The club organises a variety of runs on Sundays, usually in the morning. The runs are arranged by individual club members, so the events will vary from week to week, but often include social trail runs at an easy pace, long runs at various paces (especially during peak marathon training season), and sometimes runs with a particular focus such as hill training.
Please see the What's On page for details of upcoming Sunday runs. Information is usually posted on the prior Wednesday, but further runs may be added between then and the weekend, so check back for further updates. Information is also published on the ELR Facebook group.
All members are encouraged to join our Sunday runs - no need to book in advance - and can expect a friendly and welcoming group. However, please note the following:
- Each published run will have an approximate distance and pace (in minutes per mile). Please ensure you choose a run that is suitable for your level of fitness and experience; there are usually a range of paces on offer.
- Please arrive on time.
- Please let the run organiser know if you need to leave the run early. In return, you can expect not to be left behind (unless you've told the organiser that's OK).
The club welcomes new Sunday Run Organisers. Any ELR member can become one: no special qualifications are required, and there is no need to commit to organising a certain number of runs, just a willingness to follow a simple communications procedure and informal set of guidelines. Please contact me (by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook Messenger, or in person) if you would like to be added to the list of organisers.
If you have any questions, or have any suggestions on how to improve our Sunday Run offering, please let me know.
Sunday Run Coordinator
Are you running your first marathon in 2020? Or looking at improving your time? Or simply curious about it?
Join coach Grant Conway and members of the committee after the club run on Wednesday 15/01/20 at the Manor House Pub, 129 High Street, Wanstead, E11 2RL.
We will have a few drinks and if you wish, a marathon training clinic and interactive discussion on ALL aspects of our training for spring marathons or beyond. We can also discuss and share any other running questions or queries we may have in a relaxed forum. We hope to see you there.
Marathon Training - Plan To Succeed
The Christmas holiday period is for spending time with loved ones, eating merrily, catching up on your favourite TV, and...putting your marathon training plan together, right?
Well, maybe not for everyone. But it is true for many runners planning to take on a spring marathon that thoughts can inevitably turn to the weeks of training ahead.
And this can be quite a daunting prospect, particularly for those new to marathon running. There are so many bits of differing advice out there that can make it difficult to know where to begin. No matter what your ability, some plans favour a heavier workload, some espouse the benefits of cross training, and some limit the length of the long runs.
Every individual is different and so there is no definitive right or wrong answer on what will work. Therefore you may decide to create your own plan and this can work very effectively. If doing this I would say the basics are these:
You should give yourself 12-16 weeks in total. The long run mileage should build up gradually and the focus of this should primarily be "time on feet" rather than speed. During the training block you should have a couple of quieter weeks to allow for recovery and reduce risk of injury. Include a variety of different workouts in addition to the long runs - tempo runs, interval sessions and short recovery runs. Target a race during your training such as a half marathon to test progress and allow you to determine a race pace for the day. And ease off gradually (tapering) during the last few weeks before the race to ensure you both retain your fitness but are also fresh on race day.
So with that in mind, take out your diary and put together a plan that fits with your schedule. If you have a holiday booked or a particularly busy week of other commitments ahead, make that your quieter week for running. If Sundays work best for your long run but one big Saturday night out looms, maybe switch your long run to the Saturday morning for that week. If struggling to find time, even an hour window somewhere can be good for an easy recovery run. And remember if you are a regular at club training on Monday and Wednesday nights that can be your interval and tempo sessions ticked off right there.
Check out the race entries page on the club website for some ideas for build-up races over the next few months and also there will be plenty of people arranging weekend long runs over a variety of paces if you're looking for company. And come and talk to any of the regulars at the club if you're looking for training advice or even help in compiling a plan.
In this beginner's guide to running your first marathon we cover everything from choosing the right race to training methods. You'll also learn how to prepare the night before and what gear you'll need.
We thoroughly recommend the following races and training runs which have been tried and tested by many members of East London Runners in the past. All distances shown are in miles.
Saturday 28th December 2019 - Start Time 10:30am - ILFORD AC 10mile Cross Country
Hainault Forest (Lambourne Road) 3 laps of an undulating route, often very muddy in parts, comprising tracks and grassland of Hainault Forest. This is an Open race. Individuals can enter in advance and on the day. Relay teams of 3 can enter on the day. Advance online entries - ">www.entrycentral.com/IlfordAC-10milesXC?fbclid=IwAR0dNUDWlNlHEY4R1QIWe0hydCIkaOyExpOH59nHssSMWMRUi8nR1gEwFEg
Sunday 19th January 2020 - 10.30am. - Benfleet 15
Mud, water, wind, mud, pain. Great organisation and marshalling It has a challenging 15mile, multi terrain course, incorporating sections of the Canvey Island sea wall, and the undulating Hadleigh Downs. On-Line Entries -
Sunday 26th January 2020 - 9am/9.30am - Gade Valley Harriers 12 mile Marathon Training run
Download the registration form and bring it with you on the day. There is NO pre-registration. £5.00 cash only on the day. Website -
Sunday 22nd February 2020 - 9am/9.30am - Gade Valley Harriers 17 mile Marathon Training run. Details and cost as above. www.gadevalleyharriers.co.uk/london-marathon-training-runs/
Sunday 1st March 2020 - Essex 20 - SOLD OUT as at 24th Oct 2019!
Sunday 8th March 2020 - 9.00am - Roding Valley Half Marathon.
Very popular local race around the hilly streets of, Chigwell, Buckhurst Hill and Woodford. Starts and finishes on the running track at Ashton Playing Fields, Woodford Bridge. Details available here.
Sunday 8th March 2020 - Hillingdon 20 (formerly the Finchley 20) - 9.00am
Bury Street, Ruislip, Middlesex. 4 laps of 5 miles, undulating road, town and rural. Details available here. www.hillingdonac.co.uk/hillingdon-20
Saturday 21st March 2020- 10am - Orion 15
A challenging off road local race in Epping Forest. Very hilly and often very muddy. A firm favourite of ELR! ***NOTE*** Unsuitable if you can't run sub 10 min miles in tough hilly conditions or cannot follow a trail through the forest.
Sunday 22nd March 2020 - 9am/9.30am - Gade Valley Harriers 20 mile Marathon Training run.
Details as above but cost £10.00 cash on the day. www.gadevalleyharriers.co.uk/london-marathon-training-runs/
Sunday 29th March 2020 - 10am - The Oakley 20
The course consists of one 12 mile loop on undulating country roads around Oakley and North Bedfordshire villages followed by a slightly different second loop of 8 miles. Details available here. www.bedfordharriers.co.uk/Oakley.asp
Hi. So we are near the end of the road for your spring marathon training. Well done for getting here.
For your tapering my best piece of advice is not to try and make up for any missed training by doing a long run close to your marathon. It will only tire you out and you will effectively have run your marathon before your marathon. Allow for a day per mile to recover from any hard running before your marathon to recover properly. There isnâ€™t one magic run that will get you fitter, it's the accumulative mileage over the training period which will get through your marathon.
For race day, practice taking your gels/nutrition before the race. Decide on your race plan and stick to it as best as you can. Make sure your gear is all packed the day before and allow plenty of time on race day to avoid stress. Focus on your pace and enjoying your race. You deserve that.
Have a fab day and I can't wait to hear all about it but no longer than 30 seconds please!
Hopefully you will all be around the 3/4 point in your training by now. Well done! Give yourself a pat on the back. Marathon training is tough but the end is in sight.
Have you missed a bit of training? Don't worry, all the miles you have been putting in are in your legs. There is no single magic training run which will make a difference come marathon day. The accumulative effect of the training will get you round your marathon. Therefore, try to resist the tendency to over train to make up for any lost sessions as all that will do is tire you out for marathon day and increase your chances of getting injured. After all, you don't want to waste all that training by not being able to run come marathon day do you? It's better to look at revising your time estimate if necessary so you can enjoy the day and be fit to run.
Give yourself a chance to taper properly pre marathon. Doing a 22 miler 2 weeks before won't make you fitter it will just make you fatigued come marathon day.
Have you got a niggle? Don't worry it's common. Take a few days off in the week if necessary and get treatment if it's needed. Your long runs are the most important.
Please come along to a marathon tapering, preparation and race strategy clinic at the Manor House Pub, Wanstread High Street on 14th March 2018 to discuss anything you like about your running and your marathon.
Please feel free to contact me on social media or on the webmaster e.mail.
Watch out for a further update next month
I have been asked to follow up from the clinic we had at the Manor House Pub the other week regarding our marathon/endurance training.
Marathon training is a subjective thing. What's good for some is no good for others.
The most important thing is not to go too mad from the outset and get injured. If you get to the start line with some decent training you can still enjoy your marathon and adjust your time target if you need to.
Don't increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% and every 3 to 4 weeks drop your mileage down, perhaps with a race or fast parkrun at the end of the easier week to see where you are.
Long runs are the key part of your training. Increase the time on your feet each week on your long runs by about 10/15 minutes. Don't worry about covering precise mileage. Long runs should be done at around 30 to 60 seconds below your target marathon pace so you don't burn out and/or get injured.
If possible, in order of importance try and do these sessions each week (apart from easy weeks).
1. Long run
2. Track/speed work
3. Tempo run
4. Hill training
5. Easy runs if you have the time/energy!
Try and do some of your long runs off road if possible.
Work out a plan but be prepared to adapt it if you need to. Try not to obsess too much! Enjoy your marathon journey.
I can help with a plan if you wish. Please feel free to contact me on social media or via the webmaster e.mail address.
We can recommend the following races/training runs which have been tried and tested by many members of East London Runners in the past. All distances shown are in miles.
1. Saturday 30th December 2017 - Start Time 10:30am *** please note earlier start time *** - ILFORD AC 10 mile Cross Country - Race For Kev at Hainault Forest (Lambourne Road). 3 laps of an undulating route comprising tracks and grassland of Hainault Forest. This is an Open race but will also include the Ilford AC Club Championships.
2. Sunday 21st January 2018 - 10.30am. - Benfleet 15."Mud, water, wind, mud, pain. Great organisation and marshalling". It has a challenging 15 mile, multi-terrain course, incorporating sections of the Canvey Island sea wall, and the undulating Hadleigh Downs.
3. Sunday 28th January 2018 - 9am/9.30am - Gade Valley Harriers 12 mile Marathon Training run. Please download this REGISTRATION FORM and bring it with you on the day. There is NO pre-registration. £5.00 cash on the day.
4. Sunday 25th February 2018 - 9.00am - Roding Valley Half Marathon. Very popular local race around the hilly streets of, Chigwell, Buckhurst Hill and Woodford. Starts and finishes on the running track at Ashton Playing Fields, Woodford Bridge.
5. Sunday 25th February 2018 - 9am/9.30am - Gade Valley Harriers 17 mile Marathon Training run. Details and cost as above.
6. Sunday 18th March 2018 - Finchley 20 - 9.00am. - Bury Street, Ruislip, Middlesex. 4 laps of 5 miles, undulating road, town and rural.
7. Sunday 18th March 2018 - 10am - The Oakley 20. - The course consists of one 12 mile loop on undulating country roads around Oakley and North Bedfordshire villages followed by a slightly different second loop of 8 miles.
8. Saturday 24th March 2018 - 10am - Orion 15. A challenging off road local race in Epping Forest. Very hilly and often very muddy. A firm favourite of ELR!
9. Sunday 25th March 2018 - 9am/9.30am - Gade Valley Harriers 20 mile Marathon Training run. Details as above but cost £10.00. Please download this REGISTRATION FORM
Please check the Latest News page of this website or our Group page on Facebook a few days before each activity/run to check that it is on/full details etc.
Monday - Track night. See Track Section of this website. Suitable for all levels from Beginners to experienced runners.
Tuesday -Ad hoc marathon training runs, typically 10k'sh in length from Wanstead Leisure Centre at 7pm. Usually start in January.
Wednesday - Club Night run from WLC at 7pm, typically 10k, 8k and 5k in distance.
Saturday morning parkrun. At 9am FREE timed 5k runs/races at Wanstead Flats (Harrow Road), Valentines Park, Ilford and many other venues across London, the UK and other Countries. Suitable for all levels from beginners to experienced runners.
First timers register at
Saturday mornings - Ad hoc Marathon Training runs (see Sunday below).
Sunday mornings - Spring Marathon training runs. Typically 10 - 22 Mile Forest runs/ road run, building mileage up each week. - Most often in Epping Forest but sometimes in Hainault Forest. We meet at different locations each week as published on this website and our Group page on Facebook 3 or 4 days in advance. There are often 2 or 3 groups running at different paces, e.g. fast, medium and slow paces.
In addition we Race in the Chingford League and Sunday Cross Country League race series throughout the winter. Full details are on the Cross Country/Chingford League pages of this website. There is a no race entry fee payable by the individual Club member for each of these races.
For the one or two people interested, here are my notes from last nightâ€™s ultra marathon talk. Like everything I do, it took ages so apologies for any boredom caused!!
From 26 to 100 miles in a year: Training for and running an ultra
How can I start?
If youâ€™ve run a marathon, you can run an ultra. A 50k is just 5 miles more than a marathon! Most marathon runners could expect to finish - just take the whole thing at easy (conversational) pace!
First ultra ideas:
Dawn til dusk
A 2-6 mile loop race might be boring but you donâ€™t have to carry a pack and however far you run, youâ€™ve succeeded.
How about something longer?
50 miles and up...
Mindset/motivation - forget how fast youâ€™re going. Do you have the motivation to build towards this for 6 months plus?
Make sure you really want to do this!
See what youâ€™re body can do
Prove a point to yourself
Achieve something unachievable
Be a roll model
Youâ€™re unlikely to want to put yourself through all of this unless youâ€™re intrinsically motivated
This is a selfish decision and thatâ€™s ok!
Training your body to run long
Difference between endurance and stamina. Build the aerobic system: higher fat burn/about 60% of max HR - easy miles. Fasted runs/Fat adapted??? Makes sense in theory but carbs are still important.
Strength training? 1-2 body weight/Pilates a week. This is as much to avoid injury as strengthen muscles. Include core as usual but also upper body - arms get as tired as legs on a long ultra! I consider a really hilly run to be the equivalent of a strength session.
Flexibility? I stretch after EVERY run - 5-10 mins.
What does ultra training look like?
[see training plan]
Approx. 3 weeks building, 1 week easy/consolidating
Not all miles are created equally, so consider training by time
2 per week - back to back to simulate running on tired legs. No physiological gain after about 2 1/2-3 hours of running - have a reason to go further, e.g. nutrition, hydration, mental, practise race
Easy runs -
2-3 per week eg commutes etc. - getting used to ultra pace - help recover + build aerobic system. 5-7 miles for me.
1-2 per week - help leg speed and running economy. I find if I miss these, I get slower.
Try not to spend long in the anaerobic zone if at all.
Rest days -
1-2 per week - this is the hardest for me! Important to let body recover and react to training! Try to avoid physical and mental stresses - this looks different for everyone. However...
Things that donâ€™t count as rest:
An easy 5k fun
2 hours of commute cycling
A long hilly walk
A stressful day at work
Watch out for overtraining:
Listen to your body - it really is ok to take an extra rest day even if itâ€™s not on the plan!! (Iâ€™m still working on this)
If youâ€™re getting slower, but working harder, cut down and take an easy week.
I find a speed session takes as much recovery time as a long run - just because it was short doesnâ€™t mean it wasnâ€™t hard!
Tired all the time
hills - e.g. Epping Forest - get used to either walking or running easy up and controlling on way down. You donâ€™t really need poles in the UK but in some mountain ultras, theyâ€™re almost obligingly!
heat - practise in the heat of the day. Some people go even further - sauna/hot yoga or extra layers.
Sun cream, no t-shirt, soak a T-shirt
Mud - practise running a long way in mud claws!
Trails - train on a variety of surface types - I was undone by narrow single track on the Ridgeway!
altitude - advice is to be at altitude a week in advance and drink more water
whatâ€™s going to be hard about your race? - prepare for that!
Run/walk strategies - needed more the further you go. Walk only up hills? Set time? When you feel like it?
A 5:1 ratio is common.
This is the main thing I wish Iâ€™d spent longer practising! At least 1/4 of a long ultra is likely to be walking.
Nutrition - before, during, after - there are conflicting arguments!
Good breakfast 2-3 hours before is ideal
Eat real food on the run - test this on long runs - what can you stomach? High carb, low fat for me! I put this trial and error down to not yet having vomited on a run - this is a common thing.
Golden window! Eat a high protein/carb snack within 20 mins
Self care after long runs
Stretch and eat ASAP
Good balanced meal
Compression tights - whether or not they help much, they feel great!
Magnesium bath or spray
Self care in general:
A nutritious, balanced diet is really important. Have an approx idea of how many extra calories youâ€™re burning and put these back.
Whole food vegan works well for me but thatâ€™s a whole different discussion!
Donâ€™t let it completely take over your life!
Hydration - Work out how much water you need to carry as you run further. Conditions are important. Zero tablets - replace electrolytes.
You canâ€™t train the body to run dehydrated!
Sun screen - your skin can get dehydrated too.
Gear - most ultras have a mandatory list.
Heart rate can help but donâ€™t get obsessed like I did! On the trails, many normal metrics are unreliable.
Find out what works and practise it on longer runs, e.g.
break the run down into 45 min snack intervals or pit stop to pit stop
count to 100 like Radcliffe
positive self talk
remember youâ€™ve trained for it.
Question: What do you think about when you run?
In short - everything and nothing!
When full of energy, concentrating on form and how fast etc.
Constant troubleshooting â€˜I feel ____ so I need to ____â€™
A run for me is a good opportunity to break down the thoughts and anxieties that have built through the day/week.
I get into a meditative state once all the thoughts have finished bouncing round my head.
How did you keep going at spitfire with no end in sight?
Break it up - mentally celebrate small landmarks eg marathon, 50k, 50 miles, 100k, furthest youâ€™ve ever run
At spitfire, meeting team mates every lap REALLY helped.
I had a goal of 100 miles and life was simple. That included acknowledging the pain, but not letting it stop me. Think back to why you wanted to do it.
Acknowledge the pain and suffering and how hard it is. There will be peaks and troughs e.g. I dip at marathon pace
Inexplicably, it will feel easier later.
Everyone can go further than they thought they could!
Question: At the end of every race, I feel like I can go no further - how did you keep going?
This was true for me - after 100 miles, I definitely could have run another lap and had time. I had no desire to do so what do ever!
Ditch the ego - donâ€™t try to overtake those you think should be slower.
Donâ€™t hang around water station buffets too long and donâ€™t eat too much at a time
It really helped me to stop and stretch!!
Donâ€™t stop moving!
Something will go wrong that you havenâ€™t prepared for - most of the ultra is primarily a test of problem solving.
Night time is lonely.
Dawn is spectacular.
All the pain disappears when you finish.
East London Runners
Wanstead Leisure CentreRedbridge Lane WestWansteadLondonE11 2JZ
Monday: Track NightWednesday: Club RunSaturday: parkrunSunday: Long Run
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