Week 13 Training Ohtawara Marathon 2016

Week 13 was rather tough as I had a sore foot at the end of week 12 and several real life events impacting on my training. I was only able to run 3 times, but 2 of these were key workouts and should be of benefit. At the end of the week the soreness in my foot seems to have gotten better and I hope to have 5 good runs next week.

Week Total

  • Number of runs: 3
  • Distance: 53.3km
  • Time:  4 hours 40 mins

Monday 10th October

  • RHR: 45
  • HRV: 71
  • Weight: 82.8kg


Monday was a National Holiday in Japan called Sports Day, so we went and had a BBQ with some of my Irish friends. It was a beautiful day down by the Tamagawa and I enjoyed hanging out and resting my foot. I also had a beer or two …

Tuesday 11th October

  • RHR: 44
  • HRV: 89
  • Weight: 82.8kg


Tuesday I had a real life event after work so I missed my run but I was happy to wake up with a HRV of 89. I think that using the Sleep Cycle app helps me wake up easily with our a sudden start.

Wednesday 12th October

  • RHR: 43
  • HRV: 75
  • Weight: 83.2kg
  • Run: Hard Intervals
  • Distance: 16.2
  • Time 1 hour 26 minutes

Wednesday was my first hard run since I hobbled home on Sunday with a sore foot. I was a little worried but also hopefully that it had healed after 2 days rest. These hard intervals was always going to be tough:

3k Warm Up
Warm Up Drills
3 x 400m 1:50/1:40/1:30 w/ 60 sec between & 2 min rest at end
Actual 1:41/1:40/1:29
(400m @ 3:50 1:32
1,400m @ 4:05 5:43
3,400m @ 4:30 15:18)
Actual 1:31/5:27/14:34
4 min easy jog
(400m @ 3:50 1:32
1,000m @ 4:30 4:30
400m @ 3:50 1:32
1,000m @ 4:30 4:30
400m @ 3:50 1:32
1,000m @ 4:30 4:30
400m @ 3:50 1:32
1,000m @ 4:30 4:30)
Actual 1:33/4:13/1:38/4:23/1:42/4:26/1:42/4:22
Warm Down
As you can see from the Actual Times that I ran, I did OK at the start but struggled on the 400m in the second half. Harrisson said that I ran the first part too fast and he had a point. For the 1,400m I ran 5:27 instead of 5:43 and for the 3,400m I ran 14:34 instead of 15:18. It is hard to tell how these differences impact latter intervals but I can only assume that there is some impact.
I ran all the intervals without any pain in my foot, but as soon as I stopped and started to warm down my left foot got sore again. I did my usual trick of taking off my shoe and sock and massaging my foot but it had no affect. I was left with no choice but to walk home slowly and hope that it would get better by my next run.

Thursday 13th October

  • RHR: 49
  • HRV: 71
  • Weight: 81.9kg

Bob Dylan – My all time hero. Seriously!

Thursday was my annual health check so I could not drink alcohol on Wednesday or eat after 9pm. This is always a good thing and I wish I could do it everyday. I don’t really. I enjoy drinking and eating everyday. However, I do enjoy waking with a clear head in the morning after not drinking. Not being able to eat breakfast, not so much. I will say that Starbucks at 9:45 after the health check, has the greatest food in the whole wide world. Mainly because I can reach it in 3 and a half minutes.

Obviously the results of the blood tests will take some time to come out but I am the same height, and more or less the same weight, as I was this time last year and my sight seems to have not deteriorated. So Yeah!

Thursday evening I had a real life event so I could not run. Even if I could run I needed to rest my foot. I was delighted to find out during the event that Bob Dylan had won the Nobel prize for literature from the BBC notification on my phone. I was really shocked as I did not even know he was in the running. Despite what many people have said, I believe that it was well deserved, although I am biased, and I enjoyed reading all the nostalgic articles online.

Friday 14th October

  • RHR: 55
  • HRV: 62
  • Weight: 83.9kg
  • Run: Easy
  • Distance: 7.2km
  • Time: 41 mins
  • Avg HR: 131
  • Avg Cadence: 167


On Friday I went out to test my right foot for the first time since Wednesday. My boss from the UK was in town and he was keen on getting in a run while he was in Tokyo so we ran from Tamachi up to Hibiya and back. It was a very pleasant evening and I had no adverse impact on foot so I consider it a success.

Saturday 15th October

  • RHR: 52
  • HRV: 69
  • Weight: 83.6k

Saturday I was driving up to Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture so there would be no running. Although the changing of the colors had not started in earnest we had a good day viewing the waterfalls, going for a walk in the woods, visiting Toshogu shrine and eating tofu for lunch. Although there was a bit of driving, it was a great day.


Sunday 16th October

  • RHR: 49
  • HRV: 69
  • Weight: 82.4kg
  • Run: Long with intervals and goal paced segments
  • Distance 30km
  • Time: 2 hours 33 minutes
  • Avg HR: 161
  • Avg Cadence: 175


Sunday was the big run of the week. After missing so many runs during the week, I needed to make Sunday count. Harrisson had put a very complicated workout on the schedule and I had no choice but to write it on my hand least I forgot it.

This week, substantially more time spent at Goal pace, we’re getting into serious business.
3k WU @ MAF (include a 4 x 20s strides randomly @ HM pace during that)
2k @ 4:05 + 6k @ 4:30
9k @ 5:30 (you can take a water/gel break between the 2nd and 7th kilometer here)
1k @ 4:00 + 6k @ 4:30
WD as far as you want to end up in the 28~32km range


I think that you can see what I mean. There was no rain but I had sweated a little and by the end, the instructions were illegible. As you can see below, things were going fairly OK until I hit the last 6km which was supposed to be run at 4:30 pace. I couldn’t do it. I pushed the 1km at 4:00 pace as hard as I could and after that I needed to take a break before I got back to 4:30 pace. It took a lot longer than I expected and when I got there, I could not sustain it. I tried and tried but my pace kept slipping and by the end I was running at 4:50 pace. My legs were just too tired. Hopefully they will be better next week.

  • Target 8:10 Actual 8:02
  • Target 27:00 Actual 26:58
  • Target 49:30 Actual 49:09
  • Target 4:00 Actual 4:03
  • Target 27:00 Actual 28:26

The good news is that my foot did not hurt me and I was able to run home pain free. I want to get back to 5 runs next week and up to 80km.


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

Week 3 Training Ohtawara Marathon 2016

The second week of our holiday was a little bit more easy paced and I was able to fit in a few more runs. Nothing too long, or over an hour, but it was still great to keep on track.

Week Total

  • Number of runs: 5
  • Distance 48.5km
  • Time: 5 hours 5 mins

1-7 Aug

Monday 1st August

  • RHR: 47
  • HRV: 76
  • Run: Easy
  • Distance: 8km
  • Time: 55 mins
  • Average Heart Rate: 142
  • Average Cadence: 157



On Monday morning I woke up in beautiful Danang. While the rest of the family were catching up on their sleep I slipped out and ran an easy 8km on China Beach. Well I say easy, but it is never easy running on a beach. It is however, extremely enjoyable. The rest of the day I spent doing some laps in the pool and some strength training on the beach. And drinking frozen daiquiris.

Tuesday 2nd August

  • RHR: 44
  • HRV: 80
  • Run: Easy
  • Distance: 8km
  • Time: 52 mins


On Tuesday I got up a bit earlier and did the same run on China Beach but in the opposite. It was another glorious day in paradise.

Wednesday 3rd August

  • RHR: 49
  • HRV: 71
  • Run: Hard Intervals on the road
  • Distance: 11km
  • Time: 1 hour 6 mins
  • Average Heart Rate: 153
  • Average Cadence: 151


On Wednesday I got up at 6am, my earliest yet, as I had to do some hard intervals before it got too hot or before the streets got too crowded. I need not have worried. Although the streets were crowded at 6:30am there was nobody on the long footpaths except the landscapers. The plan that Harrisson had sent over on Sunday evening called for 3min @ 3:45, 45s rest, 90s @ 3:45, 3min active rest. Repeat 3 more times. This was going to be my hardest session yet. I managed to kept near pace for the first 2 intervals but after that it just got very hard and my pace slipped and slipped. I think that a combination of no breakfast, heat and all the curbs I had go down and up finally wore me out. Still I was happy to complete a hard run outside in the middle of my holiday. I spent the rest of the day in the pool and really enjoyed it.

Thursday 4th August

  • RHR: 47
  • HRV: 80

Hanoi Cathedral

Thursday we got up at 5am to make our 9am flight to Hanoi. Everything went to plan and we were set up in our new hotel at 11am. We then had lunch in the hotel and spent the afternoon wandering around the old quarter of Hanoi and visited the Hanoi Hilton. It was quite special. No running.

Friday 5th August

  • RHR: 46
  • HRV: 75


On Friday we had a 12 hour day trip to Ha Long Bay.  It was a wonderful trip but it meant that I could not run for the second day in a row.

Saturday 6th August

  • RHR: 54
  • HRV: 63
  • Run: Easy
  • Distance: 11.4km
  • Time: 1 hour 3 mins
  • Average Heart Rate: 152
  • Average Cadence: 170


Saturday was our last day in Vietnam and at 2pm we were flying back to Tokyo. I got up at 6am with the notion of doing the hard intervals around the lake near out hotel, Ho Hoan Kiem. Once I got out the door, I realised that that was not going to be possible. The place was full of people. There was a full scale market going on the side streets around our hotel and the lakeside was filled with people doing Tai Chi and walking. At a nearby square there was a group of 100 women dancing the maccerena. I decided that there was no point in crashing into people and settled for an easy and pleasant run for one hour.

Sunday 7th August

  • RHR: 48
  • HRV: 76
  • Weight: 84.9
  • Run: Hard Repetitions
  • Distance: 10km
  • Time: 1 hour 8 mins
  • Average Heart Rate: 143
  • Average Cadence: 141

Homemade Umeshu

On Sunday I woke up in Tokyo for the first time in almost 2 weeks. I was glad to see that my weight had only increased by 1.5kg during the time that I was away. This was to quickly change over the next few days. I had a bunch of things to do in the morning and afternoon in order to get ready to go back to work on Monday and it was nearly 7pm when I got out to do my run. This was to be the third time for me to do the repetitions with the isometric shut and I finally did it correctly and boy did it hurt. The plan is to do 1min @ 3:30 pace or faster, 30s rest, 90s bodyweight isometric (static hold) squat, 1min @ 3:30 pace or faster, 3min rest. Repeat 3 more times.Trying to get up and run at a 3:30 pace after squatting for 90 seconds is nothing short of agony and it got harder and harder to get to pace. In the last rep I got there just before the 60 seconds were up.

Week 2 Training Ohtawara Marathon 2016

This week was the start of my holiday to Vietnam so it impacted my training a lot and will impact my blog as well.

Week Total

  • Number of runs: 3
  • Distance:  26km
  • Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • July Total: 307km

25 - 31 Jul

Monday 25th July

  • RHR : 45
  • HRV: 77
  • Weight: 83.4kg

Today was a rest day and I went to Esforta Sports in Shibuya and swam 1,100m and did some strength training.

Tuesday 26th July

  • RHR : 44
  • HRV: 81
  • Weight: 83.3kg
  • Run: Hard Intervals 
  • Distance: 12km
  • Time: 1:05:00
  • Average Heart Rate: 154   
  • Average Cadence: 166

View from Hotel Room – Saigon River.

We were flying to Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday night so I got out early and did my Hard Repetitions. The plan was to do 2 sets of 6 x 90s @ 3:45 pace with 30s rest between reps and 3min super duper easy jogging between the two sets. However, being first thing in the morning and with no breakfast, I found it very hard to keep the pace. I still was very happy to complete them before leaving.

Wednesday 27th July

  • RHR 52
  • HRV 63

Ben Thanh Market. If they don’t got it, you don’t need it.

We got into HCM at 10pm on Tuesday night and made it to our hotel shortly after 11pm. So it was quite late when we got to bed and my HRV and RHR showed the results. We spent the day wandering around Ben Thanh Market and Dong Khoi street and had a great time. No running.

Thursday 28th July

  • RHR 47
  • HRV 70

Standing outside the South Vietnam Cabinet Room

By RHR and HRV recovered a bit and we went on a small tour of the Reunification Place and the War Remnants Museum. No running.

Friday 29th July

  • RHR: 50
  • HRV: 70
  • Run: Treadmill Hard Repetitions
  • Distance: 7km
  • Time: 50 minutes
  • Average Heart rate: 145


RHR and HRV were still holding up well and we went on a trip to the Floating Market on the Mekong Delta. When we came home I went to the hotel gym and did some hard intervals on the treadmill for 50 mins. The plan was to do 1min @ 3:30 pace or faster, 30s rest, 90s bodyweight isometric (static hold) squat, 1min @ 3:30 pace or faster, 3min rest. Repeat 3 more times. Unfortunately there was somebody on the good treadmill when I got there and the treadmill I had only went up 16km/hr or 3:45 pace. I did the intervals anyway but I did not get the isometric squat right. That would take a few more tries.

Saturday 30th July

  • RHR: 59
  • HRV: 57
  • Run: Treadmill Hard Repetitions
  • Distance: 7km
  • Time: 50 minutes
  • Average Heart rate: 148
  • Average Cadence: 174


On Saturday morning we went to see the Cu Chi Tunnels near Ho Chi Minh City. It was a half day tour and when we came back to the hotel we took a rest and then went back out to explore the city for the last time. That evening I went back to the gym and did the same Hard Repetitions again, but this time on the good treadmill and I was able to set the speed to 17.1km. I was able to keep the pace but I still got the squats all wrong.

Sunday 31st January

  • RHR: 52
  • HRV: 69


On Sunday was flew from Ho Chi Minh City to Danang and stayed at a nice beachside hotel. I did some laps in the pool but no running.


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.

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.