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 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 12 Training Ohtawara Marathon 2016

I had an up and down this week but at end of it I am fairly satisfied. I did not run as far as I did in week 11 but my Hard Intervals nearly hit all the paces and my Long Run, although not perfect, was not too bad. I also continued to track my  runs on ithlete Pro and I am very happy that I can easily correlate the intensity of my runs with my HRV and RHR. The big event for me this week was that I passed 27 years in Japan and as coincidence would have it, the man I came to Japan with, Mark, was in town and we managed to have a beer together …. or two …

Week Total

  • Number of runs: 5
  • Distance: 76.8km
  • Time: 6 hours 54 mins

Monday 3rd October

  • RHR: 47
  • HRV: 72
  • Weight: 83.0kg

Monday, as always, is a rest day. That means no running, Jon Holmes. I know you are reading. I was pleased that my Resting Heart Rate and Heart Variability had not dived down after the weekend and went about relaxing in the evening.

Tuesday 4th October

  • RHR: 40
  • HRV: 80
  • Weight: 83.4kg
  • Run: Hard Intervals
  • Distance: 16km
  • Time: 1 hour 28 mins

As I was meeting Mark on Wednesday night I headed out on Tuesday to do the Hard Intervals. Harrisson was a little worried that it was a bit close to the weekend and suggested that I do them on Thursday, but as I had another real life event that day, I really had no choice. Getting up early in the morning is still not an option at this stage. Harrisson’s programme called for:

3k WU
WU drills
3 x 400m (1:50 / 1:40 / 1:30) with 60s rest between them, 2min rest (walking)
Tempo portion (without break)
4k -> (2k @ sub 4:05 , 2k @ 4:30), 4min very easy jog (6~7min pace)
4k -> ( 1k @ 4:05, 1k@ 4:30 pace, 1k @ 4:05, 1k @ 4:30)
And for the first time in a while, I almost got it right:
3 x 400m – 1:48 1:35 1:29
4 x 1 km – 3:53 3:58 4:24 4:20
Rest 4:33
4 x 1km – 4:00 4:22 4:10 4:28
It was a hard workout and I was pleased to get most of the intervals at the correct pace.


Wednesday 5th October

  • RHR: 46
  • HRV: 86
  • Weight: 82.4kg


Wednesday I had an appointment to meet Mark and headed into the TapRoom in Harajuku. It was a bit of a shame as my HRV had reached 86, which I think is a record for me.

Thursday 6th October

  • RHR: 47
  • HRV: 83
  • Weight: 82.9kg
  • Run: Easy
  • Distance: 8.4km
  • Time: 49 mins
  • Avg HR: 136
  • Avg Cadence: 170

Thursday I had a real life event and did not get home until 8:30. Still I changed quickly and headed out for the Tamagawa. It was a nice easy MAF run and I got home by 10pm and made it to bed early enough.

Friday 7th October

  • RHR: 49
  • HRV: 73
  • Weight: 83.5kg
  • Run: Easy
  • Distance: 12.4km
  • Time: 1 hour 9 mins
  • Avg HR: 136
  • Avg Cadence: 173

Friday I got home at reasonable hour and headed out to run 7km at MAF and the rest at 5:20 pace. I felt good and light and ran the last 5km a bit faster than I should have. My right foot was a bit sore as I ran the last 1km but as soon as I stopped I felt fine.

Saturday 8th October

  • RHR: 43
  • HRV: 73
  • Weight: 83.1kg
  • Run: Easy
  • Distance: 9km Easy w/ 8 x 40 sec strides
  • Time: 50 mins
  • Avg HR: 139
  • Avg Cadence: 172



I had planned to go run in the morning but just as I was about to get ready, we realised that  today was the day to bring the rabbit to the doctors. The rabbit was fine and after that we went and got lunch and coffee at Bill’s in Futakotamagawa. When I got home I headed out for my run, a little worried about my foot although it was not sore at all. The run went fine and even though I ran 8 x 40 sec strides I felt not pain and thought that everything was fine.

Sunday 9th October

  • RHR: 45
  • HRV: 77
  • Weight: 82.9kg
  • Run: Long
  • Distance: 31km
  • Time: 2 hours 39 mins
  • Avg HR: 153
  • Avg Cadence: 174


Sunday was always going to be hard. A 31km long run with the following thrown in for good measure.

First 3k @ MAF
Then 5 x 5km (1k @ 4:05pace + 1k @ 4:30 pace + 3k @ 5:40 pace or faster) ->
continuous run, the only time allowed to take water/gel breaks are during the 4th kilometer of each 5k set)
Finish with 3km Warm Down


I got to bed early on Saturday night as I had to get up a 5:30am on Sunday to drop my son to the train station for his rugby game. When I headed out to the station the overnight rain had stopped and the sun was coming up. The plan was to come home, have breakfast and then head out for the run before 6:30am. Unfortunately my dear friend John in Malaysia sent me a link to the Making of Fr. Ted documentary and I started watching that as I ate. By the time that it had finished, it was bucketing down. I decided that I still had plenty of time, and as I was a little tired from the early rise, I headed back to bed for an hour to catch up on some sleep.

When I awoke for the second time, I looked out the window and it was teaming down even more than before. Absolutely lashing. I considered going back to bed again but then I decided that it was a mistake of my own making and I headed for the door. As I was walking down the stairs, the rain game down even harder and I stopped and looked at it. Would it be so bad to go back home, just for one more coffee? The rain might stop in the meantime. I looked at it again. This rain was not stopping. It would be going for the next 4 hours.

I headed outside, knowing that once I got wet there would be no going back. My Garmin synced with the satellites in seconds (this never happens on a regular day) and I had no more excuses to procrastinate. I started to run. It was murder. I started on my usual route for the Tamagawa and was soaked within seconds. I was quite anxious and my heart rate was up to 168 within 500m.

Before leaving I had joked with Harrisson that as there was a gale I would run all the fast 1km segments with the wind. He didn’t find it funny. Maybe it is a French thing. However, when I got to the river, I decided that I would run the first segment against the wind and the next three with the wind and the final one against it again.

The results were as follows:






The first 1km did not go to plan. Maybe I was not warmed up enough or maybe the wind had too much impact on me but I really struggled. The next one went much better and I was able to stay within the assigned pace. The third one I struggled again as I got near to Tamagawa-ohashi bridge. I had taken a gel 1km before it started but it seemed to make no difference. Half way across the bridge I switched into the 4:30 pace 1km and shortly after that I ran into Mika and Nick coming the other way. There were not many people out running except for an Eki-den being held at Furuichiba and I would have liked to have turned around and run with them but I had a pace to maintain. I kept running back up the Tokyo side of the river, past Gasubashi and eventually turned around at my 17.75km point.

I had planned the turn-around so that I could do as much of the fast 1km on a straight section with the wind and it worked out well as I was back on track and headed back downstream and across the bridge. I passed the drinks vending machine just after the bridge on the Kawasaki side but once the 4:30 pace 1km was done, I turned around headed back to have my first sports drink at 20km. After that I was on my way home and headed back up the Tamagawa.

The last fast 1km started between Gasubashi and Marubashi. I was tired and I struggled into the wind. I could not keep the pace during the 4:05 pace 1km but I managed it well enough during the 4:30 pace 1km. Once it was over at about 25.2km into my run, I felt a lot of pain in my right foot again. I thought that I could run it off but it was not getting any better and I considered stopping and walking back home. I did stop and take off my shoe and sock and massaged my foot for a few minutes. I then carefully put my shoe and sock back on and started to run again. I felt nothing. I was quite amazed and finished the run rather pleased with myself.

Once I got home I looked at FaceBook and saw that lots of people had left motivational messages and a video for me to go out and run despite the rain. I was very moved and very glad that I did. I then cleaned up and I started with the cold spray on my right foot. Hopefully it will have the required impact before my next run in 2 days time.

Ohtawara Marathon 2016 Base Training Week 1

On Sunday 8th May I ran the Sendai Half Marathon in 1:39:55. It was over 7 minutes slower than the Namban Half I did last November but 3 minutes faster that the ParCup Half I had run on the 10th April. Since running my marathon PB in Ohtawara last November, I have been taking things a little easy and not doing enough miles while eating too many cakes. I mean that literally. I was 81kg running Ohtawara and I am 85km today. It is common knowledge that the best marathon runners are lean, not because they don’t eat a lot, but because they eat the right food and they have adapted their bodies to burn fat when they run. I am not going to bore you here with all the pseudo science that I only half know, but it is sufficient to say that training at large volumes and low heart rate will help your body adapt to burn fat.This year, as in all years, the Ohtawara Marathon will be on 23rd November. My official 17.5 week training program starts on 25th July. This is rather bad timing as I will go on vacation on the 26th July. However, for the next 12th weeks I intend to embark on a low intensity base building training program where I will mainly run at my MAF heart rate, reduce my Resting Heart Rate (RHR), increase my Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and lose the 4kgs that I have put on over the last 6 months. Well, let’s see how it goes.

The other thing that has changed since Ohtawara 2015 is that I have been trying to eat like a vegetarian this year. Actually, I have been trying to eat like a vegan and avoid all animal products but it has not really worked out so well. The unexpected outcome is that I have been eating too much bread, rice and yes, cakes. I now need to change that and gradually reduce them while adding more fruit and vegetables. Hopefully, this blog will help me to do that.

Week Total

  • Number of runs: 5
  • Distance: 76km
  • Time: 8 hours 2 mins

Monday 9th May

  • RHR : 59
  • HRV: 56
  • Weight: 85.7kg

First day back after the Sendai Half Marathon and I did not feel up to going out to run. Although I was not very sore, we had not gotten back until 9pm on Sunday night and I was tired. My RHR and HRV were also telling me to rest.

Tuesday 10th May

  • RHR: 50
  • HRV: 66
  • Weight: 85.4kg
  • Run: MAF
  • Distance: 12.4km
  • Time: 1 hour 23 mins

RHR and HRV were back to acceptable levels so Tuesday was the first day of my base  building program and it went to plan. I managed to keep my average heart rate at 134, which is 3 beats below my MAF HR, and I made it down to Marukobashi and back.

Wednesday 11th May

  • RHR: 45
  • HRV: 71
  • Weight: 84.5kg
  • Run: MAF
  • Distance: 12.4km
  • Time: 1 hour 24 mins

RHR and HRV are continuing to improve. Normally I should be going to Namban Rengo on Wednesday nights and enjoying interval training in Yoyogi Park. However, this year I have missed it far too many times as there have been too many real life events that have gotten in the way. Still I hope to be back in Yoyogi soon. So, instead of interval training I went and completed the same MAF run down to Marukobashi and back, again keeping my heart rate at around 134.

Thursday 12th May

  • RHR: 50
  • HRV: 63
  • Weight: 84.3kg
  • Run: Aerobic
  • Distance: 10.8km
  • Time: 1 hour 1 min

Rainbow Bridge Crew

This summer I plan to run over the Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo from my office as often as I can. Ideally this would be once a week, but if I could get 2 Rainbow Bridge runs a month between April and October when it is open to pedestrians until 9pm, I would consider that a success. I have run the bridge 3 times so far this year and I have always managed to convince some Nambanners to join me as well. The idea is that we change and leave our gear in the Minato Ku Sports Centre and then we head out, run the south side of the bridge and run around Odaiba before running back along the north side of the bridge. So far there has not been too many people about and it has been very pleasant. Of course, we always find our way back to Devil Craft in Hamamatsucho afterwards.


Devil Craft Hamamatsucho

Friday 13th May

  • RHR : 53
  • HRV: 66
  • Weight: 84.8kg

Friday I had a real life event after work and was not able to get out for a run. Still, I was happy with 3 runs in 3 days for the week.

Saturday 14th May

  • RHR: 52
  • HRV: 63
  • Weight: 85kg
  • Run: MAF
  • Distance: 18.4km
  • Time: 2 hours


On Saturday morning I was feeling a little groggy after a late Friday night and my elevated heart rate was proof that I was not in great shape. However, it was a beautiful morning and I got out the door at 9:30am and ran a decent 2 hour MAF run while keeping by heart rate around 136. My target is to have a consistent heart rate of 137 so I am beginning to get into the groove. I ran down to Marukobashi and instead of turning around and running back as I had the previous 2 days, I crossed the Tamagawa river on to the Tokyo side and ran up  to Futakobashi. As I crossed the bridge back to the Kawasaki side I saw all the people BBQing in the sun. I was reminded of the Namban Rengo BBQ in this same spot last November when the rain bucketed down from start to finished. I wished that we would get this fine weather for this year’s event.


After lunch, I went into the Esforta Sports Club in Shibuya. One of the key areas I want to improve on this year is Strength Training. I had hoped to find some instructors who would help me with this, but there was none available. However, I will be back again as this is very important for people who are getting on in years. (Oops! Nearly wrote middle aged there).

Sunday 15th May

  • RHR: 45
  • HRV: 63
  • Weight: 85kg
  • Run: MAF
  • Distance: 22km
  • Time: 2 hour 15 mins

Yes, let’s run slowly!

Another beautiful day and not has warm as Saturday. I managed to make my way up to Noborito and back again for a fairly longish run at a 137 heart rate so I was bang on the money. I was very pleased as I did not need to take on any fluids for almost 20km while on Saturday I was drinking from 12km. This is perfect running weather in Japan. Of course, I want it to last for ever but I know that the Rainy Season is just around the corner.

MAF Test #5 and HRV Collapse

After a great weekend running in the Nagano Hills, I was ready to try another MAF Test and I was actually looking forward to it. My pace in the hills had increased, my Heart Rate Variability (HRV) hit a high of 70 on Sunday morning and it was now much cooler. I was hoping to finally run all the MAF miles under 10 mins. Looking back I guess I should have called it off when I woke up on Wednesday morning and my HRV had dropped from 65 to 42 and my ithlete iPhone app was showing yellow. This is an indication to take it easy. However, I thought that a few kilometres at MAF pace in Yoyogi Park could not hurt. Unfortunately, things continued to not go to plan. I felt slow and sluggish and, as shown below, did not mange to improve my MAF  at all. I ran a 2km warm up, 8km at MAF pace and continued for a 5km cool down before heading to the sento (public bath).

The next shock was at 5am on Thursday morning when I got up to do my morning run, still hoping to make 100km for the week. I took my HRV as usual and saw that it had fallen again to 30 and that the indication was now red, meaning “don’t even think about running”. With a heavy heart, I reset my alarm for 6:30 and got back into bed. I felt slightly better knowing that this is why I was measuring my HRV each morning and thought that I would just need another rest day and I would be ready to run again.

Fast forward 24 hours and the same thing happened again. My HRV had fallen further to 24 and the indication was still red. With a heavier heart I sighed “shoganai” (it can’t be helped) and reset my alarm. Truth be told, I have not been feeling great these last few days so it is nice to have an iPhone app to tell me not to do anything stupid or there might be no way back.

Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF)  140 bpm

Average Heart Rate 139 bpm

Time In Zone 64%

16-Oct-13 10:22/10:48/10:29/10:40/10:40

17-Sep-13 10:28/10:25/10:13/10:17/10:04

29-Aug-13 10:36/10:36/10:34/10:45/10:47

15-Aug-13 10:29/10:32/10:37/10:28/10:30

27-Jun-13 9:56/ 9:52/9:45

HRV 18 Oct 2013

HRV 18 Oct 2013


HRV 18 Oct 2013 (All data)

HRV 18 Oct 2013 (All data)


Week 18 7th to 13th October

Runs 5
Distance 100.6km
Weight 77.8km

This was a good week.

I managed a 36km long run Saturday even though it was 27 degrees and sunny. This is important as I want to run 5 x 34km+ long runs by Nov 3. Two down, three to go. This was a tough run in the sun. During last week’s long run I let my heart rate drift by 5 beats over MAF after 20km and 10 beats after 30km. This week it was up 5 beats as soon as I stepped into the sun after 3km and was 15 beats over MAF for the second half of the run. I really had no choice as I would not have gotten home if I had stuck to MAF.

The weekly total was again over 100km for the first time in two months and it gives me a real chance to reach my monthly target of 400km.

My mid-week run was 20km. Stan in my club told me this was a pillar of his successful Boston Marathon so I am giving it a go.

My heart bio- feedback is improving. On Friday my resting heart rate was 40bpm and on Sunday my HRV reached 70 for the first time. This gives me confidence that MAF is working and that I should continue with it. I have to plan a MAF test next week to check the progress.

On Saturday night we came up to Nagano where it is much cooler. Although I was running in the hills on Sunday, it felt much easier to stay within MAF than back in Tokyo. The Ohtawara Marathon will be held at the end of November so I will hopefully be getting much cooler weather as well.

Tuesday Aerobic 14.1km
Wednesday Aerobic 20.2km
Friday Aerobic 14.1
Saturday Long 36km
Sunday Aerobic 16.2km

Week 16 23rd to 29th September

Runs                4

Distance        63.4 km

Weight           77.2 kg

September   240 km



With a child’s birthday, a half marathon and a few bits and pieces at work I only managed 4 runs and 63km this week. However, I still feel it was a productive week. I did 3 x 14.1 MAF runs from Wednesday to Friday. The Thursday evening run was particularly good as it was nice and cool and I started to feel my MAF pace increasing. I had planned to go out again on Saturday morning and run 10km to bring the weekly total to 70km but my HRV monitor told me to rest, so I rested. Also, I felt knackered.


I am happy that I did rest, as I was feeling much better as I headed up to Watarase on Sunday morning. My race report is at the end of this blog, but I did feel that I was able to maintain the same pace for the full run despite the sun and heat and that must be a good thing.


On the back of that, I have decided to continue MAF training until my marathon on November 23rd and give it my best shot.


Wednesday Aerobic            14.1 km

Thursday Aerobic                14.1 km

Friday Aerobic                      14.1 km

Sunday HM Race                 21.1 km  


Watarase Half Marathon – 29th September 2013



The Watarase Half Marathon was the first race I ran after joining Namban and one I have registered for each year since then. Initially, I was charmed by Paddy’s mail to the Namban List:


“I’m planning to do this half marathon on Sunday Sept 27th (2009). It is being held at a place called Watarase on the border of Saitama, Ibaraki and Gunma. Nearest main station is called Koga. The race starts at 10am, it is the 1st time this event is being held. 3 flat laps around a reservoir is the course description.”


Of course the nearest station is actually Yagyu,  and while it is a flat course, it has never been kind to me as it has always been too hot. Today was no exception. The heat started as we walked from the station and the sun beamed down on us. I knew I was in for a tough day.


12 Nambaneers ran the Half Marathon. My target was not to get a PB but to finally break 1:40 on the course. Although it is flat I have not made much improvement over the years


2009 1:44:30

2010 1:40:19

2011 1:43:45

2012 DNS


The race consists of three laps of the reservoir and as we started out on the first lap I did not feel great. It was hot and the kilometres ticked by slowly and I was quietly resigning myself just to make it through the day. There were three water stations on each lap and each provided a chance to have water poured over you. As we reach the first station after 3.5km I was already looking forward to it and the water over the head did make a difference. I then took a drink only to discover that all they had on offer was some sports drink (not sure which brand). I really could have done with just water at that stage.


I made it through the first lap and noticed that my pace had not dropped and that my heart rate had remained the same at 178 bpm. As I turned the corner into the second lap, I was hit by a pleasant cool breeze, which I found very refreshing. I managed to keep going at roughly the same pace and increased my heart rate to 182. I was pleased that I did not drop my pace until the 16km when I got a stitch in my left side. I think that I took in too much air with my drink at the 14km water station and it eventually worked its way into a knot. I slowed down and tried to burp and finally I started to feel better and was able to make a push for the line and take 2 minutes off my course best time.


I think that this is a tough race because of the heat but it is a good way to start the season and I will probably register next year again.