into Running group will be doing a 5 mile route finishing at Whole Foods in Kensington.  Many of you requested this route after hearing the beginners went down there last week.  We’ll be doing a longer route than they did with a bit more street running.  You will have endless options to shorten the route.  We’ll finish upstairs for coffee (if you have time) then head home (or grocery shop then head home) from the Kensington High Street tube station (or take a taxi if you’re in a hurry).
Wednesday – When one of our runners is leaving London, we try to do a “Sights of London” route.  We have so much turnover in the group that it’s not always possible, but this week it looks like it will work.  We do an approximate 7 mile loop running by some of the touristy highlights of the city.  For those of you wanting a good, 7 mile, steady, training run – this is not for you.  It’s mostly street running and we’ll probably be stopping for a few photos.  After the run, we’ll be having a coffee upstairs at Cafe Richoux at 10:00am instead of Starbucks.
Thursday – Our beginners will be running and I think some of the Ease Back into Running may be grouping up to do a 30-35 minute steady run (maybe in Regent’s Park?).
Friday – Everyone up to Hampstead and/or the Heath.  Some options:
  • 8 miles – Old route – I think it might be a good idea to do the old route this week.  We have several shorter options which start with this route, so we could begin together then split off into different routes and pace groups.
  • 7 miles – Stay on sidewalk up to Kenwood House, go into heath running along NE edge by Highgate ponds, then to the track exiting the heath over the railway bridge, up past Royal Free hospital, then through Belsize home.   Or stay with the group but after Parliament Hill go home by the track, then by Royal Free, then through Belsize back to SJW.
  • 6 miles – The “Betsy” route (see below) plus Parliament Hill.  Instead of exiting on Devonshire Rd, head up and over Parliament Hill, then down to the track and home via the 7 mile option above.
  • 5 miles – The “Betsy” route – I have no idea who created this route (maybe Syma?) but I call it the Betsy route because she recently showed it to me.  It’s up to the Hampstead tube station then Well Walk into the heath, exiting onto Devonshire Road, then home through Belsize.
  • 4 miles – Up to the Hampstead tube station and back home the same way
Please be assured that you are not required to do these long distances to run with the group.  Everyone runs with an Oyster card and some cash so you can put in whatever mileage you want, then grab a bus/tube/taxi home.  No worries.  When we have new runners join the group, it reminds me of how unusual our training is.  You will often hear someone saying, “Oh, I have a meeting, I just want to do 6 miles” or “I only ran 5 miles yesterday”.  Those are long distances!  So let me know if distance isn’t your thing.  I’m happy to help you find some races, talk to you about training for different distance events, or help you develop a plan to get ready for a race.  We don’t all have to be long distance runners.  I’ll still love you!!!
Hope to see you out running this week,