What a joy to run with you all this week! Even though it was cold, it was so much fun to get back to our classic Canary Wharf route, and to see so many of our newer runners experiencing it for the first time. Extra kudos to the groups who had to creatively manage their schedules to get the trip in on Wednesday. The Primrose Hillzzz were just as much fun as always, as we all circled the hills together. And finally, oh my goodness, what a fantastic ‘bonding’ experience for all those runners who made it to Borough Market through a very soggy Friday!
Running this Week. This week we’ll step down our Monday mileage just a bit with an 8-mile trip through Holland Park to Green Park. This is a really great route, but do be careful those first two miles on the canal if, as expected, it rains today and is near freezing tomorrow morning. An easy alternative route we’ve used in the past if necessary on icy days is the full 8-mile Hyde Park route. On Wednesday we will continue mixing in a weekly tempo session. The route follows the Regents Park Outer Circle, with a two-mile segment at faster than our race pace. See the Routes writeup below to calculate your target pace and get the landmarks for your start and stop points (and don’t forget to cool down with an easy jog!). If you are not doing speed training (no worries!), just do the route at regular pace, or even add a trip around the Inner Circle when you get to York Gate. And Friday we have a changed-up Heath route, through Golders Hill, into the Pergola, and back out to finish with the regular route through and back from the Heath. Check in with your Whatsapp group for alternate times if the ASL Parent Teacher conferences mean a change in your running schedule.
Looking ahead/training notes. A reminder that next Sunday, February 13 is the Cancer UK London Winter Run 10k. I know that many runners are planning to participate, so look to your Whatsapp chats if you’d like to connect with a group, or reach out to your pace group leader (or here) to help you connect. There are still spaces in the race if you want to join in! A note from some who have registered and already been through the event notes– there will not be water available on the course. So do bring your own hydration if you are running it.
We have some great runs planned for the next few months. Some of our favorite race-prep destination runs take a little more time out of our days, so mark your calendar for these (slightly epic) WRW pilgrimmages:
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
If you are running the Berlin Half at the beginning of April, or another race anytime soon, this is a good time to start thinking about your personal goals for the race. Do you want to run it comfortably and finish feeling strong? Do you want to hit a personal best or a target time? Are you planning to run with a friend, or alone? Your answers will affect how you think about your remaining weeks of training. For example, if you are going for a personal best, you’ll want to keep up with all the tempo training. If you are thinking of running with a friend, you will want to begin to talk together about goals, pace, and how you will respond if one or the other of you is feeling stronger on race day. Please keep in mind as you think about these points, that all of us within the group– even within a pace group– may not be on the same page about goals, pace, and where running fits in our lives. The beauty of WRW is the way we support each other every time we lace up our shoes– no matter our running experience, speed, or plans.
And… speaking of lacing up shoes, think about the timing on replacing your running shoes, and any other essential gear, between now and the race. The rule is ‘nothing new on race day’ so be sure to plan ahead!
Okay, somehow I always end up saying more than I meant to. If you’re still reading, thanks, as always, for bearing with me to the end! Have a wonderful Sunday, and I will see you in SJW Church Gardens in the morning for another great run together.
Monday 7 February – Holland Park to Green Park (8 miles)
We start out the same as our traditional Notting Hill Route: Circus Rd to Grove End, to St Johns Wood Rd to Cunningham, to Blomfield to the Canal, going west past the Westway to Ladbroke Grove. Once on Ladbroke Grove, run south all the way until it ends at Holland Park Avenue. Cross Holland Park Avenue, take a right and then a left on Holland Walk, just past Aubrey Road. Holland Walk is a pedestrian way. Run up Holland Walk until the first entrance into Holland Park on your right, opposite the Duchess of Bedford Walk. Run into the park and then turn left on the Broad Walk which goes the length of Holland Park. Just before it ends at Kensington High Street take a left onto the quiet Phillimore Walk. Follow Phillimore Walk, which runs parallel to Kensington High Street, until you reach Hornton Street, where we take a right and then a left onto Kensington High Street. Continue on until you reach Kensington Gardens, where you enter it at the junction with the Broad Walk, just before Palace Gate Road. Take the Broad Walk to the first path on the right which turns into South Carriage Drive. You’ll run past The Albert Memorial and cross West Carriage Drive at the light. Continue on South Carriage Drive all the way to Apsley House/Hyde Park Corner. Cross over Piccadilly and run under Wellington Arch, then cross at the light to run along the path to the left of Constitution Hill, the same route we take in going to Big Ben. At the Mall, turn left to run to the easternmost path of Green Park, turn left and run by Lancaster House and up to Green Park Tube. After some striders, you can hop on the tube, or head across Piccadilly for Starbucks or Joe and the Juice in Berkeley Street.
Wednesday 9 February – Regents tempo run – 1+ mile warmup; 2 mile tempo run at sub race pace; 1 mile cool down
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). 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. Remember this is 2 miles, not 13, so it should be faster than race pace. Everyone should be aiming for about 30 seconds faster than your race pace. If you are not sure of your race pace, this might be an opportunity to begin to gauge it. Below are suggested times, but these are just general guidelines. Please adjust if these are too fast or too slow!
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
For the 12s – 11:55 per mile
Friday 11 February – Heath Golders Loop – 7 miles
We’re exploring another part of the heath today! Head up Fitzjohn’s as usual BUT cross the road at the pedestrian crossing (opposite Oriel Place on the right and before the Tesco on the left) and backtrack a bit to turn into Church Row. Follow Church Row all the way until Frognal where we turn right and then quickly make a left onto Redington Road. Follow Redington Road as it curves around to the right until reaching the T junction with West Heath Road, where we turn left. Cross West Heath Road at the zebra crossing, continue left until you make a right onto a wide dirt path. There are many options of looping the whole park and seeing the zoo or the deer enclosure but for now we will cut straight through the woods, crossing a few paths, almost to the other side. Take a sharp right near the edge of the wooded area and some buildings. After the path curves to the right, take the first left and head uphill towards the pergola which will be on our right. We run out Inverforth Close, head right on N End Way back up to the roundabout where we cross to enter the heath at the usual Friday entrance. Run down the main path towards Parliament Hill but bear right at the bottom past the ponds and out to Downshire Hill. At the end of Downshire Hill, turn left down Rosslyn Hill and right on Belsize Ave to head back to St John’s Wood the usual way.