Our first full week of running gave us some glorious, sunny skies! For those of us who have weathered the last couple years of on-again-off-again lockdowns and restrictions, it is amazing to be able to run together without policing numbers, and to meet in any number of open cafes for coffee time after the run! One of my personal goals for the year is to hold on to my sense of gratitude for these freedoms it is so easy to take for granted (so, when you see me with a goofy grin on the High Street, you’ll know what’s going on in my head…either that, or I’m over-caffeinated again!).
Running this week. Monday we will head toward Hyde Park, one of our ‘home courts.’ You can do route options that loop back to St Johns Wood from the 5-8 mile distances (see in the Routes section below), or you can do a loop in the park and then hop on the tube at Hyde Park Corner or route yourself to Bond Street or Baker Street for a quick tube ride home. Wednesday we’ll head east on the canal to the Camden Lock, then exit and run through Mornington Crescent to Regents Park for a nice little variation on a 5-mile loop. And Friday we’re still officially headed up the hill to Hampstead Heath, but we’re going to do the Pergola route, which rewards us with a beautiful ‘secret garden’ many Londoners don’t even know about. As always, route maps, directions and links can be found in the “Routes” section below, as well as links to the RunGo turn-by-turn directions.
WRW Training Routine and Plan. As promised, it’s time to give a training overview to those who are new to WRW or haven’t been through a regular running year during Covid times. Generally speaking, our weekly runs fall into a pattern:
- Monday is the longer, slower run each week, in which we stretch out our mileage and endurance as we build to a half marathon in the spring. As our year progresses, some of these will be destination runs (Wembley, Canary Wharf, Kew Gardens, and others).
- Wednesday is generally a shorter run, often a looped route, and always with the option of doing it at a faster pace. When we get a little further into our season we will start to introduce some tempo training options for Wednesdays.
- Friday we usually do hill training, which is why it is a tradition to run up to Hampstead Heath for the most beautiful hills in London. Sometimes we take a break and run to Borough Market, but we really encourage you to work in some of the hill days if you don’t have an injury which prevents it.
As far as the longer-term plan, we have a basic training plan we tweak each year depending on the timing of our destination race. We always factor in ASL school breaks, as so many in our running community have children at the school. If you’d like to take a look ahead, we have old training plans on our website, and we will update them once our race is set. The Routes team has a whole arsenal of fun and practical routes to match the training objectives week-by-week. And by the way, Race Boss Sue Wheeler is working hard to find just the right option for us this spring, but unfortunately a lot of races are holding back on announcing spring dates just yet, so even more than usual she has her work cut out for her!
Finally, not to be too repetitious, but this is important for anyone just joining us… please let us know if you are having trouble finding a pace group that works for you. Most everyone seems to settle in over time, but we all would hate to see anyone struggling to find a place that works for them. We can help, and there is a place for everyone! Let me just give a quick thanks at this point to Jen Iannazzo, who has welcomed so many new runners already this year and is always working to help people find the right pace group.
Announcements and Shoutouts. Another shoutout to all who did the London Summer Run 10K last weekend. It looked like such a fun event, and you all represented so well! I included a few photos last week, and there are some in the lead photos this week as well (my favorite is Miki as a penguin!). Looking ahead, Marigold Dooley is running the Richmond Half Marathon on Sunday– good luck, Marigold! Next weekend is also the officially rescheduled version of the Hampton Court Half Marathon we were meant to run as a group last spring. Many of us completed our half marathon in our fun, improvised Race Week last April, and we sent in our results for the official medal and shirt. (Let us know this week if you never sent for them, and we can pass along the info on how to get it done in time). But some of us may have decided to keep our registrations live on the possibility of running the half in person next Sunday, 19 September. Please let us know if you are planning to run that event OR the Hackney Half next weekend. We want to give shoutouts, of course, but we are also happy to help connect people who are running the various events and may not realise they have WRW co-runners. Also let us know if you are planning to run the London Marathon October 3, either the official route or the virtual version. It’s a WRW tradition to cheer our runners on in this event, and we don’t want to miss anyone!
That’s it for this week. Look for an extra, separate e-mail in the coming days, with introductions of the team working behind the scenes to keep WRW running, as well as some other important information for the year ahead. But in the meantime, I can’t wait to see you in the park and run with you again on Monday! Enjoy the weekend!
Monday, 13 September – Hyde Park 5, 6, 6.5 or 8 miles
Click here for all of the Hyde Park interactive route maps
We start from Barclays, run down Circus Road and turn left on Grove End/Lisson Grove. Cross diagonally at the light to go onto the west side of the street. Cross over Marylebone Rd (now you’re on Seymour Pl) and run until the road ends. Turn right on Seymour St, cross Edgware Rd, and turn left at the next street (Stanhope Pl). Cross into Hyde Park, cross over the Carriage Rd and you’re ready to go.
Hyde Park 5 miles
With this route, run straight when you enter the park and turn left when the path ends. Turn left again at Hyde Park Corner and head back up along the eastern edge of the park before exiting at the Upper Brook St/Animals of War exit. After you cross Park Ln, make your first left onto Park St and keep going until you get to Park Rd. Turn left on Park Rd and make your way back to Starbucks.
Hyde Park 6 miles
Here, turn right at the silver sphere after entering the park. Turn left when you get to N Carriage Rd and run down to the Serpentine. Turn right and then left to run over the bridge. Turn left to run along the Serpentine. Turn left again at the end of the Serpentine and head back up along the eastern edge of the park before exiting at the Upper Brook St/Animals of War exit. After you cross Park Ln, make your first left onto Park St and keep going until you get to Park Rd. Turn left on Park Rd and make your way back to Starbucks.
Hyde Park 6.5 miles
Like the 6 miler above, you turn right at the silver sphere after entering the park. Cross over N Carriage Rd and turn left just after the Italian Gardens. Run along the water (it turns into the Serpentine) and stay right at the end to run along the southern edge of the park, all the way to Hyde Park Corner. Then turn left and head back up along the eastern edge of the park before exiting at the Upper Brook St/Animals of War exit. After you cross Park Ln, make your first left onto Park St and keep going until you get to Park Rd. Turn left on Park Rd and make your way back to Starbucks.
Hyde Park 8 miles
This run takes you around the periphery of the park. As before, you turn right at the silver sphere after entering the park. Cross over N Carriage Rd and keep going until the end of the park. Turn left to run along the edge. Just keep turning left until you’re heading back up along the eastern edge of the park. Exit at Upper Brook St/Animals of War Memorial. After you cross Park Ln, make your first left onto Park St and keep going until you get to Park Rd. Turn left on Park Rd and make your way back to Starbucks.
Wednesday, 15 September – Camden Lock/Mornington Crescent/Regents Park (5 miles)RunGo: https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/QROqFQPvJi
Head to the canal going eastbound to Camden Lock, where we cross the small, cobblestone bridge, exit the canal and turn right onto Camden High Street. Take the first right turn onto Jamestown Road and then the first left onto Arlington Road. Run straight down Arlington Road, make a slight right onto Mornington Crescent, follow it around and turn right onto Hampstead Road. At the first intersection, turn left onto Granby Terrace and the second left onto Stanhope Street. Continue down Stanhope until we reach Trinton Square. Turn right and run between the office buildings at Regent’s Place, past the nice fountains, to the end of Trinton Street. Use the pedestrian crossings to cross Osnaburgh Street and Albany Street. Head left to the intersection of Euston Road, where you take a right and run briefly along Euston Road. At Park Square East, turn right through the gates towards Regent’s Park. We enter the park at the Outer Circle intersection and follow the paths on the east side of the park to take in the Frieze sculptures, cross the Broad Walk at the ornamental fountain and head along the path with the Zoo to our right. Turn left onto the Outer Circle, past the Avenue Road exit, and right at the second exit (where we usually enter for the canal or park). Run up Charlbert Street to St John’s Wood Terrace, make a left, and head back to Starbucks.
Friday, 17 September – – The Heath Pergola (6.3 mile)
RunGo link: https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/soXpd8ec3K/edit
Head out from Barclays to Avenue Road, then up Fitzjohn’s per all the Heath routes.
In order to help with sidewalk crowding, we are assigning pace groups to run on opposite sides of Fitzjohn’s. The 8s and 10s should run up the left (west) side while the 9s and 11s should run up the right (east).
Continue past Hampstead Tube Station all the way to the roundabout just beyond Whitestone Pond. At the roundabout, use the pedestrian crossings to cross counterclockwise over to New End Way to Jack Straws Castle (now a personal training gym) and continue past the parking lot entrance and past the bus stop to turn left onto a small street called Inverforth Close. A short way down, there is a trail to the right with a green barrier gate and a sign that says “The Hill Garden.” Here are pictures of the trail:
Follow this trail until you come to an entrance on the left for “The Hill Garden and Pergola”, enter it and go to the right around the big bushes. You will see a beautiful reflecting pool. Run alongside it and up the stairs-you are on the Pergola! Run or walk the length of the Pergola. Don’t forget to look at the beautiful views, admire the flowers and take a pic or two. Please be considerate and don’t run if others are walking the Pergola. When you have finished with your Pergola time and reached the far end, take the stairs down and turn left to run on the wide trail back to New End Road, turning right to run by Jack Straws Castle and crossing left at the pedestrian crosswalks by the roundabout to put you back on the standard Heath route. Turn left from the crosswalk and then right to enter the Heath. Run the wide path as usual but don’t turn left to run up Parliament Hill. Instead, veer right at that juncture and follow the trail across the ponds. After the ponds, the trail veers left and shortly after there is an opportunity to take a right turn on the intersecting trail that heads towards E. Heath Rd (taking you next to the fields used for the Art Fair, parking etc at different times of the year). Cross E. Heath Rd at the pedestrian crossing, then run on Downshire Hill Rd to Haverstock Hill Rd. Turn Left on Haverstock Hill, running home the usual way (turn right on Belsize Ave, left on Lancaster Grove, right on Crossfield, right on Adamson, then cut through the Swiss Cottage public area by the Hampstead Theatre, turning onto Fitzjohns to St Johns Wood Park Rd to St Johns Wood Terrace and then to Starbucks).
And of course there are always the other Heath routes if you prefer:
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.