Kochi Marathon 2022 Week 12/16

Tuesday Morning

This week went well and I completed a full week of training including one swim and six runs. I felt very sore and tired on Monday morning after Sunday’s half marathon effort but I was in good condition again on Tuesday. I was also blessed with the weather from Tuesday to Saturday with clear blue skies and bright sun. Sunday was overcast and cold but you can’t have everything. The major running news for me is that both Shonan and Kita Kyushu marathons which are planned for Feb 20th were cancelled on Thursday and Friday. Kochi Marathon is also scheduled to be held on the same day so I would say that there is some chance that it too will be called off. I am trying to look on the bright side in that I have had a good block of training, gotten myself into reasonable shape and had some success at the half marathon and Park Run. If it does not go ahead I will be disappointed but I still plan to go to Koichi and run a marathon distance on the morning of the race while my wife sleeps in.

17th ~ 23rd January 80 km of running and 1,000 m of swimming.

Monday 1,000 m swim

Tuesday 12.6 km Fartlek 1 minute on and 1 minute off

Wednesday 12.7 km Easy

Thursday 15.0 km Tempo Intervals 3 x 2 km w/ 400 m jog

Friday 13.0 km Easy

Saturday 5.0 km Park Run PB 19:34

Sunday 22.0 km Fast Finish Long Run with the last 10 km run at Marathon Goal Pace

Although I was tired on Monday, I managed to go to the pool after work and swim 1,000 metres. The original plan was to swim 1,500 metres but I was not ready to complete that and I feel that I still need to build up to it. 26:41 is not a great time either but it was not too bad considering the amount of swimming I have been doing recently. Tuesday I was back into my schedule with a Fartlek session. Fortunately, this time it was just 10 x 1 minute and not the 16 that I had been doing recently. It is hard doing this session at 7:00 AM but I managed to get though it in the end.

Wednesday Morning

Wednesday was an easy day and I made my way down to the Tamagawa River for my regular run down to Marukobashi and back. It was a gorgeous day and it felt great to be out. On the way home I realized that I had a meeting in the office in the afternoon and that I would need to find time to get in during my lunch break. The good news is that I was able to meet Paddy for a pint on the way home for the first time this year.

Footnik’s Osaki Wednesday With Paddy
Thursday Morning

Thursday was a hard day. I had to run 3 x 2 km Tempo Intervals with a 400 metre jog. 8 years ago my Tempo Interval pace was 4:15. Now it is all over the place. On the way out, I had the wind with me and I could run 4:20 ~ 4:25 but as soon as I turned around for the final interval I was running into the wind and having a much harder time of it, running the final 1 km in 4:38. Still, it was great to be out in the morning, running hard and filling my lungs with fresh air.

Tempo Intervals 3 x 2 km
Friday Morning

Friday was another easy day so I did my regular Marukobashi loop to ensure that I remain the Local Legend and came home.

Saturday Morning

Saturday is Park Run day. I got up early, made my preparations and left the house at just the right time to arrive 15 minutes before the start. On Friday, Japan reintroduced some quasi-emergency measures due to the rising number of new Covid cases and when I arrived everyone was standing well apart like a scene in the 1970’s BBC drama Children Of The Stones. I quickly changed, greeted my friends and headed up to the start. I had gotten to bed early on Friday night and I was feeling good as we headed out. I knew that there would be marshals after about 100 metres so I forced myself to the front in case they were taking photos like I was last week. They were not but they were cheering loudly and I felt energized. Leigh and Mike Trees soon passed me. Then I was passed by a Japanese runner, Kamiya san, who runs every week with a backpack. I was expecting to see a gang of runners pass me but it didn’t happen. Kamiya san did not increase his lead on me and I kept my distance ahead of Yamagata san in fifth. I got through the first 1 km in 3:46 and ploughed on. Nobody gained on me. There were only 55 runners and a lot of the fast people had not come so I managed to hold on to my fourth places till the end and then headed off for coffee with Mason.

Park Run PB Splits
Park Run PB FInish

I was planning to go for a few drinks with my friend Chris on Saturday night, but because of the new measures we had to meet at 4:30 PM. No problem for me as I quite enjoy afternoon drinking and it means I can still get 8 hours of sleep and be ready for the next day. We ended up in a new Craft Beer place in Shimokitazawa called TDM 1874 that was recommended by Glenn and was well worth the journey.

TDM 1874 with Chris

Of course, I could not get away from my long run on Sunday. The planned schedule was 19 km with the last 10 km at Marathon Goal Pace (MGP). But what is my MGP? At the start of this training block, I told myself that I would be very happy breaking 3:30 after many years, but after last week’s half marathon I started thinking that I could do better if tried. Maybe even running 4:40 pace and getting back to 3 hr 16 min finishing time. I cycled down to the Tamagawa as I wanted to finish as hard as I could and not have to contend with traffic lights and railway crossings in the final 3 km. I started running very easy for the first half of the run while listening to The Irishman Abroad podcast. This week’s episode was a great interview with Alan Corcoran who had run 35 marathons in 35 days and written a book about the experience. I really enjoyed Alan’s humble explanation of an extraordinary achievement and I have just ordered the book now for myself. Apparently, the paperback copy will arrive on Wednesday so I had better hurry up and finish the Willie Anderson autobiography that my brother gave me for Christmas.

Fast Finish Long Run

The second half of the run at MGP was the hard part, made more so because of the course I had chosen. It was 3 x 3.5 segments on the Tamagawa and 2 of them were run into the wind. It was hard going, especially as my legs were still sore from Saturday, and I never got to my desired 4:40 pace. I listened to Bonobo on Spotify as recommended by Emmanuel and it seemed to help a bit. I stuck to running as hard as I could over the 10 km and I was happy with the outcome.

Next week, I will continue to reduce the distance in anticipation the race in 4 weeks time. Hopefully, I will still go ahead.

Kochi Marathon 2022 Week 11/16

Futakotamagawa in the morning

This week was harder than expected. I was gearing up for Juergen’s Half Marathon along the Tamagawa on Sunday, but I was just not feeling it. I did not complete all my work outs and I felt lethargic and slow. However, somehow I managed to get myself to the start and run my best half in over 6 years. I am not sure how it worked out, but the running gods were definitely smiling on me at the end of the week.

10th ~ 16th January 51 km of running and 500 m of swimming

Monday Rest Day

Tuesday 12.4 km Fartlek

Wednesday Rest Day

Thursday Rest Day

Friday 12.4 km Easy

Saturday 5.3 km Easy and 500 m swim

Sunday 21.1 km Half Marathon in 1:32:41

Monday was a National Holiday in Japan for Coming Of Age Day. Normally, I would try to make the most of a holiday and go out and cycle or run. But I was beat after my long run on Sunday and needed to rest so I just stayed at home and sat on the sofa and watched to movies – Inside Llewyn Davies and Judy. They were both great and I thoroughly recommend them to all.

The plan for Tuesday was do Fartlek, 16 x 1 min with 1 min jog. I should have done it in the morning but I could not get up in time and ended up doing it after work. It was hard work and I ran the repetitions a lot slower than I had run them 2 weeks previous. There was not a lot to take from this session except that I managed to do them and get home safely.

Wednesday I had wanted to get up early and do an easy run before going into the office, but I couldn’t do it. I thought about running when I got home but I couldn’t do that either. On Thursday the plan was to run a slightly harder version of Fartlek, 8 x 2 minutes with 1 minute jog. I had to go to Inzai in the afternoon so the only time I had to do the session was before work. I couldn’t do it. Things were not looking good. Friday I did manage to get up and run before work. I had thought of doing the Fartlek session from Thursday but eventually I decided to keep it easy as I was still feeling crap and I had the half marathon on Sunday. I am not sure what was up with me but I was feeling tired and out of sorts.

Park Run

Saturday is Park Run Day. As I was running the race on Sunday, I decided to volunteer as a marshal on Saturday. As it worked out, I got a pretty good spot which was 100 m from the starting point, about 400 m from the end and had a great view of Mt. Fuji. I brought my Nikon camera with me and took lots of photos of all the runners. One of the joys of my Saturday afternoon is to scroll through the Park Run Facebook page and find photos of myself giving my all. I hope that someone got some pleasure from the photos that I took. After I got home, and warmed myself up with lots of coffee, I headed out the door and did an easy 5 km with my mind still on the half marathon. In the afternoon I went to the pool with the intention of swimming 1,500 m. Again I was not feeling it and only managed 500 m. I comforted myself with the fact that it was something and I had managed to swim 2 weeks in a row and keep my promise.

Mt. Fuji from Park Run

At 00:05 on Sunday my emergency notification alarm went off. The volcano in Tongo had caused a tsunami that was heading to Japan. It was predicted to be only 40 cm when it hit Kanagawa so I was not very worried. But then the alarm went off again, and again, and again …According to my daughter the emergency notification sounded 600 times in Kanagawa prefecture. As we say in Ireland, every time it went off, it put the heart across me. So I turned off my phone after an hour. I was then worried I would miss an important call from work so I got up in the middle of the night to check it. The alarm went off again. By the time 8 AM rolled around I was a nervous wreck. I had almost decided to not do the race and just spend the day recovering. Then I got a text from Sara in Namban Rengo asking if I thought the race would go ahead. To know that someone else from my club was committed to running the race was enough to get me motivated and I started to get ready.

I know the course of the Eco-Marathon better than any course in Japan. I am the Local Legend on Strava after-all. That means that I do not need to get there too early as it is only a 15 minute cycle from my house. On the way over I thought that it was a cold day and I might have to wear an undershirt, but when I arrived I realised that the course was very warm and I could get away with a singlet and the arm warmers that my brother Antoin had bought be for Christmas. After a few warm up exercises, the race started at 11 AM sharp and we were off. I found that I was running too fast to start and forced myself to slow down. Even still, I completed the first 1 km in 4:01 which was way ahead of my 4:15/km planned pace. 4:15 is a great pace as it means that you can complete the half in and around 1 hour 30 minutes. However, I could not keep the 4:15 pace, but I settled into a 4:25 pace and it did not fall too much after that. About 20 runners were doing the half and we saw each other at every turn around. I started out in 3rd position and finished in 5th, passing one runner and being passed by 3. I did not mind being passed as my pace was not dropping much except when running against the wind – 1 ~ 6 km and 11 ~ 16 Km. I was very pleased to finish in 1:32:41 which was my best result in over 6 years. I know that the VaporFly shoes had a big impact but I still feel that my effort was worthwhile, especially since I had just ran 41 km last Sunday. I now need to dial in my race pace for Kochi Marathon. I am thinking of 4:40 ~ 4:50 based on today’s effort.

Half Marathon Splits

Kochi Marathon 2022 Week 10/16

Back in Kawasaki on Monday evening

After a glorious week running and skiing in Nagano, we left for Kawasaki on Monday morning. Totally unlike our family, we managed to leave Nagano 30 minutes ahead of schedule, avoid all traffic and get home by 3 PM. Incredible! It was a good start to a week that saw me run 5 times and swim once and get my training back on track.

3rd ~ 9th January 95 km of running and 1,500 m of swimming

Monday 20 km which was meant to be easy but speeded up as it got dark

Tuesday Rest Day with a work trip to Kyoto

Wednesday 12.4 km Easy

Thursday 17.1 km with 11 km Tempo at 4:38 ~ 4:50 pace

Friday Rest Day

Saturday 5 km Park Run in 19:44

Sunday 41 km Long Run

After we unpacked all the bags I headed out for my Run. Monday is normally a rest day, but as I was heading to Kyoto for work on Tuesday and would not be able to run, I wanted to get my medium run in before I left. The plan called for a 90 ~ 105 minute run at no particular pace. The idea is just to get in some distance mid-week. I had not run on Sunday so I was feeling fresh as I left and when I turned at the 10 km point, I felt a new step in my stride and before I knew it, I went all the way back at 4:55 / km pace, which is almost Tempo for me. I think the fact that it was getting dark certainly helped.

Mt. Fuji from the shinkansen

One of the joys of traveling on the Shinkansen between Tokyo and Kyoto is seeing Mt. Fuji on a clear day. Fortunately, there were no clouds in the sky and I managed to get an E seat so I got a great view and took too many photos. I also got home after 11 PM so there was no running that day. On Wednesday, I was back in the office when I got the email that no Strava athlete wants to get.

I knew that this required a strong response. I live by the Tamagawa River and I created the “Kitamikata to Marukobashi” segment on Strava and I would be damned if I was going to let somebody take the Local Legend status away from me. As soon as I got home from work I changed and headed back to MY Tamagawa to retrieve MY status. Leaving nothing to chance, I decided that I would do my Tempo run on Thursday morning over the same segment. I got up early and was on the road by 6:30 AM. I went down to the Tamagawa at an easy pace with the idea to start the Tempo part of the run once I reached the 3 km point. The plan called for a 8 km ~ 11 km Tempo. Initially I thought that I would run 11 km, turning back when I got to the 8.5 km point. I have to admit that while I hit my plan of keeping my pace between 4:40 and 4:50, my right glute was sore and I was not sure if I could keep going past the 8 km point. I eventually added one km at a time until I got to 11 km and then ran home very easily. To add insult to mild injury, I had not retaken the Local Legend status of my segment as both Maeda san and myself were on 48 efforts.

11 km Tempo Run

I did think about going out again and running this segment on Friday morning but I had 2 issues. One was that my glute was still sore despite heavy application of the massage gun. The second was that there had been 10 cm of snow in Tokyo on Thursday night and the roads were slippery with ice. I also thought about running at lunch time, or in the evening, but I wanted to put in a good effort at Park Run the next day and I decided to rest.

Park Run 8th January 2022

The roads were still icy on Saturday morning so rather than cycling or running to the start of Park Run, I took the train. Over 200 people had been taken to Tokyo’s hospitals on Thursday night and Friday morning due to slipping on the ice and I did not want to add to that number. Fortunately the Park Run course was free of ice for the most part. Only the part in the photo about which we passed 3 times on the loop and the end had some ice. I headed off after Stan and found that I could keep up with him and even passed him 2 times. I think that was because he was taking it easy at the start and I seemed to be keeping a fairly good pace by my watch. Eventually Stan passed me at the 1.5 km point and I never saw him again, except at the turn-around, as he finished 41 seconds ahead of me. I was very pleased with my time as it was my 4th consecutive Park Run under 20 minutes. It might have been a bit faster if not for the ice at the end. It was not dangerous as it was over rough ground, but my pace did drop a bit. After I went home and had a nap, I headed to the pool for a slow 1,500 metres. Hopefully I can keep up going to the pool once a week for the rest of the year.

Park Run Splits

Sunday I had unfinished business with my Local Legend status. My plan called for a Long Run of 32 km ~ 38 km but I wanted to put the segment beyond reach, at least for now, so I decided to run it 5 times. It is hard work running the same loop over and over and I try not to do it but needs must. I headed down to the Tamagawa again and ran the loop until I had completed a total of 53 times in the last 90 days and put myself on top of the leaderboard. It was not pretty, and I took no photos, but I got the run done, as Richard says, and I treated myself to a Guinness or 2 when I got home.

Guinness

The big plan for next week is to run Juergen’s Eco Marathon half marathon along the Tamagawa again. It would be nice to get under 1:35 and brilliant to get under 1:30. We will have to wait and see.

Kochi Marathon 2022 Week 9/16

This week started easy with a rest day on Monday. I had hoped that I might get a swim in as I was off work, but I ran out of time by the end of the day and got nothing done. The highlight was going to Nagano for the New Years celebration. Although the house is old, old and cramped it is great to get out under the big sky and breath the fresh air.

27th December ~ 2nd January 64 km of running, 1,500 m of swimming and one day skiing.

Monday Rest Day

Tuesday 14.3 km Fartlek and 1,500 m of swimming

Wednesday Rest Day

Thursday 14.2 km Yasso 800s

Friday 15.4 km Easy

Saturday 20.3 km Easy

Sunday Skiing

After my rest day on Monday, I was off work again on Tuesday and went out for my planned run just after 9:00 AM. It was the same run that I had done 2 weeks previous on 14th December, 16 x 1 minute on and 1 minute jog. I was very pleased that I was able to do this better than before, but a lot of that may have been due to the later start time. I run much better at 9:00 AM than I do at 6:30 AM. As can be seen below, I ran the Fartlek at 4:11, 4:19, 4:22, 4:21, 4:31, 4:28, 4:25, 4:26, 4:11, 4:31, 4:16, 4:22, 4:32, 4:25, 4:29 and 4:30 on 14th Dec. This time I ran it at 3:45, 3:43, 3:52, 3:46, 3:48, 3:51, 3:54, 3:58, 3:59, 4:08, 4:07, 4:08, 4:09, 4:06, 4:12 and 4:08.

I got home and took a rest and then went to the pool for my long overdue swim. I managed to complete a slow 1,500 m swim which was my longest swim since October. Next year I will need to get to the pool a bit more regularly to ward off injury.

As we were going up to Nagano for the holidays on Wednesday morning, I had hoped to get up a bit early and do a run before we left. It didn’t happen. However, we eventually left for Nagano at 10:45 AM which was only 45 minutes behind schedule. After picking up my mother-in-law in Kunitachi we were still on track to be in Ueda by 4:00 PM when there would still be enough light to go for a short run. Unfortunately, there was a 4 car accident on the motorway and we were diverted to the local roads and eventually arrived a little after 5 PM and a little stressed.

But I still had Thursday and nothing to do. I was tired when I woke and it was after 10:30 AM before I hit the road. The plan called for ten x Yasso 800s. One Yasso 800 is a hard effort for 800 meters followed by a 200 meter jog. I was not in great form and I struggled as I ran up and down the Chikumagawa river. My knees were fine but my right glute was sore and I could not really push it and I saw my times continuously slip. I started at a 4:15/km pace, managed to improved to 4:08 and then finished at 4:28. The only good thing I can take from it is that I managed to complete 10 efforts which is more than I did last time.

First 5 Yasso 800s
Second 5 Yasso 800s

On Friday, New Years Eve, I got up a bit earlier and aided by everyone else getting up late I had my breakfast in relative peace while listening to The Second Captains podcast. I did not have a hard workout on the plan so I just headed up the road and into the mountains for an easy run. It was very ice in the fresh air and the crispy snow and I held my feet well.

After I got home I showered and changed quickly and headed up to my favorite onsen near Sanada. It has a outside bath and it was a wonderful way to end the year, lying back in the hot water and watching the snowflakes fall from the sky.

Saturday was New Years Day. I had forced myself to stay awake until midnight so that I could ring in the New Year with everyone but headed off to bed shortly after. The others stayed up until after 2 AM so I had the place again to myself again in the morning and headed out before anybody was awake. More snow had fallen over night but it was a glorious day and the sun was out in force. I went up the road towards Sugadaira. I did not have a hard run in the plan but wanted to put in an effort as I hoped to go skiing on Sunday before we head home. I went out the road on the fresh snow, following the footprints of a local dog until I got to the 10 km point, turned around and headed home. It was a nice and easy run and I enjoyed having the path to myself.

Ueda City, Nagano
The Road To Sugadaira

After I got home we did Hatsumode, first visit to the local shrine, and then Hakamari, a visit to the family grave. It was a beautiful afternoon and we enjoyed the sun setting behind the Nagano mountains as my mother-in-law placed fresh flowers on the grave of her parents.

Nagano Sunset
Hakamari

Sunday was a gorgeous day. It was very cold but it had not snowed for 2 days and the roads and the sky were clear. Myself and my 2 daughters got up early and hit the road by 8 AM. There was little traffic and no chance of slipping and we were in Sugadaira by 9 AM. The carpark was relatively empty and I got a spot right away so all the stress of driving up the mountain was gone. After my daughters rented their snowboards and boots, I put on my skis and hit the slopes. The snow was good and there’s were not a lot of people around so there was very little waiting for ski-lifts. Although there was no running, it was a lovely stress free day. Tomorrow we go back to Tokyo and back to work on Tuesday. Hard to believe that the holidays are over and another year is about to start.

Kochi Marathon 2022 Week 8/16

Tuesday Morning

I reduced my running again this week but I am still fairly tired at the end of it as I had a few other things on the schedule, including bringing the car for its annual test and going to Costco to buy our Christmas dinner. The highlight was definitely the 10 km that I ran with Mike Trees on Friday morning along the Tamagawa. I managed to hang on to Mike for the final 2.5 km and finished in 41:54 which was 5 seconds better than I ran in Tachikawa on 1st Dec.

20th ~ 26th December 77 km of running and 1,000 m of swimming

Monday 1,000 m Swim

Tuesday 20 km Medium Run

Wednesday 12.4 km Easy Run

Thursday Rest Day

Friday 10 km in 41:54

Saturday Christmas Rest Day

Sunday 35 km Long Run

On Monday I was still tired and sore from my Long Run. I used the new Massage Gun extensively throughout the day and then went for an easy swim in the evening. My glute and my knee were beginning to feel better. Tuesday was medium run day and I was on the road before 6:30 AM to run 20 km before work. My knee felt fine, much better than Sunday, and I managed to run nice and easy along the Tamagawa as the sun came up and be back in time for my first meeting. Wednesday I was up a bit later, but as I only had an easy run in the plan, I headed out and executed it with no issues. Wednesday was also my last day at work before my year end holidays and I felt quite beat when I was done.

Wednesday Morning

I had considered to run another easy run on Thursday, but I was too tired to get up early. I had an appointment at Autobacs to get my car its annual service at 10 AM and I was just in time for that. My car is coming on 14 years old and even though it only has 95,000 km on the clock, things are starting to fall apart. Hence, the service took a lot longer than I had anticipated and I had no time to go swimming. At 4 PM we headed out to Costco to buy everything that we would need for the weekend. Fortunately, it was not that full and we got parking immediately.

Friday was the big day. Ashley, Mike and I had planned to run a hard 10 km along the Tamagawa from 9 AM and then retire for some festive cheer to a local establishment. Ashley texted us at 7:45 AM to say that he could not make so I headed over the river to meet Mike at the station lockers. The good thing about this route is that it is very flat 5 km out followed by a very flat 5 km back. We were lucky with the weather as it was bright and sunny with just 1 m/s of wind. My plan was to improve on my Tachikawa 10 km time and once we started I headed out hard covering the first 1 km in 3:57. However, shortly after that my time drop to the 4:01 ~ 4:08 range where I felt very comfortable and had no issues breathing.

I was still ahead of Mike at the 5 km point but he was running a much more measured pace. Before we started, he asked me what time I thought I might run and I said that I would be happy with breaking 42 minutes and he went and ran 4:10 per km from start to finish. After the turn around things became more difficult and I was beginning to struggle. Just after the 7 km point Mike came past me and I latched on to him and tried to run behind him. As we moved into the final 1 km Mike told me to use my arms more and I found that it helped and I got into another gear and collected a season’s best. Afterwards we headed to Futakotamagawa for a coffee and a chat to put the world to right.

Apres 10km Tamagawa

I had some plan to do an easy Park Run on Christmas morning, but although I woke up in time, my leg’s were jelly from the day before. I had a couple of Christmas Eve Guinness with Paddy and Jeremy but apart from my legs I was in good shape. I decided to take it easy for the day that was in it and enjoyed the celebration.

Christmas Celebration

As readers of this blog will know, Sunday is long run day. I got up fairly early, did all the washing up from the day before, vacuumed a bit and then headed out for my run. I had notions of running hard, but it was never going to happen. I ate quite a lot for Christmas dinner and I needed to run easy so I just plodded along at 5:30 ~ 5:45 pace to the 17.5 km point, turned around, realized that I had been running with the wind and then fought my way all the back. I managed to complete the 35 km, although my time of 3 hours 19 minutes was not great. It was pleasing to know that I had finally captured the local legend status of the Kitamikata to Marukobashi segment. I had been trying to get that for the previous two months and finally I succeeded. Now, I just need to find some way to keep it.

Kochi Marathon 2022 Week 7/16

I am happy to complete week 7 and be almost half way to the marathon. Truth be told, I am rather tired and I could not complete my workout today per the plan. I had a pain behind my left knee which I could feel the whole way through the workout, but became too much when I upped the pace to 5:00 minutes/km and I could only last 1 km. This is rather disappointing as I could run 8 km at 4:39 pace on Thursday morning before work. I will rest tomorrow and see how it is on Tuesday before deciding whether to continue with the plan. In other news, we bought a massage gun today. I had been foam rolling quite a bit over the last week, but I feel that I could be a bit more specific with the massage. I should probably go and get a proper massage but I am not sure where I would find the time.

7th ~ 19th December 86 km of running and 135 km of cycling

Monday Rest Day

Tuesday 13.1 km Morning Run Fartlek 1 minute on and 1 minute jog

Wednesday 12.4 km Easy Run

Thursday 16 km w/ 8 km at Tempo of 4:39

Friday 12.4 km Easy Run

Saturday 135 km cycling

Sunday Long Run 32.2 km

Monday was a rest day and I was glad. Although I had only run 75 km the previous week, I was tired and I needed the lie-in. However, I had recovered well by Tuesday and headed out to do my Fartlek session. The plan was to do 12 ~ 15 intervals but I ended up doing 16 with no issues as I prefer an even number. Wednesday was an easy day and I did my usual 12.4 km loop to Marukobashi. Thursday was the first hard effort of the week. A 16 km run with an 8 km of Tempo in the middle. I am not really sure what my Tempo run should be. When I made my plan from Advanced Marathoning it was 4:10 ~ 4:20 /km. That is more like V02Max for me today so I headed out and decided to run as fast a pace that I could sustain for 8 km. That turned out to be 4:39 so it will be my Tempo from now on.

Friday I overslept for the first time in years and woke up at 8:18 AM. Fortunately, I was still working from home and made my first call at 9:10 AM. It was also raining, but that stopped before lunch. When work finished I was able to go out for my standard 12.4 km easy loop to Marukobashi and back.

Sunrise as seen from the Koremasa Bridge

Saturday was an entirely different story. I was meeting Sarah at 5:30 at Futakotamagawa for the last cycle of the year into the mountains before it gets too icy. I was up at 4:00 AM and out the door an hour later. It was so dark riding along the Tamagawa that I could see nothing except the odd pedestrian whenever they showed up into my bike light. After meeting at the Giant Shop, we headed up the river trying not to run over any of the hundreds of early morning pedestrians we encountered. It really is amazing just how many people get up and walk before the dawn. I guess that they do it all year round so in the summer time it is very bright at this time.

At the 18 km point, we crossed the Koremasa bridge and saw the first embers of the sun as it came up over the river. It was still dark but we got the feeling that things were to improve. We kept going up the Tamagawa and crossed over again just past Haijima and headed over some backroads to Itsukaichi. We had gained a bit of ground and were properly cold when we headed into the 7-11 for coffee and cake. Well, I had cake. There was a sign up saying “No Eating In The Shop” but we ignored it and nobody came and told us to get lost. When our feet had finally thawed out, we headed back out and took Steve T’s route to Hinohara which involved climbing 2 moderately sized but ultimately short hills. We were pleased not to see any black ice but disappointed, if not surprised, to see that the doughnut had not yet opened. We headed on up the road a bit more, but the road looks more and more dangerous so we eventually turned around and went back the way we had come. The doughnut shop was still closed. We did get to see some great views of Mt. Fuji.

On the way back, we stopped at the famous bakery, Cicoute, in Tamasakai. It opens at 11:30 AM and when we arrived at 11:27 there were already 40 people in the queue. We had to wait a while but it was worth it as we got the last 2 sandwiches with no meat. However, the wait dampened our enthusiasm for more hills so we avoided the Onekan and headed straight home.

When I got home, I was quite wrecked but not completely so I arranged to meet Bob J in Kosugi for a few Guinness. At the moment the numbers of new Covid infections in Japan is very low, around 190, and Akiko advised me to meet as many people I can as this will not last forever and there will likely be another State of Emergency somewhere in the future when the pubs are closed.

It was no surprised that I was not feeling great on Sunday morning. But I had a Long Run to do. Actually, I had a Fast Finish Long Run to do, where I was supposed to run the final 10 km at Marathon Pace, which I decided would be 5 minute per km. It didn’t really work out. My right glute was not giving me any trouble but my left knee felt out of sorts from the beginning. It did not stop me from running but I was wondering if I could run fast. The answer was no. When I hot the 22 km point, I upped the paced and tried to run at 5:00 / km. It felt all wrong and after 1 km I gave up and went home at my usual slow pace.

So, tomorrow I will rest and use our new massage gun and start up again on Tuesday.

Kochi Marathon 2022 Week 6/16

The Tamagawa River Wildlife

Finished my 6th week of training and I am beginning to feel tired. I have reduced my mileage again and only ran 4 days this week due to drinking commitments and I still had to take another nap this afternoon after my long run. Fortunately, due to a truncated Bonenkai season in Japan, I have no more events so I can now concentrate on training and recovery.

6th ~ 12th December 75 km of running

Monday Rest Day

Tuesday 18.1 km Morning Run

Wednesday Rest Day

Thursday Rest Day

Friday Yasso 800 ms x 6 w/ 200 m jog – Total 13.6 km

Saturday Park Run 19:36 PB & Namban Rengo Hill Repeats 6.6 km

Sunday Long Run 32.2 km

One of the staples of the Advanced Marathoning training plans is a fairly long run in the middle of the week, so at 6:15 AM on Tuesday morning I was on the road with my eyes barely open and plodding down the Tamagawa. I was in a terrible condition and I just had to get through it as best I could. Eventually, it was over and I was back at my desk for the next 3 days. On Friday, I was back out in the morning at the slightly later time of 7 AM. The plan called for 6 ~ 8 Yasso 800 ms with a 200 m jog in-between. I had thought that I might do 4 down the river, turn around and then do 4 back up. It didn’t go so well. The first 4 went OK, but once I turned around and headed back up the river, I was running into the wind and feeling awful. After 2 more 800s I had to call it quits and just jog home. My pace for the 800s was 4:10, 4:14, 4:20, 4:14, 4:34 and 4:39 which is not great. I had not run for 3 days so I was surprised that I could not tough it out and complete the set of 8 with a decent pace.

Yasso 800s w/ 200m jog
Heading for home

Saturday is Park Run day and I managed to get up early again and get over the river to Futakotamagawa in plenty of time. As things had not worked out on Tuesday and Friday, I was not expecting much. Chad was coming as well. I had wanted to put up a good show after our photo finish in the 10 km race in Tachikawa on the 1st Dec, but I had no confidence. We all lined up to run the same course that we had run last week. A lot of fast guys had showed up, especially from my club Namban Rengo, and they shot off the front. I managed to stay with them and ran my first 1 km in 3:48 which was my fastest 1 km in many years. I was expecting my pace to fall but it didn’t happen and soon I passed Stan and then Chad. I was actually feeling good and breathing well. The second 1 km went by in 3:48 as well. The 3rd 1 km also went well and I completed that in just 3:50. Then I started to feel the effect of my early efforts and Stan passed me as we finished the loop for the third time and headed for home. I could feel that Chad was gaining on me and I saw him at the switch back at 4.4 km point. As we headed back to the main path Sarah was coming towards us and yelled at me to keep going but I knew I was cooked. With 400 m to go, Chad came passed me and I never saw him again until I was finished. However, I was very happy with my run and I completed with a Park Run PB of 19:36, which is only 11 seconds off my track PB. I never thought that I would run these times again. Thank you Nike Vaporfly.

At the switch back and trying to stay ahead of Chad.

I was not done. My friend Keren was coming up from Kyoto and I had planned to meet him at the Namban Rengo Hill Repeats so I headed into Aoyama Itchome. I used to do the Hills regularly before Park Run started up in April 2019 and I could run the first hill in about a minute and the second one in less than a minute. I could not get near that this time and I was running 1:15 for the first hill and 1:07 for the second one. It was great chatting to Keren in Starbucks afterwards. He had recently had surgery on his knee but was looking great.

Hill Repeats

Sunday, as I have sad before, is Long Run Day. I had hoped to get up at 6 AM and start early, but I couldn’t make it. I got up some time after 7 AM and I was out on the road at 8:30 AM. I was still sore after Saturday and decided to put my head down and listen to my Irishman Abroad Podcast and get it done. The plan called for 29 ~ 35 km run. Before leaving, I thought that I might be able to do the longer distance, but with all my aches and pains, I settled for the same run as last Sunday, 32.2 km and I completed it in 3 hours exactly, stopping for drinks at 11 km, 18 km, 22 km and 31 km. The plan is to rest again on Monday and start back on Tuesday.

All The Trees Are Brown

Kochi Marathon 2022 Week 5/16

This was a good week. Now that the KIWL November Challenge was over, I reduced my weekly mileage by 25 km to 79 km, I took Wednesday off and raced a 10km in Tachikawa and I got a Park Run PB for the second week in a row. Oh yes, and my new Nike arrived.

29th November ~ 5th December 79 km of running

Monday Rest Day

Tuesday Easy 14.3 km

Wednesday Race 10 km

Thursday Rest Day

Friday Tempo Intervals 5 x 2 km w/ 400 m jog – 17.5 km

Satuday Park Run 5km in 19:49 (PB)

Sunday Long Run 32.2 km

I was really tired on Monday after my long run the day before and even though the KIWL was continuing until 30th November, I could not bring myself to run. I was also going to Osaka for work for the day and did not want to get up too early. The rest day was appreciated by my body and I was able to get on Tuesday and run an easy 14 km along the Tamagawa before work. It is always great to see the sun come up over the Tamagawa and whenever I get down in time, I make sure to take a photo.

Wednesday was race day. For some reason, there was a series of races on a work day in Tachikawa – 30 km, Half Marathon, 10 km and 5 km. Chad and myself were in the 10 km and it started at a very appropriate time of 12 PM. We met on the platform of my local station and we took the 9:55 to Tachikawa. We did not know what to expect, but there was quite a few people arriving with us and there was a big field queuing up at the start of the Half Marathon. All the races were run over the same 5 km course but with varying start points. Also, there were 1 km markers along the course so you would see 6km for the half marathon, followed by 5km for the 30 km race and then 1 km for the 10 km race. It was all very confusing but it took my mind off the race and the pain. After a very easy warm up we queued up ourselves and we got into the group that planned to finish between 40 and 50 minutes. This was my first race in 2 years, not including the Mike Trees Half Marathon last Christmas Eve, and I was clearly very excited. As such I ran the first 1 km in 3:56 and then dropped to 4:11 for the second km. It continued like that for the rest of the race even though there were not too many hills. Maybe my watch was having trouble finding the correct GPS signal, or maybe I was all over the place. I was running ahead of Chad and hoping that I would stay a bit ahead of him, but then as I past the 6 km point, I sneaked a look to my left on the corner and saw Chad about 20 metres behind me. This was enough for me to dig deep and to try to shake him off. Of course, I could not. About 200 m from the finish I heard him shout at me from behind and I put in a big effort and ran close to a corner to try and hold him off. Chad was making time the whole way and we bough finished in 41:59.

We headed off after the race to my local Indian restaurant where we arrived just before they closed for the afternoon. It was a great day and a great race but I was in bits on Thursday and decided to take another rest day. I went to bed early that evening. On Friday I was up before the dawn and out running at 5:40. The plan was to run Tempo Intervals, 5 x 2 km w/ 400 m jog. Things went well at the start as I headed down the Tamagawa with the wind behind me. I wanted to run around 4:30 per km and I managed to do that on the way out. Then, once I turned around half way through my 3 interval I found the going much tougher. I know that part of it was the wind, but that was not everything. My legs were tired and I struggled up the Tamagawa. Still I was happy to complete the run and very happy that I clocked up over 17 km.

Saturday is Park Run Day. As I was no longer doing the KIWL challenge I did not need to run over and back so I took my bike. I am convinced that that left me fresher at the start. There was a course change from last week but it was a good one and the course felt much faster.

I ran the first km in 3:54 which was similar to what I had done in the previous 2 weeks. However, unlike before my pace did not drop for the second km and I was pleased to see that it had actually improved for the third km where I passed my friend Stan. I managed to keep going at a sub 4:00/ km pace and finish in another PB.

If Saturday is Park Run Day, then Sunday is Long Run Day. I had a lot to do that day and got up before 7 AM to get it all in. My run was a simple 32 km run with no frills. I plugged in my earbuds, put on the Irishman Abroad and Second Captains podcasts and headed back to the Tamagawa to complete the week. I stopped at 11 km, 17 km, 22 km, 29 km and 31 km for drinks but the run was very uneventful. I tried to stop at Marukobashi for coffee but the guy in the van told me that I would have to wait 3 ~ 5 minutes and as I did not want to get cold I declined and headed on. When I got home I took a nap for 90 minutes but still felt tired. I am looking forward to my rest day on Monday after a good but hard week.

Kochi Marathon 2022 Week 4/16

Mt. Fuji as seen from Kofu

I had a good long week of cycling and running with many highlights including a 148 km ride out to Kofu with Chad on Tuesday, a Park Run PB on Saturday and a 37.4 km long run on Sunday to consolidate my second place in the Knights In White Lycra (KIWL) Go-Go Virtual Charity Run 2021.

22nd ~ 28th November 106 km of running and 148 km of cycling

Monday Rest Day

Tuesday Bike 148km

Wednesday Easy Run 14.5 km

Thursday 15.3 km Cruise Intervals 8 x 1km

Friday Easy Run 15.2

Saturday 24.2 km including Park Run PB

Sunday Long Run 37.4 km

Chad taking it easy descending

Tuesday was a National Holiday in Japan and Chad and myself decided to take to the bikes and head to the hills. We cycled 148 km to Kofu over several hills with a total of 2,300 metres of elevation. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the autumn colours. Unfortunately, Chad lost his bike bag. Somehow it fell off his tri-bars without him noticing. He failed to find one in Kofu station so it was into Family Mart to buy trash bags and masking tape so we could wrap up his bike for the train home.

Me pushing it up the hill outside Kofu

Wednesday I surprised myself and got up and ran. I had work calls until midnight so it was my only chance. I was on the road by 5:50 AM and enjoyed a nice leisurely run down the Tamagawa. I was not sore but a little tried. Thursday was a speed workout – Cruise Intervals.These were not too long at 1 km each with a 200m jog, but I had 8 of them to do. Again I was not sore, but my muscles were stiff. The idea of Cruise Intervals is that you run each one at sustained effort, which is not too hard, and then you have a short jog before starting the next one. However, I could not get myself moving and the first 4 intervals were a struggle. I gradually started to improve and I enjoyed the second half before ambling home.

Friday was an easy day but because I was still in the KIWL challenge I did not want to take it too easy and knocked out 15 km and kept myself in second place for a while. Saturday was Park Run and I managed to get up on-time and jog over to the start. There was a good crowd of 74 people and I got off to a fast start again and ran the first 1km in 3:54. There was not a lot of sharp turns as there had been last week and I managed to keep my pace and finish in a Park Run PB of 19:56. My watch recorded the distance as 4.94 km but I checked with other people and their watches said 5 km so I took it. Sometimes courses can be longer or shorter depending on the GPS signal and you just have to accept whatever you get.

I ran back the long way to give myself another 14km towards the KIWL challenge. I last did such a challenge at work in May and June and they are quite addictive.

Mt. Fuji as seen from Ota ku in Tokyo

Sunday is Long Run Day. I wanted to go very long and run 37km so that I would be over 400km for the month and stay in the running for second place in the KIWL Go-Go Challenge. The chap in first place had run over 500km so there was no way that I could catch him, ever. I set out at a nice even pace along the Tamagawa with the plan to run 18.5 km, turn around and run back. The weather was good and I did not need gloves or a warm hat. Just a peaked one to keep the sun out of my eyes. Again, I was listening to the Irishman Abroad podcast as well as a couple of others and a few Bob Dylan albums including Oh Mercy and As Good As I Have Been To You. I had the wind behind me on the way out and I did not need to drink anything until I was at the 19 km point. However, by then I was running into the wind and it was more of a struggle. As always, I kept my head down and adjusted my pace to meet the conditions and got the run done.

The good news is that of Sunday night I am still in second place in the KIWL Go-Go Challenge with 401 km and 2 days to go. I hope that it is enough as I have to go to Osaka in the morning for the day and I am not sure that I will be able to run again this month. I will keep you posted.