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Week 1 of the new schedule! – but really it’s Week 9

Posted on February 28th, 2021 by

Congrats on all of those fast miles this week, Chasers! This week, we will be starting part 2 of the schedule, appropriately named The Great Lockdown Escape. We are continuing with paired runs over the next few weeks, but then we will be able to start back with groups of 6 and track from March 29th! The next 6 weeks will be leading up to a 3k race, which we are hoping to be able to schedule in at Parliament Hill Track in some shape or form – stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed.

This week’s speed session (or workout of the week), will be a pretty straightforward but challenging one:

5-6 x {800m (at your 5k pace) [400m jog recovery]}. Total of 4000-4800m hard with 2000-2400m recovery

If you don’t feel like measuring out 800m or treking way over to Paddington Recreation ground where the track is still open, then you can either do a time-based option based on what your customized schedule on the website says (preferred option!!) or try the following:

5-6 x {3 min (at your 5k pace) [2 min jog recovery]}. Total of 15-18 min hard with 10-12 min recovery

Get at least a good 10-15 min of easy running before and after the session to warm up and cool down.

Happy Running!



Week 8: Spring and speed is in the air

Posted on February 21st, 2021 by

You’ve made it to the last week of Part 1 of the Speeding up for Spring Schedule, Chasers. Congrats! What better way to celebrate than a mile time trial?! ūüėČ (and hopefully some easing of restrictions; fingers crossed for tomorrow). There is still a bit of work to do this week before the time trial though, so let’s get to it!

First up, we have a progression run, which will help you with some eventual longer distances. The total length of the run is 1 hour, broken down as follows:

  • ¬†10 min of easy running to warm up
  • ¬†40 minutes where you progressively get faster every 10 minutes. The guide for the pacing is your estimated marathon pace + 20 sec for the first 10 minutes, and then speed up by 10 sec for each subsequent 10 min. This is assuming you are calculating your pace min minutes/mile! If you’re calculating in min/kilometer, then it’s more like 6 or 7 sec every 10 minutes. This is a guide though; essentially you’ll want to go a bit slower than a steady pace at the beginning and then be going a bit faster than a steady pace by the end. Don’t go crazy, because you’ll need those legs for the mile time trial!
  • 10 min of easy running to cool down

For your usual Thursday speed session, you will be warming up the legs for the mile time trial. It’s just an easy 3 miles run followed by 4 sets of 100m strides at the end to get those legs ticking over.

You can obviously choose to do the mile trial at a time that suits you best, but the schedule is optimized to give you a¬†several days after the progression run of easy running before “race day”. As a reminder, the two “official routes” for the mile are either in Regent’s Park or Victoria Park. See the Strava links below.

  • Regent‚Äôs Park ‚Äď https://www.strava.com/routes/2789261528418718246
  • Victoria Park ‚Äď https://www.strava.com/routes/2796131768464354712

Good luck with the time trial this week, have fun and run safely! This means being cautious of others as well as warming up and cooling down appropriately.

Part 2 of the Speeding up for Spring Schedule will be posted soon.

Happy Running!



Week 7: All you need is love…and hills?…and speedwork?

Posted on February 14th, 2021 by

This week you will be using those leftover valentines chocolates and candy¬†to fuel the last set of Kenyan hills and some more mile speedwork…all gearing up for next week’s mile time trial!

First up we have a 2 x 20 minute Kenyan hill session with 3-5 minutes recovery between the sets. This is a tough one, but the prior 10 and 15-minute sessions have laid the groundwork. Again, try to do it on the same hills that you did the prior sessions; it will be the best way to guage your improvement.

For this week’s speedwork, we will be building on the mile-pacing session you did this past week, just adding a bit more distance with fewer reps. After at least a 10 minute warm-up and some drills, the session is:

6-8 x {600m (1 mile pace) [3min rest/recovery]}. Total 3600-4800m

I know 600m can be an awkward distance to measure out, but some of the straightaways in Regent’s Park around the Hub are around the right distance and will give you good pactice for one of our official mile routes for next week! So about that mile … ūüôā There are currently two route options for you to choose from:

  • one in Regent’s Park – https://www.strava.com/routes/2789261528418718246
  • and one in Victoria Park for those located further east – https://www.strava.com/routes/2796131768464354712

Have fun this week – I know I’m looking forward to seeing who tops the leaderboard! Looks like our Chaser ladies are tough to beat.

Happy Running!



Week 6: Gearing up for the mile (approximately 1038 port-a-loos)

Posted on February 7th, 2021 by

Welcome to week 6 of Speeding up for Spring, Chasers! That pesky groundhog in Pennsylvania may have declared 6 more weeks of winter, but there is only 2 more weeks until we test out your training in our mile competition (routes to follow next week!).

This week, we are still taking a break from Kenyan hills but instead will be including some threshold/tempo work along with some continued¬† focus on mile-specific training. The Tuesday session some easy miles to warm-up, followed by some miles at tempo pace, and then some easy cool down miles. The exact mileage and pacing will depend on what you have put into the website for your goal times. Generally, your threshold pace should be what you can hold for approximately 1 hour at your best effort. For many runners, this will be¬†somewhere between your 10k and 10 mile pace. This type of run can be a useful “bridge” between your longer Sunday runs and your speed work. If you want to read more from an expert, here is a nice article from Jack Daniels:¬†https://www.runnersworld.com/advanced/a20807282/threshold-training/

For this¬†week’s speed session, you will be honing in on that mile pace, doing the following:

8-10 x {400 (1mile pace) [2min static rest or recovery jog]}. Total 3200-4000m.

Again, this week, I won’t provide a time-based alternative, as you will be able to best get that from the website. This is the session that will count toward this week’s leaderboard, so find a good spot and give it your all! The Chaser ladies are looking fierce!

And finally, if you have ever wondered how many¬†of “those that shouldn’t be named”¬†are in a mile…well now you know ūüôā

Happy Running!



Week 5: More Pace Training and Friendly Competition

Posted on January 31st, 2021 by

I hope you’re all enjoying the new Leaderboard! For this week, we will be taking a break from Kenyan Hills, which should leave you plenty of time for the speed session as well as getting in this week’s competition of 4-6 continuous miles (the substitute Chingford League race).

For the speed session this week, you will be focusing in again on practicing your pacing. It is a very similar session to the one you did two weeks ago, but this time you will be getting faster instead of slower. I know some of you found the first session challenging because you naturally ended up speeding up a bit instead of going slower. This can happen as your body warms up and finds its rhythm. However, that does not mean that this week’s session will necessarily be easier! In some ways, it should be harder because you will need to start out controlled so you¬†CAN get faster. The original session via distance is:

4-5x {400m (10k pace) 400m (5k pace) 200m (3k pace), 200m (1m pace) [3min rest/recovery]} = Total 4800-6000m

A time-based variation for this week is:

4-5x {2min (10k pace) 90s (5k pace) 1min (3k pace), 30s (1m pace) [3min rest/recovery]} = Total 20-25 min fast running with 12-15 min recovery

Again, the most personalized way to do a timed version, though, will be to get your goal times from the website. If you want to do it by time, this is what I highly recommend. If your goal 10k time is <50 min, then the time-based suggestion above may have you trying to sustain some of the paces for too long. Similarly, if your 10k time is >55min, then the time-based suggestion may not push you hard enough. But, I want to give you the option if you did the time-based variation in week 2. 

As always, warm-up with some easy running and drills and cool down with some easy running and stretches.

For those of you who are coming back from illness/injury or may not have started from the beginning of Week 1, please do exercise caution as the sessions are meant to build on each other. Your cardiovascular fitness develops faster than musculoskeletal fitness. So for those easing back into running, please do ease back in. Although a run may feel easy and good on your lungs and heart, your muscles and tendons may not be there yet. (A lesson I am still learning!)

Happy Running!



Strava Link-Up and Training Competition

Posted on January 27th, 2021 by

I’ve hooked up the Chasers website to Strava so we can download your training data and use it for club competitions without you having to lift a finger. This has allowed me to put together a leaderboard of the best training sessions this week.


This screenshot (taken at an opportune moment when I happened to be at the top of the leaderboard) shows you what to expect.

Every run has been given a percentage ranking. A score of 100% means that it matches the handicap we have computed for you (which in turn depends upon your recent best age graded performance and the time elapsed since you achieved it). To be precise, we take the time and distance for your run, use our calculator to compute the equivalent time for a 5K and then take the ratio between this and the 5K time predicted from your handicap as an age graded percentage.

So the ranking shows who has made the best training effort this week taking into account your ability, and how far you ran.

Each run is categorised either as “with recoveries” or a “continuous run”. If the time you spend running is more than 90% of the elapsed time, then it counts as a continuous run. I’ve allowed 10% so that you can cross roads safely, stop for water and so forth without worrying about your ranking.

When computing your performance, it ignores any laps where your pace drops significantly below your fastest pace. This means you can use the interval setting on a Garmin watch, press the lap button at the end of each fast interval, and then use your watch to time your recovery. This gets rid of the annoying problem that you can’t time your recovery laps if you press the stop button. However, if you are doing jog recoveries rather than timed recoveries you should press stop.

As well as the leaderboard, you can view all your recent runs together with their scores. Because of the way we calculate your pace for interval sessions, this is probably more useful information than that displayed by Strava (though I say so myself). You can click through to the full Strava data.

You don’t need a GPS watch to be on Strava. In principle you can enter your own training runs manually. So if you want to take part in the leaderboard and don’t have GPS you can.

This is all part of an evil long term plan of mine to capture all of your data and perform loads of analysis. For example, I hope that in the future we will be able to kick people out of the club who achieve better times than me without even trying. It is possible that we may even be able to do this automatically. For this reason, you can expect more analysis of your data will turn up Рthis is very much a first draft. Similarly the handicapping system will probably be refined to punish anyone who ever does particularly well and to make sure everyone has a decent chance of topping the leaderboard if they are willing to run till they puke.

Anyway, this brings me to the competition for this week (week ending 31 Jan 2021). This week’s key session is 10-12 times 300m with 100m walk recoveries (at least 50% of the time should be spent recovering so walk slowly). The competition is: who can get the best score for this session. The top 10 will be posted in next week’s newsletter. Note that it doesn’t matter to your score whether it is exactly 300m or whether you do 10-12 reps, so do the number of reps that’s right for you in terms of your training.



Week 4: The weather is getting cold but the speed is getting hot

Posted on January 24th, 2021 by

This week is all about continuing to build strength and focusing in on your 1 mile pace. In 4 more weeks, we will be putting that mile pace to the test with a 1 mile virtual race. There will be plenty of glory at stake, so get ready Chasers! The aim will be to get everyone doing the same course, which will be revealed in the coming weeks. I will be taking suggestions (and perhaps bribes).

But, back to this week’s schedule…first you will be building on last week’s Kenyan Hills with another session. This time it is 2 sets of 15 minutes. If you can, try to do the same hills/route that you did the first time. You will be better able to gauge how your legs are feeling over the route.

For this week’s mile-focused speed session, you will be doing¬†10-12 x 300m at your 1 mile pace with a walk recovery of 100m. The recovery should take you at least the same amount of time as it took you to cover 300m. So, for example, if you ran 300m in 1min, your walk recovery should be at least 1 minute. This week, I won’t be explicitly giving you a time-based variation because the time-based version should really be different for everyone. Instead, if you want a time-based version, I want to encourage¬†you to play around with the pace calculator on the website. If you have customized your schedule, then it will give you your 1 mile pace for 300m. S0, for example, if I put in that I want to run a 5k in under 20 min (whew!), it is going to tell me that I should be running 300m in around 1:10. Feel free to message me with any questions!

As always, please warm-up with at least a 10min jog and some drills, and then follow the session with a cool down and stretching.

For some mile-running inspiration…https://www.insidehook.com/daily_brief/health-and-fitness/aaron-yoder-fastest-backwards-mile

Happy Running!



Week 3: The Myth of Kenyan Hills and Practicing Pace

Posted on January 17th, 2021 by

Now that you have a nice little time trial under your belt (or at least some of you do!), we are going to start digging in and working on 2 important elements of any training plan: hill training and pacing.

Let’s start with hills – there are loads in North London! “What if I am planning on running a fast and flat 5 or 10k?”, you ask. “Why should I care about hills?” Well, hill training is also strength training in disguise. Even if your target race is flat, getting in some hills in your runs will strengthen your legs and help with fatigue even over shorter and flatter courses. So, what exactly are Kenyan Hill sessions? Kenyan Hills are interval runs where you run with the same effort up and down the hill. This differs from hill sprints where you sprint up the hill and recover going down. For this week’s session, we will be starting with 2 sets of 10 min. So following a good warm-up of at least 10 minutes, choose your hill (or hills – Primrose is always good to do a figure 8 up and down) and run up and down with consistent effort for 10 minutes. Then¬†recover/rest for 3 minutes. It’s ok if you need a little longer! Then repeat the 10 minutes up and down, and be sure to cool down afterwards. You can then pat yourself on the back, because that is a tough session. If you want to know where the name came from…well…it’s not as obvious as you may think [https://www.traininkenya.com/2020/04/18/myth-busters-kenyan-hills/]

Next up is this week’s speed session where you’re going to need to tune into several different paces. This is good practice for understanding what it feel like to run at different efforts so you can hone into the right pace during a race. The original session is:

4 x {200m (1m pace) 200m (3k pace) 400m (5k pace) 400m (10k pace) [3min rest/recovery]}. Total 4800m

Remember you can always see the approximate times by customizing the schedule and using the pace calculator, but you can also try this time-based variation:

4 x {30s (1m pace) 1min (3k pace) 90s (5k pace) 2min (10k pace) [3min rest/recovery]}. Total 20 min fast running with 12 min recovery

Warning – for some the time-based variation may be a bit tougher!

Happy Running!



Speeding up Week #2

Posted on January 10th, 2021 by

Welcome to Week 2 of the new training plan. This week you’ll still have easy runs most of the week, with a 3k time trial session for your speedwork. If you are going by the original session, you will be able to see the suggested times if you customize the schedule for your target 5k pace. The original session is:

800m (warm-up) 2x {200m (5k pace) [200m recovery]} 3-5 min rest, 3000m time trial. Total 3400 hard, 1200 recovery.

If you want to do a slightly more time-based session, I still recommend trying to measure out 3k somewhere for an accurate time trial. One option is approximately 3 loops of Regent’s Park inner circle. The session can go as follows:

5-10 min jog¬†(warm-up), 3-4x strides with walk recovery, catch your breath and when you’re ready, do the 3000m time trial.

Be sure to do a cool down jog and some stretching afterwards.

Whichever, session you choose, I also recommend adding in some drills to your warm-up. If you have been to the track sessions before, you can do some of our typical dynamic stretches and skips. If you’d like some guidance on what drills to do, this is a good video to watch.

Happy running – stay safe and healthy!



New Year, New Training Schedule

Posted on January 4th, 2021 by

Happy 2021! Although things aren’t still quite how we wish they could be (darn you, COVID!), it doesn’t mean we can’t start focusing in our training. The Speeding up for Spring schedule is a 14-week¬†plan to do just that, start getting speedier for eventual spring races. We have posted the first 8 weeks of the schedule, targeting a mile time trial at Parliament Hill.¬†¬†You will have to wait and see what we have in store for you for the final 6 weeks. ūüôā Although the track sessions in the full schedule have some shorter distances in mind, the schedule will also be suitable for those thinking about a spring half marathon.¬†Do buddy up with one other Chaser when you can (while those rules apply). Enjoy and happy running!