Week 2 – Saturday Long Run

January 10th, 2020

Last Week – Over 30 people kicked off their winter training on a cold, moist, Sunday morning. While the temperatures were good for running, the lingering wet from the night had frozen to black ice in places along the route, most noticeably on the steep hills of Breakheart. Always be prepared for anything when you’re training for a long distance race, the weather likes to mess with you.

This Week – We’ll meet back at Brueggers at 8AM on SATURDAY to step up the distance and take on Spot Pond. Why SATURDAY? Because SATURDAY night is the MRC Holiday Party!!! Let’s get in those miles on Saturday morning so you can dance and be festive without worrying about your next long run. It’ll be pretty warm for a winter training run, so dress for the 50s. The half run is about 7 miles, the full about 12.5. Generally every other week of the long run will step up 4 miles and then the next will drop down 2 miles as we walk to 22 miles. Meanwhile the short run will step up 2 and then step back 1 headed towards an 11 max before the race.

Week 2 – Spot Pond

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Start – Leaving Brueggers we will head south on Main Street (in the direction of Malden), past Dunkin Donuts, and turning right on West Wyoming, like the start of the MRC Summer Route. West Wyoming will take you out to Grimsby’s where you’ll turn left onto the Fellsway East. Two hills will great you on the Fellsway East which you’ll hate, but maybe someday you’ll grow to love. Ignore the incline and enjoy the feel of running through the Melrose section of the Middlesex Fells. Eventually you’ll go through an intersection with a set of lights and come down to a traffic circle in Medford where you’ll turn right on to Highland Ave. Follow Highland up towards Spot Pond, finding a water stop on the left right before a rotary by the Flynn Rink.

Half Finish – After the water stop, the short runners will continue straight through the rotary on to Woodland Road, running past the Flynn Rink. Follow this to Pond Street where you’ll turn right and head down a steep hill to Grimsby’s. Turn left there and follow the Lynn Fells Parkway past Melrose High School, after which you’ll turn right on Melrose Street and then take a quick right onto Main Street to finish up at Brueggers.

Full Route 2 – The long runners will leave the water stop and turn left at the rotary on to Elm Street. Run to the end of Elm Street and turn right onto the Fellsway West. This will bring you through another portion of the Middlesex Fells, up what we’ve named Slackers Hill after that urge you get to walk instead of run up the hill, keep running. You’ll then cross under I-93, past the Sheepfold, and over I-93. Watch on your right as you cross an off ramp from I-93, cars come down there very quickly! After that you’ll want to turn right into the Straw Point parking lot. There will be a water stop there, so grab some water and keep going through the parking lot to Pond Street. Continue right to keep circling Spot Pond, pass the Zoo, continue straight as Pond Street becomes Woodland Rd, up to Flynn Rink, through the rotary and back to the water stop at Highland Ave.

Full Finish – After the final water stop you’ll cross Highland and take your first left on East Border Road. This will bring you up to a set of lights where you turn left to get back on the Fellsway East. Ride those two hills back past Grimsby’s and onto the Lynn Fells Parkway. Run past Melrose High School, turn right on Melrose Street, and right on Main Street which will take you back to Brueggers.

Water Stops – I’ll handle the Highland Ave stop and Lois will be at Straw Point. I may chose to run around Spot Pond. If I do, remember where my car is because you may have to help yourself.

Parking – Note that there is a 3hr parking limit in the lots around Melrose Center. Don’t linger too long, get your run done, your bagel eaten, your coffee sipped, and skedaddle. Hopefully we’ll see you Saturday night!

Roll Call! Those are the plans, who’s in?

Week 1 – 2020 Winter SLR Kickoff Run

January 3rd, 2020

Happy New Year! Boston is 15 weeks away, its time to ramp up the mileage as you make your way to the starting line. The Melrose Running Club invites you to join us for our Sunday Long Run program, a proven series of long runs that will get you ready for your big race. All our welcome to join us each Sunday from Brueggers on Main Street in Melrose, regardless of which running club you belong to, if any. All we ask is a verbal agreement that you won’t hold the Melrose Running Club liable for anything you do while you’re out on the streets. You join us for the run, but you’re responsible for what happens out on the road.

Running a Marathon? While Boston isn’t the only marathon out there, Patriot’s Day is the focus date of the SLR training plan. If you’re running a different marathon, you can cater your mileage to your race date by adding and subtracting a few miles each week. The SLR plan is designed to walk a novice marathoner up to the mileage to be able to complete a marathon. If you’re a more accomplished marathoner you might want to alter your mileage to a different plan. Feel free to take advantage of our water stops as you complete your training.

Running a half? The SLR will also walk you up to a half. If you’re new to halfs, the plan will get you to the starting line with the goal to finish. If you’re a more experienced half runner, I suggest you stretch the miles out to 15 or so before your half. It will make 13.1 feel easier!

The Training Plan – We’ll help you get through your long runs. Most weeks the SLR will alternate between a step up of 4 miles from the week before to stretch out your miles, or a step back 2 miles for a recovery week. I recommend you run these about 30-60 seconds/mile slower than your goal race pace. The goal is to get the miles in on Sundays, the speed you should work on at other times. Running all your runs at the same pace is a recipe for an injury about week 12 or 13. So what should your other runs be? How many runs should you do each week? What should your weekly mileage be? There is no one answer, everyone’s situation is unique. I will recommend a training app I have used that got me a PR in a half marathon recently. A Strava app website TO-GETTHERE.com has you enter the number of days per week you want to train, your goal race, and your goal time to set out a dynamic training plan. Note, if you can’t keep up with the training plan they recommend, it’s likely your goal is not in reach. As you run the training runs, the site will adjust your upcoming training based on how well you’re doing. If you’re looking for a plan, I suggest you mix the TO-GETTHERE training plan and the SLR long runs to get to where you want to be.

About our Meeting Place – Brueggers allows us to meet for our run within their place of business but Brueggers is not at all affiliated with the Melrose Running Club or the Sunday Long Run. Please be respectful of their property and their customers. Do not gather along the customer line or waiting areas. Keep the restroom facilities clean. Wipe your feet before entering. Keep your voices low as you wait for the run. Let me repeat that, it is human nature to raise your voice so you can be heard by the person you’re talking to, and when everyone does that we tend to make a lot of noise, at 8AM, when customers are trying to eat their breakfast. You’ll have many miles to talk to each other, please limit the conversation in the few minutes we gather at Brueggers. After the run feel free to talk as much as you like. Please consider purchasing food and drink from Brueggers. Refrain from bringing in outside food into their restaurant, respect their business. If you plan on hanging out after, please bring a change of clothes. Would you want to sit next to a sweaty runner when you go out to breakfast? If we follow these suggestions we’ll continue to meet at Brueggers, if we don’t we’ll have to meet in the street, in the cold, and rain and snow.

About our Runs – The weekly running route is listed to the right in the sidebar of the Sunday Long Run page at the Melrose Running Club site. If you just follow the link you’ll only see the blog post. Each week I’ll post about the run, reviewing the route, and requesting a reply if you’re in. Over the years the standard has become to post IFTF if you’re “in for the full” route, of IFTH if you’re “in for the half”. These responses will be used to gauge what to buy for water stop supplies. Please reply. The morning of the run we’ll gather slightly before 8AM. I’ll collect $2 from the full route runners and $1 from the half route runners. This money goes towards the supplies I just bought. We’ll quickly head outside to Main Street and I’ll review the route. At this point you acknowledge you know where you’re going and agree you are on your own from there. If you wander off course you will become lost and you won’t be found… because you’re lost. Know the route, and become familiar with the area so that you can find your way back. Each week a link to turn by turn directions of each section of the route will be available. If you tend to get lost, bring your phone so you can follow the directions or find your way back on course. The water stops are typically manned. Have a drink and a snack to keep fueled. If the stop is used more than once you’ll be asked to initial the bottom of your cup and reuse it. When you hit that stop for the last time please throw away your cup. When the cups are gone the volunteer will know they can leave the stop. If you plan on skipping a stop, let the water stop attendant know, or post it in your reply to this post. It is very helpful to know. Also, for slower pace runners, it is suggested you get a head start. Some runners opt to meet a half hour to an hour earlier to finish up earlier. The water stops roll along the course so you may be ahead of them, but review the map and plan for the ones you think you’ll make. We’re out there to help you.

This week’s route – We’ll start the season off with pleasant weather for a run to Breakheart. Oh yeah, if you’re new to this, I forgot to mention you’ll be running a lot of hills.

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Start – Heading North on Main Street in Melrose, the group will start together running up to Ell Pond where you’ll cross over to the right side of the road and veer off onto Green Street. At the traffic lights where Green Street meets the Lynn Fells Parkway you’ll take a right. Follow the Lynn Fells into Saugus, up to the Saugus entrance to Breakheart on your left. If you see Target and Kelly’s you’ve gone too far! The entrance to Breakheart will take you up to the parking lot in front of the Breakheart Headquarters Lodge where you’ll find the water stop for this week. Have a drink.

Half Finish – The half route runners will turn around and return to Brueggers along the same path. Run back down to the Lynn Fells Parkway where you turn right. Continue into Melrose, turning left on Green Street and merging on to Main Street. Grab a bagel and coffee, the rest of the group will be back soon.

Full 2 – The second part of the full route run is a lap around the outer loop of Breakheart Reservation going counter-clockwise. Head in along the path to the right, when you approach the beach, keep to the right, circle around and run through 5 (at least) major hills before heading back out to the parking lot for another water stop. Have another drink, you deserve one!

Full Finish – Now you’ll return to Brueggers the way you came. Run back down to the Lynn Fells Parkway where you turn right. Continue into Melrose, turning left on Green Street and merging on to Main Street. Grab a bagel and coffee, the rest of the group will be back soon.

Water Stop – I’ll bring the supplies to Breakheart and backtrack along the route for a run myself. If anyone wants to volunteer to man the stop they are welcome to but if there is no volunteer feel free to find my car, pop the trunk and help yourself. The car will have an MRC Jacket in the back window.

Roll Call – Who’s in for this week’s run? Let me know by responding to this post!

Week 14 – Finale of 2019 SLR

October 12th, 2019

Last week – A good sized crew wound their way through Swains Pond and over to Citizens Bank where Tom and Audrey were serving snacks and beverages. Courtney headed home for there, and off to Munich for this weekend’s marathon. Everyone else continued through the hills of the Fellsway East, with half trainers heading back Wyoming to Brueggers. Some half trainers decided to put in a few extra miles, probably for a chance to visit Lois at water stop 2, before heading back to Melrose Center. A group of us continued on to Farm Street, cutting across Nahant to meet up with Mike Quigley for a beverage as we looped back to Melrose along Main Street. Thanks to the water stop crew!

This week – We’ll wrap the whole thing up tomorrow. As the weather finally clears up after a week of wind and rain, we’ll head out to the Fellsway East, if you’re running long you’ll loop Spot Pond, and then run back. We’ll do this a little differently, for those looping Spot Pond this is the only week of the season the route loops the pond counter-clockwise.

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Start – We’ll head up Main Street towards Ell Pond. As you pass the pond look for the monument to Clarence DeMar. Clarence lived in Melrose for some time before moving to Keene, New Hampshire. He ran the same paths we run but 100 years earlier. Clarence DeMar is the man that has won the most Boston Marathons to his name, winning 7 times over a 30 year span. The monument to him also mentions another Melrose resident that won the Boston Marathon multiple times, Bill Rodgers. As you finish up your training know we’ve been running the training routes of champions. Keep that in your head as you turn left on Melrose Street and left again onto the Lynn Fells Parkway heading towards our hills. Run past Grimsby’s, through the Fellsway East hills, and turn right on Highland Ave, making your way to the water stop.

Half Finish – The half runners will go through the Highland Ave rotary onto Woodland Rd, up to the right on to Pond Street. Run down to Grimsby’s and continue straight on to West Wyoming to finish up with a left on Main and a trip to Brueggers.

Full 2 – The full distance runners will also continue straight through the rotary onto Woodland Rd. Continue straight at Pond St, past the Stone Zoo, and veer left into the Straw Point parking lot. You should find Hank there for a little water before continuing left onto the Fellsway West, over I-93, past the Sheepfold, under I-93, and down to Elm Street. Elm will take you up, up, and up back to the Highland Ave rotary. Turn right on Highland for the next water stop.

Full Finish – From Highland, turn left on East Border, left at the lights on to the Fellsway East, and up to Grimsby’s. Turn right on West Wyoming and a left on Main to finish up at Brueggers.

Water Stops – If nobody shows up, I’ll handle it. If people do show up, I’ll run.

Roll Call – Who’s in?!

Week 13 – Race Month Is Here (For Most)

October 5th, 2019

Last Week – Last week was kind of an adventure. I ever so slightly changed the routes up for several reasons. (1) The sidebar has always said week 12 was 9 miles, the maps have always been 12.5 miles, and nobody pointed that out to me until last season. (2) The long run was always less than 22. Mentally for someone preparing for a marathon not getting to 22 can make someone nervous. (3) I’m trying to minimize the number of water stops in the routes to make it easier to organize and volunteer. This lead to some complaining, some confusion, some wandering during the run, some stopping early, and rumor has it some Ubering. The good news is everyone lived! I, for one, had a very pleasant run. Thanks Dan, Lois, and Tom for helping us get through the run.

This Week – Unless Manchester, NYC or Philly are in your future, it’s Race Month. October brings marathons and halfs everywhere and each week we’ll have people heading somewhere. The New Hampshire Marathon, Maine Marathon, and Wineglass in NY are all this weekend, as is the Rockfest Half at Hampton Beach. Good luck if you’re running any of those. For the rest of us, keep up the training and taper if its time! As this training focuses on Baystate, we’ll be winding down the miles. Over the next week or two we give our bodies a little recovery time as we head into our October races. I call this period “Don’t Do Anything Stupid” time. Your training is done and your legs got you this far. Human nature will be that you’re nervous that you didn’t do enough, you’ll think about that one long run that didn’t go right or you cut a few miles off and you’ll feel the need to cram in one last hard training run. Don’t do that! Recover instead. Your taper runs should be at the same intensity as your training runs, but the miles will be less and the toll they take on your body should be minimal. With that in mind we’ll all head through Swains Pond and the long runners will continue out to Farm Street.

Route maps on Strava:
Full 14.8M
Middle 11.0M
Half 7.0M

Turn-by-Turn Directions (click box at start of section to navigate)

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Start – We’ll cross Main Street and head up East Foster to the Melrose Common where we’ll turn right at the Common onto 6th Street. This will turn into Swains Pond Ave and bring you up into a wooded section of Melrose. When you reach Swains Pond and Turners Pond there will be a stop sign, turn right here to stay on Swain’s Pond Ave. This will eventually bring you to Lebanon Street where you’ll take a sharp right. Lebanon will bring you to a set of lights where you’ll turn left on Forest Street which will lead you across to Main Street in Malden. Citizens Bank will be across Main Street with a water stop.

Section 2 – Leave the Citizens Bank parking lot onto Winter Street. Follow this past the Oak Grove T station to a five way intersection. Cross straight through the intersection on to Glenwood Street. Wind your way up to Highland Ave where you turn right with a very quick right onto the Fellsway East. Make your way through the hills down to Grimsby’s. If you’re running the half route you can turn right at Grimsby’s and head back to Brueggers for 7 miles along West Wyoming and left on Main Street. If you want a little longer of a run continue with the full route runners on to the LynnFells Parkway and keep going to you get to the knoll across from Melrose High School for a water stop. Half runners can then head up to a right on Melrose Street and a right on Main Street for an 8 mile run.

Full 3 – From the knoll, continue on the LynnFells Parkway until you reach the intersection with Main Street in Saugus. Turn left and follow Main Street, which will become Farm Street in Wakefield, and turn left onto Nahant Street. This will bring you across to Main Street in Wakefield where a water stop will be waiting for you at Nick’s Pizza… or maybe Dunkin Donuts.

Full Finish – Its taper time so we’re already heading back to the finish. Head south on Main Street from Wakefield to Melrose and finish up at Brueggers. That’s it, you’re done already.

Water Stops – I would like the full 15 this week. I think Tom and Lois are helping, maybe Dan, if I get two helpers committed I’ll be able to run the whole thing.

Roll Call – Who’s in?

Week 12 – New Route for 22, Almost 12, and 9+ Miles

September 28th, 2019

Last Week – We experienced some late September summer temperatures making for a longer feeling long run. Once the sun came up and shined brightly on the LynnFells Parkway half route and full route runners pushed through the challenge and got one last summer long run behind them. Lois and Tom kept everyone hydrated as the conquered their 18 and 11 mile distances.

This Week – Our training season peaks (for some, although most people are running marathons and halfs at different times of the year).
But for those running Baystate it’s time for the “22 mile run” which is really 21.7 miles in the fall. Half marathon runners should be looking to hit their max their distance 2 weeks before you half. If you haven’t run a half before or haven’t run one in a while, I suggest running 11 three weeks before and tapering two weeks into your race. If you’ve run a few, look to do ~12 miles two weeks before. If you’re a more experienced half marathon I recommend stepping up to ~15 miles two weeks prior to the race, as those extra miles will make the 13.1 feel much more manageable on race day.

The Route – I’ve made some tweaks for a few reasons. First, the half route has never been the right distance… oops. Second, the water stop planning on the original route was much too complicated, this one is much more manageable.

Full route maps on Strava: 22 Miler 11.8 Miler 9.4 Miler

Week 12

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Start – We’ll start out from Brueggers at 8AM, heading north past Ell Pond. Turn left at Melrose Street and a quick left onto the LynnFells Parkway. Run past Melrose High School, straight along the LynnFells Parkway past Grimsby’s onto the Fellsway East. Run through the hills and down to the traffic circle at Highland Ave where you turn right. Follow Highland Ave until you get to the water stop on your left before the rotary at the end of Highland.

Everybody 2 – All runners will turn left at the rotary onto Elm Street and follow that to the end, turning right on to the Fellsway West. Run under I93, past the Sheepfold, and over I93.

Half Finish for 9+ Miles – Turn right through the Straw Point parking lot continuing on to Pond Street, past the Stone Zoo, turning left onto Pond Street. Continue down to Grimsby’s onto West Wyoming. Turn left on Main and finish at Brueggers at 9.4 miles.

Section 2b Full route and Half runners wanting ~12 Miles – Continue up to the lights at Friendly’s and turn left onto North Border Road heading over to Park Street. At the next set of lights turn left onto Marble Street and cross over I-93 where the street name turns to Forest Street as you enter Winchester. There will be a water stop on your left at Eugene Dr.

Half Finish for ~12 Miles – These half route runners will return over I93 onto Marble Street straight through the Park Street intersection, following Marble to Main Street in Stoneham. Cross straight over Main Street to Summer Street, which will take you over to Franklin Street. Turn right on Franklin, heading back to Melrose. When you hit Main Street in Melrose, turn right on Main and finish at Brueggers with 11.8 miles.

Full 3 – The full route runners will run some familiar streets through Winchester, but with a twist! This section will take you down Forest to the right on Highland, by Winchester Hospital. We’ll turn left on Reservoir Rd, which becomes Hillcrest Parkway… you know, the really pretty street. This will follow the Fells and loops back to Highland where you’ll turn left. Follow Highland to the 5-way intersection. Now for the twist… cross Mt Vernon, but go to the right onto Mystic Valley Parkway. Follow Mystic Valley Parkway to a water stop you usually hit from the opposite direction.

Full 4 – Now you’ll do the Mystic Lakes section in reverse. Follow Mystic Valley Parkway to what seems like the end. Turn right onto Bacon Street, under the commuter rail tracks, then left back onto the Mystic Valley Parkway. Run along the Mystic Lakes to the little roundabout at High Street. Turn right on High, run up to Dunkins (used to be Dunkin Donuts), turning left onto Playstead Rd. Take Playstead up to Rte 38 in Medford, its called Winthrop Street here but becomes Main Street in Winchester. Main Street will take you past the end of Highland Ave where there won’t be a water stop so keep going straight on Rte 38. This will take you to the traffic circle at Main Street in Winchester where you’re going to stay to the left and cross Grove Street and stay straight onto Bacon Street again. This will take you over to a right on Mystic Valley Parkway bringing you to the next water stop, which is the same spot as the last water stop.

Full 5 – Continue on Mystic Valley Parkway and turn left onto Washington Street. Cross Mt Vernon Street and bear right to stay on Washington. Follow straight on Washington until you get to the Gingerbread Construction Company where you turn right and run up, up, and up Forest Street to Eugene for another water stop.

Full Finish – To finish up the run you’ll cross over I-93 to Marble, straight through the Park Street intersection, following Marble to Main Street in Stoneham. Cross straight over Main Street to Summer Street, which will take you over to Franklin Street. Turn right on Franklin, heading back to Melrose. When you hit Main Street in Melrose, turn right on Main and finish at Brueggers and start tapering!

Water Stops – It looks like we have Tom, Dan, Lois, and I waterstopping people up this week!

Roll Call! Who’s in?!