Ohtawara Marathon 2016 Base Training Week 5

Week 5 is where things started to go well. I managed to run over 100km for the week and ran on 10 consecutive days. I have not been able to run like this since May 2013. I also managed to do some strength training on 2 days, get out for a run at 5:20am and run/walk a 1,300m mountain. Well let’s call it a mountain for now. My weight started going down mid-week, but came back to where it had been before by Saturday morning. I ate well during the week  but I may have celebrated my distances more than I should have. Now let’s see if I can repeat this again, once Ireland’s games start in the Euro 2016.

Week Total

  • Number of runs: 7
  • Distance:  101.7km
  • Time: 11 hours  10 minutes

Monday 6th June

  • RHR : 51
  • HRV: 70
  • Weight: 84.2 kg
  • Run: MAF Test 9:31/9:46/9:45/9:46/9:50
  • Distance: 15.2km
  • Time: 1 hr 31 mins
  • Average Heart Rate:  135
  • Average Cadence: 174

Monday I woke feeling a little sore after the 10km the day before. A 10km race run hard is supposed to take it out of you. I may not have posted a great time in the Munatsuki 10km but I  did run my best and I felt the effects on Monday morning. Although my HRV was around my normal number, my Resting Heart Rate was slightly elevated. Still, I got out in the evening and ran 90 mins at MAF while concentrating on my cadence. As I was running down to the Tamagawa I decided that I would do a MAF Test as the track is long and straight and marked at every 200m. The idea of a MAF Test is that you warm up and then run 5 miles and mark off the time after each mile. What you should see is that each consecutive mile is a little slower. However, if you practice MAF correctly and you repeat the MAF Test every week or every month, the time for each mile should start to reduce. I had not not run a MAF Test since 2013 and I was interested to see how it would go. At the end of the day I was happy to keep both my heart rate and steps in the required range while I ran up and down the Tamagawa. When I got home I did the strength exercises that Harrisson had given me. All in all, a good day.

Tuesday 7th June

  • RHR : 46
  • HRV: 75
  • Weight: 83.8 kg
  • Run: MAF w/ 5×15 sec strides
  • Distance: 15km
  • Time: 1 hr 31 mins
  • Average Heart Rate: 136
  • Average Cadence: 174

I was very happy with my numbers on Tuesday morning. My weight and RHR were down and my HRV was up. I woke to see a note from Harrisson to add some strides into my MAF runs. When I asked what are strides, he said to run fast, but not too fast that you lose your form. It made perfect sense so I went back out on the Tamagawa that night. I have a 2.7km run down to the Tamagawa so once I reached there I did my strides. I found it cumbersome trying to time 15 secs and decided that next time I would just count the time rather than trying to get it exactly right. The run ended up very similar to  Monday night and I went home and did the strength exercises again. Later that night there was a note from Harrisson to try and do the strides after the MAF Run when you legs are tired. I filed it away.

Wednesday 8th June

  • RHR : 44
  • HRV: 71
  • Weight: 83.7 kg
  • Run: Namban Intervals 2000m/1000m/1000m/1000m/500m/500m
  • Distance: 12.5km
  • Time: 1 hr 12 min

Wednesday morning and my RHR and weight had dropped again. I was on a roll and already writing this blog in my head. That night I made it out to Namban intervals for the second consecutive week for the first time this year. It was tough, particularly the first interval of 2,000m. Still, I got through them OK but with a little soreness. Although I am in a base building phase, I do value these intervals a lot as they give me a lot of perspective when I compare myself with other runners in the group. At the moment it is not favourable but that will hopefully change over the next few months.

Thursday 9th June

  • RHR : 47
  • HRV:  72
  • Weight: 83.6kg
  • Run: Aerobic
  • Distance: 10.7
  • Time: 1 hr 2 mins
  • Average Heart Rate: 136
  • Average Cadence: 165


Thursday I was sore after the intervals but my numbers were in a good place. Thursday night was Rainbow Bridge night. The previous 2 weeks we had 9 people running the Rainbow Bridge on each night but this week there was a chance of rain in the weather forecast and it was just Bob, Naoko and myself. The hard core members. It was a good run and we got back in just over an hour. I had an appointment the next morning so I skipped the dinner and righteously when home to get some sleep.

Friday 10th June

  • RHR : 51
  • HRV: 69
  • Weight: 83.6 kg
  • Run: MAF (sort of)
  • Distance: 10.7
  • Time: 1 hr 34 mins
  • Average Heart Rate: 140
  • Average Cadence: 171

We drank them dry! Literally. 

The reason that I had to leave early on Thursday night was that I was meeting Jeremy at 6am on Marukobashi on Friday morning. Jeremy will be getting married next Friday and has recently moved close to the Tamagawa so I had wanted to get in one run with him before the Big Day. As I had an appointment on Friday night, I knew that it would have to be Friday morning. Unfortunately, Marukobashi is the best part of 7km from my house and I had to be on the road by 5:20 to be on time.

Jeremy arrived at 6am on the dot. He was looking well and we headed up the Tamagawa on the Tokyo side towards Futakotamagawa. It was interesting to see the difference between the Tokyo side of the Tamagawa and the Kawasaki side. Although Kawasaki is reputed to be the rough side (the side I live on) but once we started running on the Tokyo side we soon saw lots of people clearly the worse for wear. The sun had started to come up and Jeremy was not feeling well. He told me that he had had several classes of water before he left the house and despite this and going to bed early, he was parched. I found him a vending machine at Futako, bought him a bottle of water and he was on the mend again. We ran over the Futakobashi bridge and onto the Kawasaki side. At Daisan Keihin I turned off for home and Jeremy kept going down the river. I heard from him later, so don’t worry, he made it.

On Friday night I went out to dinner with some of my friends who just happen to combine fatherhood and running. We had a lovely evening in a Palestine restaurant where they made a special vegetarian meal for me. I was very happy with the whole menu as it can be very difficult to get vegetarian food while out in Japan. Also, we can say that we drank the place dry of all Palestine and Lebanon beer. OK, there was only 7 bottles as you can see in the photo. After the meal I skipped the third party as I had a special event planned for Saturday morning.

Saturday 11th June


Okutama Trail

  • RHR : 55
  • HRV: 65
  • Weight: 84.6 kg
  • Run: Mountain Trail
  • Elevation Gain 1,303m
  • Distance: 15km
  • Time: 2 hrs 29 mins
  • Average Heart Rate: 145
  • Average Cadence: 136

All smiles at the start

Even though, I had skipped the third party and had went to bed early, I woke up with all my numbers in the wrong place. Stan was taking Meg and myself out to Okutama  to run a mountain. I got up at 6am and met them on the Holiday Express from Shinjuku at 8:11 in Tachikawa. Stan had run the course the week before and sent out his Strava link. I did not look at it close enough. If I had I would not have been in such good form as we headed out of the station. After walking about 200m from the station, Stan said OK, let’s start, turned right and started to run up something that look like a wall. I was soon behind as we negotiated steps before getting onto the road up to the trail. Finally, I got back to Stan but Meg was by that stage well ahead of both of us as we wondered “what the hell she was on”. Of course I knew that she was on a vegan diet and to see her fly up the hills just made me increase my commitment to doing the same.

We regrouped after about 4.5km where the road ended and the trail started. I had ideas that the trail would be nice and leisurely and easier that the road. These ideas where quickly dismissed as the trail was just as steep as the road and a lot more difficult to negotiate. Up and up we went through the forest, watching our feet in case we should trip over any roots and trying to maintain some form of pace. Eventually we came out of the forest and the hill just became steeper to the top. I had to stop 2 times and let my heart rate drop back down for 2 minutes. Finally we made it to the top in 1:24 and I took a few minutes to regroup mentally, and wring the sweat out of my shirt.



I finished my last drop of water at the top. Stan had warned me that there would be no water on the way so I downed a 500ml bootle at the station and bought another one to bring with me. Meg had brought dates that we consumed on the summit and were fantastic. After a while I was beginning to feel human again. Stan brought us down a different route through a more dense and muddy forest. He told us before we started that some parts were a bit sketchy and we soon found out what he meant by that phrase, as we found ourselves ankle deep in mud and hanging on to the roots of trees for dear life.

I was the last off the trail and onto the road. I am naturally adverse to taking chances and took it very easy down the mountain. But once I hit the road, I felt safe again and ran as fast as I could down to the station. My quads are not thanking me the next day. The run was a great experience and I hope that Stan can lead another one in the near future.


Sunday 12th June

  • RHR : 48
  • HRV: 79
  • Weight: 84.7kg
  • Run: MAF
  • Distance: 16.6km
  • Time: 1 hr 48 mins
  • Average Heart Rate: 131
  • Average Cadence: 168

The Tamagawa River (and fisherman)

Sunday morning I woke with the pain of the trail in my legs. However, I knew that I needed to run 15km to reach my weekly goal of 100km. I probably should have headed out earlier but I eventually hit the road at 8:30am when the sun was in the sky and the temperature was 22 degrees. The sole purpose of the run was to get the miles in and keep my heart rate down. From time to time, I tried to get my cadence up over 170 but I could not maintain it. Eventually, I settled to get through the run in as little pain as possible and got home by 10:30 in one piece.


6 thoughts on “Ohtawara Marathon 2016 Base Training Week 5

  1. Nice week Padraig!
    So you did the strides only once ?
    Yes counting until 15sec ish is perfectly fine!
    Also you should also log the time spent on strength training in addition to your runs. They are part of the training and stimulus!

    • Thank you, Harrisson. You did very well yourself.

      Yes, I only did MAF a couple of more times during the week and I am capturing my strength workouts on Garmin Connect. My legs are now shredded after Saturday so I don’t know how I will get on tonight. We will see.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s