You may have noticed that I’ve been a bit quiet of late. I’ve found it hard to find the time to write, what with all the actual running.

A few months ago I entered the ballot for the Tokyo Marathon. I didn’t have any serious intentions for the race, but after several failed attempts at London I figured I needed the ballot practice. With a chance of success somewhere south of 10%, I forgot about my entry and literally fell off my perch a couple of weeks later when an email arrived telling me I was in. Three thoughts sprang to my mind in quick succession.

  • I can’t not do this; the karma gods will not go easy on me in future ballots if I reject this one.
  • I actually have a work reason to be in Japan around about that time.
  • How am I going to break this to my Japanese/half Japanese family, who are going to have to stay in Edinburgh?

 

imageI confirmed my participation before the deadline expired without any real plan and waited for the planets to align. They did. I am booked to travel to Tokyo the week before the race.

Running, in general, had been going quite well following a couple of injuries last year. Even so, after clocking a PB at the Men’s 10k Edinburgh in November I knew I would have to crank things up a bit to get back to marathon-ready state. I took a look back at the training plan I put in place for Paris and Edinburgh in 2014, and decided I did not want to be a slave to the calendar this time. Instead I planned a loose series of increasing-distance long runs for the weekend and left in-week running to whatever I felt like. One thing I did want to incorporate was more than one decently long run. I want 3 x 20 milers this time. Two are now in the bank and the last one is up this weekend.

Overall, the mileage has built up nicely, and I am running about 40-45 miles per week with taper in sight. It’s not all been plain sailing though. It may be obvious, but February marathons mean winter training and I live in Scotland. My building blocks for Tokyo are a testament to the elements …

  • My long runs have generally been east to west. Storms Abigail through Henry have generally been at the same time, but blowing west to east.
  • I’ve had business travel, arriving somewhere late and leaving early. In January I clocked 50k on random hotel treadmills. I invented treadmill reps, for goodness sake.
  • When it has been light enough on foreign soil, I’ve kitted-up and got out there. I’ve been running in 4 inches of snow (and still snowing) at 6am around Horn Pond, Woburn, USA

 

imageimage

 

 

 

 

 

 

One downside of all this bravado running is that I have no real idea of what pace I should run at on long runs. Strong headwinds, snow and ice all distort the flow. And while long runs in December, with just a few jelly babies for comfort, were going nicely, I’ve been bonking way too early on long runs in 2016. I hate gels and have been experimenting with other fuelling options. Clif Bloks* are my current favourite and plan of record for Tokyo. I think of them as professional jelly babies.

imageSo what are my targets for Tokyo? Three years ago I set myself a goal to run a marathon in under 4 hours. It’s about time I delivered on that.

* mock jogger has no connection with Clif Bar and no one from Clif Bar has contacted him to offer to fuel his training. It’s a dammed shame, really.

  1. juliaL49 says:

    Hey, make the best of it – unexpected good luck and all that 🙂

    That being said, start cautiously. You have some race experience, so use it! Maybe start with a pace that will end up in a time of 3:55, i.e. 8:58 min/mile (or 5:34 min/km as I would say) and adjust as the race progresses.

    What’s the weather likely to be like? Is it a nice temperature range? Not too humid?

    • mockjogger says:

      Starting off just shy of 9:00 feels about right. I have a 20 miler planned tomorrow and that’s what I’ll be looking for. It should give some buffer to allow for the inclines.

      The weather is hard to predict. Maybe around 10-15 degrees, possibly with rain. A bit warmer than Edinburgh 🙂 I would be happy with that.