Week 6 worked out well as I was able to complete all the runs that I had on plan. I do feel a bit tired now at the end of the week but it is a good tiredness that let’s me know that I have earned my rest day tomorrow, which also happens to be a National Holiday here in Japan.
Monday is my rest day so I took myself off to the gym for some weights and swimming. Derek and Philippe from Namban have been telling me that cycling and swimming will help my running so it encouraged me to give it a try. I also read several months ago that lifting heavy weights for a few repetitions was very beneficial for marathon runners. Now I do not have a lot of upper strength but I did the best I could and was quite tired when I headed to the pool after 30 mins. The most I have ever swam before is around 1km, and that was after a lot of practice, so I was pleased to get to 500m on my first outing in several months. Hopefully I can gradually build it up.
On Tuesday morning I surprised myself by getting up and doing my workout before work. I had been trying to run before work for months and woke a several times at 5:30 to reset my alarm for 6:25. This time was almost the same except that I remembered checking my McMillan schedule the previous night and the Tuesday work out was 10 x 25 seconds, which does not take so long to complete. As I had an appointment on Tuesday night I knew it was now or never so at 6:17 I was starting my warm up. As I wrote last week, I had not been sticking very strictly to the schedule and this week I was making a conscious effort to do better and 10 times 25 seconds is an easy enough speed effort to start with. I have to say that I did enjoy it and although it was a little troublesome trying to avoid all the commuters heading to the station I was happy with the effort.
Wednesday is the Namban Rengo track night. I have been in the club for 5 years and it has been a major source for inspiration and motivation for me. I never thought that I could make so many new friends in my 40’s but Namban has been a revelation for me so I try to make the track session whenever work allows. Of course at this time, there have been several confirmed cases of Dengue Fever in Yoyogi Park in the last month and it has been closed. Oda Track, where we do our track work, is just across the road from Yoyogi but fortunately was open. However, it has been fairly empty of late which is good for us. As I was warming up I felt soreness in my chest from the weights I lifted on Monday. Clearly I suffer from DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness) as I felt nothing on Tuesday. However I was determined to not let it affect me and this week I managed better times than the week before and brought my average time down from 3:50 to 3:43. I was very happy with this and I felt that I was able to really push it a couple of times at the end of an interval which made it interesting.
Thursday was a Fartlek workout. In case you do not know, Farklek means “speed play” in Swedish. If you do not believe me look it up http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fartlek . I think that this was the first time that I actually ran a Fartlek and was not really sure what to expect but once I got going, and figured out how to use my watch, it went well. In one of the descriptions I read it said that you should run a Fartlek at 60% to 80% of your maximum heart rate but I just went out and ran as hard as I could for 2 minutes each time and it worked out at around 180 bpm where my max is 204, so 90%.
Friday was a rest day. I thought that I might run for 45 minutes but when I was coming home from work I felt tired so I decided to take a rest and get to bed early.
Saturday saw us back down in Yokohama for Michael’s soccer and my trail running. Recently I have been trying to add as much elevation gain as possible but I heard from Philippe that Harrisson advised him to not do too many runs that allow easy recovery, especially when you are running a flat marathon such as Ohtawara or Tokyo. I took a look at the Ohtawara elevation gain from previous years and it was only 168m and decided that while some hills are necessary to build stamina, I also need some long flat runs similar to what I will run on the day of the race. Until recently I was trying to get over 500m on my trail runs and getting close on a couple of occasions. This time I decided to get up to the trail and just run along it without going over the serious steep areas. It worked out well and while I did manage 280m of elevation gain most of that was made in the first 20 minutes. I noticed that the weather had cooled down a lot and I really did not need the water bottle that I was carrying with me. Next week I will leave it behind and maybe take a few more seconds off my segments. All in all, although my weight had increased since last week, I felt much lighter and enjoyed running along the trail and even made one Course Record on Strava.
Sunday is the day for the Long Run. Nothing new there. On Saturday I took a look at the McMillan Long Run video to see if I could get any ideas. He pointed out that his plans have 2 long runs, steady state and fast finish. I had a steady state planned for today where the objective is to run at low intensity for a long time in order to teach your body how to burn fat, which is what you do when your heart rate is low compared to you maximum heart rate. For me that would be about 140 bpm. The fast finish long run is exactly what it says, a long run where you run fast for the last 20 to 30 minutes so that you experience what it is like to run fast on tired legs. Coach Stan introduced me to this when I was training for the Munatsuki Marathon and I found it very helpful.
The plan was to run 26 ~ 29km but I thought that I would add on an extra km to round it off to 30km. Little did I know how I would be feel in on Sunday morning. For some reason all the lightness I was feeling on Sunday was gone and I was labouring along down to the river. That morning my HRV was down and it was a little bit warmer with not much shade but I had not been expecting to feel like this. I am guessing that the three speed sessions and the trail run that I had done during the week was finally taking its toll. I found myself trying little tricks to keep me going. I bought my first drink at 2.5km. I promised myself that I would stop when we got to the shade at 5km and take a break. A Lawson Convenience Store at 7km was another target for some cheese. I avoided both of these traps. Gradually I did manage to feel a little better and with the help of a couple of bottles of water and some Gatorade I got around the course and completed 27.5km in 2:38. I had the opportunity to extend it to 30km when I got to the bridge at Noborito but I wisely declined and headed for home. The good take away from this run was that I was able to keep my heart rate fairly steady and hopefully burned lots of fat.
Next week does not have any speed work or a Long Run but has Cruise Intervals on Thursday and a 90 min Progressive Run on Sunday which is to be cut into 3rds and each 30 min is to be run faster than the last one.