Ohtawara Marathon 2016 Base Training Week 9

As I am coming to the end of my base training, I am beginning to feel a certain sense of accomplishment. Next week will be the 10th and final week before I head into specific marathon training proper. I also feel that I had a good mix of training during this week with Namban Intervals on Wednesday, mid-week MAF run, Namban Hill Repeats on Saturday and a Long Run on Sunday. On top of that I went to the gym and did my first bar bell squats and got in a swim. As the heat and humidity starts to increase in Tokyo and running gets more difficult, I feel confident that at least I have made the best of the cooler weather and now I must get specific.

Week Total

  • Number of runs: 4
  • Distance:  75.2km
  • Time:    7 hours 20 minutes

Monday 4th July

  • RHR : 47
  • HRV: 82
  • Weight: 83.7 kg

Monday I had a real life event so I could not get out and run. I was still a little tired from running in the heat on Sunday morning so I was glad to get some rest.

Tuesday 5th July

  • RHR : 46
  • HRV: 72
  • Weight: 84.4 kg


On Tuesday I had another real life event so I could not get out and run on this day either. I was able to do my Strength Training when I got home. I had been feeling a little guilty about not doing any strength work during week 8 so it was good to get it back on track.

Wednesday 6th July

  • RHR : 4346
  • HRV: 76
  • Weight: 84.5 kg
  • Run: Namban Intervals 1,000m x 6 (3:44/3:47/3:52/3:57/4:04/4:04)
  • Distance: 8.3km
  • Time: 37 mins
  • Average Heart Rate:  165
  • Average Cadence: 139

On Wednesday I made it back to Namban Rengo for the mid-week intervals. I had not taken part in the Namban Wednesday night workout in about 3 weeks and it was good to be back. As none of the regular leaders of the A Team were there, Bob asked me to lead. It was a hot a humid night and as I was coming off two rest days, the first two intervals went well but after that it was all down hill. As I was leading I was able to sneak in a little bit more recovery. Normally we have a 6 min 30 sec turn around. That means that there is 6:30 between the start of two consecutive intervals. As I was not feeling too good I gave us 6:45 after the third interval and 7:00 after the fourth and fifth. Nobody was complaining. Well, Jurgen complained but I did not listen. After the intervals we hit the local sento before retiring to the nearby osake-ya, which we call The Bar, where Bob bought us all a beer. Thank you Bob.

Thursday 7th July

  • RHR : 50
  • HRV: 69
  • Weight: 83.2 kg
  • Run: 90 min MAF Run w/ 8 x 15 sec strides
  • Distance: 15.2km
  • Time: 1 hr 31 mins
  • Average Heart Rate:  136
  • Average Cadence: 171


The temperatures in Tokyo and Kawasaki went to 36 degrees on Thursday and I was tempted to jump in the nearby canal with this bird as I walked back from the office. It was still 30 degrees when I headed out for my run that night. It was really feeling like summer was here, the Japan summer and not the one you might get in Dublin. I headed down to the Tamagawa for my regular MAF and Strides run. Although it was hot and humid I was surprised that I was able to keep my heart rate and cadence where I wanted them. My resting heart rate and HRV had taken a bit of a battering after the Namban Intervals the night before but I seemed to have recovered before I headed out and I had a good run.

Friday 8th July

  • RHR : 48
  • HRV: 73
  • Weight: 883.9 kg

The plan for the weekend was to do a trail run near Mt. Tako in north-west Tokyo. I was feeling a bit tired on the way home from work so I decided not to run and to take the extra recovery. However, when we checked the weather forecast later, it said that we were in for a lot of rain and we decided to change plans and cancel the trail run.

Saturday 9th July

  • RHR : 43
  • HRV: 74
  • Weight: 83.5 kg
  • Run: Namban Hill Repeats (4 x 1:05 + 4 x 1:00)
  • Distance: 21.7 km
  • Time: 2 hr 15 mins
  • Average Heart Rate:  148
  • Average Cadence: 140


With the trail run out of the picture and no real life events, I decided to return to the Namban Hill Repeats from which I had been absent for several weeks. However that was not all. I first went to my gym in Shibuya and left my stuff and ran to the start of the Hill Repeats via three laps of the Gaien Oval. As it was raining heavily there was only 5 people out to run the hills. In previous weeks when the weather was good, 20 or 30 people were turning up. Stephen lead the workout and it was great. The rain brought cooler weather and I was able to manage all the hills, although I did ask Stephen to include a little more recovery to allow my heart rate to go down below 130 before we started the next repeat. After the repeats I headed back to the gym, again via 3 laps of the Gaien Oval to bring my daily distance to almost 22km.


Shake Shack at Gaien Mae. The rain is not keeping away the crowds.

When I headed out in the morning I texted Harrisson and told him that I would be at the gym and what exercises I should do. He texted me back that I should try to do 8-10 reps of bar bell squats. When I got back to the gym I did my usual exercises and then asked the instructor to show me how to do the bar bell squats. I managed to do 3 sets of 10 with a light weight. Now I have to make a more regular feature in my week. After the strength exercises I went into the pool for a 500m swim before heading out to lunch.



There is a Vietnamese restaurant close to the gym and as we will be going to Vietnam later in the month, I thought you drop in and see what they had for vegetarians. The answer is not a lot. I had a nice salad and a couple of bottles of 333 beer. I will have to do a bit more research before we go.

Sunday 10th July

  • RHR : 45
  • HRV: 74
  • Weight: 83.5kg
  • Run: Long Run
  • Distance: 30km
  • Time:  2hrs  55mins
  • Average Heart Rate: 143  
  • Average Cadence: 171

I woke with the alarm at 6am this morning. The plan was to have a quick breakfast and then hit the road before things got too hot. However, I could not move fast enough and it was after 7am when I left the house and already 26 degrees. I wanted to run long first and worry about cadence and heart rate second and third. If I ran at MAF I knew that I would slow down a lot and I could be outside for 3.5 or 4 hours and suffer the consequences. I did manage to keep my cadence above 170 for most of the run and but my heart rate gradually drifted from 136 to 148. I took a brief stop at 5km to drink from a water fountain but it was at the 10km point that I downed my first full bottle of water. I decided that I would drink it all at the vending machine and run to the next machine without carrying anything. I did not mind the heat but the humidity really got to me and I was soaking.


The 16km point

I stopped again at the 15km turn around point under a railway bridge to take advantage of some shade before heading off for my next drink at the 16km point. I drank another bottle of water while sitting and melting in a local temple. An old man lit some incense and I was filled with a sense of wonder. Who was he praying for? This is such a common scene in Japan that I usually do not pay it any heed. But this morning as I sat in a puddle of my own sweat hiding from the morning sun, it all seemed terribly important. I knew I could not stay much longer or I would cramp up. I also knew that I would not make it far along the road back if I did not bring something with me to drink. I grabbed a sports drink from the same vending machine and hit the road.

There was a lot more people along the river. Lots of young boys playing soccer but mainly baseball. You can tell which is the most popular sport in Japan with a quick jog along any river on a Sunday morning. While soccer and rugby have made great progress in recent years, the number of baseball games going on out number both of them 3 or 4 to 1. My next stop was the drinks machine at the 21.5km point. Again I downed a bottle of water while I hid in the shade and bought a bottle of sports drink to take with me. I knew I did not have much left to go and my next target point was the water fountain at 25km. That is the only way for me to complete a long run in such hot weather. Break it down into a series of small sections that are bookended by drink machines and water fountains and you can get through it. My last stop was at 27.8km where I took another sports drink to get me home. If all this seems a little excessive, you may be right, but please bear in mind that I come from a county where if there is a 24 degree high in a day, everybody takes off work and goes to the beach. The following day the newspapers will be filled of people eating ice cream with bits of chocolate in them and looking very red.

After I got home and cleaned up, I was not feeling as depleted as I normally am after a 30km run so I decided to head into Shibuya to check out the falafel place that my running friend Michael had been raving about. It did not disappoint. Kuumba du Falafel serves the best falafel on the planet. Take it from me …. and this picture.





2 thoughts on “Ohtawara Marathon 2016 Base Training Week 9

  1. Good week for only four days. Are your quads sore? Mine are sore every day, but maybe that’s because I’m running six days a week so they don’t have a chance to recover. — We did almost exactly the same distance this week.

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