Happy New Year, Runners!
I hope 2022 has begun splendidly for you, and that the long break was filled with good things– whether it was favorite people and places, or simply a chance to relax and recharge! Whatever the news cycle is on a given day, let’s begin our running year together with gratitude and optimism. Every day that begins with a run with friends is something to be grateful for!
Running this week. We like to come back from break with a few old favorites that give us all the flexibility to run together even while adjusting the routes according to whatever kind of running we’ve each been able to do while apart. So Monday we will run the Big Ben route– which can range from 4 to 8 miles. Route instructions for various distances are in the writeup in the ‘Routes’ section below. Whichever you choose to do, don’t forget to greet Big Ben, as it is emerging from the scaffolding cocoon it’s been inside for the last few years! Wednesday we will run the Primrose Hillzzz. We’re extending the warmup run a little bit, and then three hill reps is our official workout. But if that’s too much straight off, we will be repeating this run in a few weeks, so you can do what you are able to this time, and work toward the full three loops (or more?) next time. And Friday we will do our ‘first Friday’ Borough Market run.
Training Note. We are 12 weeks out from our planned half-marathon in Berlin! It’s time to take stock of where we are and look at the training plan that will get us to 13.1 miles. Below is a screenshot of the standard training plan from now to the race. This is what we base our route planning on, but remember it is a guideline, not an absolute prescription! We know that some of you regularly run more miles than this, and that some have to be very careful about mileage totals so as not to get injured. We trust you will tweak the schedule as necessary for your own goals and circumstances.
Just a reminder of a few basic tenets of our training schedule:
- Our long, slow, distance runs are generally scheduled for Mondays. These are our key, endurance-building runs, and they are essential– probably the most important run of the week! They are best done at a steady pace considerably below your race pace. We’ve talked about this before, and I will provide the links and explanation again in an upcoming training note. But trust us, you will benefit from taking these at a contained pace that will build your endurance rather than depleting your legs and your energy!
- We will be offering a tempo workout option most Wednesdays from now until early March. This is the way to improve your speed and pick up your pace if you have time goals for your half (or if you just want to run faster). If you don’t want to do the tempo workouts, no problem! There will definitely be people running a normal mid-distance run on Wednesdays, and that is absolutely fine! A 5-6 mile midweek run, perhaps at a slightly faster pace than your Monday runs, is a perfectly solid training plan!
- We still do hill runs on most Fridays. These are great for building your cardio, strengthening the legs, and getting us up into the green spaces of the Heath! There will always be people who are not running the hills, so if you need to keep to a flat run, you will not be alone. We schedule the Borough Market run the first Friday of every month, and in those weeks we try to work a little bit of hill work into the runs on the days around it (like doing Primrose Hillzzz on Wednesday, or Holland Park the following Monday).
Shoutouts and Announcements. Don’t forget to let us know what shoutouts and recognition to give in our weekly note. As we head into the long, dark part of winter, we’re keen to celebrate every bright spot! It looks like registration is still open for the Cancer Research UK London Winter Run 10K on February 13. Though we do not officially do it as a group, this has been a popular run amongst WRW runners for several years now. There is a good chance you have friends already signed up, and that makes it easy to make an event of it!
There’s an old Irish blessing that goes: “May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam.” I love that an old, wishful saying basically summarizes our daily experience in this group! It’s wonderful to get back to our running routine– can’t wait to see you all in the church gardens Monday morning!
Monday 10 January – Big Ben (4- 8 miles)
On Monday let’s get back into the routine with an oldie but a goodie. We head to Hyde Park via the usual route. Start heading west on Circus Road and turn left on Grove End and follow south as it becomes Lisson Grove. Cross over Marylebone Road and continue on Seymour Place until the end. Turn right and cross over Edgware Road and then left to enter Hyde Park at the intersection with Stanhope Place. Run along the eastern edge of the park to Hyde Park Corner, under Wellington Arch and down Constitution Hill. Run along the edge of Green Park, past the Victoria Memorial and cross The Mall at the traffic light. Run down The Mall and enter St. James Park. Run over the bridge across the lake and out of the park, turning left onto Birdcage Walk and down into Parliament Square to Big Ben. Those running four miles will take the tube back to SJW from here and those running eight will turn around and follow the same route back. You can also make it a five-mile run by turning back at Big Ben and running to the Green Park Tube Station, then tubing it home.
Wednesday 12 January – Primrose Hillzzz (5 miles)
We’re combining hills and intervals this week with Primrose Hillzzz, the zzz for the zig zag hill repeats that are sure to get your hearts pumping and glutes working! We’ve doctored the usual start of the run to give us a little more warmup distance in Regents Park before tackling the first hill.
Head out from St Johns Wood Church Grounds to enter Regents Park by the Mosque. Run straight into the park and turn right after you cross the bridge, following along the water to the end of the lake and then curving around to the right to join the Broad Walk. Turn left and run to the fountain, and then go left to run the diagonal path alongside the zoo. Say hello to the camels, look for the tigers, and carry on out the park at the path that leads across the Outer Circle to Primrose Hill. Once in Primrose, take the first path on your left, run up past the entrance from St Edmund’s Terrace and continue up until the path forks, taking the path to your right all the way up to the top. Enjoy a brief moment taking in the view and then head down the left path all the way to the bottom corner of the park (corner of Albert Terrace and Prince Albert Rd). Run along the bottom of the park, past the Children’s Playground, Cafe and outdoor gym to where you entered the park. Repeat this loop two more times (or more if you like!). On your final loop run back up to the St. Edmund’s Terrace entrance and turn left out of the park. St Edmund’s Terrace will become Allitsen Rd and will take you back to St John’s Wood High St. Turn right and head back to Starbucks.
Friday 14 January – Borough Market (6 miles)
It’s not the first Friday in January, but it’s our first Friday together– so let’s do our Borough Market run! We can grab coffee at Monmouth or Rabot Estates before doing any shopping and catching the tube at London Bridge station back to SJW. Don’t forget your mask and your contactless card! We start by heading to Hyde Park via the usual route. Head west on Circus Road, turn left on Grove End Road. At the corner of St. John’s Wood Road and Grove End Road, cross diagonally at the light and continue south on Lisson Grove. Cross over Marylebone Road and continue south on Seymour Place until it tees into Seymour Street. Turn right and cross over Edgware Road and then take the first left on Stanhope Place to enter Hyde Park at the intersection with Stanhope Place. Run along the eastern edge of the park to Hyde Park Corner, under Wellington Arch and down Constitution Hill. Run past the Victoria Memorial, cross The Mall at the light and turn right at the grand wrought iron gates into St. James Park. Run over the pond and out of the park, turning left onto Birdcage Walk and down into Parliament Square to Big Ben. Continue past Big Ben and cross Westminster Bridge. After the bridge turn left down the stairs to run along the Thames until the river path ends after Southwark Bridge. Just past Southwark Bridge, head right and then a quick left to go into a short tunnel that puts you onto Clink Street. Make a right on Stoney Street to get to the market (and Monmouth Coffee or Rabot Estates!).