Week 1 Training Ohtawara Marathon 2016

This was my first week of marathon specific training and my first week being coached by Harrisson. It turned out to be a good week with six runs and a strength session completed but I tired towards the end. The highlight was definitely meeting Harrisson at the Gaien Oval on Wednesday night and running 12 x 400m at 90 second pace. Next week I will be going on my holidays so I will not be able to run much but hopefully I will be able get a few runs done in Vietnam and pick things up again from the second week in August.

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 3.05.10 PM

Week 1

Week Total

  • Number of runs: 6
  • Distance:  64km
  • Time: 6 hours 25 minutes

Monday 18th July

  • RHR : 49
  • HRV: 72
  • Weight: 83.2kg
  • Run: Easy
  • Distance: 8km
  • Time: 0:50:34
  • Average Heart Rate: 137   
  • Average Cadence: 167


On Monday I woke up in Nagano as it was a National Holiday in Japan. We had planned to go pick Blueberries for my wife’s mother’s jam business. Fortunately I just had an 8km easy run lined up so I sneaked out the door just after 8am and headed down to the Chiumakawa river. As I am now starting the main part of my training for the Ohtawara Marathon I need to be a bit more careful. Harrisson has planned several key workouts for me each week and I need to be ready for them. Therefore I am planning on taking the easy days easy. Until last week, I would happily go out and run 15km on Monday night but now I am taking an easy 8km so that I am in good condition for the hard workouts to come.



Tuesday 19th July

  • RHR : 43
  • HRV: 82
  • Weight:83.8 kg

Tuesday night was Active Recovery. I am not really sure what that is but I assume that it is any exercise that is not running. So I took it easy and just did my strength training.

Wednesday 20th July

  • RHR : 44
  • HRV: 74
  • Weight: 84.1kg
  • Run: Intervals with Harrisson on the bike 4 x(3x400m) @ 90sec
  • Distance: 11.1km
  • Time: 0:58:53
  • Average Heart Rate: 161   
  • Average Cadence: 137

Yes, this is the best I can do

Wednesday was the first session that I did with Harrisson. After a few hiccups (my gym in Aoyama was closed and I had to high tail it to Shibuya to change) we managed to meet up at the Gaien Oval. Beforehand all I had heard from Harrisson was that we were going to do 400s. I did not really know what that was but it turned out to be 12 x 400 ms broken down into 4 groups. The Gaien Oval is 1,325m so the plan was to run 400m 3 times with a 30 second stationary recovery, and then take a 3 minute active recovery before doing it all again 3 more times.

At the start Harrisson ran me through some exercises for my gluts which he wanted me to do before my runs after I warm up. He then looked me in the eye and told me that he had been watching my Namban intervals and that I was slowing down at the end and that I needed to be more consistent. What I did not tell Harrisson was that during the Namban Intervals I was always trying to keep up with Marie for the first two runs. After that I had no chance and I just had to let her go as my own time dropped off.

He then asked me what pace I could run 12 x 400ms while keeping the same pace for each interval. Harrisson suggested that I go for 96 secs but that seemed too slow. Last summer I was able to do a similar exercise that Bob gave us at 85 seconds on the track. The track is always a bit faster than the road so I said that I would do them at 90 seconds. Harrisson replied OK but I needed to keep that to the end. Fortunately it worked out and I was able to keep nearly all of the intervals at 90 seconds or less. At the end it was very tough and I was breathing very hard but with a bit of extra effort I was able to make it.

Thursday 21st July

  • RHR : 49
  • HRV: 78
  • Weight: 83.6kg
  • Run: Easy 
  • Distance: 8km
  • Time: 0:49:28
  • Average Heart Rate: 133   
  • Average Cadence: 174

Thursday was a day for an easy run so I got home from work, changed and went out for 50 mins, stopping to do my new exercises at KitaMikata. That was it. My HRV was still high so I felt that I had not suffered too much from the intervals on Wednesday night.

Friday 22nd July

  • RHR : 46
  • HRV: 64
  • Weight:83.4 kg
  • Run: Easy
  • Distance: 8km
  • Time: 0:48:56
  • Average Heart Rate: 133   
  • Average Cadence: 174

Friday evening I had a real life event so on Thursday night I set my alarm for 5:45. Of course I did not get up. But I did get up at 6am and by 6:15 I was on the road. My HRV had dropped 14 points since the day before but I was feeling OK so I headed down to the river, just stopping again at KitaMikata to do my running exercises. I ran 8km at an easy pace and got ready for work.

Saturday 23rd July

  • RHR : 58
  • HRV: 60
  • Weight: 82.7kg
  • Run: Hill Repeats 1 min x 8
  • Distance: 8km
  • Time: 0:55:50
  • Average Heart Rate: 139   
  • Average Cadence: 144


On Saturday morning I woke to see my HRV drop again and my resting heart rate shoot up. I was expecting that there would be some impact from the wine I had had the night before but I did not think that it would be so much. The red dot on ithlete Pro was a real eye opener. I had planned to meet up with Namban Rengo in Aoyama for the Hill Repeats but as I was feeling a little groggy, I stayed in bed for a couple of extra hours and got up at 8:30 for breakfast. Finally I got out the door just before 11am for the hill repeats near my house.

Harrisson had prescribed 8 x 1 min and gave me strict instructions about how to breath during my recovery. I knew that it would be tough but the day was not too hot and I managed to get through all the repeats. I did not quite make it to the top of the hill in 60 seconds but I got close enough and I know that I will be able to go all the way in future.

After I got home I was quite tired and took a nap after a lunch of avocado and bread with humus. When I woke I was still tired, particularly in my legs. I shot a text off to Harrisson and he told me to take things easy on Sunday and to run to time, 60 to 120 mins at MAF with no strides, instead of the prescribed 26km long run. I was hoping that I would be feeling much better by the next day but realised that if I messed things up now, it could take quite a while to get better.

Saturday evening I had the Madras Lentils for dinner that I had bought in Costco a few weeks ago. They were great. I am finding it much easier to eat vegetarian these days. I hope that it will be the same next week when we are in Vietnam.


Sunday 24th July

  • RHR : 45
  • HRV: 71
  • Weight: 83.7kg
  • Run: 120 Min MAF Run
  • Distance: 20.26km
  • Time: 2:01:36
  • Average Heart Rate: 135   
  • Average Cadence: 168


I woke at 6:00 on Sunday and while my RHR and HRV had returned to normal I was still feeling tired in my legs. The morning was wonderfully cool at only 22 degrees when I headed out the door for my run. I was conflicted about how far and how fast I should go but I opted for the safe run of 1 to 2 hours at MAF. There is not much point in having a coach if you are not going to listen to him, I told myself. The river was crowded with people doing all kinds of sports, although baseball is still the most popular. However, the popularity of lacrosse is definitely increasing and I saw several groups of people playing along the river.

The run itself went well and I was able to go from the 5km point to the 18km point without stopping for a drink due to the reduced heat and humidity. I thought that this must be what it is like to run back home in the summer.


7 thoughts on “Week 1 Training Ohtawara Marathon 2016

  1. Hi Padraig,

    I am looking forward to track your progress with Harrisson, it should be interesting, starting by being motivational I guess!

    Cheers Philippe

    On Sun, Jul 24, 2016 at 10:42 AM, The Ohtawara Marathon Project wrote:

    > padraigjapan posted: “This was my first week of marathon specific training > and my first week being coached by Harrisson. It turned out to be a good > week with six runs and a strength session completed but I tired towards the > end. The highlight was definitely meeting Harrisson a” >

  2. I didn’t expect you to show such a high motivation, focus and dedication to your training. I’m very happy and excited to have you under my wing 🙂

    Re active rest: yes you’re right, it means anyting that is not running and that feels very easy, walking for example and light strength training, so you’re spot on !!

  3. 400s with only 30 seconds rest is tough. The usual prescription is to rest the same amount as you run.
    60 to 120 minutes seems rather arbitrary. There’s a big difference between a 60 and a 120 minute run, even an easy run. For me, 60 is a very easy day, whereas 120 is definitely a hard day (hard meaning legs are much more fatigued and sore the next two days).
    Madras lentils – thanks for the tip, that goes on my Costco list.

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