Running Group T-shirts:
Our t-shirt order is ready to go in! Please check this google doc to make sure your order is correct – Click here for the link Kelli will be closing the edit function on the document at midnight on Monday night. Whatever is in the document at that time is our order. Check your details. Kelli and I have input/updated some payment information and size changes per your requests. I hope we didn’t make any mistakes, but if we did…. this is your last chance to catch it.
Training, Fuel, and Pace Calculator
Our half marathon is 22 weeks away. We have heaps of time to get ready, but it now is the time to get yourself on a program. It is time to make a conscious decision about how you are going to train. Our group is great – you can come out any day and just run never giving thought to what you’re trying to achieve that day. Truthfully, many of you could carry on like that throughout the next 22 weeks and complete the half-marathon – no worries. However, if you are a bit more conscious with your training the whole experience will be a lot more pleasant (and you could have a better finishing time and you have a better chance of not getting hurt). This “consciousness” needn’t be over-the-top. I’m asking you to take only a few minutes now to think about your plan.
I think everyone understands that you should be doing one long run, one quicker paced run and one hill run each week. This week I’d like to address one aspect of that program – the long run…. specifically the pace of the long run. 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. You have about 10-15 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 10 seconds. CP is where your body will go first looking for fuel, particularly if you take off like a rocket from Starbucks. Think of CP as kindling on a fire – it catches fire easily but burns out very quickly. 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 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. Bear with me here – I promise this is leading somewhere. 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 it’s not about CAN you run your long run fast; it’s about SHOULD you run your long run fast. I’ve been preaching this sermon for years – it’s a hard message to hear/absorb. It’s hard to do – I understand. It feels like a waste of time to run at such a comfortable pace but actually it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself.
This week Agnes sent me a link to a Runners World training pace calculator. I could just hug her for this – it couldn’t have been better timing. If you don’t believe me, will you consider believing the experts at Runners World????? This is how the
calculator works – you plug in a recent race time or a desired race time for an upcoming race. For this example, I plugged in a 1:59 half-marathon, a target finishing time for many of you in Bratislava (just over a 9:00 min/mile pace). To properly train for that completion time, check out the long run pace range (10:29-11:48). I told you I’m not making this stuff up. Because of the way this calculator works (I can explain if you’re interested), I would target the fast end of that range (so 10:29). If you’re not doing a ton of tempo/speed work, I would probably bring that number down to 10:15 min/mile pace. Again, for that 1:59 target time, your tempo work (45-60 minutes once a week) should be done at an 8:46 min/mile pace. Your Yasso 800s would be 4:03 minutes (so you should be able to run two laps of a track in 4:03 minutes). If you went out for a weekend run with friends (easy run), that would be at a 10:29 pace. Any speedwork (say maybe fartlek sprints) would be done at a 7:19 pace. I’m using the precise numbers only so you can tie them back to the calculator output. All of these paces are estimates – guidelines, it’s impossible to time yourself to 7:19 min/mile pace.
Play with the calculator – the link is here or type this into your browser: www.runnersworld.co.uk/general/rws-training-pace-calculator/1676.html
Once you have your results, think about which day you should do your long run. On Mondays we’re running at about 9:45-10:15 min/mile over about 10 miles. If you back-calculate, doing a long run at 9:45 means you are shooting for a 1:50 half-marathon (average race pace of 8:20). Some of you may be going for 1:50 race times but I doubt most of our group have set that time as a goal. Doing a 10:15 long run indicates a finishing time of 1:56. That’s a very reasonable goal for many of our runners. So that’s Mondays. What about Wednesdays? On Wednesdays our new “mid-pace” group is targeting a 10:30-11:00 pace (or maybe slightly slower – we’ll see how the group evolves). A lot of you have told me that’s too slow. Let’s back-calculate that one – a 10:30 long run pace indicates a 2:00 half-marathon. An 11:00 long run pace indicates about a 2:08 half-marathon. That’s not slow!!!! That’s just under a 10:00 min/mile race-pace. Not bad!!! Below is a table that I’ve built from the RW calculator rounding numbers and making adjustments to allow for the way we train.
It’s not precise at all but will give you a quick glance at some pace categories. Notice that our fastest and our most gentle paced runners do their long runs on Mondays. To summarize – on Mondays the fast group is doing a max pace of 10:30. If you can’t keep up, no worries – just be prepared to run on your own. On Wednesdays, our absolute fastest pace is 10:30. Anyone can join us but if you are a faster runner you’ll need to limit your pace to that of the group. Wednesdays are for mid-paced runners. If you need to run on Wednesdays to get your long run done, then become a mid-paced runner for that one day. I promise it won’t hurt your longer term training plan to do one long run at a slower pace. If you’re a faster runner but need to do your long run on Wednesday and don’t want to slow down, consider setting your own route or running the route that the group did on Monday.
Bratislava – Race registration is now open. It’s far from simple but it can be done. I tried doing it in English and the system hung up at step 2. In Slovak, it worked but I had to input a Slovakian zip code (try using 811 02 – just like that with a space between the 811 and the 02) with my London address. I can’t explain why but it’s the only way I could get it to work. It looks like there is no free shirt in our goodie bags. If you want a race shirt, you have to order one (€16) when you are signing up for the race. There is no rush to register so maybe when I’m back in town I could bring my laptop to Starbucks and everyone could just line up and register for the race. Once you see someone else do it, it’s easier (easier but not easy!!!!). The cost of the race is €24 payable by credit card online. The cost slightly increases after 31 December.
When you register for the race, please input your club name as: WRW London (Women Running the World) so the race director will know that you are part of our group. Also, when it asks for your fastest half-marathon time, input the exact same time as whoever you want to run with so you will be placed in the same starting section as your running-mates. You can just leave that field blank. I’m not sure if they will corral us into pace groups, but just in case they do, put a time that’s quicker than you expect to do (so you won’t have to deal with any slower runners around you). Just remember to put the same time as whoever you want to run with.
Routes this Week
Monday, 22 October
At St. John’s Wood Road, we’ll split into the canal runners (Wembley, Notting Hill, canal routes) and Hyde Park. Have a look at these routes and choose whatever looks interesting to you.
Wembley Park (9.2 miles) – I’ve flip-flopped the suggested long run mileage for marathon trainees to 9 miles this week and 8 miles next week. I hope that’s OK with you. Training for a marathon or not – feel free to join us. Marathoners, we need to start focusing on the pace of your long run. The canal will give us a perfect opportunity to do that – it’s just straight running for about 6 miles from Little Venice to the Wembley/Alperton turn-off.
Wembley Central (8 miles) – The group running 9+ miles will run by the Wembley Central station. If anyone wants 8 miles, this is a great option.
Hyde Park loop (8 miles) – If you want 8 miles but prefer a loop, consider the Hyde Park perimeter route. I think you all know the route – the map is on the website under “Routes” in case you need a reminder.
Notting Hill (6.5 miles) – If you want about 6-7 miles, do the regular Notting Hill run starting with the group going to Wembley. I think there is a map under the “Routes” tab on our website.
Serpentine loop (6 miles) – You always have the option of doing the Serpentine loop in Hyde Park. Head down to Hyde Park via Lisson Grove, then once you reach the park turn right or west to run along the northern boundary, turn left or south at Carriage Rd then run alongside the road over the bridge. Immediately after the bridge, turn left to follow the water edge back towards Wellington Arch. To shorten this loop, cross back over the Serpentine near the café and head on a diagonal back to Speaker’s Corner. To lengthen this run, either go past Carriage Road and cut south by the Albert Memorial or do not cross over the Serpentine at the café – instead carry on down to the far SE corner of the park, then run up to Speaker’s Corner and home via Baker Street or Gloucester Road.
Speaker’s Corner loop (4-5 miles) – run with the group to Hyde Park, once we’ve entered the park do a small loop keeping to the north side of the Serpentine. Head back to SJW either up Seymour/Lisson Grove or by the US Embassy then up Baker Street.
The canal west (any distance) – head down to the canal in Little Venice. Run half the distance you want and turn around and head home. If you are confused about which way to go, follow the group going to Wembley to gain access to the canal.
Wednesday, 24 October
Hopefully we’ll have a bigger group interested in running at a mid-pace after reading the training pace info above. To further incentivise people to join us, we’re running to Beigel Bake on Brick Lane. (Click on that link to see a review from Time Out magazine). There isn’t any seating so we’ll probably grab some bagels/treats and find a coffee shop nearby. Beigel Bake is supposedly the very best bagel shop in London. Let’s go see if that’s true!!!
Beigel Bake on Brick Lane (8 miles) for MID-PACED GROUP – we’ll run to “The Wall” then take Farringdon down to the river Thames and cross over to the south embankment. We’ll run along the river then cross back over at Tower Bridge (which is kind of cool to run if you haven’t done that). From there we’ll wind our way up to the bakery. There are heaps of options to shorten this run (see the map below) . We will be running at about 10:30-11:00 min/mile pace.
The Wall (6 miles) – If you are doing your long run on Monday, consider doing this route as a tempo run (or just at a comfortable pace – your choice!!!). Your warm-up and cool-down could be the jog to/from the canal. For those of you unfamiliar with these routes, it’s 3 miles to “The Wall” which is a place where the canal path is blocked. Turn around there and run back to SJW.
The canal (any distance) – run with the group towards “The Wall” then head back to Starbucks whenever you’re ready.
If you are getting bored with those routes, head to Hyde Park or group up a few people and do an adventure run.
Friday, 26 October
This should be birthday cupcakes day but we’ll wait until Friday, 2 November, as many of our children are not in school today.
The Heath – old route (8 miles) – we’ll do the old route this time. You can shorten this route by heading towards the track after Parliament Hill, exit the heath, run past Royal Free Hospital then home through Belsize.
The 6-7 mile route – follow the group doing the full 8 mile route. At parliament hill instead of turning left towards Kenwood House, turn right and run past the track. Exit the heath, run past Royal Free Hospital and head home through Belsize Park.
The Betsy route (5 miles) – I think Betsy is now doing a longer route on Fridays, but her namesake run is a great route. Anyone wanting this distance ask around as we are running up the hill to Hampstead and someone will explain to you how to do it.
Hampstead tube station (4 miles)– this is a great route to do if you’re short on time or are new to running “the hill”. Head up to the Hampstead tube station with the group then turn around and head back home. For a change of scenery, run up to Hampstead tube station then run back to Starbucks in SJW via the Hampstead high street, then Belsize Park, then down St. John’s Wood Park Rd.
Congratulations to anyone who made it all the way to the bottom of the email. Sorry it’s so long. One last thing I’d like to mention – our beginner runners ran to Big Ben this week. They are doing great. Thank you so much everyone for encouraging them to stick with it. You have no idea what your support means to them. They are thrilled with their progress but are still nervous/anxious/excited about running. Thanks a million for making this program easier for them!
I hope to see you running this week,