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Week 6: Let the races begin!

Posted on April 5th, 2021 by

Happy Easter, Chasers! This weekend saw our return to racing – congrats to everyone who raced this weekend, from 5ks to a marathon! It’s good to be back out there ūüôā

This week is the final week of our current schedule, which has been leading up to Saturday’s 3k event at Parliament Hill track. If you haven’t signed up yet, there is still time to do so! I need everyone to sign up by Thursday so that you can be allotted starting heats ahead of the day. THe first heat will likely kick off after 9:30am.

This week is mostly easy miles, so please do lead or join groups runs throughout the week.

Thursday’s track session is now also available to book – 7:00 and 7:20pm slots. The session for this week has been updated, and you will be doing some 5k and 3k pace work. If you want to take it easier on Thursday instead, ahead of Saturday, another option is the original 4 miles easy with 4x 100m strides. If you choose to do that option, I encourage you to lead a group!

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!



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!


A boost for beginners

Posted on June 23rd, 2020 by

Beginners 5K Booster Programme
Just before lockdown a number of new Chasers successfully completed our Beginners 5K programme. Some had even started the 10K progression sessions, but  Coronavirus scuppered all plans for us to continue running together.  We know that our Beginners graduates would welcome programmes to build back your running confidence. This blog focusses on getting back to 5K or building on your current 5K confidence.   An additional 10K programme will also be available shortly.
There are two adaptable programmes in this 5K blog 
  • Programme 1 is for those who want to start back at the beginning
  • Programme 2 is for those who have kept up some running, but want to rebuild 5K confidence

Please contact Laurie (Lo Bo) if you have any questions or need further advice!

Programme 1: 0K to 5K
This 8-week programme is similar to our beginners course, but progresses more quickly, building on your recent experience, and gives you an option to include speed sessions.¬†I encourage you to run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays as this will get you used to Chaser’s patterns for when things return to normal. ¬†Of course you don’t have to run on these days.
  • Repeat each session¬†3 times per week
  • Option¬†to¬†switch-up 1 of your 3 sessions with a speed session (see Programme 2 for options)
  • Remember¬†to warm up and stretch down, especially following any longer, faster runs.
  1. Week 1: run 2 min/walk 2 min (x5) = 20 min moving time
  2. Week 2: run 4 mins/walk 2 (x 4) = 24 min moving time
  3. Week 3: run 6 mins/ walk 2 (x3) = 24 min moving time
  4. Week 4: run 8 mins/ walk 2 (x 3) = 30 min moving time
  5. Week 5: run 10 mins/ walk 2 (x 3) = 36 min moving time
  6. Week 6: run 20 mins without stopping
  7. Week 7: run 25 mins without stopping
  8. Week 8: run 30 mins without stopping + 1 x 5K run as your final run this week.

Programme 2: Building 5K confidence

Aim to run 3 times per week with the following pattern:
  1. 1 x run at a moderate pace. Moderate should feel challenging, but you should not feel like you are consistently completely out breath
  2. 1 x interval or speed training session Рyou should pushing harder than your moderate run pace
  3. 1 x easy pace Р run at pace where you could easily chat to another runner (theoretically or at a social distance)
Week 1
  1. 3K run – moderate pace.
  2. Kenyan Hills (10 mins).  Go to Primrose Hill and run up and down hill repeatedly for 10 minutes keeping exactly the same pace down hill as up hill.  Take a standing break for 3 minutes.  Repeat again. Total running time 20 mins.  Rest time 3 mins 
  3. 35 minute run – easy pace.
Week 2
  1. 4K run – moderate pace
  2. 400m intervals.¬†¬†Go to Regent’s Park dust track (or any other track or area where you can roughly run in loops or stretches of 400m).¬†Run in intervals of 400m hard followed by 400m slow jog. Do this continuously for between 4 and 6 repeats depending on your running confidence. Total distance between 3200m to 4800m. 1 lap of the¬†track¬†is c400m. Regent’s Park¬†track is actually just under 400m, but we can look over this…
  3. 40 minute run – easy pace
Week 3
  1. 5K run – moderate pace
  2. 800m intervals: Run in intervals of 800m hard into a 400m very slow jog. Repeat 4 times.  This is equivalent to running two-laps of the track hard followed by one lap very easy. Total distance: 4800m
  3. 45 minute run – easy pace
Week 4
  1. 5K run
  2. Kenyan hills (15mins) Go to Primrose Hill and run up and down hill repeatedly for 15 minutes keeping exactly the same pace down hill as up hill.  Take a standing break for 3 minutes.  Repeat again. Total running time 30 mins.  Rest time 3 mins
  3. 50 minute run – easy pace
Week 5
  1. 5k run
  2. 1K intervals: Run 1K at your 5K target pace.  Standing rest for 2 minutes.  Repeat 1K intervals 3 times in total. Total distance 3K. Rest time 4 mins.  1K is equivalent to running 2.5 laps of the track 
  3. 55 minute run at an easy pace
Week 6
  1. 5K run
  2. Pyramid session: Run each intervals at your target 5K pace. 400m/ rest for 1 min. 800m/ rest for 2 minutes. 1200m/ rest for 3min.   1200m/rest for 3 mins. 800m/ rest for 2 min.  400m/finish.  Total distance = 4000m.  One of the 1200m can be dropped.  
  3. 60 minute run at an easy pace


3k Time Trial Results 10th May 2018

Posted on May 11th, 2018 by

Great job to all those who attended yesterday’s track session, which saw the first of three 3k Time Trials on the track this summer.

Results are below, be sure to come along to the next time trial in June to track your progress!:

Name 10th May
Chris Zair* 10:39
George Viner 11:01
Stephen Nash 11:02
Vincent Guillaume 11:11
David Thorne 11:18
John Paul Hipkin 11:27
Danny Berry 11:32
Lauren Longhurst 11:33
Liv Hawe 11:59
Yoel Marson 12:12
Claire Baudouin 12:28
Alex Renton 12:34
Rebecca Bryant 12:56
Sarah Funderburk 13:12
Eamon Byrne 13:49
Lauren Hall 13:58
Michele Griffiths 14:30
Jenny Moore 15:30
Dylan Tomlinson 15:31
Ciara McManus 15:54
Stephen West 16:24
Sarah Hayward 16:40

*recorded pre-session, proof on Strava!


Why I’m not telling you how fast to run the Parkrun

Posted on January 6th, 2018 by

If you’re following our training schedules and have said you’d like to run the Saturday sessions, you will see there are a lot of parkruns in the schedule. Some of them are marked as “hard” which means you should race* them properly, but how fast should you run the rest of them? The answer is: it’s up to you!

When there’s a parkrun in the schedule it’s your job to listen to your body and decide how hard to take it. Most of the time you should be taking them fairly easy, running them at your 10 mile race pace or slower rather than your 5k pace. But every now and again, you might want to test your fitness and see what you can do. Just don’t do this every week or immediately before big races. However, if you’re running a parkrun in the rain during a flu epidemic and suddenly realise you have a chance of winning* the damn thing, then don’t look a gift horse in the mouth: it may never happen again.

So why don’t I tell you what to do?

A typical running schedule tells you exactly what to do for every session, but in reality you have to see a schedule as a guide to what to do rather than follow it to the letter. One danger with giving an athlete a schedule is that they can become completely passive and just do what they are told without applying their brain. But to get the most from a schedule you need to interact with it and make some decisions of your own about when to push yourself and when to back off.

Here are some points to remember. They apply to every training session, not just the parkruns.

  • If you are ill, don’t run. If you’ve got a cold, you will recover from it faster if you stop running. If you keep doing hard sessions, you can easily drag a cold out for weeks.
  • If you are feeling tired, take it easy. Most of us have got tiring jobs and long commutes, so you can’t push yourself as hard as an elite athlete would do. Your muscles only develop when you’re resting between training sessions, not when you’re training, so rest time is key to improvement.
  • If you miss some sessions, don’t try to catch up by doing them later. Just let them go. It is assumed when writing a schedule that you will miss some of the sessions, practically everyone will have to take a little bit of time out due to colds if they are training during the winter. So the schedule will still work if you don’t do all the sessions.
  • If you are injured, don’t run unless you have received medical advice that this will not exacerbate your injury. You are playing a long game: it doesn’t matter if you have to pull out of some training or miss a target race; it matters a great deal if you pick up a chronic injury that stops you running.
  • Don’t go to our track sessions with an injury.

It is a skill to adapt a schedule around your life and your fitness, but it is a skill that you are going to have to master to get the most out of yourself. I want you to learn that skill.

That is why I haven’t told you how fast to run every parkrun. And, of course, it should go without saying that you don’t have to run a parkrun at all! You can skip the session entirely if you’re not in the mood, or do a similar 5k session of your own later in the day. And if you like to get your long run over with on a Saturday because you have other godly or ungodly matters to attend to on a Sunday morning, by all means do your long run on a Saturday.

It’s your schedule. Adapt it to your needs.

Pedants’ Korner

*A parkrun is not a race so you cannot race a parkrun. A parkrun is not a race so you cannot win a parkrun.


Running Interval Notation

Posted on January 4th, 2018 by

How can you understand the Thursday sessions described in our training schedules? Most of our Thursday sessions are what is called “interval sessions”. In an interval session you alternate fast running with rest or jogging, but to describe the session in full you need to know how many intervals to do, how long they should be, how fast to run them and how long to rest. That’s quite a bit of information to get across.

Believe it or not there is an international standard for describing running interval training sessions, and that’s pretty much what we use in our schedules. The official notation was adopted as a standard by the IAAF in 1997, but we’ve made a few tiny tweaks from the standard to make it easier to read for novices.

The basic format is:

reps x distance (pace) [rest/recovery].

For example we might specify that you run:

4 x 1600m (10k) [1min].

That would mean that you run 1600m at your 10k race pace then rest for a minute. This is repeated 4 times.

A more complex session might be:

1600m (10m) [3min] 4 x {400m (1m) [2min]} 1600m (10m).

This means that you first run 1600m at your 10 mile race pace, then do 4 sets of 400m at your 1 mile race pace with 2 minutes rest between each 400m, then finish off the session with another 1600m at your 10 mile race pace.

That’s the notation we use for the main part of our schedule, but for the sessions for the current week we go to the trouble of calculating how long each interval should take you. This depends upon how you’ve customized the schedule. For example, if you’re hoping for a 3:30 marathon, for the complex session described above it would say

1600m (10m pace=7’31”) [3min] 4 x {400m (1m pace=1’38”) [2min]} 1600m (10m=7’31).

This means that the first 1600m rep should be done in 7 minutes and 31 seconds.

For Geeks and Pedants

You might be wondering what the official notation is. The official notation for the session above is:

1600 (7’31”) [3′] 4 x {400 (1’38”) [2′]} 1600m (7’31”)

What are the differences?

  • The distances are always in metres so the “m” can be dropped. Our notation uses m for metres when describing the distance and m for miles when describing the pace which is a bit icky.
  • The terse notation 3′ for 3 minutes.
  • The equivalent race pace isn’t mentioned, only the time each repetition should take.

Although it’s standard, the official notation is probably a bit too terse for normal humans to read. Also it doesn’t give you much of a clue what the effort should feel like. It’s easier to understand how running at 10 mile race pace should feel than it is to work out how running 1600m in 7’31” should feel.

For more information on the official standard see:

MACKENZIE, B. (2006) Representation of Running Training [WWW] Available from: https://www.brianmac.co.uk/trainprog.htm [Accessed 4/1/2018]


2018 Marathon and Half Marathon Training

Posted on January 2nd, 2018 by

At Mornington Chasers, we’ve put together some spring marathon and half marathon training schedules. They’re designed to target the London Marathon, the Brighton Marathon and the Paddock Wood half marathon (which is a flat, fast half marathon in Kent which is easy to get to on the train from London). We’ve written them with our members in mind but if you’re not a member you’re still welcome to use them.

The schedules are aimed at runners who are planning to do some track work as part of their schedule, but that’s a pretty broad range. Our marathon plans have been used in the past to achieve goals from sub 2:45 to over 4 hours. You can customize our schedules to match your personal goals.

We’ll be doing the Thursday sessions together at Parliament Hill track each week and we welcome runners of all abilities to our Thursday track sessions. And don’t worry if you just want to do the track sessions and have no intention of running a marathon/half marathon. Whatever races you are targeting these Thursday sessions should help you improve.

Using our schedules

You can find all our schedules here.

The marathon schedule is aimed at runners who can already run for 90 minutes continuously. If you can’t do this yet, start with what you can manage for the Sunday runs and add no more than 15 minutes each week until you have caught up with the long runs in the schedule.

If you have missed the first few weeks of the schedule, again don’t worry about it. Just join in and adjust the long runs as described above so that you are building up gradually.

The schedules include various warm-up races to help you prepare for race day. If you’re planning to follow the schedule with the club you should enter those races now. See this post for details of all the races. We’ve provided a few alternatives in case the races are full and if they don’t work for you, just replace them a hard workout of a similar distance.

I’ll be posting on this blog over the next few weeks to explain what all the terms in the schedules mean, but the easiest way to find out exactly what to do will be to come and join us at our Tuesday and Thursday sessions (at the Talacre Sports Centre in Kentish Town and Parliament Hill track respectively). We hope there will be plenty of pace groups running the Sunday sessions from Talacre too, but you should chat with others on our Facebook group to find out who’s running and at what pace on a Sunday.

Session 1: Kenyan Hills

We’re starting the New Year with 2 sets of 10 minutes Kenyan Hills.

Kenyan Hills is a training session where you run at a continuous fairly hard effort both up and down hills. It’s the fact that you keep up a good effort level on the downhills that makes them Kenyan Hills.

The session is designed to build strength (from running uphill), technique (running downhill) and speed endurance (from the continuous effort). The focus is primarily on building speed endurance.

You should be running at “threshold” effort which is the effort level you can just about sustain for an hour long race. That might be your 10K effort or your 10 mile effort depending upon how fast a runner you are. If you’re an olympic athlete it might even be your half marathon effort. Note that it isn’t your speed that counts, but the effort level. You want to maintain this same effort level on the ups and on the downs.

An alternative way of understanding what threshold means is that it is a pace where you should be able to say 3 or 4 words while running, but by the end of the session you shouldn’t be able to put a full sentence together.

We’ll be running two blocks of 10 minutes continuous Kenyan Hills on Primrose Hill with a two minute jog recovery between each block. We’ll meet at the Talacre Centre in Kentish Town at 19:00 for a 19:15 start as usual.

If Primrose Hill is no good for you, find a hilly circuit so that you can alternate about a minute uphill with a minute downhill.


Our Schedules for Spring 2018

Posted on December 9th, 2017 by

We’ve got a feast of running lined up for you in spring with no less than 3 schedules for you to choose from, all adapted to the Mornington Chasers timetable so we can train together as much as possible.

The schedules we have are:

As preparation for all of these big target races, the schedules work in the following preparatory races. Make sure you sign up for them ASAP. Dates and times are in our calendar.

  • The Fred Hughes 10 (in St Albans) or, if you are fit enough already and prefer a trail race, the Benfleet 15.
  • The National Cross Country championships, Parliament Hill. Sign up via our calendar. If you are following the half marathon schedule you should take this easy, everyone else should be in it to win it.
  • The Mornington Chaser’s Regent’s Park 10K in March. This is our club 10K championship. If you are following the half marathon schedule, you should race this hard. If you are following the marathon schedule, you should build this into your long run as a marathon pace section. Marshal the race in January or February to get free entry.
  • The Official Hampton Court Half Marathon (in March, not to be confused with the “original” Hampton Court Half Marathon in February) or if you are a trail fan the Ashridge Boundary Run (note that this is on a Saturday an is a scenic but demanding 16 miler)
  • For those who like to train on Saturdays as well as Sundays, the schedule also incorporates the remaining Start Fitness Met League Cross Country fixtures. You can just turn up for those races on the day: just remember to bring your club vest and make sure that you have England Athletics membership (log in to our website to check).

Can’t wait to get started? Well we’ve also got a December schedule that will build your strength and, if you are a marathoner, will start to condition you ready for the long runs ahead.