25 26 30 January Running Info


Hi Everyone,

What a beautiful run in the Heath on Friday!  Thanks to Maureen for the stunning photo of our runners on a spectacular winter day.  

On Monday we have a 7-mile loop out the canal and then down to Hyde Park, entering near the Italian fountains.  We head to Green Park and then turn back toward St. John’s Wood.  Remember to watch your pace.  We have a few weeks of 7-8 mile runs so that we can build to our 9-mile run to Canary Wharf on Feb. 9.

Wednesday we’re doing another new tempo/speed workout in Regents Park.  We’re doing Fartleks!  Make sure you read the directions in the route section.  As always, these workouts are so much more fun if you stick together as a group and encourage each other along the way.   Here’s a LINK to a short but informative article about why Fartlek workouts are good for your training.

Padua Trip

I sent two emails this week about the Padua trip regarding race registration and the Giotto Fresco tour.  If you didn’t receive the emails please first check your SPAM folder and if you still didn’t receive it, please email back and let me know.  We want to make sure that our master email list is correct!  (If you want to go on the tour, a reminder that you need to email Karina Kalb at karinakalb@bellsouth.net today.)

ENERGY GELS for training and the race

Looking ahead to our longest training runs, it is time to start to think about what type of gel or fueling you’ll use during the race.  Fueling is different for each runner but I’ll give you some of Paula’s general guidelines.  The rule of thumb is that after about 80-90 minutes of running you’ll have used up natural fuel sources and you’ll need to top up the tank with something.  (That is based on our type of running, if someone is running a marathon at a 6 min/mile pace, their fueling needs will be different!)  Most of the women in the group use some sort of sports gel.  If you have never used a sports gel before it is crucial that you try it out during some of our long training runs.  The gels are very concentrated so a brand that might work well for one person could make another person feel sick.  Below are some recommendations from members of the group.  It is worth stocking up now so you’ll have them for our longest runs.  You can go to a Runner’s Need store or order them on the internet.  Amazon also has a good stock.  (If you have some leftovers at home, make sure to check the expiration date because they don’t last forever.)

Amy – GU Energy, Tri-Berry

Syma – TORQ, Forest Fruits

Jane – GU Roctane (has caffeine), Blueberry Pomegranate

Vicky – Clif Shot Bloks, Berry or Orange

We’ll review this again before our longest runs, but in general during a race you would take a gel somewhere between 7-8 miles and then don’t take another one for 35-45 mins.  (Don’t be tempted to take more than one gel in 30 mins! – you’ll need to keep an eye on your watch.)  If you don’t want to get into too much of the science of it all, Paula recommends that you take a gel at 8 miles during the race if you’re running at a medium pace for you (not as compared to anyone else) or 7 miles if you’re running fast for you.  For me, during training, I will take a gel around 7-8 mile mark of a 10-mile run.  Even if I don’t feel that I desperately need it at that point, it helps me feel better at the end of run, and helps me practice taking a gel.  If you are interested in learning more about fueling, gels and the different brands, CLICK HERE to read Paula’s full note.

Royal Parks Half Marathon- October 11, 2015

The ballot for spaces in the Royal Parks Half Marathon opens next week.  It will open on Tuesday 27 January and stay open until Wednesday 4 February.  This is a great race because it is very close to home and you get to run in some of London’s iconic spots like Hyde Park corner and past Big Ben with no cars, only runners.  I ran this race two years ago if you have any questions.  Here’s the LINK to the race website.

Winter weather

One quick note on London weather forecasts.  Some news sources were predicting snow for last weekend and into Monday. They made it seem like we’d get two feet of snow but instead we got about 2 minutes on Saturday afternoon.  If you run in London you can’t be too swayed by the weather.  Wake up, put on your running clothes and come run. If it is snowy or icy, we won’t run, we’ll go straight to coffee.  But in the last 4 years of running in London that only happened once or twice!

Thanks for reading another long email – keep running!



Monday, 26 January – Canal West/Paddington/Hyde/Green/Mayfair Loop (6.89 miles)

Start out by heading west on Circus Road, turn left on Grove End to St John’s Wood Road and go west, running along Blomfield towards the canal.  Do not get on the canal but instead cross over the canal and take the Westbourne Bridge over the Westway A40.  Run south on Westbourne Terrace and at the fork, bear right to enter Hyde Park at Lancaster Gate.  

Run along the west side of the Italian Gardens and continue along the south side of The Serpentine until you reach Hyde Park Corner.  Run through Wellington Arch and turn left to enter Green Park.  Run to the Green Park Tube, cross Piccadilly and head north (turn left) on to  Berkeley Street.  After Berkeley Square Gardens, turn left and then right onto Davies Street.  Run north on Davies to the Bond Street Tube.  Go left on Oxford and then right onto James Street.  Run north on James which becomes Marylebone High Street.  At Marylebone Road, turn left and then right to enter Regents Park at York Gate.  Once in Regents Park, turn left and run along the Boating Lake back to the Charlbert Street exit.  Take Charlbert back to SJW Terrace and Starbucks.

Wednesday, 28 January – Tempo Track Sprinting and Fartleks

Time for more tempo training—this week we incorporate Fartleks, which are short sprint bursts interspersed into the run.

Head down to the Regents Park Outer Circle the normal way [down Wellington, left at roundabout, cross zebra before the High Street, enter outer park at Charlbert] but do not go into the park, instead turn left on the outer circle and run slowly to the track.  Run ONE lap at the track, gradually increasing your speed.  Now, time to really run!

Do a timed one mile on the track [4 laps in the middle lane is pretty close] or you can set your watch to give you a one mile interval. Run this mile at about 80-85% of your maximum capacity.  If it were a scale of 1-20 [where 20 is a level of intensity that you could do for 1-2 seconds before you collapse], your timed mile should be a 16-17 [yikes!].  After your timed mile, jog another lap, slowly, around the track to recover, then continue to run slowly over the Regents Park.

Now, we’ll do about a 15-20 minute group Fartlek session.  This is how it works:  break into groups of 3-5 runners based on your sprint pace—the fastest group needs to be in front.  Separate each group by a couple of minutes before you start running again.  Someone in each group identifies the ‘run-to’ point [a bench, a rubbish can, a particular tree, etc] then counts down 3,2,1, ‘GO!’  Everyone in that group runs as hard as possible to the established ‘run-to’ point.  The distance of each fartlek should be different—mix up longer legs [maybe 200 meters] with shorter legs [maybe 20 meters].  You can do the loop outlined in the map below or just pick your own path until you’ve done about 15-20 minutes of fartleks.

Now, jog back over to the track and do ANOTHER timed mile to try to meet or better the time you had from your first timed mile. 

Run, walk or crawl back to Starbucks and enjoy a much-earned coffee and chat!

Friday, 30 January –  The Heath

Today is hill day and you can pick your choice of the Heath Runs.  Want to try a new hill run that front loads the hills [almost all downhill after the half way point] and avoids the muddy Heath?  Try the Highgate option, below.  After this week, we will call this the 7.5 mi Highgate route and the Heath run link will include it on our web page.


Highgate  (7.5+miles)

Head up Fitzjohn’s, as usual, and continue past the Hampstead Tube and Whitestone Pond to stay on Spaniards Road.  Do not enter the Heath at the normal entry point, but stay on Spaniards Road as it wraps around the outside of the Heath, past Kenwood House and past The Bishops Road where Spaniards Road turns into Hampstead Lane.  

Continue on Hampstead Lane as it edges around the outside of the Heath in a gentle rise until you reach The Grove, where you turn right.  [The Grove is a pretty, tree lined street just before the Highgate roundabout].  Run to the first right lane, which is Fitzroy Park and has a traffic barrier across the road.]  Pass around the traffic barrier—this is fine! And continue down the road, past lovely homes and a famous allotment on the right side.  This road curves downhill to the left and takes you to the entrance of the Heath near a set of bathrooms [and just before Merton Lane to the left].  Enter the Heath, run past the loos and take the path to the left as it runs along a the model boating pond, the men’s bathing pond and a third pond.  When the sidewalk dead ends, take a right to run along the exercise fields, track and swimming pool.  

Exit the Heath past the swimming pool, crossing over the bridge onto Constantine Road.  Take a right, running past South End Rd/Fleet Rd, past the Royal Free Hospital and cutting to the left just past the Royal Free’s entrance driveway to take a short cut to Haverstock Hill.  Go left on Haverstock Hill to Belsize Avenue, veering to the left to stay onto Buckland Crescent  and take this to Fitzjohn’s.  Left on Fitzjohn’s to Swiss Cottage, then scoot over to St Johns Wood Park Road and back to Starbucks.



Regular Heath routes (4 – 8 miles):

4 miles:  A great way to ease into running the hill.   Run up to the Hampstead tube station and back.
5 miles: The Betsy Route
6-7miles:  The partial Heath route
8 miles:  The full Heath route

Click here for maps of all of the Heath routes.


Running in the frosty Heath

26 – 30 January Running Info

Sunday, January 25, 2015






Posted in: MWF