Sunday, January 14, 2018

Triple Training: Total 43 K (24 K+12 K+7 K)

I did triple training to cover a total of 43 K. In triple training you have three sessions in one day. I do this when I don't feel motivated enough to run a challenging distance in one go. Running a distance beyond full marathon distance was important for me today, because in two weeks' time I have a full marathon, and it gives me sort of a security blanket to run beyond the race distance.

Originally I wanted to make it double training of a 30 K session before dinner and another session after dinner. But I couldn't go further than 24 K in the first session before dinner. And in the second session after dinner I ran out of gas after running 12 K. At this moment I was so out of gas, and COLD too. Wanting to have something sweet, I walked to a nearby drugstore to buy sponge cakes with raisins in them. I went home and sat in front of the heater as I munched a couple of sponge cakes. Before I knew it, an hour had passed! I mustered up all of my energy to go for the third session to run 6 more kilometers to make today's total 42 K. An hour break gave me the strength to go on. When I got home, just in order to make it genuinely "beyond full marathon distance" I went round a quarter-pie-shaped loop near my house to run extra one kilometer to make the total 43 K. I was so glad when I completed it.

The details of today's triple training is shown below:
<Session 1>
6 K: 34:28.24
P-break: 2:34.83
6 K: 35:57.89
Water break: 2:00.00
6 K: 34:07.04
Food break: 4:54.48
6 K: 36:24.43
Ice cream break: 2:00.00
Dinner: 1:00:00
<Session 2>
6 K: 36:17.13
Food break: 8:06.76
6 K: 36:12.60
Coco&sponge cake break: 1:04:19
<Session 3>
6 K: 34:40.13
Extra 1 K: 5:29.44
Total 43 K 

I'm not going to have any serious training before the half marathon race next Sunday. All I will do is just minor conditioning stuff such as 3 K build up, or 3 K pace run. Basically, the purpose is to keep the cardio-vascular system from being too lazy. I won't run beyond 3 K, because I don't want to get my legs too fatigued. I have given them enough stimulus. I will give them time to recover.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Interval Training in Aqua Shoes: 10 Sets by 1.3km at 4:07~4:25/1K Paces

With nine days remaining before Sanspo Chiba Marine Half Marathon 2018 that's held on Jan. 21, I did something extraordinary (well, for ME at least): 10 Sets by 1.3km interval training at 4:00/1K pace with a two-minute rest between reps. Of course, this pace is an ideal target. I wasn't sure if I could make it. But I wanted to aim for it.

The weather condition was good. It was very cold, but there was almost no wind. The quarter-pie-shaped loop near my house was deserted with just a few cars parked along the way. There's nothing to disturb my challenge. 

Round 1. I started off at a brisk pace, and kept it all along the way, and surged a little bit before the finish. The time was 5:22.26. Already behind my original target of 5:12 by ten seconds. But I was already fairly out of breath, and wasn't sure if I could crank up the pace any further. 

The two-minute rest time quickly evaporated.  Round 2 began. I felt reasonably warmed up from the first rep., and maintained a good pace throughout the rep. 5:21.40 was my time. I thought I was slower, but the time showed otherwise. 

From the third set on my time started deteriorating bit by bit, but there was nothing I could do. I was just not strong enough to run faster. 

When the first 5 sets were over, I considered taking a longer rest to improve my performance in each of the following sets, but I decided not to, because it could kill the benefit of the endeavor. 

In the second half of the training I ran one set with a kick in the last couple of hundred meters, and the following set without a big kick at the end. This allowed me to stay motivated. 

In the last set but one my time dipped to 5:45.18, which was tremendously demotivating, but I faced the reality and went on, hoping to get close to some of the more decent times in the first half. 

In the final lap I ran at a pretty brisk pace right from the start, and did my best to keep it. And in the last couple of hundred meters I put on a spurt like a mad man, taking much wider strides than usual, making good use of a rotational movement of my core to gain forward momentum. I pictured the moment of finish in a full marathon, and how my last second effort counted to finish under my target time. It's over. The time was 5:29. It wasn't as good as those from the first set, but I was glad I finished under 5:30. 

My heart beat like drums. I felt as if my whole body had become one big heart. I took a sip of warm wheat tea from my stainless bottle, and walked home. 

I was surprised how refreshed I felt when the training was over. I had expected to feel like a dead man. Well, I did feel like a zombie all right while running, but not so much so once it's over. That's the beauty of running training. It feels like shit before you do it. Once it's done, it feels like you're in seventh heaven.

The details of today's training is shown below:
①1.3km: 5:22.26
Rest: 2:00.32
②1.3km: 5:21.40
Rest: 2:00.32
③1.3km: 5:26.25
Rest: 2:00.15
④1.3km: 5:23.12
Rest: 2:00.28
⑤1.3km: 5:35.14
Rest: 2:00.38
⑥1.3km: 5:30.95
Rest: 2:00.68
⑦1.3km: 5:43.30
Rest: 2:00.39
⑧1.3km: 5:32.01
Rest: 2:00.24
⑨1.3km: 5:45.18
Rest: 2:00.35
⑩1.3km: 5:29.07
Total 13km: 1:13:11

My next training is probably this Sunday. I want to go for a long, and slow run, probably between 30 and 35 K. And if I can, I want to run extra 10 to 15 K at another time on the same day to make it double training to cover a beyond-full-marathon distance in preparation for a full marathon in Tateyama, Chiba that's scheduled for Jan. 28.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Minimalist Runner's Weekend Challenge: 4 Sets by 6 K (Total 24 K)

I ran 24 K on Sunday night, not in one go, but I split it into 4 sets of 6 K run. I had originally planned to run 15 K in the morning, and 30 K at night to cover 45 K in total. But I found myself too tired to do it; I hadn't recovered from a long run three days before. Plus, I had three motorcycle lessons, one in the morning and two in the afternoon that day. Anyway, as soon as I noticed my lower-than-usual energy level, I decided not to push myself too much. I started off at a very slow pace, warming up my body gradually. The first 6 K was run in over 35 minutes. It's a very slow pace, compared with my usual pace for the first lap. But thanks to the reasonable pace, I felt strong enough to go for another lap. But I felt a slight pain in my left toe, so I made a brief stop at my home to change my shoes, from split-tow running shoes "MUTEKI" to the pair of aqua shoes above. I immediately felt a difference. With the toe discomfort gone, I went for Round 2 with renewed motivation. 

The second lap was easier than the first. In the first set my whole body felt heavy, especially my legs. But in the second lap, with my cardio-vascular system fully in gear and all my muscles now in active mode, I felt stronger. The second lap was 33 minutes something, much faster than the first. I wanted to run farther. But I felt a need to fuel myself, so I got inside my home and had a sip of this special drink I made from sake lees and 'mirin', sweet sake rich in amino acids. It gave me the strength to do another lap. 

The third lap was as nice ans steady as the second one. I focused on my running form carefully. I paid special attention to the cadence: how many steps I take a minute. My eventual goal is hitting 200. But my average right now is between 180 and 190. When my cadence is near 180, my form is not very efficient. The duration of time of contact with the ground by each step is too long. It makes your leg fatigued much more quickly than when the duration is not so long; when the cadence is high, the time of contact is short, and the form is less fatiguing. I also tried to take shorter strides when going up. This minimizes energy loss. I finished my third lap between 34 and 35 minutes, a little faster than the first, but a little later than the second.

I thought I ran enough for the day, and went back inside my house. I immediately had a sip of my special drink, this time nice and hot as I was freezing. I bent my knees and bent my upper body over my things and lay in front of the heater with my eyes closed. It took me more than five minutes before I finally started feeling warm inside. When the third set was over, I never imagined that I would be able to run another set, but when my body got warmer, I thought I might be able to run another set. I thought I wanted to another set to cover a total of 24 K, instead of just 18 K. (I am running a half marathon in two weeks, and I always want to run beyond the race distance one or two weeks prior to the race.) So off I went for Round 4. 

I was slow at first, having trouble switching from the relaxed mode of inside the house and in front of the heater, to the harsh training mode of the outside in the freezing cold. But a few minutes of jogging made me forget about the comfort of home. I was alone in the dark again. I tried to pick up the pace, but my legs didn't respond to my will. The back of the right knee felt sore. Breathing was not so hard, but it was obviously that of a very tired man. I didn't have the strength in my mind-body to focus on technical aspects of my running form. I was running in the state of nothingness, moving my legs right left right left like an automaton on dying batteries. But as the goal approached and the prospect of the warm living room and a warm shower loomed in my mind, I suddenly felt exhilarated and found myself start laughing like a half-crazy man. And when I finally reached home and was wrapped with a warm air of the heated living room, I felt so glad that I didn't give up after the third set. 

I took a long gulp of cold water. I then took off my running gear and took a warm shower. When I got out of the shower room and put of my clothes, the softness of the fine cotton of underwear felt like a bliss from heaven. And as soon as I hit the bed, I slept like a baby. It was almost 10 hours later that I saw the sun light...

My next training will be this coming Thursday. I haven't decided what to do. I may do intervals. I may go for double training. Or I may go for a long run. I'll decide  based on my physical condition on that day. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Double Training: 6 K + 24 K=30 K

With two big races coming soon, I tried double training to increase my running distance. I ran 6 K in 32:25.97 in the morning. And at midnight after coming home from work, I ran 24 K more to run a total of 30 K for the day. I put on a pair of aqua shoes (above) because a blister in my right sole was healed and it only needed minimum protection.

Although the short run in the morning was a breeze, reaching 24 K at midnight was not easy. I had originally wanted to run 36 K to make my daily total the full marathon distance of 42 K. But as soon as I started off, the target seemed too far to reach, and the pressure built in my mind. So in order to free my mind-body from the pressure, I said to myself that I could quit anytime. This worked. As I was finishing my first 6 K, I asked my mind-body if it wanted to quit now, or go on. It said, "Go on," so I went for another round, again saying to myself that I could quit after that set. But then when the second set was done, I still had some gasoline left in my tank, so I went for yet another round.  While running the second half of the set, though, I felt a slight pain in my right knee. This is a very common reaction when I run beyond 17 K. I never think it's a structural problem though the pain always takes place in the knee joint. I believe it's my subconscious begging me to stop. So I decided to call it a day after that set.

Once home, I quenched my thirst with a warm cup of 'amazake', a drink made from sake lees. I added a large spoonful of sake, and three large spoonfuls of 'mirin', a liquid type seasoning make from sake rich in amino acids. It's my special sports drink. I put on the heater and sat in front of it to warm my body and hands  that were almost frozen after running in the cold. As I enjoyed having the drink, my body gradually felt warmer and warmer. Once I finished the drink, though, the knee pain was mysteriously gone, and I felt like a new man. With a renewed motivation, I left home to have another 6 K run to make a daily total of 30 K. The last set was run at a very brisk pace, unlike the immediately previous one.

One thing I learned from today's training is: "Just because you feel pain doesn't mean you must finish your training. If you take a rest, sometimes you can continue your practice. So don't think rest is failure."

My next training will be this coming Sunday. I am planning to take another shot at  double training consisting of 30 K run in the morning and 12 K at night. It will be great if I can include some speed-focused interval training in the night session. But that depends on how fatigued I will be after running 30 K earlier in the day.

The details of today's double training is shown below:
6 K: 32:25.97 
6 K: 32:52.79 
6 K: 34:06.99
6 K: 35:32.00 
Food break: About 10 minutes
6 K: 33:20.95
Total 30 K: 2:47:78 (without including the food break)

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year's Interval Training in MUTEKI: Mixed K's

Happy new year, fitness fans of the world! Today is the first day of Year 2018. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading my blog. I look forward to sharing with you more of exciting athletic events.

The first training that I chose for this special day is mixed K's. In this training you run one-kilometer repeats at three different paces with breaks of varied lengths between reps. I put on a pair of MUTEKI, because my blister hadn't healed yet, and it needed protection. 

I jogged for 3 kilometers to warm up, and then did my first K, aiming at my full marathon pace of 5:10/K. The first lap was 5:07.97. Not bad. I rested for 30 seconds, and took off for the second rep, this time aiming for my half marathon pace of 4:45/K. I finished at 4:13.90. Way faster than I thought. I rested for a minute and a half, because I needed a longer rest for recovery after increasing the pace. I then left for the third rep, aiming at 4:30/K, which is my 10 K pace. I finished at 4:32.28. Just a little bit slower than I wanted. Once it's done, the rest was the longest, 2 minutes. This is one set. And I repeated it two more sets to cover a total of 9 K by this training, which was more than enough for a man who had run 33 K in bare feet three days ago, and 15 more K the following day, including 20 sets of alternate runs of one-minute fast run and one-minute jog.

I jogged 3 more K to wind up the training. The details of today's training is shown below:

3 K jog: 17:11.20
1st K: 5:07.97
Rest: 29.66
2nd K: 4:13.90
Rest: 1:30.77
3rd K: 4:32.28
Rest: 2:00.36
4th K: 4:38.97
Rest: 30.41
5th K: 4:40.93
Rest: 1:30.42
6th K: 4:20.60
Rest: 2:00.37
7th K: 5:01.57
Rest: 30.31
8th K: 4:30.46
Rest: 1:30.39
9th K: 4:25.03
3 K jog: 16:05.99
Total: 15 K: 1:24:54

My next training will probably be on Wednesday night. I'm planning to slowly run 18 K, with an increase of 3 K from today's distance. 

New Year's Video Message (In Japanese)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Not Strong Enough to Run a Half Marathon All in Bare Feet

I checked out the course of Sanspo Chiba Marine Half Marathon 2018 today. I did it to examine the road condition, because I was considering running it in bare feet. Unfortunately, it's not good for barefoot running, because much of the much has a very rough road surface, using very course pebbles for the pavement.  Plus, traffic markings are absent for three kilometers where the race goes through a park. This is a big disadvantage, because you cannot minimize the damage on the sole by running on the those white lines whose surface is smooth and easy to run on. Furthermore, just because there are traffic line markings doesn't mean I can always choose to run on them, because congestion often doesn't not allow me take the course I want to take. A more experienced barefoot runner will probably run it without shoes, but I'm afraid I'm not strong enough yet.

I will probably run in MUTEKI, split-toe minimalist shoes, or aqua shoes with no cushioning. I should not take any risk, because another important race is scheduled a week later--Tateyama Wakashio Marathon. This one is a full marathon. Even a small cut or a minor blister could ruin the race completely. That's the last thing I want.