Congratulations, we’ve just weathered the wettest UK February in history! (I hadn’t noticed, had you??). Seriously, I am so proud of us all for just getting out there to do our training, no matter what the skies do! Take a look at those beginners in the collage above and you might even be able to see the snow pelting down (yes, it was pelting snow!) on them as they set out for Wembley in the best of spirits last Thursday. Amazing!
Let’s take a second here at the start of this note to talk about the Prague trip in light of the COVID-19 issue, because it really has been a surreal week since we’ve returned from break. Carolyn is in close contact with the Prague half marathon organizers, and everything is still on for the moment. We will let you know immediately if we hear of any changes. Meanwhile, do take care of yourselves and your families, follow the health guidance issued by NHS and the government, stay well, and keep running! Your WRW team is hoping for the best with Prague, but also working on contingency plans. Please do fill out the Meal Choices google survey by Monday, March 2; and the Photo Directory survey by Wednesday, March 4. And let us know if you are planning to go to Prague and did not receive an email about these items!
Running this week. Plan to arrive at Barclays on time or a little early Monday morning for our film-making phenom, Megan Marine, to get some footage for this year’s WRW video. After the brief filming, we will run 10 miles to Canada Water. This route debuted just last year, so everyone please take time to have a look at the route map and description below so we can all help each other out! It’s a fun route that sets out like our Borough Market and Tower Bridge runs, but then instead of crossing the river, continues along the south side all the way to Rotherhithe, with a loop to finish right at ten miles on a nice little basin area outside the Jubilee-line Canada Water station. Quite conveniently, there is also a big Decathlon sports store right nearby if you happen to need any supplies for your training or the race. On Wednesday we’ll do a 2-mile tempo loop around the Regents Park outer circle– see guidance in the Routes section below. And Friday we will return to the 8-mile full Heath route we’ve been working on learning this winter. We may have been lost a few times, but so far everyone has found their way back eventually!
Training notes. You are all doing a great job of showing up and getting the miles in. Now is the time to keep it steady– continue to follow the planned training, but don’t do anything that’s too much of an increase in distance or intensity. Our founder Paula used to say that if your legs are sore on the day after a long run, you are running the wrong pace (too fast). But if you run too slowly on the long run, your hips and knees may scream at you. Concentrate on your own sweet spot, and keep it up with the stretching, rolling, nutrition, hydration, and sleep. Make sure you have the shoes and any other kit you will want for the half, and that you break them in on some mid-distance runs rather than on a long one in which blisters could become an issue. Remember, “nothing new on race day!”
Shoutouts and Announcements. A salute to a few ladies who are running the Vitality Big Half tomorrow in London– Jess Browne, Veena Gopal, and Charlotte Sinclair. Good luck, ladies!! Also tomorrow morning, some members of this year’s Beginners’ Group are running the Regents Park 10K to get that first race under their belts before Prague, despite the London Winter 10K having been cancelled earlier in February.
And finally, a huge shoutout to our fearless founder, Paula Mitchell, who finished the Alps to Ocean Ultra in New Zealand this week! This was a 200-mile, 7 stage event run over 7 days, with stages varying in length from 29k (18 miles) to 88k (54 miles!). Another astonishing achievement by the woman who taught so many of us to run, and who gave all of us the gift of this group! All of her Women Running the World are so proud of her!
Looking ahead. After this week, we have only two more long runs! And this week is our last official tempo run before the half marathon.
Monday, 9 March – Battersea Loop (9 miles)
Wednesday, 11 March – All-WRW Pre-race Coffee (details to come!)
Monday, 16 March – Kew Gardens (11 miles)
Thursday, 26 March – Depart for Prague!
I know I say something like this every week, but… I can’t wait to run with you this week! I love meeting up with the runners from my neighborhood, and seeing others meet up coming from other directions as we all home in toward Barclays three times a week. And then the miles melt away when we’re doing them together, and we get to feel strong all week for what we achieve together! Enjoy the rest of your weekend– see you soon!
Monday, 2 March – Canada Water 10 miles
To view the route in detail, click here to for a zoomable map of the route on our MapMyRun site: https://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/2407126285. This route takes us along the Thames Path past Borough Market and Tower Bridge to Canada Water tube station (Jubilee line) in Rotherhithe. Head to Hyde Park in the usual manner. At the park, cross North Carriage Road, turn right at the silver sphere, and left just after the Italian Gardens, keeping the Serpentine to your left. Turn right at the end of the Serpentine to run along the southern edge of the park to Hyde Park Corner. Proceed towards Borough Market – past Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, across Westminster Bridge, and left along the Thames Path to the Golden Hinde. Follow the walkway to the right of the Golden Hinde and at the junction with Southwark Cathedral, turn sharply left and follow Montague Close, passing through the tunnel. You are now on Tooley Street. Shortly, you will see the “Number 1” bar on the right and a London map sign on the sidewalk – turn left here (photo below)
Turn right at the end of the passage – you are back on the river. Run under Tower Bridge, turn left down the tiny alley called “Maggie Blake’s Cause” (photo below), then right at the river. If you look behind you, you will see Tower Bridge – we don’t usually get this view!
Turn right off the river at Maguire Street (between the Ask Italian restuarant and the Blue Print Cafe). Turn left on Shad Thames and follow Shad Thames until it ends, then turn left on Jamaica Road. After a short stretch on this busy road take a left into George Row (directly opposite the Tesco Metro on the other side of Jamaica Road. The road sign for George Row is hard to see, so keep your eye out for the Tesco.) Follow George Row for a few blocks, heading back towards the river, then turn right onto Chambers Street. After the Thames Water building site on the left take the next left onto Loftie Street, then right at Bermondsey Wall East. Continue along Bermondsey Wall East – you’ll see glimpses of the river to your left. If in doubt, the black Thames Path/Rotherhithe Village signs point the general direction. Go straight through a narrow passage (see photo below) to reach the historic heart of Rotherhithe where the road turns into Rotherhithe Street.
You will soon see a small burial ground on your right, where Christopher Jones, the captain of the Mayflower, is buried. Then on the left you’ll pass The Mayflower pub, named in honor of his ship. Continue along Rotherhithe Street until you come to a red metal bridge — turn right immediately before the bridge and go down the path alongside a canal, keeping the water to your left. (photo below)
At Salter St, cross the road and follow the path with the water on your left, and continue alongside the water/canal until you reach a large open area with Canada Water station (Jubilee Line) to your right and the Canada Water library in front of you. This is the end of the route, you made it!
There is a coffee shop on the left called Mouse Tail Coffee Stories where you can find some refreshments. And, if you want to shop for athletic gear, check out Decathlon just beyond the coffee shop!
Wednesday, 4 March – 2-mile Tempo Regents
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). If you want a longer tempo segment, carry on to the mosque for 2.15 miles or all the way back to the York Bridge turn for 2.75 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– aim for about 30 seconds faster than your anticipated half-marathon pace. Remember this is 2 miles, not 13! If you are not sure of your race pace, this might be an opportunity to gauge it. Below are suggested times, but these are just general guidelines. Please adjust if these are too fast or too slow, and realise that not everyone in your pace group will be running at the same pace for this run.
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, 6 March – 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.
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.