Well done on our first official week back to WRW running! We had some cold days, but getting out and running does chase away the chills pretty quickly. We all know the pavements in London are often mysteriously wet in the mornings, even if it hasn’t visibly rained– but we may forget that they become really frosty and slippery when the temperatures dip close to freezing! I’m so relieved we seem to have escaped this week without any big slips, but please do continue to watch your footing if the cold temperatures hold!
Running this week. We have a fun week ahead! Monday we get to run a brand new and really cool route created by routemaster Miki Neant– into some territory we haven’t traditionally covered much. We’re taking a spin around the City, past St Paul’s Cathedral, through Barbican, past a few Banksys, and back to Bond Street tube station for 8 miles, but also with options to go shorter (5, 6.25, or 7 miles) or longer (9.5), as detailed in the writeup below. It’s going to be such a fun and rewarding route, and Amy Grace has given us some audio prompts in the RunGo route. But it will be unfamiliar to many of us, and it gets a little complicated around Barbican– so make sure to study the route ahead of time and keep the directions and/or RunGo handy as you run!
On Wednesday we are doing a track workout at Paddington Recreation Ground, in Maida Vale. We’ll warm up with the run to the track, do some striders, then four sets of 800 meters at an up-tempo pace (see below for details), and then a mile cool-down either within and around the park to finish at the large Starbucks in Maida Vale, or back to St Johns Wood High Street. If you are not doing tempo workouts, then take a runner’s choice local route and meet the rest of your group for coffee afterwards. And finally, on Friday we will head back to the Hill, with a recommendation to carry on up to Highgate this time and then run back across the Heath to our normal exit and return to St Johns Wood, for a 7.5-mile route.
WRW Kit Distribution and Collection. It’s time for the big reveal! Those who ordered 2021-22 WRW kit items last fall will be receiving an e-mail this week with details for kit pickup and payment, and we will finally see this year’s fabulous annual shirt with its mystery colors and slogan, as well as all the other great items brought to us by kitmaster Marissa O’Malia and trip boss Sue Wheeler! In addition we will be collecting for Berlin Half-Marathon expenses (group meals and tours). Watch your Inbox for details, and plan to personally collect and pay for (in cash, please!) your kit on the morning of Tuesday, January 25. The e-mail will provide details on what your total owed will be, so that you will have time to obtain cash for pick-up morning. If you are unable to attend at the given time, please arrange for a friend to do the pickup for you.
Training Notes. In case you missed it in last week’s email, here is our training schedule for the next eleven weeks up to the Berlin Half Marathon. Last week we talked about the weekly schedule of long, slow runs, tempo training, and hill runs. We mentioned that the long, slow distance run is the most important run to stay consistent with. 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.
Save the Date. Whether you are planning to run the half or not, we have some great runs planned for the next few months. Here are some upcoming dates for your calendar:
Tuesday, January 25 – WRW Kit pickup and collection for kit and Berlin trip
Monday, January 31 – Canary Wharf (9 miles)
Sunday, February 13 – London Winter Run 10k
Monday, February 14 – Greenford (9.75 miles)*
Monday, March 7 – Canada Water (10 miles)
Monday, March 21 – Kew Gardens (11 miles)
* optional swap of Monday/Wednesday runs the week of Feb 14 for those running the Winter Run 10k on Sunday
That’s it for now, friends. It was so much fun to see everyone out on our runs this week– you are all looking so strong! Keep running, stay healthy, and don’t forget how lucky we are to be able to run together in this beautiful city! See you out there!
Monday 17 January – Covent Garden/St Paul’s/Barbican Banksy (8 miles)RunGo: https://routes.rungoapp.com/route/u1F8chnwdo
This route finishes at Bond Street tube for 8 miles. You can shorten it easily by getting on the tube at Barbican (5 miles), Chancery Lane (6.25 miles) or Tottenham Court Rd (7 miles). Lengthen it by running back to SJW to add another 1.5 miles.
Exit the church garden SJW high street entrance and turn to the right/south. Cross Prince Albert Rd and turn right onto Park Rd to the Mosque. Turn left onto Hanover Gate and continue straight to enter Regent’s Park. Turn right at the first path and run along the lake. Run straight, cross York Bridge Rd and continue straight until the first exit of the Park on the right – Park Square West.
Run onto Park Square West and cross Marylebone Rd. and run around Park Crescent on the right side. Turn right onto Portland Place. Cross Oxford Street and keep straight onto Regent Street to Piccadilly Circus. Keep straight onto Coventry Street towards Leicester Square. Keep straight, pass Leicester Square Tube station.
At the 6 street junction, keep straight onto Long Acre. After the Covent Garden Tube station, turn right onto James Street to Covent Garden. Go straight through Covent Garden to the other end then turn left towards London Transport Museum. Turn right into a small path onto Tavistock Court and then left onto Tavistock Street. At the end of the street, Turn right onto Drury Ln. At the end, turn left and run along the Aldrich crescents. Continue onto The Strand and then onto Fleet Street, Ludgate Hill, until St Paul’s Cathedral.
Run into St Paul’s Churchyard and turn left to run under the Temple Bar Gate. You are at Paternoster Square – immediately turn right, turn left at the kiosk. After the tube station, cross 2 streets to turn left onto St Martin’s Le Grand, then Aldersgate. Keep right and at the end of the road, just before the roundabout, look for the little entrance on your right to the escalator that invites you to go upstairs.
Cross the footbridge and head towards the Museum of London. Turn right to continue onto Bastion Highwalk. At the first opening, turn left onto Albian Highwalk. Keep running straight onto Gilbert Bridge. Keep straight, pass the huge golden statue on your left. Turn right onto the Speed Highwalk, following the yellow line. At the end, take the stairs down to Moor Lane and turn left.
Turn left onto Chiswell St. As you continue straight, run past the street sign for Lamb’s Passage. Be vigilant and continue straight about 10 meters. STOP in front of Sundial Ct. TURN LOOK BACK! Banksy’s Robb London is there. Continue running towards West on Chiswell St. Keep right and head into the tunnel. At the first street on your right, Golden Lane, STOP! look right on both sides of Golden Lane are 2 Banksys.
Continue running until the end of the tunnel and cross Aldersgate St. You can stop at Barbican tube to make it 5 miles. Otherwise, continue straight onto Long Ln. Turn left at W Smithfield and half way through turn left onto Giltspur St. Turn right on Newgate St and continue straight onto Holborn Viaduct. Continue straight onto Holborn. You can stop at Chancery Lane station for 6.25 miles. Continue straight onto New Oxford Street and then Oxford St. Finish at Bond Street Station or head back to SJW to add another mile and a half.
Wednesday 19 January – Paddington Rec Track intervals (4 x 800s) (approx 5.5 miles total)
Meet as usual, then the groups will jog the 1.5 mile warm-up to the track at Paddington Recreation Ground. Run up to Barclays and turn left on Circus Road, which becomes Hall Rd and then Sutherland Rd (without any turns). There is a crosswalk just before Randolph Ave. and the rotary. Turn right onto Randolph Ave, pass Maida Vale tube, then the entrance to Paddington Rec is on your left on the next block. Look for the red phone booth!
The workout is a total of 5 miles:
– 1.5 mile jog to track
– Stretching and some striders before you begin the workout. (See link for explanation of striders).
– 4 x 800 meters (2 laps) with one lap recovery at a very slow jog in between each 800.
– 1 mile warm down around the park at Paddington and on to the Starbucks in Maida Vale, or a 1 mile warm down back to St. John’s Wood
Two quick tips:
1. Try to run each of the 800s at a similar speed. Ideally you don’t want to push so hard on the first one that you are significantly slower on the last one. It would be better to hold back a bit in the beginning so that you can maintain the same speed or even speed up toward the end. The following are suggested pace group targets, but please adjust according to how you feel, your current fitness level, and whether you have been doing any speed work or tempo runs so far this season:
8’s – 3:30 for 800 metres
9’s – 4:00 for 800 metres
10’s – 4:45 for 800 metres
11’s – 5:15 for 800 metres
12’s – 5:45 for 800 metres
2. See if you can get into a group of 5-8 runners that have a similar pace and then do the workout together. It is so much more fun and inspirational if you tackle this challenge together. You will likely spread out a bit in the running, but when you get to the recovery lap, wait for the others to catch up so that you can start the next interval together.
Friday 21 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 – run the route of your choice in the Heath:
<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