Ohtawara Marathon 2016 Base Training Week 1

On Sunday 8th May I ran the Sendai Half Marathon in 1:39:55. It was over 7 minutes slower than the Namban Half I did last November but 3 minutes faster that the ParCup Half I had run on the 10th April. Since running my marathon PB in Ohtawara last November, I have been taking things a little easy and not doing enough miles while eating too many cakes. I mean that literally. I was 81kg running Ohtawara and I am 85km today. It is common knowledge that the best marathon runners are lean, not because they don’t eat a lot, but because they eat the right food and they have adapted their bodies to burn fat when they run. I am not going to bore you here with all the pseudo science that I only half know, but it is sufficient to say that training at large volumes and low heart rate will help your body adapt to burn fat.This year, as in all years, the Ohtawara Marathon will be on 23rd November. My official 17.5 week training program starts on 25th July. This is rather bad timing as I will go on vacation on the 26th July. However, for the next 12th weeks I intend to embark on a low intensity base building training program where I will mainly run at my MAF heart rate, reduce my Resting Heart Rate (RHR), increase my Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and lose the 4kgs that I have put on over the last 6 months. Well, let’s see how it goes.

The other thing that has changed since Ohtawara 2015 is that I have been trying to eat like a vegetarian this year. Actually, I have been trying to eat like a vegan and avoid all animal products but it has not really worked out so well. The unexpected outcome is that I have been eating too much bread, rice and yes, cakes. I now need to change that and gradually reduce them while adding more fruit and vegetables. Hopefully, this blog will help me to do that.

Week Total

  • Number of runs: 5
  • Distance: 76km
  • Time: 8 hours 2 mins

Monday 9th May

  • RHR : 59
  • HRV: 56
  • Weight: 85.7kg

First day back after the Sendai Half Marathon and I did not feel up to going out to run. Although I was not very sore, we had not gotten back until 9pm on Sunday night and I was tired. My RHR and HRV were also telling me to rest.

Tuesday 10th May

  • RHR: 50
  • HRV: 66
  • Weight: 85.4kg
  • Run: MAF
  • Distance: 12.4km
  • Time: 1 hour 23 mins

RHR and HRV were back to acceptable levels so Tuesday was the first day of my base  building program and it went to plan. I managed to keep my average heart rate at 134, which is 3 beats below my MAF HR, and I made it down to Marukobashi and back.

Wednesday 11th May

  • RHR: 45
  • HRV: 71
  • Weight: 84.5kg
  • Run: MAF
  • Distance: 12.4km
  • Time: 1 hour 24 mins

RHR and HRV are continuing to improve. Normally I should be going to Namban Rengo on Wednesday nights and enjoying interval training in Yoyogi Park. However, this year I have missed it far too many times as there have been too many real life events that have gotten in the way. Still I hope to be back in Yoyogi soon. So, instead of interval training I went and completed the same MAF run down to Marukobashi and back, again keeping my heart rate at around 134.

Thursday 12th May

  • RHR: 50
  • HRV: 63
  • Weight: 84.3kg
  • Run: Aerobic
  • Distance: 10.8km
  • Time: 1 hour 1 min

Rainbow Bridge Crew

This summer I plan to run over the Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo from my office as often as I can. Ideally this would be once a week, but if I could get 2 Rainbow Bridge runs a month between April and October when it is open to pedestrians until 9pm, I would consider that a success. I have run the bridge 3 times so far this year and I have always managed to convince some Nambanners to join me as well. The idea is that we change and leave our gear in the Minato Ku Sports Centre and then we head out, run the south side of the bridge and run around Odaiba before running back along the north side of the bridge. So far there has not been too many people about and it has been very pleasant. Of course, we always find our way back to Devil Craft in Hamamatsucho afterwards.


Devil Craft Hamamatsucho

Friday 13th May

  • RHR : 53
  • HRV: 66
  • Weight: 84.8kg

Friday I had a real life event after work and was not able to get out for a run. Still, I was happy with 3 runs in 3 days for the week.

Saturday 14th May

  • RHR: 52
  • HRV: 63
  • Weight: 85kg
  • Run: MAF
  • Distance: 18.4km
  • Time: 2 hours


On Saturday morning I was feeling a little groggy after a late Friday night and my elevated heart rate was proof that I was not in great shape. However, it was a beautiful morning and I got out the door at 9:30am and ran a decent 2 hour MAF run while keeping by heart rate around 136. My target is to have a consistent heart rate of 137 so I am beginning to get into the groove. I ran down to Marukobashi and instead of turning around and running back as I had the previous 2 days, I crossed the Tamagawa river on to the Tokyo side and ran up  to Futakobashi. As I crossed the bridge back to the Kawasaki side I saw all the people BBQing in the sun. I was reminded of the Namban Rengo BBQ in this same spot last November when the rain bucketed down from start to finished. I wished that we would get this fine weather for this year’s event.


After lunch, I went into the Esforta Sports Club in Shibuya. One of the key areas I want to improve on this year is Strength Training. I had hoped to find some instructors who would help me with this, but there was none available. However, I will be back again as this is very important for people who are getting on in years. (Oops! Nearly wrote middle aged there).

Sunday 15th May

  • RHR: 45
  • HRV: 63
  • Weight: 85kg
  • Run: MAF
  • Distance: 22km
  • Time: 2 hour 15 mins

Yes, let’s run slowly!

Another beautiful day and not has warm as Saturday. I managed to make my way up to Noborito and back again for a fairly longish run at a 137 heart rate so I was bang on the money. I was very pleased as I did not need to take on any fluids for almost 20km while on Saturday I was drinking from 12km. This is perfect running weather in Japan. Of course, I want it to last for ever but I know that the Rainy Season is just around the corner.


4 thoughts on “Ohtawara Marathon 2016 Base Training Week 1

  1. Sounds like a good plan. I’m going to start doing the long, slow thing myself – taking a hint from the ageless wonder Ed Whitlock. I love that painted walkway – where is it?

  2. Yeah! my favorite inspirational running blog is back! An extended base phase should stand you in good stead for another PB (perhaps with some strides mixed in if you believe in “polarized” training – more “bro”-science !).

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