Week 17 Training Ohtawara Marathon 2016

So Week 17 was not a very good one for me. It started off fine and I was expecting to do two hard runs to cap off my training but I felt sick on Wednesday, got worse on Friday and hopefully am making a recovery on Sunday. Anyway, this is how it went. 10 days to race day.

Week Total

  • Number of runs: 2
  • Distance: 10.8 km
  • Time: 1 hour 12 mins

Monday 7th November

  • RHR: 47
  • HRV: 73
  • Weight: 83.4kg

Again a rest day and I was feeling fine just chillin’ at home. Nothing to see here.

Tuesday 8th November

  • RHR: 46
  • HRV: 76
  • Weight: 83.4kg
  • Run: Easy run with Michael
  • Distance: 5.3km
  • Time: 37 mins
  • Avg HR: 115
  • Avg Cadence: 164

Harrisson had put Tuesday down as an extra rest day but as my boy was going for a run about the time I got home from work, I decided to go with him as it would be nice and easy. It was an easy run and I finished it feeling great although the boy refused to get into any photos with me.

Wednesday 9th November

  • RHR: 42
  • HRV: 75
  • Weight: 82.9kg
  • Run: Easy run as it happens
  • Distance: 5.5km
  • Time: 34 mins
  • Avg HR: 130
  • Avg Cadence: 162

I am not saying that it had anything to do with my run and condition, but all day Wednesday we spent every available minute checking in on the US Presidential results. It really captured everybody’s imagination in Japan. Even my wife was texting me as it became more clear that Trump would win. It was quite a shock.

I got home at a reasonable time and headed out the door to do my run. At the beginning I was feeling great as I bounded down the road and made the second corner in extra quick time. It was shortly after that that things started to go wrong. I started feeling dizzy and lightheaded. The plan was to run 5km at 4:15 ~ 4:20 pace but when I got to the river I knew that I was not up to  it and just turned back for home, stopping at a Convenience Store to get an energy bar. I don’t know what had gone wrong, but I really felt out of sorts.

Thursday 10th November

  • RHR: 49
  • HRV: 65
  • Weight: 82.7kg

On Thursday morning my HRV had dropped 10 points to 65 and turned yellow. I did not feel too bad and still had hopes of doing the hard run that evening when I headed out for work. Even as I was walking home from the station, I was trying to talk myself back into it. However, when I reached home I was admitted to myself that I was just too tired and needed to rest more.

Friday 11th November

  • RHR: 46
  • HRV: 68
  • Weight: 82.9kg

My HRV had recovered a little my Friday morning but I was feeling cold with a runny nose and sneezing as I headed out the door. I felt OK during the morning but after lunch my sneezing and runny nose just got worse and worse and by 3:30pm I had to accept defeat and head home to bed. My wife collected me at the station and 10 minutes later I had drunk a Hot Lemon drink and was in bed shivering.

Saturday 12th November

  • RHR: 44
  • HRV: 73
  • Weight: 83kg

Saturday my HRV was back to normal but I was still feeling weak and I spent most of the day in bed.

Sunday 13th November

  • RHR: 44
  • HRV: 72
  • Weight: 82.9kg

Sunday and you are probably glad that this blog post has to end. Hopefully I will be  fully recovered in the next couple of days able to get in a few more runs before my race on 23rd November.


Week 14 Training Ohtawara Marathon 2016

Week 14 was a hell of a week, and not in a good way. I saw my HRV tank the day after my long run, recover a little and then drop again. I couldn’t complete my midweek hard intervals as I was just too tired and had to turn around and head home. My long run was miserable but at least I completed the distance. The only good news is that my foot pain did not return and I am nearly finished. My race is in just over 4 weeks which means that I can start to taper soon and hopefully recover some badly needed energy.

Week Total

  • Number of runs: 4
  • Distance: 58.2km
  • Time:   5 hours 17 mins

Monday 17th October

  • RHR: 58
  • HRV: 55
  • Weight: 82.6kg

I had a hard run on Sunday and woke Monday to see my HRV plummet to 55 and my resting Heart Rate shoot up to 58. It is very unusual for my RHR to be above my HRV and even if Monday was not a rest day I would have taken one.

Tuesday 18th October

  • RHR: 48
  • HRV: 73
  • Weight: 83.5kg
  • Run: Easy
  • Distance:  8.4km
  • Time: 48 mins
  • Avg HR: 136
  • Avg Cadence: 171

On Tuesday morning my HRV and RHR had returned to normal territory and I congratulated myself on only needing one day to recover from such a hard run. I got up at 5:30 and headed for the Tamagawa River for an easy run. The run went to plan but my legs felt very tired for the rest of the day which is very unusual for me.

Wednesday 19th October

  • RHR: 48
  • HRV: 67
  • Weight: 83.6kg
  • Run: Hard Intervals – FAIL
  • Distance:  7.2km
  • Time:  46 mins
  • Avg HR: 128
  • Avg Cadence: 153

I spent Wednesday walking around Data Centers which, while very interesting, is not the best preparation for Hard Intervals. I got home and took a 30 minute nap and then headed for the Tamagawa again. I knew from the beginning that I was not in good form. I was lumbering along and every step felt heavy. I got to the river and did my warm up drills and then 3 x 400m. By the end of them I knew I was done. Sometimes I feel bad after the 400ms but once I start the intervals I feel fine again and can continue. I knew immediately that this was not one of those days and I finished my isotonic drink and started my slow jog for home.

Thursday 20th October

  • RHR: 45
  • HRV: 72
  • Weight: 83.2kg

With my former colleagues talking about old times

Thursday I had a real life event and had not planned top run. As with Monday, even if I had nothing on I would not have been able to run. I still feeling tired and glad I could rest.

Friday 21st October

  • RHR: 52
  • HRV: 66
  • Weight: 83.5

Friday was another real life event and no running. I was feeling a bit less tired and got the results of my health test from the previous week. All the results of my blood tests were virtually the same as last year which is very good news as I have not eaten any meat all year. Maybe this vegetarian life is not so bad after all.

Saturday 22nd October

  • RHR: 52
  • HRV: 61
  • Weight: 83.5
  • Run: MAF with 8 x 40 sec strides
  • Distance: 12.4km
  • Time: 1 hour 7 mins
  • Avg HR: 139
  • Avg Cadence: 178

Low HRV on my ithlete Pro and the overall trend (Blue Line) is continuing to drop

Saturday morning saw another drop in my HRV and a clear indication that the trend was heading south. I took an extra rest in the morning and headed out around noon for my MAF run with some strides thrown in for good measure. The run went fine and I enjoyed the strides and trying to complete 200m for each 40 seconds. I never did.

I was rather tired at the end of it so I made myself a large Beet juice with carrot, lemon, ginger, turmeric, celery and spinach. I then had a nice nap hoping to prepare myself for Sunday.



Sunday 23rd October

  • RHR: 45
  • HRV: 79
  • Weight: 83.1
  • Run: Long Run w/ goal paced segments
  • Distance: 30km
  • Time: 2 hours 36 mins
  • Avg HR: 160
  • Avg Cadence: 176


I knew things were not going well his week. My HRV was on a steady decline, I had failed to complete the hard intervals on Wednesday and I missed runs . I had to put things back on track. So I decided not to drink my usual beer(s) on Saturday night and head to bed early, get up early and do the run early. Of course the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I did manage to not drink beer and to go to bed early, but I had not reckoned on not being able to sleep and as I checked the half-time scores of the English Premier League on my phone, I knew things were not going to be easy the next day.

I eventually dragged myself out of the scratcher sometime after 7am and after dropping the Missus off at the station, I started to get ready. Harrisson had told me that he would meet me somewhere along the Tamagawa so I did not want to hang about. This week’s run was even more complicated than last week and I wrote it on my hand again as there was no way that I would remember it.

3k WU @ MAF (include a 2 x 30s strides randomly @ HM pace during that)
2k @ 4:05
6k @ 4:30
8k @ 5:30 
4k @ 4:25
1k@ 5:30
4k @ 4:25
WD as far as you want to end up in the 30~33km range


I got down to the Tamagawa River without any hassle and started the first section. It was hard enough as I ran up to Futakobashi and then turned around to run all the way down to Tamagawa-Ohashi. I knew that things were not getting any better as I thought that I had been running into the wind only to turn around and think the very same thing. I kept going and managed to keep the pace within range.

It is always difficult switching from 4:05 pace to 4:30 pace as I instinctively want to take a rest. Today was no different and I was playing catch up until the end of the 6km and just managed it with one second to spare. Moving from 4:30 pace to 5:30 pace is a dream and I began to feel good again. I stopped at the rest station just before Tamagawa-Ohashi and had a gel and a sports drink. After a couple of minutes Harrisson came along and we continued along together over the Tamagawa and up past Gasubashi where we turned around again and retraced our steps back to Tamagawa Ohashi where the next hard section started.

This time I suffered miserably and could not keep up with Harrisson as he gracefully ran back up the Tamagawa. My pace kept dropping and during the 1km @5:30 I stopped for water and another gel. Harrisson told me to cut this one to 2km and I readily agreed. I could not keep 4:25 even for 2km and was very glad when it was over.

  • Target 8:10 Actual 8:02
  • Target 27:00 Actual 26:59
  • Target 44:00 Actual 44:20
  • Target 17:40 Actual 18:45
  • Target 8:50 Actual 9:36

All in all a very miserable day despite Harrisson’s good company and encouragement. However I can take some solace from the fact that I have now completed four 30km runs in October with some crazy ass goal pace segments thrown in. I always say that four 30km + runs the month before a marathon is a must and now I have completed that.

I said goodbye to Harrisson at Kita Mikata and began the slow jog home (again). He told me that the good news was that I was near the end of the hard stuff and I could start the taper in the next week or so. And I am not injured so it is not all bad. I won’t do any running for the next two days and I might try to reacquaint myself with the local swimming pool which I have been neglecting for several months.

Week 8 Training Ohtawara Marathon 2016

This week did not go so well. I was rather tired at the start of the week but recovered in time to do my hard intervals on Wednesday. I then got a cold on Saturday which meant  I was not able to do my long run on Sunday. Still, as I type this on Sunday evening, I am feeling much better and looking forward to my trip to Ireland on Thursday and all the running I will do there.

Week Total

  • Number of runs: 4
  • Distance: 37.3km
  • Time: 3 hours 47 mins

Monday 5th September

  • RHR: 52
  • HRV: 76
  • Weight: 83kg

Monday, as usual, was a rest day so I did a lot of walking and little else.

Tuesday 6th September

  • RHR: 45
  • HRV: 81
  • Weight: 83kg
  • Run: Easy
  • Distance: 8.3km
  • Time: 52 mins
  • Average Heart Rate: 132
  • Average Cadence: 167


Tuesday I got up early again and did my 8km easy run. I still had no pain in my right hamstring so I was feeling confident to Wednesday’s hard intervals.

Wednesday 7th September

  • RHR: 43
  • HRV: 74
  • Weight: 82.8kg
  • Run: Hard Intervals
  • Distance: 10.3km
  • Time: 1 hour 2 mins


I have been finding it difficult to do the hard intervals in the morning so I decided to do this one after work at GaienMae. Each lap of the Gaien Oval is 1,325m and the plan was as follows:

Lap1: 3 x 400m (1:50 / 1:40 / 1:30) with 60s rest between them, jog to the start and walks for 2min

Lap 2, 3: 5:30 per lap (~4:09 pace) -> if you feel you cannot hold the pace after the first lap, jog 200m very easy and finish the rest at 4:10 pace or faster

Lap 4: recovery jog

Lap 5: 5:30 total time
Lap 6: Sudden death: hold 4:10 pace as far as you can, check every 100m. Each 100m
has to be run under 25s, at the first 100m under 25s, game over, and you jog back to the
start and do your WD


Harrisson came along just as I was warming up and gave me lots of encouragement throughout the workout. It was not a very hot night but it was very humid and I was soon sweating profusely. I managed to do the 400ms in time and then started on the laps. I completed the first in 5:23 and the second in 5:27 but after that things started to get hard. Lap 5 was 5:32, just outside the 5:30 target, and when I started the sudden death I could only hold the 4:10 place for 400m. Harrisson said that we would call this a benchmark and try to improve on it going forward.

Thursday 8th September

  • RHR: 45
  • HRV: 82
  • Weight: 82.6kg
  • Run Easy: 8.3km
  • Time: 49 mins
  • Average Cadence: 168

I managed to drag myself up early again on Thursday morning and do my easy 8km before work. Again it was a beautiful morning and it was good to get along the Tamagawa.

Friday 9th September

  • RHR: 52
  • HRV: 67
  • Weight: 82.8kg


Friday I had to leave early for a business trip to Hamanako and I could not get any runs in.

Saturday 10th September

  • RHR: 46
  • HRV: 72
  • Run: Easy
  • Distance: 10.3
  • Time: 1 hour 2 mins


On Saturday, I got up early and met my colleagues for a 6am run around Hamanako. It was a gorgeous morning and we had a great run. That day a massive concert called One Rock was taking place around Hamanako and we ran into thousands of kids queuing up at 6am to gain access for a concert that was staring at 3pm. Now that is dedication. Unfortunately I caught a cold either out on the run or in the air con at night and for the rest of the day I was either sneezing or blowing my nose. At 7pm, I realised that I would not be able to make the long run on Sunday and told the people that I was to meet that I would have to take a rain check.

Sunday 11th September

  • RHR: 43
  • HRV: 80
  • Weight: 84.1kg


On Sunday I spent most of the day in bed trying to get rid of my cold. Around 5pm I started to feel better but did not get up and run as I decided that I needed to get back to full strength before I started to do anything.


Week 7 Training Ohtawara Marathon 2016

Week 7 was an easy week where I recovered from the previous hard 6 weeks and also took care of my sore hamstring. I did one hard workout and 4 easy ones and saw my weight drop another kilo as I continued to avoid the snack vending machine at work.

Week Total

  • Number of runs: 5
  • Distance: 61.2km
  • Time: 6 hours 4 mins

Monday 29th August

  • RHR: 42
  • HRV: 74
  • Weight: 83.3

Monday was a rest day and I took it easy and continued to apply Tiger Balm to my leg.

Tuesday 30th August

  • RHR: 41
  • HRV: 81
  • Weight: 83.1
  • Run: Easy w/ 6×15 sec strides
  • Distance: 8.3km
  • Time: 50 minutes

On Tuesday Harrisson asked me to just do an easy run with some strides to judge if my hamstring had healed sufficiently to do a hard workout on Wednesday. That morning I had seen the best RHR and HRV in a while and I felt very rested. The run itself went well so we decided to give the hard intervals a proper go the next day.

Wednesday 31st August

  • RHR: 48
  • HRV: 74
  • Weight: 83.4
  • Run: Hard Intervals
  • Distance: 16km
  • Time: 1 hour 29 minutes

I found the description of Wednesday’s workout a little hard to understand.

Lap1 to 3: do for each lap, 800m @ 3:52 pace or faster (3:05 total time), 525m @ 4:30 pace
(2:22 total time), 3min rest (the rest comes only after you’ve done 3 continuous laps).
Lap 4 and 5: same as lap1,2,3 but only 2 laps, 3min rest
Lap 6 and 7: same as lap 4 and 5
I e-mailed Harrisson several times to make sure that I understood what he was asking. It seemed that I did understand. He was asking me to do back to back intervals are different paces and with no rest. The key point was that the second interval was at my race pace of 4:30/km so he was training me to run at this pace on tired legs.
I had a real life event that evening so I got up at 5am on Wednesday and headed over to the Tamagawa river.I won’t lie, it was very tough and I never made the pace for the 800m interval. I did however make it for the seven 600m intervals which was of some comfort. My hamstring was sore from the start but it did not get any worse so I get going. Along, with the soreness, it was very hard to run all those intervals without a drink. I was running up and down the Tamagawa river and stopping to rest at different locations so there was nowhere to leave a bottle of water. By the time I was running the 6th and 7th lap by mouth was completely dry and vigorously rubbing my tongue off the insides of my cheeks to try and generate some saliva. It was not a really hot morning, but it was very humid and I was drenched in sweated when I finished. Normally I won’t buy a drink after a morning workout but this time I could not get to the vending machine fast enough and the Postonic Water never tasted so good.

Thursday 1st September

  • RHR: 45
  • HRV: 67
  • Weight: 83.9kg

Tokyo after the storm

As my hamstring had been a little sore on Wednesday, Harrisson told me to take Thursday off. I only had easy days left and he wanted to see my leg settle down before we started the next cycle the following week.

Friday 2nd September

  • RHR: 51
  • HRV: 71
  • Weight: 83.2kg
  • Run: Easy
  • Distance: 8.1km
  • Time: 51 minutes

I continued to apply Tiger Balm to my leg and by Friday night it was feeling OK again. Even still, I just went out for an easy 8km MAF run with no strides. Everything went well and I reported back to Harrisson. I told him that I might not have time to do a long run on Sunday and that I wanted to do it on Saturday morning. The schedule was for 20 ~ 25km but he told me, in no uncertain terms, to keep it to 20km to make sure that there was no impact on my hamstring.

Saturday 3rd September

  • RHR: 47
  • HRV: 74
  • Weight: 82.8kg
  • Run: Easy
  • Distance: 20.2km
  • Time: 2 hours 4 minutes

Saturday Lunch – Humus and Avocado on Wholegrain Toast

It is now getting bearable to run in Tokyo in the mornings although the afternoons are still too hot, and when I headed out on the Noborito loop at 6:20am it was only 25 degrees. It felt like a good temperature to run in, but 4 months ago it would have killed me. I guess that this is what Philippe means by temperature adaptation over the summer. The only purpose of this run was to get through it without soreness and I managed to do that. So far I have only felt the pain in my hamstring when doing hard intervals and I am hoping that that is now going away. I got back from the run and reported to Harrisson that I was fine in  soreness department but my legs were feeling tired, although I had had a good night’s sleep the night before.

Sunday 4th September

  • RHR: 50
  • HRV: 74
  • Weight: 82.7kg
  • Run: Easy Run with 6 Variable Strides
  • Distance: 8.3km
  • Time: 49 minutes

So what are Variable Strides, I hear you ask. And I had asked myself the same question. Apparently they are strides until it just starts to feel hard and your breathing starts shooting up. I am not sure that I did these correctly as I am no good at this subjective feeling stuff and I may have run them longer that I should have. I much prefer to be told to run a distance, or a time, or a pace and I concentrate on that.

Regardless I did all 6 strides and had not soreness. I got home and reported to Harrisson that everything was fine except that I was still feeling tired, despite getting 7 hours in the scratcher the night before. He said that he had been looking at my log on myfitnesspal.com and that he was wondering if I was getting enough protein. Normally I was recording 20g per day when it really should be 70g. Of course vegans and vegetarians always laugh at people who say “where do you get your protein” as we do not believe that there is any shortage of protein in the world today. However, you cannot argue with how you feel and if you are tired for no reason, you should try to do something about it. Except kill an animal who never did anything to you.

Anyway, I decided that I did not want to go the whey protein route as I am trying to eat mainly whole foods so Harrisson suggested that I eat more black beans and legumes. So  I headed off to Caldi and stocked up


Beans and more beans

and the had a good old fashioned vegetarian lunch when I got back.


So this is what 25g of protein looks like

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.

Week 11: 7th ~ 13th September

Distance 71.4km

Time       6:15:56

Although I only ran three times this week, I feel it was my best week so far in my training schedule. I hit all the targets that I set myself and while I started the week feeling very sluggish I bounced back by the end of it and feel much better.


HRV 83

RHR 63

Rest Day

ithlete Pro 7 Sep 2015

ithlete Pro 7 Sep 2015

While I was happy to see my HRV at 83 when I woke up, I was rather shocked to see that my resting heart rate was in the sixties, about 20 beats higher than what I would want to see. ithlete Pro was telling me that my system was unusually activated and while I agreed, I could not think why. I did ask the wife to change her alarm sound to something more gentle so it is not shocking me in my sleep. From the weekend, two typhoons were headed for Japan and I feel the accompanying low pressure was making me feel more lethargic than usual and I added a couple of rest days to help me recovery. Anyway, Monday was a planned rest day so I though nothing more about it.






HRV 75

RHR 51

Rest Day

While it is not unusual to see your HRV drop after a rest day as it can be affected my many different things such as stress and sleep, I have to say I was a little disappointed. I had not planned to make Tuesday a rest day but when I got home from work I was not feeling up to running so I decided to rest instead.


HRV 73

RHR 44

Rest Day 

Japan Typhoon 9 Sep 2015

Japan Typhoon 9 Sep 2015

Ok, the photo on the right is not anywhere near me, but it is not a million miles away either. It was taken in Ibaraki ken which is about 150km to the east. The typhoon that hit on Wednesday was one of the harder ones and the Tamagawa river, which I run along several times each week, was well flooded. I did not see it, however.  I was still feeling a bit sluggish so I decided to rest again even before I saw the rain and the wind beating down outside my window at work. I guess I could have run if I really felt like it. Namibian Rengo met per usual at Oda Field and got a fair turn out considering the weather, but I felt it was too much of a risk. It is too easy to be blown into the middle of the road or slip down the river bank, so another rest day was in order.


HRV 72

RHR 45

Tempo Intervals 5 x 2,000m @ 4:11/4:10/4:12/4:11/4:11

Although I had been enjoying my rest days and my HRV was continuing its downward trend, I knew that I had to get out and do something before I stopped altogether. So when I got home from work I forced myself down to the Tamagawa river to do the tempo intervals, which is probably the hardest training event for me. I generally have to play tricks on my mind in order to get through all the intervals because they are so hard. I normally tell myself that I will just do one or two or that the next is the last one and I will call it a day. Eventually I get through them.

I try to run the intervals between 4:06 and 4:12 per km as recommended by Greg McMillan for my marathon target time,  and while I can start each interval OK, I am generally hanging on at the end. The last time I tried this was 3 weeks ago in Yoyogi Park. It was a hot and humid night and I only managed one interval in the target range and the last interval was run at a 4:28/km pace. This time I benefitted from the extra rest and the cooler weather and managed to run all the intervals as planned. Although it was a late start to the week, it certainly was a good one.


HRV 77

RHR 49

Rest Day

Friday I had an appointment after work and took my 4th rest day of the week and hopefully I will not have to take that many again until December.


HRV 73

RHR 48

Tempo Run 19km with 28:30 at 4:14/km average pace

Morning Earthquake

Morning Earthquake

Saturday we woke with a jolt, quite literally, as there was an earthquake in Tokyo at 5:49am. It occurred in Tokyo Bay so although the seismic intensity was just 4, it felt like it was close. Fortunately we were all safe and nothing was damaged so after waiting for a couple of hours to check for aftershocks, I headed out for my run. This is the Tempo Run that I am trying to gradually build but to 40 minutes at 4:06 to 4:16 /km pace. The first time I tried it on a hot day in mid August, I could only maintain the pace for 20 mins. When I tried again last week I could manage 25 mins so I was trying to increase on that again.

The weather had gotten a little cooler and I think that I benefitted from a light breeze at my back as I headed up the Tamagawa towards Noborito. It was tough again but I managed to make it all the way up within the target pace in a time of 28:30. The plan for next week is to push on further up the river and get to Fuda which will bring me close to 40 mins.






HRV 76

RHR 49

34.4km Fast Finish Long Run w/ 32:12 (7km) @avg 4:36 pace

This really is the key workout for me to get to marathon fitness. My plan is to run it on five consecutive Sundays before I start to taper on the fifth of October and increase the time at marathon pace each week. Today was the second session. I had been chatting with Steve from Namban and he suggested that my MAF heart rate of 138 was probably too low to prepare for running a marathon. He suggested to increase it to 144 and I might get more out of my Long Runs. So last week I logged into Garmin Connect and changed my Zone 2 from 128~138 to 134~144. However, for some reason, I forgot to hit Send To Device and I ended up doing last week’s run at my MAF heart rate. Fortunately yesterday I remembered this and went back into Garmin Connect and hit send, so I was more than a little disappointed when I hit the lap button after the warm up and I was in Zone 2 within seconds. The settings had not changed again.

This time I realised that there was nothing to do but to run the next 23km with my Garmin beeping every 20 seconds to remind me that I was outside the “Desired Zone”. Actually it was not that bad and I quickly got used to it. The day started very sunny but as I crossed the Tamagawa at Futako the clouds rolled over and I started not to worry about how much fluid I would need to take on. I had a quick stop at a water fountain at 5km and did not need to drink again until 18km when I stopped at a vending machine to but my first bottle of water. I felt good running up the Tamagawa on the Tokyo side at about a 5:40 pace, which was about 30 seconds faster than I had run the previous week. I saw the ladies from Namban again, flying past me the opposite the direction. They really are a source of inspiration and each week I see them I want to push on faster.

When I got to the 24km mark near Noborito I finished my second bottle of water and hit the lap button again and started the fast finish portion of the run. Immediately I felt much better than last week when I was struggling to get the time below the upper limit of 4:40. This time I quickly passed the lower limit of 4:25 and had to adjust my pace to bring it back in again. Eventually I settled on a pace between 4:30 and 4:36. My plan was to make it all the way down to Kitamikata, about 7km, without stopping but I couldn’t keep it going without a drink so I stopped at the water fountain at Futakoshinchi for a quick drink before continuing on at 4:36 pace. Even with the water stop I was happy with the run and I have something to improve upon again next week,



Week 9

Week 9 did not go quite to plan but I got in 4 good runs, including 2 key workouts, amounting to 75km and as I sit here on Sunday afternoon I am suitably tired and satisfied.

Week 9

Week 9

Monday was a rest day. I thought that I might get in some swimming but it did not work out but I was not too disappointed as I was still feeling tired from Sunday’s long run. Tuesday was to be a medium run of 90 to 105 mins but real life events got in the way and I found myself getting home too late and too tired to do anything. I took advantage of it and got in some much needed sleep.

Yasso 800sWednesday is Namban Rengo interval night and Philippe convinced me to forgo the 6 x 1000m that is run on the first Wednesday of each month to do the Yasso 800s with him. He had a point. The Yasso 800s was on my plan for Thursday and I was probably doing too much high intensity runs anyway. The Yasso 800 is used as a marathon time indicator that nobody believes in anymore. The idea is that you pick a pace to run each of 10 x 800m and rest the same length of time in between. Therefore if you plan to run a 3 hour marathon, you would try to run each 800m interval in 3 minutes and rest 3 minutes in between intervals. When I say that it is a marathon time indicator that nobody believes in anymore, I mean that it alone is not sufficient to predict your time. You have to do all the training and be in good physical and mental shape to do it. Still it is a lot of fun so I agreed and we also dragged in Michael as well. My plan had called to do 6 – 8 x 800m and I thought that that is what I would do. However the intervals were going so well I ended up doing all 10 with Philippe and Michael. We chose a 3 minute interval/ 3 minute rest and as you can see from the table it worked out well. For the most part we kept close to our predetermined pace and were very happy with the result, although I could not restrain myself from sprinting away on the last interval. Philippe and Michael show much more maturity.

On Thursday I was sore. Particularly, the right side of my right calf and my left ankle. Still I decided to try and go out to do the run I had missed on Tuesday, 90 – 105 minutes. First I went and did the local 5.3km run with Michael and he got himself another PB, running it in 31:03. When he is in this form, it is actually a good work out for me as well as him. In summer he was doing this run in over 40 minutes so I am very proud of the progress he is making. After I dropped him back home, I went out and did my 12.4km run to bring up time to 100 minutes.

Friday I was considering getting up at early and doing the 60 minute run before work. However my legs were still tired and sore and I decided to give it a rest. On Saturday I woke up to my lowest HRV reading in a year, 51. I decided to take it easy and not drink any alcohol to see if it came back up on Sunday or if I was heading back into the relams of overtraining again. I did go out and do the 12.4km run but I took it nice and easy.

On Sunday my HRV had jumped 30 points to 81 so I was ready for my Long Run. Harrisson had sent a request for running partners out on Friday and I knew that as Michael had no soccer I would be able to make it. He wanted to run 26km and I needed to run 34km so we decided to meet at Futakotamagawa which is just over 4km from my house. Sunday was the beginning of Typhoon #18 and it was already bucketing down when I set out. Tomorrow will be much worse and already the local school has been cancelled. I think that the worst of the typhoon will hit Tokyo at 9am tomorrow and there is likely to be 43mm of rain in an hour. It should have passed by early afternoon and then the air will be clear and we will get back to normal. But I digress.

I met Harrisson at 8am and set off up the Tamagawa. He is one of the top runners in our club, but as he is just getting back from injury, he was running at my pace. I was fortunate to have a running jacket and cap with me but all he had was a T-shirt and he looked cold from the start. The run up the river was non-eventful at about a 5 minute pace and we crossed over the Tamagawa at Inagi. Once we got over to the Kawasaki side we started moving a little faster. After about 2km we had to run through some long grass which was very wet and very cold, but also kind of fun. At least I thought so. Harrisson was not amused and let me know in no uncertain terms. I was surprised that such a hard runner could be so delicate. After that he started to push the pace to make me pay for the inconvenience of grass and we finished up running the last km together at 4:35. I was delighted to me able to keep up with him although my left ankle was getting sore and the rain was getting heavy.

After we parted in FutakoShinchi, I tried to maintain the pace and I could do it along the river but once I moved to the backstreets there was too many traffic lights to keep it going. Still it was a great run in terrible conditions so I was glad to complete it. The overall pace of 5:03, which although a little faster that what I mentioned last week, gives me confidence for the race itself.

Next week I have a Fartlek, a Tempo Run and a Fast Finsh Long Run. Oh yes, and I am flying to Hong Kong and Bangalore from Sunday. It’s all go.

Weeks 9 -16

Weeks 9 -16