Happy Sunday, and happy London Winter Run-day! I don’t have a count on how many WRW runners are taking part in the Cancer UK 10k in London today, but good luck and well done to all! We can’t wait to see the photos start rolling across our Whatsapp chats!
Running this week. We’re off on an adventure Monday– along the canal west past Wembley and all the way to Greenford (9.6 miles). The stretch past Wembley is very rural in parts, and you will actually feel like you’ve left London behind. This is an excellent training run with no traffic lights, so we’ll get the chance to do some continuous running. Watch your pace – don’t be tempted to go too fast! Remember long, slow runs are the best way to build fuel. This is also a good route to try out your gels (see training note below). We haven’t run this one in a few years, so we are hoping the photos of the exit and the steps in the Routes section below will still be recognizable! The important thing is to look for the numbers on the bridges, we’re exiting at bridge number 15 – NOT 15a– don’t be fooled. Full directions are, of course, in the Routes section below, and we tube home from Greenford (it’s on the Central line).
If you don’t have time for the Greenford jaunt and return trip, you could reprise any of the longer loops we’ve run (Battersea to Big Ben, perhaps?). We have 7 weeks until race day, and our training calendar does have another 9, 10, and 11-miler scheduled. Also, if you ran the 10k today (Sunday), you might want to flip your long run day to Wednesday, and do either an easy shakeout on Monday (maybe the bonus route we’ve also included below) or take the day off.
After going that far afield on Monday, we’ll stick to Hyde Park on Wednesday for our old favorites– the Tempo Triangles (full directions in Routes section below). These are another form of Fartleks, which is training-geek-speak for “periods of fast running intermixed with periods of slower running” and translates from Swedish as “speed play!” So don’t forget to have fun with these! Use the slow jog recoveries as a chance to regroup with your pace group, who will have spread out during the fast interval. Give lots of high fives and encouragement, and practice your finish line smile and ‘victory arms’ on the last one! If you’re not doing tempo work, it’s easy to adapt this one, just run to Hyde Park with your group, do a loop in the park, and either meet them near the silver sphere at the end of the tempo work, or back in St Johns Wood for coffee. And finally, Friday is Runners’ Choice in Hampstead Heath. Huddle up with your pace group and pick your favorite route before heading off on February break.
Training note. Another thing to think about as we continue with the long runs is what type of fuelling you’ll use during the race. This is different for each runner, but most of us will use some kind of gel or chew during a half marathon. The rule of thumb passed on by WRW founder, Paula Mitchell, 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! For most of us, taking a sports gels or some sports gummies or beans at around the 7- or 8-mile mark is the simplest place to start. If needed you can take a second one 35-45 minutes later, but don’t be tempted to take one any sooner than that! If you’ve never used these before it is crucial that you try it out during some of our long training runs to make sure they don’t upset your stomach. Some people prefer gels (GU, Huma, SIS, Clif), which have a consistency of jelly or frosting; and some people prefer blocks or chews (Clif bloks, Jelly Belly Sports Beans), which are similar in consistency to a gummy bear or jelly bean. You can find a selection in most running stores and, of course, online. Talk with other runners in the group if you need suggestions (and sometimes it’s a good idea to split an order online rather than everyone having to buy a case of them). Dates are also a good natural alternative, though they can be a little messier to carry. Again, talk to other runners in the group for suggestions.
Shoutouts and Announcements. As mentioned, a big shoutout to those toeing the line for the London Winter Run 10k this morning! I hope you are having a fabulous time and a great run! Pre-race photos have begun to filter in, but I know there will be more to come with medals and big smiles! Further afield today, Rebeca Ernrooth is running a marathon relay in Greensboro, NC– so a shoutout to her, as well!
Next week (Feb. 21-27) we will take a recovery week (aka, ASL February Break). There will be no e-mail and no official routes. Our training schedule includes a few shorter runs if possible during the week (a 6-mile Monday, and another 4 and 4-6 miles). It’s great if you can get these, or any running in, but don’t worry too much if you can’t– when you get back to London your body will be wanting to run! And at that point we will have five weeks of training to get ourselves primed for the Berlin Half. Another event to look forward to in that timeframe is a fun, new social event organised by Morgan Lintz– pub quiz night for WRW (Big Thanks, Morgan!!)!
Mark your calendars for these events you won’t want to miss:
Monday, March 7 – Canada Water (10 miles)
Wednesday, March 9 – WRW Pub Quiz at the Warrington!! (details to follow)
Monday, March 21 – Kew Gardens (11 miles)
Wednesday, March 23 – pre-race Coffee after run
That’s it for today, runners. Happy “Galentine’s Day” to all of you! (I googled it, and it’s not just a Parks and Rec episode anymore– Cosmo calls it “the only good fake holiday on the calendar”)! It’s meant to be a February 13th celebration of friendship in all its forms, so I’ll celebrate all of you today! And whether in observance of Galentine’s or Valentine’s… check out the little gift we’re including at the very end of this e-mail: the Heart London run created by alum and route creator extraordinaire, Janelle Meyer– just in case you want to let your feet do the talking! Looking forward to seeing you all out on the pavements this week!
Monday 14 February – Greenford (9.6 miles)
We start out the regular way to get on the canal path at Maida Vale heading west. We’ll then run along the canal for about 8 more miles until we exit the canal at Oldfield Lane which is the next exit after Greenford Road. We’re looking for the following bridge which is pretty plain but does have a small black “15” in the center.
Just underneath the bridge there are steps leading up to The Black Horse Pub.
At the top of the steps turn right and run along Oldfield Lane which is a fairly industrial area until you reach the Greenford Station on the right just under the railway bridge. Tube home via the Central Line. If you want to stop for coffee, food or the bathroom, there is a little place with the great name of the Friendly Cafe just past the station on the left. (If you want fancy coffee, turn left at the railway bridge instead of going under, and follow the road until the next intersection where there is a mall with a Costa Coffee.) Note that after Covid and our 4-year hiatus from this route, there is no guarantee these coffee places are still there! But we have faith in our collective ability to find coffee and restrooms!
Wednesday 16 February – Hyde Park Tempo Triangles (fartleks)
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 (approx 0.5-mile interval). 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 (approx 0.8-mile interval). 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 (approx 0.45-mile interval). 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 18 February – Heath – runner’s choice
It’s Friday so up the hill we go! Hills are a great way to build strength and stamina. If you haven’t done them in a while (or ever!), just take it slow. It’s a great feeling to make it up to the top!
<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.
**AND FINALLY…one last bonus for Valentine’s Day… Alumnae and former Routes Team member Janelle Meyer left us this lovely Heart London run. If your running schedule is out of sync because of Sunday’s race, this might be a good alternative run, and a nice way to send love to all those connected to you on Strava or other run trackers!
Heart London – 6.2 miles