Sooo many lights! What a fun week to run together– the early start for the Lights Run is a little brutal, but so rewarding! And extra, extra credit for those who were so creative with holiday attire at that hour (Carol, Fernanda, Abby, Meredith, Alysia, Vera, Charlotte, Roni… I’m looking at you guys! But also sure I’m missing some– it was early, and dark!)
Running this week. Don’t forget to don your crazy tights apparel for Monday’s festive run through the holiday baubles and decorations of Chelsea. And since we’re going to the trouble, let’s take a moment before leaving the park to gather up for a big, group photo opp. This run is a new addition to our repertoire, based on one created by Janelle Meyer last December. We hope the baubles we visited last year will be there again this year, but even if not, it should be a fun run on new streets!
Wednesday we have lined up our first tempo workout for this year– the Regents Park pyramids. See the description in the Routes section below on how to do this run. If you prefer not to do tempo training or you have an injury or other consideration, there is always the option to do a usual, looped Wednesday 5-6 mile route instead– no questions asked! But otherwise, why not give this workout a try? If it seems intimidating, just remember that you are in control of how you do your fast runs; and also remember it is natural to have women of all different fast speeds in the same pace group. Your group likely will start to separate on the hard running intervals, but you can use the recovery jogs to regroup so that you set off on the next interval together.
Finally, Friday we will head back up the hills to Hampstead Heath. Pick your route with your group, enjoy the view from the top, and meet your friends from all pace groups back in St Johns Wood for coffee!
Training note. As we begin to add in a tempo training option on Wednesdays, you might like to read over these notes from our founder, Paula Mitchell (scroll down past the stretching section at the start of this page– but also, don’t forget to stretch!). Tempo runs are what help us increase our speed and build the physical and mental endurance to hold a faster pace for a longer time. They are key to improving speed if you have a time goal for the half marathon or any other race. There are so many training resources available online, and they go into varying degrees of technicality and specificity on the different types of tempo/speed training. For our purposes at the whole-group level, we will keep it simple for this one: the ‘running hard’ intervals mean you are pushing yourself out of your comfort zone into a pace that is only sustainable for you for a short time (ideally the 1-, 2-, or 3-minute interval in the workout!). Again, that pace will vary from runner to runner even within the same pace group, and that is fine!! Here are a few things (again, from Paula!) you could think about to help you during the fast intervals:
- swinging your arms straight forward and backward (if they come across your body, they slow you down),
- relaxing your arms/shoulders by shaking out your hands (don’t keep your hands in fists),
- thinking about increasing your foot turnover instead of just running faster (you’re not lengthening stride, but picking up your foot faster– like a hot potato game), and
- keeping your chin up and shoulders back (hunching over compresses your lungs and decreases your oxygen intake ability).
Most of all, try to have a little fun with these different workouts! There is NO judgement here about how fast you do them OR whether you choose to do them. But for anyone with a time goal or a desire to increase speed overall, these workouts will help.
Shoutouts and announcements. Such a big shoutout to give today… (drumroll)… Miki Neant has finished her goal of running the distance from London to Kabul this year! That’s 4166 miles (6704km)! Miki took on this challenge to benefit an organisation called Free to Run, which supports women and girls in conflict-affected areas of the world. You can read more about her personal running journey and this epic endeavor here. We are so inspired by both your running and your heart, Miki!
Please let us know what you’ve been up to, so we can give you a shoutout! And apologies if I miss anyone (I absolutely have the nagging feeling I’m forgetting someone now even as I write). I don’t often know what’s happening with our alums, but I did see that Bridget Perry ran the Seattle Marathon last Sunday, and Chris Roberts ran the Atlanta Thanksgiving Half Marathon on– Thanksgiving!– to complete the Atlanta Triple Peach series. Congratulations and well done to both of you!
Registration is still open for the 2022 London Winter Run 10k to be held February 13. This is a popular race with many WRW runners, and it is good timing on our training calendar and a good opportunity to remember what a race atmosphere feels like for those who are headed to Berlin in April!
In other news, the weather apps claim we are going to be rained upon all week. We know that’s not a problem– running in the rain just makes us feel all that much more awesome when we finish (at least, after we dry off!). But just a cautionary word to all at this time of year, that should temperatures dip a little lower than predicted, we may get some icy pavements. Please pay attention as you head out this week. Areas that tend to get icy first include the canal walkways, bridges, and sometimes the pavements in the Heath.
I’ll close the note today with a photo from a few runners who braved the rain early this morning for a trip to the Columbia Rd Flower Market for festive goodies. Looks like so much fun! I can’t wait to get out there and run with you all this week! But meanwhile, hope you are keeping warm and happy this weekend. Warm and light wishes especially for those of you celebrating Hanukkah! See you tomorrow morning…
Monday 6 December – CRAZY TIGHTS RUN! Chelsea Baubles to Green Park – 7 miles
We are going to tour some of Chelsea’s holiday decorations on this run so keep your eyes peeled as you’re running to so you don’t miss anything! We start out the usual way to Hyde Park, down Lisson Grove to Gloucester St and over to Hyde Park. Once in the park, run straight and keep going straight to the southern edge of the park. Cross over the street and pass the French Embassy. Cross the street and turn right and then bear left onto Brompton Rd just after Sloane St. Run down Brompton for about half a mile and turn left onto Egerton Terrace, then right on Egerton Gardens and left on Egerton Crescent. At the end of the crescent, turn left and then left again to get back onto Brompton Rd. Shortly, turn left onto Draycott Ave and take your first left onto Walton St. After a quarter mile, turn right onto Lenox Garden Mews and continue straight onto Halsey St and then a right onto Cadogan St. When that street merges into Cale St, cross immediately and turn left onto Godfrey St. Turn right at King’s Road and run a little over a quarter mile where you will turn right into Carlyle Square. Run around the square and make a right onto King’s Road again and then a quick left onto Old Church St. Run down to the river, taking a left onto Chelsea Embankment and the first left onto Cheyne Walk. Take the second left onto Cheyne Row and then a right onto Upper Cheyne Row and then the first left onto Oakley St. Take a right onto King’s Road and run to Sloane Square, crossing the square diagonally to get onto Sloane Square Rd which turns into Cliveden Pl. Run through Eaton Square and at Grosvenor Gardens, cross over straight onto Lower Grosvenor Place. Turn left onto Buckingham Palace Rd and then left at Spur Rd. Cross in front of the palace, making sure to wave hi to the Queen. Continue to Green Park and the tube.
Wednesday 8 December – Regent’s Tempo Pyramids
We will now start focusing on tempo running on Wednesdays. This week we will do ‘pyramids’—they are fast but also fast to be done with so give them a try!
Head over to Regents 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 (or when you feel properly warmed up– take more time if you need it!), 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 ‘pyramid’ 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
You can use the recovery time to circle up and reconnect with your pace group, as everyone will do the hard run at different paces. This kind of workout is much more fun if done as a group, and it’s obviously about progressing up and back down through the intervals rather than about the route. 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 Regents Park, just keep looping however you see fit.
Friday 10 December – The Heath
It’s Friday, so time to head up the hill! Choose from any of our routes, from 5 to 8 miles.
<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.