Can you believe we are already into March?? We are rapidly closing in on the Berlin trip– and we are nearly ready! This week is our last tempo-training session, and we have only three more long runs before we taper for the half marathon. You have been amazing at showing up every week and putting in the preparation, with lots of spirit, as evidenced by the smiling photos above!
Running this week. Breaking it down a little this week, since there’s more than usual to say about each day this time…
Monday we are off to Canada Water! It’s a 10-mile run that follows the Borough Market route before carrying on along the Thames, past Tower Bridge and on through Bermondsey, and through historic Rotherhite to the Canada Water tube station (Jubilee line). Note that there is a big Decathlon sports store right near the end of the run, so it’s a great chance to shop for gels, rollers, or whatever other training needs you may have.
Wednesday is our last scheduled tempo workout before the half marathon! For the occasion we have resurrected an old tempo workout with a track element and fartleks in Regents Park. Please see the Routes section below for complete instructions. It’s a challenging workout, but a fun one to take on with your pace group friends– and you will feel great afterwards! If you are not doing speed work this season, consider a short- to mid-length run in the park and a meetup for coffee on the High Street, or to head over to the first-time half-marathon Q&A session (see more info below).
Friday we have scheduled our hill run to go up and around the Heath to Finsbury Park. This route takes in the ‘Spriggan’ statue along the Parkland Walk, as well as bagels at Happenin’ Bagels; but if you can’t take the time for the destination run, you can still run with the group up our standard Heath route to the usual park entrance.
Training note. Nothing too in-depth this week, but just a reminder to take good care of yourself in this last month leading to the race. Our miles will climb for another few weeks, so we need to be extra good to our bodies while we are asking for extra effort from them. Stretch. Use a foam roller (there are many resources online for how to do this– here’s one from Runner’s World). Take care to follow good hydration and nutrition principles. Pay attention to the state of your shoes (is it time to replace them? are they right for you?). Our group ranges from super-experienced runners to some doing their first half marathon (and eclipsing their previous longest run each week!), so there is no one-size-fits-all plan we can put out there for these consideration. Also… we’re not professionals– we’re just ‘a group of friends running together for fun and fitness (and coffee)’! But within our group we have a wealth of experience and training. So reach out to us, or talk to people in your pace group if you need ideas and suggestions. And lastly, if you are experiencing an ache or pain that is concerning, see a professional. Addressing it early can help you find a better and quicker resolution.
Announcements and Events. As your race team works feverishly (read: on a last-minute basis!) to prepare some video entertainment for the post-race celebration, expect to see some filming happening at meetups and during the runs this week. Don’t be camera shy, and do show up for the runs if you can– we want to include as many of you as possible!
First-time Half Marathon info session… Wednesday, 9:30ish, 16 Blenheim Rd. This Wednesday, after the run we will be holding an info session for people who are preparing for their first (or first in a while) half marathon . Everyone is welcome, of course, but we expect to concentrate on race basics that might be a bit old-hat if you’ve previously run (formally organised) half marathons. Bring your questions, as well as a coffee if you want one. Thank you to Devy Schonfeld for so generously hosting us!
WRW Pub Quiz… Wednesday 6:30 (doors), The Warrington. Also on Wednesday, there will be a fun, social, non-running event to round out the March 9 activities– the WRW Pub Quiz at the Warrington in Maida Vale! Big thanks to Morgan Lintz for organising us! All are welcome to this event, but please RSVP here so we can keep a headcount for the pub. Doors open at 6:30, quiz begins at 7:30– see the evite for more details!
Mark your calendars… As we close in on our Berlin trip (less than a month away!), that has become the focus of our events calendar. Following are the upcoming events/runs to keep in mind up to April 3, and we will soon add to the list some of the fun runs we always do in the weeks after the race. Stay tuned!
Wednesday, March 9 – race tips info session after run (around 9:30) at Devy’s house –
Wednesday, March 9 – WRW Pub Quiz at the Warrington!! (details here)
Monday, March 21 – Kew Gardens run (11 miles)
Wednesday, March 23 – Pre-race Coffee (after run, in Regents Park)
Sunday, April 3 – Berlin Half Marathon!!!!
I know I say this all the time, but it is such a joy to run with you– and to share in this community. Thank you for making it what it is: for being generous to one another in time and in spirit, for cultivating a kind and supportive atmosphere for all, and for taking on our weekly challenges together with positive attitudes and a sense of fun! Can’t wait to see you out there this week!
Monday, 7 March – Canada Water (10.3 miles)
This route takes us along the Thames Path past Borough Market and Tower Bridge to Canada Water tube station (Jubilee line) in Rotherhithe. Head to Hyde Park in the usual manner. At the park, cross North Carriage Road, turn right at the silver sphere, and left just after the Italian Gardens, keeping the Serpentine to your left. Turn right at the end of the Serpentine to run along the southern edge of the park to Hyde Park Corner. Proceed towards Borough Market – past Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, across Westminster Bridge, and left along the Thames Path to the Golden Hinde. Follow the walkway to the right of the Golden Hinde and at the junction with Southwark Cathedral, turn sharply left and follow Montague Close, passing through the tunnel. You are now on Tooley Street. Shortly, you will see the “Number 1” bar on the right and a London map sign on the sidewalk – turn left here (photo below)
Turn right at the end of the passage – you are back on the river. Run under Tower Bridge, turn left down the tiny alley called “Maggie Blake’s Cause” (photo below), then right at the river. If you look behind you, you will see Tower Bridge – we don’t usually get this view!
Turn right off the river at Maguire Street (between the Ask Italian restuarant and the Blue Print Cafe). Turn left on Shad Thames and follow Shad Thames until it ends, then turn left on Jamaica Road. After a short stretch on this busy road take a left into George Row (directly opposite the Tesco Metro on the other side of Jamaica Road. The road sign for George Row is hard to see, so keep your eye out for the Tesco.) Follow George Row for a few blocks, heading back towards the river, then turn right onto Chambers Street. After the Thames Water building site on the left take the next left onto Loftie Street, then right at Bermondsey Wall East. Continue along Bermondsey Wall East – you’ll see glimpses of the river to your left. If in doubt, the black Thames Path/Rotherhithe Village signs point the general direction. Go straight through a narrow passage (see photo below) to reach the historic heart of Rotherhithe where the road turns into Rotherhithe Street.
You will soon see a small burial ground on your right, where Christopher Jones, the captain of the Mayflower, is buried. Then on the left you’ll pass The Mayflower pub, named in honor of his ship. Continue along Rotherhithe Street until you come to a red metal bridge — turn right immediately before the bridge and go down the path alongside a canal, keeping the water to your left. (photo below)
At Salter St, cross the road and follow the path with the water on your left, and continue alongside the water/canal until you reach a large open area with Canada Water station (Jubilee Line) to your right and the Canada Water library in front of you. This is the end of the route, you made it!
Wednesday 9 March – Tempo Track Work and Fartleks
This week we are back to track work and Fartleks, which are short up-tempo bursts interspersed into the run.
Head down to the Regents Park Outer Circle the normal way, down Wellington, left at roundabout, cross zebra before the High Street, enter outer park at Charlbert but do not go into the park, instead turn left on the outer circle and run slowly to the track. Run ONE lap at the track, gradually increasing your speed. Now, time to really run!
Do a timed one mile on the track [4 laps in the middle lane is pretty close] or you can set your watch to give you a one mile interval. Run this mile at about 80-85% of your maximum capacity. If it were a scale of 1-20 [where 20 is a level of intensity that you could do for 1-2 seconds before you collapse], your timed mile should be a 16-17 [yikes!]. After your timed mile, jog another lap, slowly, around the track to recover, then continue to run slowly over the Regents Park.
Now, we’ll do about a 15-20 minute group Fartlek session. This is how it works: break into small groups (3-5 runners) based on your sprint pace—the fastest group needs to be in front. Separate each group by a couple of minutes before you start running again. Someone in each group identifies the ‘run-to’ point [a bench, a rubbish can, a particular tree, etc] then counts down 3,2,1, ‘GO!’ Everyone in that group runs as hard as possible to the established ‘run-to’ point. The distance of each fartlek should be different—mix up longer legs [maybe 200 meters] with shorter legs [maybe 20 meters]. You can do the loop outlined in the map below or just pick your own path until you’ve done about 15-20 minutes of fartleks.
Now, jog back over to the track and do ANOTHER timed mile to try to meet or better the time you had from your first timed mile.
Run, walk or crawl back to Starbucks and enjoy a much-earned coffee and chat!
Friday 11 March – Finsbury Park via Highgate and Parkland Walk (7 miles)
For this run we start up Fitzjohn’s as if we’re going to the Heath, but pass the Heath entrance and continue up Spaniards/Hampstead Lane into Highgate. Bear right onto Highgate High Street. Turn left down Southwood Lane (the road next to Gail’s) and go down the hill, then veer to the right (not a hard right turn!) onto Jackson’s Lane. Continue down Jackson’s to Archway Road and make a right, then a relatively quick left onto Holmesdale Road. Run a short distance on Holmesdale and the entrance to Parkland Walk will be on your left. Follow the path to Finsbury Park, cross over the train tracks, turn right and run along the western edge of the park and exit onto Seven Sisters Road. Happening Bagel is across the street, Costa is to the right, and Finsbury Park Station is further down on the right (on the Piccadilly and Victoria tube lines).