January 31, 2009

Hydrating and Believing

After reading Pfitzinger's Advanced Marathoning, I realized that I do not drink enough water. In fact, I drink very little water. Runners should drink more than the average person (obvious, but it wasn't obvious to me) and I drink less. So I was thinking I should start drinking more.
   Then yesterday I went to a lecture on Kinesiology. Not kinesio taping, not simply the study of muscle movement, but kinesiology as a natural health technique that can be "an effective and versatile tool for detecting and correcting various imbalances in the body that may relate to stresses such as dehydration, pain, allergies, nutrition, learning difficulties and injuries."
   The lecture was given by an Australian kinesiologist who lives in Hong Kong, and was very interesting. He demonstrated on several of us, of whom I was one. Without going into great detail, he presses against your arms and legs at various angles, and you try to resist. Generally of course, your muscles enable you to resist easily. But in certain cases, or after he presses certain pressure points, you suddenly are much less able to resist. You can clearly feel the difference (it comes as a surprise!). So after doing my leg at a certain angle, I was unable to resist. He said to me, "I think you have a problem with dehydration. Do you drink enough water?" My eyes opened wide, I looked at him and said, "No, I do not drink enough, and have been thinking that I should drink more." So out of all the possible things that he might have "guessed" as being wrong with me, he identified the correct one. So I suppose that means it was not a guess. Which means that there is something to this kinesiology thing.
   Then he was talking about how your emotional and mental states can affect your body, and vice versa. (Which is why kinesiology is effective for learning disabilities, depression and so on.) As I was lying on my back, I raised my arms and tried to push out as he pushed in. I was able to resist easily. I had told him I was a runner and was going to run a marathon. He asked if I had a goal, and I said 3 hours. Well, to tell you the truth, I have serious doubts about whether I can run 3 hours. My last marathon was 3:09:53, so I think I can probably run about 3:05, but a 3 hour pace seems very tough, although that is what I have been doing my MP runs at. I did not mention this to him, however. 
   Then he said, repeat after me,"I believe I can run a marathon in 3 hours." So I said that out loud. Then he asked me to resist his pressure again, and I could not! My arms just collapsed inward, although I thought I was using the same strength as before. This was an indication (according to kinesiology) that I did in fact not believe what I said. Which, was in fact, TRUE. I did not believe it. So he asked me what my last marathon time was and I told him 3:10. So he said, now repeat after me, "I think I am able to run a marathon in 3:05." I repeated that, then we did the arm thing and I was able to resist his pressure. Indicating that I do think I "am able" to run a marathon in 3:05, which again is true. 
   So his advice was, start believing that you can run a marathon in 3:00. If you don't believe it, you won't be able to do it. Which is what I just read in Paul Tergat's book, Running to the Limit. And which of course is what every speaker/lecturer/guru on sports, business, self-actualization, etc. says. But even though you have heard that, you forget it, or ignore it, or just don't think it is so important. But my body reaction showed that my muscles are affected by what I am thinking. So I have one month to build up the belief that I can run a 3:00 marathon!!
   By the way, after analyzing you by these muscle reactions, the kinesiologist treats you using acupressure techniques, but very mild acupressure...sometimes just touching places on the body. I don't know if it works, but it seems promising, since the analysis part seems to work (he identified a woman's back problems, even though she had not said anything about it, and another woman there claimed that it had helped her a lot.)

January 29, 2009

LT...or thereabouts

Mon: Rest
Tues: X-trng (wts, abs, bike 20 mins.)
Wed: 7K at LT pace
I'm not sure what my proper Lactate Threshold pace is but Pete Pfitzinger* says it is "generally a 15k to half marathon race pace." So for me I guess that is 4:00 per k or a little faster. So Wednesday night I turned the club's 5,000m time trial into a 7k LT run and ran it in:
3:56, 3:53, 3:53, 3:59, 3:58, 4:00, 3:58. (Average 3:57, the 5k was 19:41).
Ran most of it alone. Felt comfortable so it was a nice workout.

* Started reading the PP book "Advanced Marathoning" that I got from Amazon. It's very good. Naturally it's too late to follow his training programs, but there is good advice on tapering and other types of race preparation. I will probably follow his 3-week taper pretty closely. (Which is soon! The Napa Valley Marathon is only a month away....)

9.6k  41 mins.
Time: 7:30pm
Weather: Not so cold, no wind
Wt: Don't know but light since I ate a small lunch.
Shoes: Also light, 230g

10k   57:45 (this is an easy week)
Time: 6:00pm
Weather: 10°
Wt: 61.0
Shoes: 430g

January 25, 2009

Not so long, but long enough

21k in 1:57:42 (5:36/k)
I was planning to cut my run today down to 24k, but cut it further to 21k. Went a bit faster than usual for a long run, though. My legs were tired and quads were a bit sore...still not recovered from the 20k MP run on Thursday. But after 20k yesterday, I suppose 21k was enough.
I started the run at 3:00 after watching Yoko Shibui run a great race at Osaka in 2:23:40. She is now Japan's top marathoner again...until Noguchi runs another race.

Time: 3:00
Weather: 11°, sunny, cloudless
Wt: 60.9 (good!)
Shoes: 430g

Week: 75.3k   6:37 (6:22 run, 0:15 bike)

January 24, 2009

Good tempo run

Fri: X-trng (Wts., abs, bike 15 mins)
Sat: 16k tempo run

3k warmup in 18:06. 16k @5:00 pace — actual splits were 24:51, 24:40, 25:00, 4:50.
Comfortable going out but not so easy the last 6k since my legs were sore from Thursday. Of course, one day rest is not enough to recover from a 20k MP run. But had no trouble holding the pace.
Will reduce distance tomorrow from 30k to 24, probably. Legs are tired. Will run after watching the Osaka women's marathon.
Next week will be an easier week (3 on a scale of 5, see Long Long Run post). However will do a fairly hard run Wednesday (5,000 Namban time trial in 19:00-19:30) and a hard run Saturday (20k+ MP run). Thursday and Sunday will be very easy.

20k  1:44
Time: 2:30
Weather: 6°, cloudy
Wt: 61.6
Shoes: 400g

January 23, 2009

LT and Almost MP

Mon: Off
Tues: Off (all day meeting, could not go to gym)
Wed: Intervals
Thurs: 20k MP

1200 x 2 (4:55, 4:43), 1000 x 2 (3:55, 3:54), 800 x 2 (3:10, 3:11)
200m jog averaging about 2:45 after each.
LT workout. Running comfortably at a bit under 4:00/k pace. Did not want to go too hard, because tomorrow will be a hard run.

8.2k  46 mins.
Time: 7:30pm
Weather: 7°, slight rain
Shoes: 295g

3k warmup in 18:06, stretching, 150 x 2 strides, stretching
20K at "marathon pace" (21:15/5k), which turned out to be 21:39, 21:39, 22:07, 21:31.
Planned to pick up the last 5k, but the first k of that was 4:27. Then I got serious and finished in 4:12/17/20/15.
I felt ok at about 4:20 pace but did not seem to be able to go faster. Excuses? It was cold, raining a bit (hard to run fast wearing two long sleeved shirts) and I have a slight cold. (I didn't let the cold bother me, though, because I had just gotten an email from Jim Weissman about running in New Jersey at –18°C, so I figured +5 is not so bad.)
However, I felt fine the first 10k. At the end, my right upper thigh was getting very sore, for some reason. Did not feel like going any further. Anyway, a good workout.
I'm already looking forward to the two weeks of tapering before the marathon.

24.3k   1:54
Time: 3:30
Weather: 5°, drizzle first half
Wt: 61.6 (gaining, not losing!)
Shoes: 250g
I think Saturday I will cut back from 20k at 5:00 pace to 16k...if my legs recover enough to do even that....

January 18, 2009

Long and tiring

Sun: 30k  
An ok run. Legs kind of stiff and tired at first, but fell into a pace just under 6:00/k and held that without particularly trying to for 25k. Then I got tired and the last 5k was at about 6:10/k. VERY tired and weak at the end (didn't eat much breakfast or lunch).
Good run at the end of a good week, though.

30k   2:57:18 (1:28:10/1:29:18) 
Walk breaks at 6k 100m, 12k 200m, 18k 200m, 24k 100m...which were very welcome.
Also took some water at 24.6k as I was feeling dehydrated.
Time: 2:00
Weather: 7°, cloudy
Wt: ?
Shoes: 430g

Week: 95.1k   8:08 running, 0:30 bike
5 runs: — 1 very hard, 3 fairly hard, 1 moderately hard. Need two days rest badly.

January 17, 2009

Precision running

Fri: X-trng (wts, abs, bike 30 mins.)
Sat: 24k (20k@5:oo/k)

I am not sure if I am planning the right pre-marathon workouts, but I do know that I am doing them exactly to plan. Today, for instance, I planned to do 20k at 5:00/k pace (1:40:00) and ran it in 1:39:52 (49:56/49:56). That seems exact enough. With 2k warmup and warmdown, it was 24k. After running 16k at marathon pace on Thursday, 45 seconds slower per k is a very comfortable pace. Legs (mostly back of legs) were a bit sore, and more sore the last 5k, but not too bad.

24k.  (2k easy in 12:15, 10k@5:00, 200m walk, 10k@5:00, 2k easy in 12:10) Total 2:04. A "tempo run." Supposed to be a good training pace, about halfway between MP and easy.
Time: 3:00
Weather: 11°, sunny
Wt: 61.2
Shoes: 430g

Tomorrow 30k easy at 6:00 or 6:30, whatever. In fact, I should just run 3 hrs., and not worry about the distance. With walk breaks every 30 minutes.

January 15, 2009

Two perfect workouts

Tues: off
"Perfect" in the sense that I achieved just what I wanted to. Wednesday was the Namban Rengo track workout at night, which was 1600 x 4, run at 10k race pace . In other words, an LT (lactate threshold) workout. I decided on a 40:00 pace (6:24). I can race 10k faster, but I am planning a 16k MP run tomorrow, so do not want to go too hard. I ran the pace exactly, and felt comfortable doing it.
I could tell I was comfortable because I was breathing out every fourth step (3 in, 1 out). When I am running hard, I breathe 2 in, 2 out. (If you are not used to breathing in a steady rhythm like this, you should try it. Good running means good rhythm...and vice versa.)

9.8k  47 minutes (only time for 1600m warmup)
1600m x 4 @6:24/6:24/6:27/6:24 (interval was 400m jog in about 2:20, with an extra 20 secs. waiting for track to clear) 
Time: 7:30
Weather: cold, but not windy
Wt: 60.8 at 4:00
Shoes: 295g

Thurs: 16k @ MP
This was my first "long" marathon pace run in almost 3 weeks (although I have done some hard 10k workouts), so I was a bit apprehensive. But it went ok. I stayed on pace (almost) and felt comfortable until 14k, at which point my hamstrings got tight and a bit sore, causing me to cut my stride and have to work harder. However, surprisingly, I was breathing 3 in, 1 out, so I wasn't really working hard (although the pace was certainly not easy).
Why 16k? I like even numbers. Although that extra k after the 3 5k loops is a hard one.
Good workout considering I was running alone and had done fairly good workouts on Monday and the night before.

21k   100 minutes
3k warmup, stretching, 2 x 150m strides, stretching
16k@MP (4:17/k, which is almost 4:15). 5k splits in 21:22, 21:19, 21:26, then 4:21
Time: 3:30
Weather: 6° at start, 3° at finish, slightly windy (fairly cold going into the wind)
Wt: 61.4
Shoes: 250g
Will not run "fast" again until next wednesday, so legs (hamstrings) should recover. Plan is saturday 20k@5:00, sunday 30k@6:00. Next week: 20k MP run?

January 12, 2009

Ushiku 10K

Sun: Off
Mon (Coming of Age Day): Ushiku 10K

This is actually a nice 10K/5K race, if you want to go out to Ushiku in Ibaraki (about 1 hour from Ueno and then a 15 min. bus ride). My wife's cousins live there, so I don't have to deal with the bus ride, or with traveling all the way out there in the morning, since we go the day before.
One interesting aspect of the race is that Komori Corporation is in Ushiku. They sponsor one of the top running teams (8th in the New Year Ekiden), so they send 6 or 8 runners to the race each year. They don't count in the standings, but since the course has three loop-backs, it is fun to see how far ahead they get. Way, way far ahead! Despite the fact that there are some pretty good open and high school runners in the race.

I planned to run it as a good workout, which is what I did. Time was 40:23, splits were:
I was cruising going out and picked it up a bit (23 seconds) coming back, which is what I wanted to do. Still got 5th in my age group (out of 248). I really didn't care what place I was, as long as I was in the top 6 to get on the podium at the awards ceremony. Which I knew would be no problem. I actually thought I was 3rd the whole race, never did see those other two guys.
Oh yeah, a famous triathlete was also a guest runner, Kiyomi Niwata, who has represented Japan in the last three Olympics! She's cool!

10K. 40:23
Time: 9:40
Weather: 10°?, sunny, perfect for a race, slightly windy (which was good, because Ushiku can be VERY windy).
Wt: ? (I kind of felt a bit heavy)
Shoes: 300g (marathon shoes)
Breakfast: Small bowl of oatmeal, Weider protein gel (which is mostly carbs). Had a big dinner the night before.

January 10, 2009

Beer Mile Madness

I had fun watching the 2nd Japan Beer Mile this morning, which had about 15 fairly crazy participants. They looked great at the start of the first beer/loop, pretty bad during the third and fourth loops, but cheerful again at the end, fortunately. 
Chad won in the excellent time of 7:42, and Satohi won the women's division in an also excellent 8:46. She's the 35th fastest woman beer miler in the world.
See Running in Japan blog for more info and photos (in blog list on right).

As for me, I ran 3 1.94k (according to Colin, the Yoda of the GPS force) loops to warm up, then 5 1.9k loops in 7:53/8:12/8:03/8:05/8:00. 4:15 marathon pace would be 8:04. In other words, 9.5k at a 4:14 pace. Which at 10:00 in the morning, by myself, is not so easy for me. I don't like running hard in the morning. For races, I can be psychologically prepared, but not for training runs.
Anyway, I did it. Hamstrings were a bit sore, probably due to running too fast (that is, faster than I am accustomed to) on Wednesday night.
Then a short warmdown.

16.5k.   79 mins.
Time: 9:30AM
Weather: Abt. 7°, sunny
Shoes: 290g

Rest tomorrow and Ushiku 10k on Monday, which I will not run at 100% effort.
So for this week, only:
40.5k   3:04 (2:34 run, 30 bike) Well, it was supposed to be an easy week, and it was!

January 9, 2009

Thanks, Sammy

Today when I got back home at 5:00 it was raining hard, cold, windy and dark. Fortunately I remembered the words of Olympic champion Sammy Wanjiru (in an interview reproduced on Brett's Japan Running News blog), who said (more or less), "If I'm supposed to do a time trial but it's raining I just take the day off and do it the next day. Japanese runners have to keep to their schedule no matter what, but what's the sense if you are not going to run well? Just take the day off and run well the next day." Exactly! Thanks, Sammy, I'll follow your advice.

Will do a run in Yoyogi Koen in the morning, prior to watching the sure-to-be-exciting and very-possibly-cringe-inducing Beer Mile race with 17 truly crazy participants (not me!).

January 8, 2009

Nice interval workout

Mon: Off
Tues: X-trng (Wts, Abs, Bike 30 mins.)
1000m x 6 in 3:58/48/44/45/45/39
(200m jog and walk in between of about 2:45)

Nice interval workout to get my legs used to moving a bit faster. Planned to run about 3:50 but a little faster was ok. Not all out, although I was tired at the end of each one. The last one was faster, thanks to Rie, who I was following closely.
Legs were not sore from the 40k on Sunday. Maybe still a bit "tired."
I am going to run the Ushiku 10K on Monday (national holiday), although more as a training run than as a race. Marathon pace (42:30) would be ok, although I will probably go faster. Maybe 40 minutes, maybe just run the second 5k faster.
My wife's cousins live in Ushiku and two of them will run, that's why I am running it. They were very happy last year when I won my age division (in 38:05). This year I don't care if I win it or not.

9K.   46 mins.
Time: 7:30pm
Weather: 7°?
Wt: 61.3 (3:00)
Shoes: 295g

Easy 15k run at 5:56 pace.
This is an easy week, which means less distance and not running two hard days in a row (but two hard workouts is ok).
Tomorrow I will do a marathon pace run of...14k? Maybe less. I have to go to the Auto Salon at Makuhari Messe in the morning and early afternoon, and it will probably be raining when I get home, but will try to run from about 4:30.
Then easy Saturday and off Sunday.

15K.   89 mins.
Time: 3:00
Weather: 10°, sunny
Wt: 61.6 (I am not losing weight!)
Shoes: 430g

January 4, 2009

Long, long run.

Today, the last day of the New Year holidays, was a very pleasant 40k run with 14 people. We started at Hanakoganei station (1.5k from my house), ran up the bicycle path to Tama-ko lake (7k), all the way around Tama-ko (13k), back again around the lake (13k) and back to the station (7k).
5 people ran twice around, the rest ran once around (27k), except for two who ran halfway back around (abt. 35k). Martin and Mika T ran some extra, doing 43k and 45k, respectively.
On the way back, Martin took off after 2k, Mika and Rie took off after 4k, or rather Sase-san and I slowed down from 5:40 pace to a more reasonable 5:50-6:00 pace and ran back together.
My legs were very sore and tired the last 6k...hamstrings, quads, everywhere.
Recovery was aided by a dip in the Hanakoganei onsen (400m from my house), followed by beer and soba.

40k.  3:54:15 (1:56:45 / 1:57:30) 4 long stops, 3 or 4 very short stops.
Time: 10:15
Weather: start 8°, finish 12°, sunny
Shoes: 430g

Week: 84k   7:33

This run felt harder than the 40k I did two weeks ago (which was after a harder Saturday workout), which I guess means that tiredness is accumulating in my legs. I think next week should be easier. Probably the 8 weeks until the marathon should be, on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being easiest): 3, 5, 5, 3, 5, 4, 2, 1.

January 3, 2009

A bit of speed...and discipline.

Well, "speed" is relative. For me, these days, speed is anything faster than marathon pace.
So I tried the alternating workout again (I have to think of a name for this workout). A kilo at faster than MP, then a kilo at MP, etc.
It went like this: 3:51/4:19/3:56/4:17/4:03/4:10. Only 6k because I will run 40k tomorrow.
It went pretty well. I like this workout, it is nice and challenging. 
That is to say, it requires discipline, both to push yourself to the faster pace, and to try to hit the MP kilos correctly (which is not easy). As Gebresailesse told Chiba-san (and a few other people at the Great Australian Run press conference), discipline is the key to success in distance running. That's why I like to do most of my workouts alone, including some hard ones. To build mental toughness, not just physical toughness.

10.7k   54 minutes
Time: 2:30
Wt: 60.9
Weather: 10°, sunny
Shoes: 260g
My knee did not hurt at all, which was nice.

January 1, 2009

A nice run to start the year.

Thurs., Jan. 1

14k.   1 hr. 15 mins.
3k warmup, stretching.
10k Tempo Run in 49:56 (24:50/24:56).
Legs felt ok, but hamstrings getting a bit sore and tired at the end.
Enjoyable pace, but required enough effort that I did not want to go faster or further. I guess that is one definition of a good workout.

Exactly 2 more months until my marathon, so basically 6 weeks of training.

Time: 3:00
Wt: 61.5 (Well, it's New Year's. You can't help but gain weight on the 31st, 1st and 2nd.)
Weather: 8°, sunny.
Shoes: 430g.
Enjoyed watching 5 hours of the New Year Ekiden before the run. That will get you psyched up!