27 – 31 January 2020 Running Info

Hello Runners!
Running up the hill yesterday, I overheard a dad walking his kids to school. ‘See?’ he said, ‘Here comes more of the running group.’  And he said it in a nice way, just pointing us out as a local fixture in the neighbourhood, coming up the hill in waves on a Friday, as usual.  His comment gave me a contented sense of belonging– here we are, doing our running thing, day after day, all about our city, where some people have come to recognise and expect to see us.  Looking through the photos this week gave me a similar feeling– there’s so much going on within our group, and yet we all share this experience and hopefully, a sense of WRW belonging– whether passing out the golden batons from the Ragnar Relay win (a shoutout to the amazing Crazy 8’s team!), smiling up the hill to Holland Park (go 10s!), hearing race and training tips from an accomplished marathoner (Kelly and the 11s!), working up to more mileage after long injuries (looking strong, ladies!), or smiling with a favourite alum in our midst after a tough tempo workout (Kathy McMahon and the 9s!).  I hope you all feel you’ve found a comfortable place within WRW!  For the several ladies who’ve just joined us– or anyone who’s been with us but may be struggling– please feel free to get in touch with me if you need help settling in.

Running this week.  Monday we will run a 9-mile loop route through Regents Park, around Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens and back to St Johns Wood.  Our Routes Team has created this option to also be a go-to route for anyone who needs to get in longer mileage but doesn’t have time for a destination run in any given week during this season of longer training runs.  It’s also a great alternative if we get a Monday with particularly bad weather or icy conditions.  Please check the description and map below, and we’ll set up a link and keep it handy for you in future e-mails!  On Wednesday we will continue the optional tempo training with Pyramids, previously called diamonds (we’ve done a geometric reassessment!), in Regents Park.  These faster-tempo timed intervals are explained fully in the Routes writeup below, but in summary they are graduated, short intervals of hard running, interspersed with 3-minute recovery jogs.  Remember to keep that recovery jog slow, and to regroup during the jog so your pace group can all begin the next interval together.  If you are not doing tempo work, we suggest a 5-6 mile route of your choice.  And Friday we will head back up the Hill again, aiming for another round of the Full Heath 8-mile route– it’s a challenge, it feels great to complete it, and we are on a mission to ‘learn where to turn’ on it!

Training notes.  As our long run mileage continues to slowly grow, I can’t help repeating that it is meant to be, indeed, the long, slow, distance (LSD) run.  Here’s the link again to a good pace calculator that can help you see what your training pace should be in order to hit your desired race pace.  If you notice that your long run pace lines up with a much faster race pace than you expected, maybe you will want to consider slowing down the Monday runs– or maybe you’ll want to revise your race goals!
Another thing to think about as we move into the long runs is what type of fuelling you’ll use during the race. This is different for each runner, but our WRW founder, Paula Mitchell, left us with some general guidelines. The rule of thumb is that after about 80-90 minutes of running you’ll have used up your natural fuel sources and you’ll need to top up the tank with something. That’s based on the type of running most of us are doing– if someone is running a marathon at a 6 min/mile pace, their fueling needs will be different!  Most of the women in this group use some sort of sports gel in a half marathon. If you’ve 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. Some people like the gels, which have a consistency of jelly or frosting; and some people like blocks or chews, which are similar in consistency to a gummy bear. Talk with the women in your pace group if you need suggestions. A good place to start is trying the Gu brand, which has a wide variety of flavors from blueberry pomegranate to salted caramel, some with caffeine, some without.  It’s worth stocking up now so you’ll have them for our longest runs. You can find a variety of different brands of gels and fuelling options in Runner’s Need stores, or order them on the internet (Amazon has a good stock).  And if you have some leftovers at home, make sure to check the expiration date because they don’t last forever.
We’ll review this again before the race, but in general during a race you would take a gel somewhere between 7-8 miles and then not take another one for 35-45 mins. (Don’t be tempted to take more than one gel in 30 mins!) 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 at a faster pace for you.  In a 9 or 10-mile training run, many of us will take a gel around the 7-8 mile mark. Even if we don’t feel we desperately need it at that point, it gives a boost for those last few miles, helps us feel better at the end of run, and gives us practice taking a gel. If you are interested in learning more about fuelling, Paula’s full note is here.

Announcements and Shoutouts.  Carmine Najjar quietly ran the Naples Daily Half Marathon in Florida last weekend!  She was in good company, having a chance to meet the inspiring and formidable Jeannie Rice, the 70+ year-old, record-holding marathoner.  See our WRW facebook page for the message Jeannie sent us via her new friend, Carmine!  The entry ballot for next fall’s Royal Parks Half Marathon (October 11, 2020) will open this coming Tuesday, Jan. 28!  This has been a popular run for our group in the past, though it is difficult to secure a ballot spot.  Here is the link for entry.   Coming up much sooner is the Vitality Big Half Marathon, which takes place in London on March 1.  Though the race has sold out, we’ve received an offer of charity places from the Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC) for only a £300 fundraising commitment.  Their deadline for registering runners is coming up very soon, so register with them here right away if you are interested in running for them.  And finally, just a reminder that our annual Kit collection and race payment day has been scheduled for Tuesday, February 11.  Details will follow, but please plan to either pickup and pay in person that morning, or have a friend take your payment and collect your kit!

Save the date.  Our hard-working Routes Team met this week and made some updates to the upcoming schedule!  If you’ve already put in the runs as listed in the last couple weeks, please have a look and update your calendar!
Sunday, 9 February – Cancer Research UK London Winter 10KTuesday, 11 February – WRW Kit pickup and race payment date!*Wednesday, 12 February – Canary Wharf w/Regents (10 miles) — *(long run that week suggested for Wednesday because of the large number of runners doing the 10k on Sunday)
Monday, 17 Feb – Friday, 21 Feb – February break for ASL, no official running scheduleMonday, 2 March – Canada Water (10 miles)
Monday, 16 March – Kew Gardens (11 miles)Thursday, 26 March – Depart for Prague!
Thanks for persevering through this long e-mail.  I hope you are having a wonderful weekend, whether you are celebrating Chinese New Year, Burns Night, or simply the warmth of home on a cold, grey afternoon!  Can’t wait to see you Monday morning at Barclays!
xx Micki

Monday, 27 January – Hyde Park with Regent’s Park Extension (9 miles)
Begin with the usual route to Hyde Park, turning right at the sliver sphere once you enter the park. Cross over N Carriage Rd and keep going until the very end of the park. Turn right to exit the park, then left on Bayswater Road. After just a couple of blocks turn left again, passing through a guard booth and onto Kensington Palace Gardens. Run on the left side of the road for most of the length of the street, and then turn left after a stretch of fenced garden, when you see the first entrance into Kensington Gardens, on a small road called Palace Avenue. Pass the Palace on your left, turn right on the Broad Walk…back in familiar territory…left at the base of the park, and follow all the way around the perimeter to exit at the Animals in War Memorial, onto Upper Brook Street, and left on Park St, crossing onto the right side of the street. Proceed about a mile and keep an eye out for the Windsor Castle pub on your right, shortly after which you will turn right down a path called Kent Passage into Regent’s Park. Turn right on the Outer Circle, left at York Bridge, left into the Inner Circle, and left through the gate after the big gated driveway marked “The Holme”. Follow the path straight across the park to exit at Charlbert St and head back to Starbucks.

Wednesday, 29 January – Regent’s Park Tempo DiamondsHead over to Regent’s Park the normal way. Enter the Park at the Charlbert entrance and veer to the left path. When you reach the first intersection with the other sidewalk, it is time to turn on your running jets. You will run hard for 1 minute, then recover by running slowly for 3 minutes; then run hard for 2 minutes and recover by running slowly for 3 minutes; then run hard for 3 minutes, recover run slowly for 3 minutes; run hard for 2 minutes, recover run slowly for 3 minutes and finally run hard for 1 minutes, recover run slowly for 3 minutes. 

The ‘diamond’ looks like this: 
1 minute hard                     3 minutes jogging recovery
2 minutes hard                   3 minutes jogging recovery
3 minutes hard                   3 minutes jogging recovery
2 minutes hard                   3 minutes jogging recovery
1 minute hard                     3 minutes jogging recovery

If you’ve been doing consistent tempo work and would like a challenge you can up your game with the following:

2 minutes, then 3 minutes recovery 
3 minutes, then 3 minutes recovery
4 minutes, then 3 minutes recovery
3 minutes, then 3 minutes recovery
2 minutes, then 3 minutes recovery

If you need to extend the amount of time for the jogging recovery, that’s fine, you can jog up to twice the amount of the hard run time [so 6 minutes max recovery jog for the 3 min hard run]. This type of running is best done within the park so you don’t have to contend with driveways, etc. If you find you need more mileage in Regent’s Park, just keep looping however you see fit.

Friday, 31 January – The Heath (8 miles)Run down Circus Rd past Starbucks to the end and turn left on Townshend Rd. Turn right on Acacia then left on Avenue. Cross diagonally over Adelaide Rd to run past the Swiss Cottage tube and proceed up Fitzjohn’s Avenue. Run up the hill to the Hampstead Heath Tube. Continue up Heath St (to the left of the Tube) all the way to the stoplight at E Heath Rd. Cross at the light, continue past the roundabout, and enter the Heath at the first trail entrance on your right. Follow this major trail down past Lime Avenue and other smaller trails, fields and forested areas. As the trail starts to veer right, take the sharp left to run up Parliament Hill. Enjoy the spectacular vista (and catch your breath before continuing down the other side of the hill, keeping left when the path splits and taking a sharp left at the bottom of the hill. Run past three ponds on your right, turn right after the third pond and up the rise to a wide gate (loos on your left here). Go through the gate and turn left along the eastern edge of the Heath. Follow the path downhill then up until you reach the gate on the left that marks the entrance to the Kenwood House grounds. Enter the grounds, turn right to run past Kenwood House, then right again through the gate onto a gravelly path. Follow the path through a gate, and stay on the path as it bears left and passes a wooden bench on the left. Keep your eye out for a small clearing ahead on the left with another bench — when you see it (but before you pass it!) take a hard right down a steep path that crosses a small bridge and heads uphill again. Turn right at the main trail intersect (this is the same trail you ran down at the beginning of the Heath, in the opposite direction) and run back up to where you entered the Heath. Turn left on Spaniards Rd and retrace your steps all the way back to SJW and Starbucks.

If you are not up for a hill run, no problem. Every week there are a group of women who prefer to do a flat run. We can help make sure that you find each other.
4 miles:   A great way to ease into running the hill. Run up to the Hampstead tube station and back. If you have trouble running up, think about how easy it will be running down!
5 miles: The Betsy Route
6+ miles:  The partial Heath route OR the Reverse Heath route OR Pergola route
7.5 miles: The Highgate route
8 miles:   The full Heath route

Click here for maps of all of the Heath routes.

20 – 24 January 2020 Running Info

Hello Runners!
Have you noticed that the daylight hours are beginning to stretch out a bit as we are already halfway through January?  And though last Wednesday’s tempo run may have been a little soggy, Monday and Friday were perfect running days!  We’re building a great base with the 7-8 mile runs we’ve been doing since break, and hopefully chasing away any January blues with the endorphins and the post-run coffee/breakfast stops.  
Running this week.  Monday we will fit in another 8-mile run, starting out on the canal and then cutting through Notting Hill, over Holland Park, and along the Kensington High Street again to Hyde Park, with a finish at either Green Park (Joe and the Juice, or a tube ride home) or St James Park (Benugo).  Wednesday we are doing the Hyde Park Tempo Triangle (see full description from our awesome Routes Team below).  Be sure to take your recovery jog segments at a really easy pace, and let your pace group recover together and then start the next leg together, though of course you will naturally spread out during the tempo segments.  If you are not doing tempo work, this can easily be done as a nice 6.5-mile loop.  And Friday, we’ll go back up the hill for the route of your choice, though it’s a good time to try the full 8-mile route if you’re feeling good.
Training notes.  Last week I gave you an overview of the training plan, and links to Paula’s advice on slowing down for your long run (easier said than done sometimes, but it’s really, really true!)  Just to reinforce all of that, here is a training pace calculator from Runner’s World, with more information on the different types of training runs.  It’s important, though, to make sure you don’t overtrain.  Our program does not include all the types of runs mentioned in the article, and it would be a bad idea to try to suddenly incorporate them all if you’ve been following our three-days-a-week schedule since September!  But all of these points lead to a basic question we each need to consider:  what is our personal goal for the race?  Do you want to run it comfortably and finish feeling strong?  Do you want to hit a personal best or a target time?  Are you planning to run with a friend, or alone?  Now is a good time to start thinking about these points, as they will affect how you think about your training.  For example, if you are going for a personal best, you’ll want to keep up with all the tempo training.  If you are thinking of running with a friend, you will want to begin to talk together about goals, pace, and how you will respond if one or the other of you is feeling stronger on race day.  Please keep in mind as you think about these points, that all of us within the group– even within a pace group– may not be on the same page about goals, pace, and where running fits in our lives.  The beauty of WRW is the way we support each other every time we lace up our shoes, no matter our running experience or speed.
Save the date.  To help make planning easier, here’s a glance forward at some key runs coming up in the next two months:
Monday, 27 February – 9-mile local loop route through parks (flexible miles)Monday, 10 February – Stratford (9 miles)Tuesday, 11 February – WRW Kit pickup and race payment date!Monday, 17 Feb – Friday, 21 Feb – February break for ASL, no official running scheduleMonday, 24 February – Canary Wharf (9.3 miles)Monday, 2 March – Canada Water (10 miles)Monday, 16 March – Kew Gardens (11 miles)
I’m including a second photo collage this week… let’s call the top one ‘running’ and the one below ‘eating!’  Thanks to our Routes Team and many of our runners for the recommendation to hit Dishoom for breakfast Friday– it was delicious!  Looking forward to seeing you all out and about running the parks and cafes this week.  Enjoy the rest of the weekend!
xx Micki

Monday 20 January – Holland Park to St James’s Park Benugo or alternative to “The Office” (8 miles) 
We start out the same as our traditional Notting Hill Route: Circus Rd to Grove End, to St Johns Wood Rd to Cunningham, to Blomfield to the Canal, going west past the Westway to Ladbroke Grove. Once on Ladbroke Grove, run south all the way until it ends at Holland Park Avenue. Cross Holland Park Avenue, take a right and then a left on Holland Walk, just past Aubrey Road.  Holland Walk is a pedestrian way. Run up Holland Walk until the first entrance into Holland Park on your right, opposite the Duchess of Bedford Walk. Run into the park and then turn left on the Broad Walk which goes the length of Holland Park. Just before it ends at Kensington High Street take a left onto the quiet Phillimore Walk. Follow Phillimore Walk, which runs parallel to Kensington High Street, until you reach Hornton Street, where we take a right and then a left onto Kensington High Street. Continue on until you reach Kensington Gardens, where you enter it at the junction with the Broad Walk, just before Palace Gate Road. Take the Broad Walk to the first path on the right which turns into South Carriage Drive. You’ll run past The Albert Memorial and cross West Carriage Drive at the light. Continue on South Carriage Drive all the way to Apsley House/Hyde Park Corner. Cross over Piccadilly and run under Wellington Arch, then cross at the light to run along the path to the left of Constitution Hill, the same route we take in going to Big Ben. Cross the Mall, run along the edge of the park, and take the angled path to the Benugo cafe.  Do so some striders, have a stretch, and then indulge in some breakfast. An alternative cafe is the Joe and the Juice in Berkeley Street which has a large seating area downstairs. The 2019 Beginners are regular visitors and call it “The Office”. For Joe and the Juice turn left at the end of Green Park, with Clarence House on your right, and up past Green Park tube station. Turn right to cross Piccadilly at The Ritz and into Berkley Street. Joe and the Juice will be on your right. Running the whole way to Joe and the Juice is also 8 miles.

Wednesday 22 January – Hyde Park Tempo Triangle
Head down to Hyde Park the usual way at a very gentle pace. Once you reach the park pick up the pace a bit around Speaker’s Corner, and then run very fast down to the SE corner of the park. Jog slowly around the corner while you try to bring your heart rate back down to a recovered rate. Once you reach the straightaway, run hard again to Carriage Road. Slow down to a recover rate again as you cross over the bridge and up to the path, where you will turn right and run hard along the diagonal back to Speaker’s Corner. Jog very slowly back to SJW or, even hop on the bus or tube from Marble Arch. If you are not doing tempo work, you can do this run at a regular pace (if you run back to SJW it is about 6.5 miles).

Friday 24 January – 8-mile Heath Route
Start from Barclays running down Circus past the SJW High Street until it dead ends and turn left on Townshend Rd. Turn right on Acacia and then left on Avenue. Cross diagonally over Adelaide Rd to run past the Swiss Cottage tube and keep going on to Fitzjohns Avenue. Run up the hill to the Hampstead Heath Tube. After reaching the Hampstead Tube, continue to run up Heath St (to the left of the Tube) all the way uphill to the stoplight at E Heath Rd. Cross at the light and continue past Whitstone Pond (on your left) and past the roundabout to enter the Heath at the first trail entrance on your right. Run down this major thoroughfare trail, bearing right after 200 meters to continue as the trail meanders past Lime Avenue and other smaller trails, fields and forested areas. As the major trail starts to dip and veer right, take the sharp left to run up Parliament Hill. You may want to stop and enjoy the spectacular vista (and catch your breath!). Continue down the other side of the hill, bearing to the left to circle back around the bottom of Parliament Hill and running by the model boating and fishing ponds before turning right at the T-junction to run by the loos. Just beyond the loos, bear left to run along the eastern edge of the Heath.  Keep going until you reach the iron fencing that marks the entrance to the Kenwood House grounds. Run past Kenwood House, exiting its grounds at the foot gate on the right before the path turns to the left. Continue on this gravelly path through a far gate, turning left as you continue towards a LARGE tree. Run past the LARGE tree, taking an immediate turn on the first path thereafter which leads to a  steep down hill as you cross a small bridge. Turn right at the main trail intersect (this is the same trail you ran down at the beginning of the Heath, in the opposite direction) and run back up to where you entered the Heath. Turn left on Spaniards Rd and retrace your steps all the way back to SJW and Starbucks.

As always, the other Heath routes are always an option:
4 miles:  A great way to ease into running the hill. Run up to the Hampstead tube station and back. If you have trouble running up, think about how easy it will be running down!
5 miles: The Betsy Route
6+ miles:  The partial Heath route OR the Reverse Heath route OR Pergola route
7.5 miles: The Highgate route
8 miles:  The full Heath route

Click here for maps of all of the Heath routes.

13 – 17 January 2020 Running Info

Hello Runners!
Big kudos to all of us for starting the year strong!  I know for many of us, myself included, it wasn’t easy getting back out on those runs after all the luxuries of a long holiday– but we did it!  No doubt all the pent-up chatting we had to catch up on helped us get through the miles!  It was great to see everyone again, and our efforts this week will pay off in weeks to come.  

Running this week.  Monday we’re headed to Sloane Square and on down to Embankment, then along the Thames to Westminster (6.33 miles) or Green Park (7+ miles).  Wednesday we will begin some tempo training– shorter runs at a quicker pace– to help prepare for the half marathon.  We’ll run to the Regent’s Park Charlbert entrance the usual way and along the outer circle until we’ve warmed up, and then we pick up the pace for two miles before cooling down and heading back to SJW for coffee.  Specific directions and target pace ranges can be found in the description below, and if you don’t feel ready for tempo work, you can substitute the Inner/Outer Circle route.  Friday we’re headed to Whole Foods via Green Park (or mix it up and try the Kensington Dishoom just around the corner!).  This is a newer route that people really enjoyed when we trialed it, so give it a chance if you’re up for the extra miles (remember there’s no Hill in this one!).  But if you’re not there yet, no worries– there are suggestions in the writeup below for how to take the mileage down if you’re not up for 8 on a Friday.
Training notes.  We have 11 training weeks until our half marathon in Prague– including the week of February break.  That’s plenty of time to prepare ourselves with either the standard training program (below) or the gradual training program (the full program can be found there as well, but it’s not calibrated to this year’s race date).  Believe it or not, the distances on our Monday long runs do not differ greatly between the two plans.  The routes on our schedule tend to follow the standard plan, but we try to offer options at least in January to make it possible to cut a mile off the distance if you prefer.  

For anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, here is a brief overview of how our weekly schedule works.  We do three scheduled runs per week:

Mondays are a long, slow run.  Of the three runs each week, this is the most important for building endurance toward the race.  This is the one not to miss!  But even if you do have to miss a Monday, try to make sure you get that long, slow run in every week from now to the race.  And by slow, we mean comfortable and conversational– about 60- to 90- seconds slower per mile than your goal race pace.  Paula Mitchell, our founder, explains the compelling reasons for slowing down on the long run here.  In a ridiculously oversimplified nutshell, long, slow runs are what triggers your body to produce mitochondria, which is the ignition tool for fueling our runs most efficiently.  If we don’t slow down, we miss out on that benefit.
Wednesdays are a mid-distance run with tempo and speed training options.  The tempo runs are important for anyone trying to get faster.  If you have a goal time, tempo training will help you achieve it, and many runners enjoy the challenge and bonding of going through tempo and speed workouts together.  But it is perfectly okay to opt for mid-distance (4- to 6-mile) runs instead!  Or split the difference and do the mid-distance and occasionally pick up the pace for some stretches of the run.
Fridays we generally do a hilly run.  Hills are fun!  And good for overall fitness.  Sometimes we mix it up and do a flat run, especially if we’ve done some hill work in our other runs for the week, or have a hill coming up on the following Monday.
Finally, after all that, I have to say it– remember that WRW is really just a group of friends who like to run together. We have a lot of experience in the group, and our training program is designed by a very experienced runner, but we are not professionals. We can offer general wisdom about training, but it’s crucial that if something is bothering you, little or big, you should seek out professional advice from an expert. We have some resources listed on our website, or you can always ask around and many of your fellow runners can recommend local experts. 
Shoutouts and Announcements.  The big shoutout this week goes to Miki Neant, who ran the Country to Capital Ultra marathon Saturday, covering 43 miles to finish in Little Venice with a great time and a big smile on her face!  The photo of her in the collage above was snapped no more than five minutes after her finish– and she looks amazing!  We are so proud of the ultra accomplishments she has taken on in the last few months!
If you are going to Prague, look for more communications soon about tours, meals, and other bits of planning.  Please try to respond promptly to any info requests– you’ve been great about that so far!  Carolyn and her team are creating another amazing itinerary for us, and we’d love to make it as smooth as we can for them.

Save the dates.  We are still tweaking our schedule a bit for the spring, but here is a look forward at the main dates for long and/or destination runs up until the half marathon.
Monday, 20 February – Holland Park to Green Park (8 miles), with coffee at “The Office” in Joe and the Juice (hat-tip to Beginner Class of 2019!!)
Monday, 27 February – 9-mile local loop route through parks (so flexible miles)
Monday, 10 February – Stratford (9 miles)
Tuesday, 11 February – WRW Kit pickup and race payment date!
Monday, 17 Feb – Friday, 21 Feb – February break for ASL, no official running schedule
Monday, 24 February – Canary Wharf (9.3 miles)
Monday, 2 March – Canada Water (10 miles)
Monday, 16 March – Kew Gardens (11 miles)

Thanks for bearing with me through all the information this week– and the late delivery as I pulled it together.  There’s more to come with training notes, but I’ll try not to let the e-mails get any longer than this…  Meanwhile, it’s going to be a great week, and I am so excited to start this part of our training journey together!  See you at Barclay’s!
xx Micki

Monday, 13 January: Sloane Square/Embankment/Westminster/Green Park – from 3.75 to 10 miles
Everybody starts out to Hyde Park, taking the usual route. Once inside the park, turn left and run down towards the southern edge, following the path to the right before it leaves the Park. Run to the large gated exit (Albert Gate) before the tall ‘One Hyde Park’ complex, cross Knightsbridge and turn right on Knightsbridge, then a left onto Sloane Street after Harvey Nichols. Follow Sloane St until it ends at Sloane Square.

Mileage options:3.75 miles: take the Tube home at Sloane Sq.
6.33 miles: continue past Sloane Sq down Lower Sloane St/Chelsea Bridge Road to the Thames. Turn left on the Thames side of Grosvenor Rd and run along the embankment to Westminster Tube.
7+ miles: continue left on Birdcage Walk, cutting through St James Park to the Mall, then left on the Mall towards Buckingham Palace, crossing before the circle to reach Green Park. Run up to the Green Park Tube on Piccadilly St and head home.
10 miles: continue north after Green Park, through Mayfair, Marylebone and Regents Park to SJW – this will give you about 10 miles.

Wednesday, 15 January – 2 mile tempo run at sub race pace; 1 mile warm up/cool down
Head to the outer circle of Regent’s Park, taking the normal way to the Charlbert entrance. Turn right to pass the US Ambassador’s house (Winfield House) and continue past the mosque to York Bridge (this is where we sometimes turn left to run the inner circle). At this point pick up your pace, as the “tempo” part of the run begins (see guidance below). Stay on the Outer Circle and keep a sub-race pace back to the Charlbert entrance area (push yourself just past it to the second driveway of the Ambassador’s house for the full 2 miles). Ease into the wide entrance area and have a little recovery jog until your group is all gathered again. Consider a nice and easy cool-down just inside the park, then take an easy pace back to the St Johns Wood High Street for stretching, followed by coffee. 

Note that the tempo part of this run should be sub-race pace. Remember this is 2 miles, not 13, so it should be faster than race pace.  Everyone should be aiming for about 30 seconds faster than your race pace. If you are not sure of your race pace, this might be an opportunity to begin to gauge it. Below are suggested times, but these are just general guidelines. Please adjust if these are too fast or too slow!

For the 8’s – 7:45-8:00 per mile
For the 9’s – 8:45 per mile
For the 10’s – 9:55 per mile
For the 11’s – 10:55 per mile

Friday, 17 January – Royal Parks Loop to Whole Foods – 8.2 miles

This is an extended route to Whole Foods in Kensington. Quick route summary: Run to Hyde Park, past the Italian Gardens and the Serpentine to Wellington Arch, loop around Green Park and St James Park, and then back inside the southern edge of Hyde Park to end up at Whole Foods.

Run to Hyde Park the usual way. Turn right at the silver sphere after entering Hyde Park. Cross over N Carriage Rd and turn left just after the Italian Gardens. Run along the Long Water/Serpentine, with the water to your left. At the end of the Serpentine bear right then left to run along the southern edge of the park. Cross Hyde Park Corner, through Wellington Arch, then left inside Green Park to run along the northern side of the park. Turn right at Green Park Station, then left at The Mall, to do a full circuit around the perimeter of St James Park and end up back at Buckingham Palace. Cross in front of the Palace and turn left to head back to Hyde Park Corner. Re-enter Hyde Park and run along the southern border of the park, all the way through Hyde Park, past the Albert Memorial and along the edge of Kensington Gardens. Exit the park at the Broad Walk gate, turn right to Kensington High Street and Whole Foods will be up the road on your left.  Dishoom is just around the corner after the Whole Foods entrance, on Derry Street.

6 – 10 January 2020 Running Info

Happy New Year, dear Runners!
Welcome back to London!  I hope you had a wonderful holiday break, spent with your favourite people in some favourite places!  I’m so excited to start this year running with you, and so grateful for this community that helps make this amazing city feel like ‘home’– even, or maybe especially, when we’ve just come back from wherever else we call home!

Running this week.  We’ll start off with our Big Ben/Westminster run on Monday.  It’s a great route for flexible mileage, so if you managed to run over the break, consider doing the 8-mile return route back to St Johns Wood.  But if you weren’t able to run much the last few weeks, you can ease back into it with the 4- or 5-mile options.  Don’t overdo it right away if you weren’t able to run during break, but do be aware we will start to up the distances on the Monday runs over the next few weeks.  Wednesday we will do the Regent’s Park/Primrose Hill Loop for 5 miles, and Friday we’ll get back to the Hill.  We’re suggesting the Highgate route this week, but as always, you have several options, all detailed in the link below.  As always, the route descriptions and maps are included below.  Look for some speed and interval training options on Wednesdays in the weeks ahead, and next week I will also share the schedule for some of our key Monday runs.

Announcements and Shoutouts.  A big thank you to all who contributed cash or baked goods for our annual holiday appreciation gifts to the cafes we frequent in St Johns Wood.  Special thanks to Laura Beal for coordinating the cash collection and gifts (thirty personalised cards and envelopes this year!).  And a huge thank you to Susan Farrell for coordinating the baked goods and creating two beautiful gift baskets– one for Starbucks and one for Pret.  I don’t have the full list of all who baked for the baristas, but I know that many of you stepped up at the busiest time of the year to keep our tradition going, and it was much appreciated by our cafe friends as well as by your WRW organisers.  And finally, thanks to all who went along for the delivery– with special kudos for singing!  Finally, I can’t resist adding a belated shoutout to a group of the class of 2019 Beginners who quietly ran a chilly Royal Parks 10k back on December 8– well done, ladies!  It’s beyond great how you’ve made running such a part of your lives in the course of just over a year!  
The sign in the photo collage (thanks for spotting it, Magali) says it all.  I have a feeling 2020 is going to be a fantastic year for us– and I can’t wait to see you all at Barclay’s and get it started!
xx Micki

Monday, 6 January – Westminster/Big Ben– 4-8 miles 
This is such a fun route! We run right through the heart of London to the now-undercover Big Ben for 4 miles. A turn back to Green Park will get you to 5 miles, or you can run back to St Johns Wood for 8. We head to Hyde Park via the usual route: start heading west on Circus Road and turn left on Grove End and follow south as it becomes Lisson Grove. Cross over Marylebone Road and continue on Seymour Place until the end. Turn right and cross over Edgware Road and then left to enter Hyde Park at the intersection with Stanhope Place. Run along the eastern edge of the park to Hyde Park Corner, under Wellington Arch and down Constitution Hill. Run along the edge of Green Park, past the Victoria Memorial and cross The Mall at the traffic light. Run down The Mall and enter St. James Park. Run over the bridge across the lake and out of the park, turning left onto Birdcage Walk and down into Parliament Square to Big Ben. From there, either take the tube back, run through St James Park to Green Park tube station, or retrace your route back to SJW.

Wednesday, 8 January – Primrose Hill/Regents Park (5 miles)
Start out as if we’re headed for the Heath, running down St Johns Wood Terrace until it reaches the T.  Turn left, then right, then left again at Avenue Rd.  At the crossing just a short distance up Avenue Rd, cross over and run down Elsworthy Rd a short distance until you see a small road on the right that ends in the entrance to Primrose Hill park.  Once in the park take the path that angles to the left, then bear right at the first fork and left at the second.  This will take you up for a fantastic view from the top of Primrose Hill.  After you’ve caught your breath, take the path that goes down on the right (if you are looking out toward London), then curve around to the left at the first split.  Follow this path all the way down the hill to the crossing at Prince Albert Rd.  Cross at the zebra and head straight into the park via the bridge and across the Outer Circle (NOT a zebra, please note!).  In Regents Park, take the path that angles to the left, running behind the zoo.  Cross the Broad Walk by the fountain and continue across on the path that heads toward, but not all the way to, the perimeter of the park.  Follow this to the far corner, and then turn right to run along the southern edge of the park, inside the fence.  Continue to follow this around  the boating pond to run across the little bridge at the far end of the pond, then bear right to follow the contour of the pond to its end.  Continue on the same path until it meets the diagonal path that runs behind the zoo (the same one we ran in on).  Turn left to follow that to its end and then turn left onto the Outer Circle and follow it for a short distance to the crossing at Charlbert.  Exit the park and take Charlbert to St Johns Wood Terrace to finish at our Starbucks/Pret corner of the High Street.

Primrose Hill/Regents Park

Friday, 10 January – 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 turn, a lane called Fitzroy Park with 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 on your right side, near a set of bathrooms and just before Merton Lane to the left.

Enter the Heath, run past the loos (on your left) and take the path to the left as it runs along 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 and running track. Exit the Heath past the paddling 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 up the path to the left just past the Royal Free’s entrance driveway to take a short cut to Haverstock Hill. Go left on Haverstock Hill, crossing at the pedestrian stoplight to the other side, then turn right on to Belsize Avenue. Stay on Belsize Avenue (its name changes to Buckland Crescent) to Fitzjohn’s where you turn left to run towards Swiss Cottage Library, then scoot over to St Johns Wood Park Road and back to Starbucks.

Or, choose your own Heath route!  This link will take you to all of our standard Heath route descriptions and interactive maps.

4 miles:  A great way to ease into running the hill. Run up to the Hampstead tube station and back. If you have trouble running up, think about how easy it will be running down!
5 miles: The Betsy Route
6+ miles:  The partial Heath route OR the Reverse Heath route OR Pergola route
7.5 miles: The Highgate route
8 miles:  The full Heath route