Oh my goodness, last week I messed up too many times! I completely forgot to announce the birthdays, I kept the pace of the Wednesday Mid-Level group too slow, we finished that run at a bakery that basically refused to serve us and then I made a bunch of ladies run through icy puddles in the heath on Friday. Yikes! Please don’t fire me! You’re never supposed to “let someone go” just before the holidays!!! OK, here’s the plan to improve my performance…..
- We’ll celebrate our November and December birthdays this Friday, 7 December. Kelli is organising cupcakes for us (thanks Kelli!!!).
- I’ll never route us to Cocomaya again (but really and truly, go back some day – they’re not nice at all but their pastries, cakes and chocolates are beyond belief).
- The ice in the heath… well, I don’t think I can do anything about that. It was kind of fun, wasn’t it????
- About the pace of the Wednesday run, that will be the approximate pace of our new Monday Mid-Level II group.
First let’s talk about this new group. Our current Wednesday Mid-Level group (we’ll call this Mid-level I) are supposed to do their long run at approximately 10:45 – 11:30. This week we averaged about 12:00 which was completely my fault. So sorry about that! If you liked the pace on Wednesday, you’ll love the new Monday Mid-level II group. The new Monday run pace (Mid-level II) will be approximately 11:15 – 12:15 (so basically what we did this week on Wednesday). Notice the overlap in pace ranges between these two groups. I will continue to lead the Wednesday long run (and will try to get the pace right next week); the Monday (Mid-level II) run will be group led. Detailed route maps will be in the weekly email.
In addition to which group to run with, there is still some confusion regarding half-marathon training, the different types of runs, what pace to run, etc. If you are training for the half-marathon in March, here are the basics:
You need to run three times a week – one long run, one mid-distance run and one hill run. If you have no major aches/pains, it is fine to add in a weekend run but make sure you have at least one day a week that is a rest day (no exercise of any type).
Weekly long run – I’ll keep repeating this until it becomes our mantra…. the long run is the most important run of the week. Skip all other work-outs and runs before you miss the long run. In addition, we all need to remember to go slow. I know this is counter-intuitive, but I promise it works. Think about this…. you know I will do anything to make each of you better runners, all I want is for each of you to do as well as you are capable of, to keep fit, to run well, to stay healthy and to enjoy running so you’ll keep coming out. If long, slow, training runs weren’t the right way to train, why would I be harping on about it? If you don’t believe me, pick up any running magazine and skim through it. The Runners World UK magazine this month mentions the power of long, slow, endurance training about a half dozen times. Ultra-fit magazine dedicated 4 pages of their magazine a few months ago to reaping the benefits of LSD (I promise that’s not the drug – it’s long, slow distance training). To the left is a ￼ table which details finishing times (and their corresponding race paces – notice how much faster race pace is versus long run training pace), the long run training pace to target that finishing time, the day you should be doing your long run and the number of our runners who finished in each pace category at last year’s half-marathon in Lisbon. For those of you who are unfamiliar with half-marathon race times, this will give you an indication of how difficult it is to maintain a strong pace over 13.1 miles. We have some very strong runners in our group (as we did last year). Despite that, only 10-15 of our runners had finishing times which would indicate that they should have been doing their long run on Mondays. According to these finishing times, 12-22 of our group would have been doing their long runs on Wednesdays with the Mid-Level I group and if you remove our beginner runners from the table, 15-20 women would have been doing their long runs on Mondays with the new Mid-level II group.
Weekly mid-distance run – If you are wanting to push your pace on race day, the mid-distance run should include tempo/speed work. There are usually suggestions/guidelines/recommendations in the route section of the weekly email. If you don’t like those ideas, the track always is a great option for speedwork.
Weekly hill run – Our hill run is working out fabulously! Everyone seems to do whatever works for them on the day. As for pace, if you are doing intensive speed/tempo work earlier in the week, then take it easy on the hills. There is no need for two high-intensity sessions in one week. If you are not doing speed/tempo work, feel free to push yourself on the hills. Even if you are “taking it easy” on the hills, it’s still a good cardio work-out and the inclines are fabulous for building leg strength. I’ll quote from Runners World magazine:
“Run easy most of the time. About 80% of your runs should be done at an easy pace that’s about 60-90 seconds per mile slower than goal race pace. This should feel comfortable enough for you to chat while you run. If you’re using a heartrate monitor, you want to be at 65-70% of your maximum heartrate. If you’re huffing and puffing, you’re going too fast. These miles build muscles, improve endurance, burn fat and boost blood volume.”
OK, enough of that, let’s talk technology or lack thereof…. Here’s a challenge for you – try running without your watch from time to time. Some of us are addicted to our watches at the expense of taking in body cues. Take Wednesday’s run for example – I kept checking my watch and the pace number was jumping all over the place then sort of settled around 11:15. I remember thinking the pace felt too slow for that group but my watch said we were OK. Instead of listening to my body, I choose to believe my watch which ended up giving me an accurate number in the end but I should have ignored it mid-run. It’s fun to have a good running watch but try not to rely too heavily on it. It’s better to learn to “feel” a pace or “feel” an exertion level otherwise we run the risk of believing “objective” data from a watch (which may be very precise but isn’t always very accurate) over true and accurate information the body is providing. Try shutting the watch off and listening to your body. To read more about the benefits of “listening to your body cues”, have a look at this online article – click here for the link.
Routes this Week
Monday, 3 December
Marathoners have 10 miles on their schedule. Half-marathoners have 8 miles on their schedule this week. If you are not training for a marathon, please don’t feel pressured to run 10 miles. We’ll be running by the finish spot at 8 miles and can drop you there. The marathoners will do a 2 mile loop and finish at the same spot.
Westfield Mall White City (8 or 10 miles) – This route will take us to Camden along the ￼ canal. We’ll come up at the market and run south eventually taking Hampstead Rd. (which then changes names to Tottenham Court Rd) over Marylebone Rd to Oxford St. Run west to Regent St. then drop south (turn left) to Brook St. Run west along Brook St. until you reach Hyde Park. Then we’ll enter the park drop slightly south running towards Carriage Rd. We’ll follow the Italian fountains up to the north border of the park then head west along Bayswater to Shepherd’s Bush. At the 8 mile mark we’ll pass the entrance to the mall. Anyone wanting or needing an additional 2 miles will do a loop then return to the mall entrance. We can all meet up at the Starbucks in the center of the mall. They have heaps of seating and it will be warm in there. We will come home from the Shepherd’s Bush tube station (Central line to Bond St. then Jubilee back to SJW). interesting than the Hyde Park loop.
The Wednesday Mid-level I group could do either a mid-distance average pace run or incorporate some tempo work into this route:
Hyde Park tempo work (5-7 miles) – Head down to ￼Hyde Park via Lisson/Seymour at a very gentle pace. Once you reach the park, pick up the pace of your jog around Speaker’s Corner then run very fast down to the SE corner of the park. Jog around that corner trying to bring your heart-rate down then run hard to Carriage Rd. along the bike path. Jog over the bridge trying to reach a “recovered” state before doing the last hard run back to Speaker’s Corner on a diagonal. From this map you are jogging the blue parts and running hard on the red parts. Jog very slowly back to SJW or preferably take a bus/tube home from Marble Arch/Oxford St.. DO NOT continue to run at a strong pace all the way back to Starbucks in SJW. If you aren’t doing tempo work, run this route at a comfortable pace either finishing at Marble Arch/Oxford St., Baker St. or feel free to run all the way back to SJW (but that will be about 7 miles in total – probably more than you need).
Wednesday, 5 December
Westfield Mall White City (8 miles) – Yay! We get to go to Westfield Mall too! We will follow ￼ a different route from the Monday run. We’ll head out the canal past Notting Hill exiting at Wood Lane. We’ll run south for a couple of miles until we reach the Hammersmith round-about. At the round-about run east up Kensington High St. (called Hammersmith Rd at that point) then turn left (or north) on Holland Rd. The entrance to the mall is near the Shepherd’s Bush tube station. There is a Starbucks in the center of the mall. They have heaps of seating and it will be warm in there. We will come home from the Shepherd’s Bush tube station (Central line to Bond St. then Jubilee back to SJW).
The Monday fast group and the Monday Mid-Level II group could do either a mid-distance average pace run or incorporate some tempo work into this route:
Hyde Park tempo work (5-7 miles) – Head down to ￼Hyde Park via Lisson/Seymour at a very gentle pace. Once you reach the park, pick up the pace of your jog around Speaker’s Corner then run very fast down to the SE corner of the park. Jog around that corner trying to bring your heart-rate down then run hard to Carriage Rd. along the bike path. Jog over the bridge trying to reach a “recovered” state before doing the last hard run back to Speaker’s Corner on a diagonal. From this map you are jogging the blue parts and running hard on the red parts. Jog very slowly back to SJW or preferably take a bus/tube home from Marble Arch/Oxford St.. DO NOT continue to run at a strong pace all the way back to Starbucks in SJW.
If you aren’t doing tempo work (most of the Mid-level II group doesn’t do tempo/speed work), run this route at a comfortable pace either finishing at Marble Arch/Oxford St., Baker St. or feel free to run all the way back to SJW (but that will be about 7 miles in total – probably more than you need).
Friday, 7 December
Fridays are working out beautifully. I think everyone knows the route options now. There are groups doing all distances (4-8 miles) and all paces. Have fun and remember….. if you’re doing intensive tempo work during the week, there is no need to push hard on the Friday hill run.