This was another good week. 5 runs and 3 of them I can put down as quality workouts. As the weather becomes more bearable in the mornings and evenings, it is easier to get out for longer and more intense runs and I finally feel like I am training for a race. The major issue that I had all week is no air conditioner at home. It failed on Sunday, 9th August, and as the 10th was the start of the Japan Obon holidays, nobody is going to come and look at it for a week. Hopefully they will be able to fix it quickly and that it won’t cost too much. The wife and kids have moved to the in-laws with the rabbit as the weather is still unbearable during the day and I have been sleeping with the windows open. The problem with that is that we live near a rail track. The last train goes by at 00:30 and the first one at 4:50, so it does not lead to a great sleep pattern.
As usual, I started off the week with a rest day. I was glad to see my HRV had gone up to 83 after Sunday’s long run but I was surprised to see my resting heart rate go high. It has done this a few times during the week and I am going to put it down to the trains and the bad sleep.
75 min MAF run
It was nice to wake up with my HRV still in the eighties and my RHR back to normal. The dark blue line in the photo on the left is the average HRV since the start of this year and although there have been ups and downs, as expected, it has been trending upwards so I am going to take that as a good sign that my training is progressing well.
The evening was relatively cool when I got home from work and I decided to head out for a MAF run but to try and extend it by 15 mins. Recently it has been a real challenge to get past Todoroki Ground but this time I managed to make it all the way down to Marukobashi and keep my heart rate in check. The Tamagawa is getting ready for the big fireworks display on 22 Aug so there are lots of temporary lights and barriers. I hope I can get out to see it on Saturday and post some photos. The run went off without incident and it felt good to be moving up in mileage early in the week.
Namban Rengo Track Intervals
It was good to be back at the track with Namban Rengo on Wednesday night as always. I had been feeling that my training was going well and I decided that I would push it and see if I could run 1km in under 3:40 again. This had been a goal of mine all summer and while I got close a few times, it was never close enough. As it was Obon, the track was very empty so it was possible to stay in the inner lane most of the time. I knew that I would only have one chance to do it because I would never recover enough to run at the same intensity in a second interval.
The temperature was 30 degrees as I went out behind Alex, one of the faster runners in our club. I knew that I would not be able to stay behind him but I thought that it would give me enough momentum to achieve my goal. It worked out as expected. I got to 200m in 39 seconds. Had I kept going at that pace I would have made a nice PB of 3:15 but I started to fade and finished with a 3:36, which I was very happy with. The other intervals suffered as expected and by the final one, 400m, I was well off the pace. Still I did what I came to do. My next track goal will be to get all of my intervals under 3:40 pace, particularly the next 6 x 1000m at the start of September.
After the intervals we went to the Aldgate British Pub in Shibuya to celebrate Coach Stan’s birthday and to drink some fine craft beers. I had intended to talk more about my training schedule as I have only 10 weeks to go to Dublin but we enjoyed the beers too much and never really got round to it.
1 Hour MAF Run
I woke to see my HRV and RHR had taken a pounding. I hope it was due to the previous night’s efforts at the intervals but it could just have easily been the craft beer or the trains ruining my sleep. ithlete Pro was telling me to take a rest day and although I only had an easy run planned, I seriously thought about it. When I got home from work I took my heart rate again and it had dropped back down to 42 so I decided that I had recovered enough and I headed out the door to do my second MAF run of the week. I kept this one to one hour as I did not want to push it. I headed down to Todoroki Ground and back at a nice easy pace enjoying another 30 degree evening.
It was great to see that my HRV was back in the green again on Friday morning and my RHR had dropped to 38. One of the reasons that I was so keen to get out on Thursday was that I already had plans on Friday and it would be difficult to run. I was going drinking with some of my Irish and soccer friends from more than 20 years ago. Some of them I came to Japan with in 1989, and others I played with in the Kanto Celts. One of them, Eugene, was just in town for that week and this was the third time I had met him. The other 2 times we were running. It is always good to get together and show our appreciation for the Irish national drink and Clann Irish Pub in Jiyugaoka is a great place to do it. I suppose some people might wonder why is somebody who is supposedly training for a marathon enjoying so many nights out in the pubs of Tokyo. The truth is that I have tried the abstinence thing and I am here to tell you that it does not work, for me at least. Two years ago I got anaemia, my HRV dropped way down and I had a terrible Ohtawara marathon, just finishing before the 4 hour cut off time. After that I vowed never to change my lifestyle to the point that it will impact me like that. I did however leave early as I had a key workout the next day.
15km run with 20 min at Tempo
My HRV had dropped and my RHR was up again but I was still in the Green when I woke at 7:30. There was a nice cool breeze blowing in from the window and I knew that I had to leave soon to make the most of it. Unfortunately I messed around too much and it was 9:30 and 28 degrees and sunny when I got out the door. The plan was to run down to the river at an easy pace and then do a tempo run at between 4:06 and 4:16. The time could be up to 40 mins but I knew that I would not be able to run that long and I just wanted to see how I felt in these conditions. It went well. Although it was very hard going, I was able to maintain the pace for 20 minutes and then I jogged back. As the weather cools I will try and increase the time and hopefully get up to the 40 minutes by the end of September.
In the afternoon I went up to the in-laws to remember what air conditioning is like. I spent the afternoon reading the training blog of Steve from Namban Rengo. Steve has run many sub 3 marathons and it really highlighted to me what type of training is required and the type of mental toughness necessary in a race to achieve your goal. The writing was pretty good as well.
34km Fast Finish Long Run
This was my third key workout of the week and arguably the most important one. The idea behind a Fast Finish Long Run is that you finish at a fast pace, marathon pace or above, in order to teach your legs to run hard when they are tired. My route does not lend itself easily to a fast finish as there are 4 traffic lights and a railway crossing in the last 2.7km so I do the fast portion of this run when I hit 24km and try to hold on as long as I can. Also, I have heat adjusted the pace. All things being equal I would run this portion at 4:25 pace which is what I plan to run Dublin but as it was 26 degrees when I headed out at 6am this morning, I adjusted the pace to 4:40.
The first part of the race was run at MAF, with my heart rate between 128 and 138. It was not a challenge to run at that heart rate and my pace hovered around 6:00 as expected. I started drinking water at 10km and I consumed 500ml there and at 15km 17km and 20km. I was getting a bit worried that I was drinking too much and I would have too much liquid in my belly for the intense part of the run. As I got to 24km I finished my drink and decided not to get another one until I was finished with the fast part. I pressed the lap button on my Garmin and upped the pace. I felt sick. My legs were tired, the temperature was starting to heat up and the sun was coming out from behind the clouds. Like Saturday, I did not give myself any set distance or time to cover but decided to go as far as my legs would take me. As it worked out I was able to maintain the effort for 20 minutes again before stopping at another drinks vending machine. Again it was very tough. In all I drank about 3.5 litres on this run. I plan to do this run a few more times before the end of September hopefully be able to run from 24km to 34km at a 4:25 pace.
Needless to say, when I got home I quite tired but happy to have a good week behind me. I made myself a nice juice with beets, carrot, lemon, orange and ginger. Hopefully it will help with the recover and I can do it all again next week before having an easier week from 24th August.