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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!



Last workout of the week for 2020

Posted on December 29th, 2020 by

Hope everyone had a good Christmas.

Workout of the week is:

-A thorough warm up, it’s freezing!

8-10 x 2 min (@10k pace) [2 min slow jog] 

-Cool down jog

If you’re new to intervals (or haven’t done them in a while) stick to 8 reps and walk the recovery if needed.

As always let us know if any questions. Happy new year!


Workout of the week, Christmas edition

Posted on December 21st, 2020 by

It’s likely to be a difficult week for everyone but personally I’m feeling grateful that we’re still allowed to run.

We’ll call this one ‘down the chimney’. Santa hats optional.

Remember to do a warm up jog of about 10 mins. Start the first rep at your 10mile pace and work your way down to mile pace for the last couple of reps. The rest is in brackets e.g [90s] = 90 seconds static or walking rest. If you’re new to intervals start at 4mins.
5 min [90s]
4 min [90s]
3 min [60s]
2 min [60s]
1 min [30s]
30 sec [mince pies]

As recently outlined by Laurie (our covid officer) you are able to run with one other person currently.

Merry Christmas everyone and please reach out if you’re struggling- Chaser’s don’t have a rep for being the friendliest club for nothing




Workout of the week #5

Posted on December 7th, 2020 by

It’s getting colder out there so make sure you have enough time to do a proper warm up. This could include 10-15 mins jogging and some drills and strides too.

3- 4x (3 min, 2 min, 1 min)

Recovery: 1min jog between reps, 2min jog between sets

Pace: 3 mins @ 5k pace
           2 mins @ 3k pace
           1 min    @ mile pace

If you’re new to intervals definitely only do 3 sets and you could also walk the recovery. Don’t forget a cool down jog too. 

You could post your workout on the calendar as we can now run in groups of up to 6. Please follow the coronavirus guidance as usual.

Any questions please ask



Workout of the week #4

Posted on November 30th, 2020 by

  • It’s great to see so many of you getting involved in workout of the week. This one should help you tick off those last Chase-Go boxes.

    Warm up to include 10-15 mins of jogging, some drills and strides. The session is pretty simple:

30 minutes of 90 seconds run, 90 seconds rest

(@ 3k pace ish, you may find you go a little quicker)

Cool down jog


If you pair up I suggest using RP track or similar. Instead of basing it on time run one lap then recover when the other person is running their lap (and repeat for 30 mins).
Any questions give me a shout- enjoy!



Workout of the week #3

Posted on November 22nd, 2020 by

49A9103E-2550-4B00-ACA4-2673301959C1Time for a pyramid!

10 mins warm up jog, drills and strides

1 min
2 min
3 min
4 min
4 min
3 min
2 min
1 min

60 seconds slow jog between each rep, except between the 4 mins where you can have 2 mins.

Run them at 5k pace. If you’re feeling good you can up it to 3k pace on the way back down the pyramid. 

Take out one of the 4 mins if it feels too much.

Don’t forget a few minutes of jogging to end 



Workout of the week #2

Posted on November 16th, 2020 by

Somehow it’s Monday again. It was great to see so many Workout of the Week efforts popping up on Strava, Facebook and Instagram last week.

Workout week 2 

4 sets of:

4 min @ 5k pace [1 min rest] 1 min @faster than 5k pace*

[3 min slow jog between each set]

So for clarity that’s..

4 mins running
1 min rest
1 min running
3 min jog (walk if you need)
Repeat 4 times

Remember to add in a warm up jog (10ish mins) and include some drills if possible. This feels a lot less silly if you’re doing them with a buddy (and you can tick off a Chaser-Go box). Drop the 4 mins pace slightly if you’re new to intervals.

The coaches are happy to chat if you have any questions.


*This session might reduce the need for me to screech ‘sprint finish’ at you at the end of a race, so it’s in your best interests to complete it




Coronavirus Survey Results

Posted on May 23rd, 2020 by

Thank you everyone who completed our survey on the club’s response to coronavirus. We received 44 responses.

Overall Satisfaction


Overall most people are very satisfied with the club’s response and our communications. Two people were “very dissatisfied” but one of them didn’t make any comments and the other made very positive comments, so I think this tells us more about the importance of naming your categories in a survey than it does about the club’s response to coronavirus.

Online Sessions

There was lots of positive feedback on the online classes. I asked about the difficulty level, and it looks as though all the sessions are pitched about right. Some people commented to say how helpful they found the different options that Danielle and Nicola offer so that everyone is catered for.


Many people commented to say how grateful they are for the efforts that Danielle and Nicola have made and suggested they should be rewarded in some way.

We (the committee) agreed before organizing these sessions that we should let those leading the sessions choose whether they wish to do so on a voluntary basis or whether they would like to be paid. Nicola decided that she would lead the first four sessions on a voluntary basis and has been paid for subsequent sessions. Danielle has so far decided that she wants to run her sessions on a voluntary basis. Alicia is not a club member and is working on a professional basis. All our usual running coaching done on a voluntary basis, but that situation is very different as the club pays for people to qualify as coaches and we see providing opportunities for people to train and work as volunteer running coaches as one of the core roles of our club,  It goes without saying that we greatly appreciate the superb sessions all our online trainers are putting on and we fully respect their different situations.

Some people said that they would be interested in having more classes. The committee feels that three classes a week is the most the club should provide. However, if you are interested in having more sessions with Danielle, Nicola or Alicia I suggest you get in touch with them and see what they can do. For example, I believe that Danielle is offering other paid-for Zoom Pilates classes.

Some people have also suggested that we should keep the classes going once lockdown is eased. This is definitely something we will look into in the future, but it doesn’t seem the right moment to make any decisions on this.

Running Training

42% of respondents plan to use Parliament Hill track if it re-opens. The heath authorities have indicated that it will reopen shortly.

22% of respondents have followed one of Donal’s fartlek sessions.

There is a general appetite for us to put together some training plans for (hypothetical) autumn races. We need to have a think about how best to do this, but we will put something together and will include some track options when we do this.


One person said: “The club should have been at the forefront of lobbying parliament hill track to stay open rather then the opposite, it’s a safe space for people to run.” I’m the club’s coaching coordinator, so I can give a bit more detail on the discussions we have had.

  • Before lockdown started, but when social distancing was advised, I contacted the heath to encourage them to keep the track open for as long as possible each day so it was easier for people to social distance and to see if there was any possibility of our members getting some form of discount on paying to access. They left the track open for about one week, without charging.
  • During lockdown, the government’s restrictions meant that the track was compelled to close. People continued to use it, but the heath authorities did not feel it could employ people (and risk their health) simply to chase them away. They asked us to communicate to our members that the track was closed, and I was happy to do this.
  • In that first week of social distancing, the track started being used by all sorts of people inappropriately: cyclists, dog walkers, children playing in the sand pits etc.. In the view of the heath authorities it was becoming unsafe to train at the track, and I agree with them. As a result, they will only reopen once they have sorted out ticketing and supervision of the track. They are working to do this as rapidly as possible. They plan to provide a range of lengths of season tickets with a club discount.

I personally feel that we have worked constructively with heath authorities to keep the track open as much as possible, but I think that they are absolutely right to not do anything that might put people in danger.


Running and Social Distancing

Posted on March 26th, 2020 by

We’re all just learning how we should be running while social distancing. At Mornington Chasers we’ve been discussing this a lot with each other on Facebook to figure out how to handle it. This is what we’ve learned.


Laurie, our club welfare officer, tried the experiment of taking a 6 mile walk (always at 2m distance obviously) to observe runner and pedestrian interaction. She forgot her love of running and get into the mindset of someone who walks but doesn’t run. Here are her tips:

1. If you do run, just focus on the pure unadulterated joy of still being allowed outside to do this. Don’t focus on your Garmin or your speed. Approach running like a precious freedom that you might lose if not used correctly
2. Slow down and, also, slowdown. You can also take this tip with an extra pinch of ‘slow down’
3. Even if you know that you’re extremely skilled and nimble at dodging people and crowds, just pretend that you’re not – just seriously slow down or walk as you pass others. Especially people walking in household groups and families.
4. Know that if you are running behind someone who is walking and you’re breathing heavily and the sound of your feet are pounding the pavements, that this will be disconcerting to walkers around you. It doesn’t matter that you are a kind and considerate, they don’t necessarily know this. So, slow down.
5. If you find yourself in an area where you are completely alone and can see far into the distance, then use this to pelt out some speed and sweat. But – don’t do this when you are heading towards corners or where other people are nearby
6. Whenever anyone (seriously, anyone) makes way for you to run, then go out of your way to shout ‘thanks’, wave or just beam your biggest smile at them. You’d be amazed by how reassuring that is to someone who doesn’t run. It will let them know that as runners, we don’t always expect right of way and we are nice people.
Some other tips I’ve heard:
  • Don’t combine running with shopping. Nobody wants to be near you if you are breathing heavily and sweating right now.
  • Don’t running in groups even with people you are isolating with (except for children). You are making it harder for others to pass and no-one but you knows that what you are doing is legitimate.
  • Run at the edge of the pavement to make it clear you’re the one who will give way.
  • Some advice from an epidemiologist in the New York Daily News: “Try not to spit. If you have to, move to a less-traveled part of your route such as off the road in the grass”


I went for a 16 mile run on Sunday into central London just before the rules were tightened up to see if I could run that far without ever going within 2m of anyone. Even though people were being a bit silly last Sunday, it was perfectly possible to do this, and it should be even easier to avoid going near others now. Here’s my advice on how to plan your run to maxmize social distancing.

Covent Garden on my social distancing run

Covent Garden on my social distancing run

1. Make it a game. Many people will not want you to go within 2m of them, so make sure you never go within 2m of anyone at all. They are the rules of the game. If you have to double back or dart down a side street, do it. If you have to stop or walk, do it.
2. Vary your usual routes. Try running somewhere new that will be unusually quiet. I ran to Covent Garden and it was deserted. The football fields in parks are usually out of bounds because of the footballers, but they are now the perfect place to go for a bit of faster running. On the other hand you can’t run along canals and keep 2m away from people, so they are forbidden. You can’t cross long bridges or run through long tunnels. Avoid high streets, but side streets are empty.
3. Keep on the grass. Paths are for wimps. Be willing to get a bit muddy. If you see a keep off the grass sign, feel free to ignore it. If a parkie chases you, practice one of your sprints.
4. Avoid unnecessary travel to and from your run. As far as possible, it should start and end at your front door.
5. Loos are closed. Know your limits.

Training Racing and Goals

I spoke to our former club coach Tom Craggs who now coaches one of England’s veteran running teams and his advice to his athletes is to see this period of social distancing as the off-season. Training for performance is a cyclic affair where you try to peak for an important race (maybe that’s the Olympics, a marathon, or your club championship). Once that’s over, you give yourself some time to recover and consolidate your gains. It’s a pity that most of us missed out on our big spring races, but it is time to let that go, we did most of the training and got the fitness benefit we wanted anyway, so it’s not such a big loss.

Since it’s now officially the off-season, you can wind down your distance and ease off a bit on the speedwork.  Focus instead on improving in the areas you might let slide a bit during your peak training. Now is a great time to establish a strength and conditioning programme that you can stick to once you start running again. Similarly, this is a superb time to be working on building basic agility, balance and coordination or to work on your flexibility. These are all things you can do at home, maybe with the kids you are having to home school. At Mornington Chasers, we’re planning to have online strength and conditioning sessions together with some dance sessions and pilates to cover all these bases.

As it’s the off-season you wouldn’t normally be racing. We’ve all grown addicted to regular races, especially because of parkrun and quite a few people are coming up with ideas for online races. At the moment, I’d discourage online racing because I haven’t seen anyone figure out a format for an online race which encourages people to stick to the etiquette for running during social distancing. If anyone cracks this problem, I’d love to get involved.

If it’s the off season and you’re not going to be racing, that means you should be avoiding setting yourself inappropriate training goals. Now is not the time to be trying to increase the distance you run. Running for speed is OK to an extent, but you should never compromise on the etiquette. If you are going to be running on the grass carefully dodging other people you won’t be able to be as obsessive about your times. I think the best kind of running goals at the moment are technical ones – for example can you improve your technique with some running drills and by doing regular core workouts?  You can set yourself a fitness goal too, but that could be related to your flexibility, your strength or your coordination. Some good goals you could set yourself would might be to do 50 press ups in a row (or 5, or 500), to touch your toes or to dance the Charleston.

This doesn’t mean you have to forget about running entirely. While we are allowed out, it’s a good idea to keep doing some strides and drills during this period somewhere you won’t get in other people’s way, perhaps on playing fields or down a dead-end. And if you stick to the grass you can still give yourself a decent work out while avoiding others and being easy for others to avoid.


We’ve only been social distancing for a week and half so there’s a lot to learn. In Spain running is currently banned and in France you can’t run more than 1km from your home. We’re incredibly lucky to still be allowed to run, so let’s make sure we keep it that way.




My Post Coronavirus Plan

Posted on March 13th, 2020 by

We all knew London would be postponed, and good on the organisers for putting the health of the elderly and those with lung conditions as their top priority.

I’m no epidemiologist, but I thought it might be helpful to say how I plan to respond.

Firstly, I’m shifting my training focus to Paddock Wood. I’ll immediately switch to that schedule. I have a place in a backup marathon but if I run it at all I’m not going to compromise my immune system by going at it full tilt. I know from experience that I get run down post marathon and so I’m not going to take any risks. I have no idea if there is any evidence that running a marathon hard will really be a problem, but I don’t care. My priority is my long term health, so I’m not going to chase a marathon time this spring.

Second, I’m only going to do races if this fits with the advice we are given on travel and gathering sizes. If Paddock Wood is cancelled or travelling there is considered a bad idea, well, so it goes.

The fitness I’ve built up can be used to good effect to knock out some fast short races. There are some small local races that seem perfect. After Paddock Wood, the athletics season starts with a meeting at Parliament Hill and Donal will be putting together a training plan for the Golden Stag mile. Last year I was knackered from London at the Golden Stag. This year, I plan to ace it.

We’ll need to come up with a schedule for early autumn marathons that makes the most of the summer league and the athletics meets to get us in top shape. Should be fun figuring out how to do this, and should mean some cracking long runs in beautiful weather. We’ll keep you posted…