Week 2: 6th ~ 12th July

Distance  67.9km

Time         6:08:58

This week started off with a rest day as well. Which was rather fortunate as I was still fatigued after the weekend. It got better with several key workouts and a good discussion with Coach Stan on my plans for the Dublin and Ohtawara marathons. I was happy to complete 5 workouts and finish the week without injury or too much fatigue. Next week’s schedule will be a little easier with the Obuse half marathon in Nagano on Sunday. It is a famous race in Japan and many Nambanners have run it in the past. Recently it has gotten very popular so only 6 or 7 of us got in this time. For me it will be my first time. People tell me that it is a very hard race due to the heat and I don’t doubt them.


HRV 74

RHR 42

Rest Day

I was glad to see my HRV return to its normal value after the long run on Saturday and the easy run on Sunday. It was also nice taking a rest with a couple of craft beers.


HRV 75

RHR 39

Leg Speed 20 x 30 seconds with 1 minute jog

Tuesday I went out after work and did the same leg speed yesterday as I did the previous Tuesday. I was able to run a little bit further than before but not significantly. I think that my top speed might already be limited.


HRV 79

RHR 42

Namban Rengo Intervals

On Wednesday my HRV continued to improve and it was off to the track in the rain for the Namban Intervals. It was a good workout but again my times were all over the place. I should have gotten the 1200m under 4:30 and the second 1000m closer to 3:40 but I just did not have it in my legs. Perhaps I was just too tired from the Leg Speed workout the previous night.

400m 1:24 / 800m 2:53 / 1000m 3:41 / 1200m 4:33 / 1000m 3:47 / 800m 2:58 / 600m 2:11


HRV 66 

RHR 50

Rest Day

Bob had advised me to take a rest day between my Intervals and Hill Repeats and as my HRV had dropped 13 points I duly obliged.


HRV 70

RHR 51

Hill Repeats 6 x 550m

IMG_2941I was meeting Coach Stan on Friday night to discuss my training plan so I had to get up a 5am to do my Hill Repeats. It was tough. I actually turned off my alarm and reset it for 6:15 but when I could not go back to sleep I decided that there was nothing for it but to drag myself out the door and up the hill. My HRV had come back to 70 and ithlete Pro had put me in the green but I was just not feeling it. I went to the same hill as last week but cut it short by 200m. The first repeat was terrible but I managed to get a little better by the third one before tapering off again. One of the challenges was trying to avoid all the early morning dog walkers. Who would have thought that there would be so many? My times for the 6 repeats were 2:28/2:26/2:23/2:25/2:25/2:26 with about a 3:40 recovery as I ran back down hill.

IMG_2938Coach Stan and myself went to the vegan restaurant Pure Cafe in Omotesando to discuss my training plan. The restaurant was my choice as I want to start eating more healthily. Stan’s first question kind of caught me off guard when he asked me which marathon I was more serious about, Dublin or Ohtawara. I had to think for a minute before I answered that I was equally serious about both. Dublin was not a training run for Ohtawara and Ohtawara was not a back up plan for Dublin. There are 4 weeks between the two races so I plan to run my best in Dublin, and then run my best again in Ohtawara. In order to run a 3:10 marathon you have to plan to run at a 4:25 pace to be on the safe side. Most running plans call for marathon pace runs to get you ready to run at that rate in the marathon. Stan’s advice was that in Japan’s hot summer there was no point in trying to run so fast and I should drop the pace down by 20 seconds to 4:45 until September when we will try and focus in on the actual marathon pace over the final 8 weeks of training. He also recommended to do long intervals such as 5 x 2km in order to get ready for the race. It all sounds very good in theory, but let’s see how it goes in practice.


HRV 80 

RHR 49

10.3km at 4:45km/min pace

On Saturday morning I got up with 4:45 ringing in my ears and went out and ran my 50 min run at that pace. As simple as that. Well not quite. It was already close to 30 degrees when I set off at 9:10am but my HRV had bounced back up to 80, probably thanks to the healthy food I had on Friday night, and I was feeling good. I went down the Tamagawa as far as the Kawasaki Frontale Todoroki Stadium, did a U-turn and came right back. I was expecting to be impacted by the heat or have to stop for water but I managed to make it out and back only stoping for traffic lights. When I got home I took a shower and sweated profusely for the rest of the morning. Summer is definitely here and as I type this I need to place a towel across my desk to stop my wrists  from sticking to it. It will probably be like this for the next 8 to 10 weeks.


HRV 78

RHR 46

26km Fast Finish Long Run

On Saturday night Coach Stan sent over his first set of instructions (although he calls them suggestions):

Sunday: 2 hours (1:40 at MAF, last 20mins as fast as possible :p)
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: easy 45min-1hr at MAF
Wednesday: Namban
Saturday: optional 30min jog
Sunday: Obuse Half Marathon in Nagano
So I got up at 6am on Sunday with a mild hangover from the wonderful Craft Beer I had been enjoying on Saturday night but with my HRV and RHR intact. Unfortunately I was messing around at home too much and did not get out the door until 7:10am when the sun was already high in the sky and the temperature was 25 degrees C. My MAF range is 128 ~ 138 bpm and recently I have been able to run at an OK pace in this range. However, that was in the rainy season. This morning as I stood outside my home in the sun waiting for my Garmin to sync to the satellites, my heart rate was already ay 108 and it had gone into my MAF zone before I had ran 200m down the road.
What this meant was that I was running slower and slower and the day was getting hotter and hotter. I got through the 1:40 of MAF at 6:09 pace and covered 16.25km with the aid of two bottles of water. For the fast part of the run I had set my Garmin pace between 4:30 and 5:00km/min and pretty soon I was running at 4:34 in the hot morning sun. I had hoped to run the full 20 mins without stopping but I couldn’t do it. Even though I had drunk 500ml of water 10 mins before starting the fast part of the run I was soon parched and at 14:30 min I stopped at a friendly water fountain to quench my thirst before continuing on my way. I then ran the remaining 3.6km home at an easy 6:05 km/min pace but I could never get my HR back under 145.
One thing that has been bothering for the last few weeks is a pain in the back of my neck on the right side. I initially thought that it was due to carrying water bottles in my right hand when I ran but it is there now even when I carry nothing. I looked up an article on Runner’s World which suggested it could be due to either weakness in the region and core muscles or poor body mechanics through the upper thoracic and cervical spine. Both of which could be true for me. I never do core muscle exercises although I know that they are very important and I never work on my cadence although I know that is important as well. I plan to work on both of these now and hopefully get some relief. (Spot the Bob Dylan reference)

6 thoughts on “Week 2: 6th ~ 12th July

  1. You seem to be going well.
    Am impressed with your early mornings.
    It is 7 degrees in Melbourne and raining hard so not much sympathy for the warm weather.
    Do you get a regular Sports Massage? Maybe that would help your neck pain.

  2. As for your neck pain I will vote for an unbalance as it’s on one side only.
    Consulting an osteopath should be a a way to find it. I know one who found out my unbalance well, and corrected it. if you need.
    And swimming should strengthen your core + help your recovery.
    Good luck

  3. Yes, probably an imbalance of some sort.
    Good advice from Coach Stan! I like both of those recommendations.
    As for the Dylan reference, obvious: he never did core exercises either.

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