Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Running

Holiday season is here with lots of time for running. Christmas running and family running and new year running. For me, I hope to catch up on my running because the cold weather tells me not to go outside. But hopefully around Christmas I can run in the daytime without freezing to the tracks. After my last marathon in November I have lost my appetite to run. No goals and cold weather besides a busy work schedule keeps my running shoes in the closet.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunday morning run

Finally I have reached the 30K peak in my marathon training. It has been over one year since I participated in the Kasumigaura marathon in Ibaraki prefecture Japan and ran so long that my legs hurt the next day (today). With my next marathon planned at the end of November, I hope to have to more runs of around 32 to 34K before beginning with tapering. Yesterday was a great day, starting off cool at 17C with clear blue skies the temperature rose to 24C. I choose a 3K course and went round ten times, running in the shadow of trees and in the sun at about same amount of time. The 29th kilometer was hardest and for the last one I gave it all I had.

Maybe if I had eaten a better dinner with more carbohydrates it could have been and easier run. Also, I usually run without having breakfast which could have provided some additional carbs but I’m not sure what it’ll do to my stomach and if I can digest it at all.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pace Improvement

Finally summers seems to have passed on to other parts of the planet. Early autumn smells good and temperatures are optimal for running. Now every morning I'm fortunate to see the sun come up while running my morning training session. The sky turns red to orange to yellow which is great to gaze at while hearing the birds sing their morning songs. I'm already seeing improvements in my pace since I loose less sweat and my core temperature doesn't go up too high while running. I was becoming worried about my pace not improving much as I ramp up my weekly mileage.

Just two months and a bit before my marathon race. Hopefully I can keep up with my long runs and avoid a burnout. I feel very motivated and ready to set new personal best.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The end of summer?

Tomorrow we'll get some rain in the morning brought by a typhoon. I've had enough summer for one year. One whole month without rain and daily temperatures over 30 degrees centigrade and soaring humidity. It's become increasingly difficult to run because my body is unable to cool down. Breathing either hot air or dry air from air conditioners. draining all fluids when running and trying to replenish during the day.

Tomorrow the winds will make it tough to run but I want to run in cool weather no matter it rains or not... Typhoon running report will come later

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hot Summer

It was hot when I wrote my previous post and it still hot this week. For over three weeks its been over 30 degrees centigrade with the exception of one day, it was 29 degrees. Humidity is between 80 and 90 percent in the morning and becomes less as the sun reaches its peak around one p.m. especially this summer it is hard to run even in the morning because there is little wind and high humidity. Evenings are still hot until 8 or 9 p.m. which is too late for me to run.

Last week the boss was out for three days so there wasn’t anyone to cook me any vegetables. Nor was there anyone to buy and feed me fruit. It really left me tired at the end of the week. On top of that my skin gives me some rash from sweating too much and probably from a vitamin deficiency. This usually happens during summer but this time is worse than recent years…

According to the news this summer is not going to end any time soon, so I’m trying to increase my vegetables and fruit intake.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Running in Summer

Now here in Japan we are going to enter into the third week of the "real" summer. The real summer here means getting slammed with temperatures of more than 30 degrees centigrade (=86F). Most days it has been around 34 to 36 degrees centigrade (=93 to 97F) which wouldn't be too bad if it wasn't for the 80 to 90 percent humidity level! If you've never experienced hot weather with high humidity it could be hard to imagine, but I can tell you that it is not stimulating to go out for a run. Around the country many people do not survive the heat and national warnings are send out through the media to spend your days in air-conditioned places and replace lost fluids frequently.

This week is my first week of an 18-week marathon training schedule which required me to run on five very hot days. I tried to run late in the evening when the sun had gone down around 7pm,but the air was still hot and stale without any wind. Running in the summer is always a challenge,however, running my 5k easy run wasn't a real problem but Wednesday's 8k tempo run caused me to loose more than one kilogram from sweating. I was clever enough to drink lots and lots of fluids throughout the day so it didn't do much damage but this was the most intense sweating I've ever done in my life. Returning home I quickly had sports drinks and fresh orange juice before hitting the cold shower. I've done tempo runs many times before, some even longer and faster but this time I could really feel it in my legs the next day.

Luckily the weekend forecasts some rain which would raise the humidity level to about 90% but the temperature would drop down to the lower 30s. Whatever the weather, I'll have to run my long run on Sunday morning. Lets hope for wind! 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Runners Check List

There is a new page for marathon runners with tips and advise for healthy running. Check out these guides and bookmark it for future reference. This quick check list is for beginning and intermediate runners with some experience who are still learning about marathon running a sport and athletic challenge.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Feedback From Fellow Runners

I'm trying to keep up with current technology to promote my blog and my website as much as possible. I hope that blogging about my running experiences would spark comments from fellow runners to help me and others improve by sharing information or personal experiences. I've just finished updating my social link buttons at the bottom of each post to give my whole site a more professional look. Also i have tried to link my RSS feed to my twitter account so that they would be shared with an even greater audience.

To get back to running, my social and official engagements are prohibiting me to run my full training schedule and there has been some serious cutting. Luckily I'm still in the mileage buildup phase, but things really need to settle down in a couple of weeks so that I can start my 18 week training schedule for my full marathon race.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sore Glutes

Somehow my butt feels a little sore which is probably because of changes in my running form. Inspired by a marathon training video called “evolution running” I’m trying to land more on my forefoot instead of heals or mid-foot. This was something I have been trying to from before I watched this video but at that time I was still trusting off with my upper-legs and toes. After watching this video I got one more clue which was to push off using my gluteus maximus muscle. Because according to the guy on the video this is the largest muscle and this would require less energy to keep our forward momentum. A great side-effect of this push-off is that it allows me to lean more forward and land on my forefoot.

Marathon running is a game of energy efficiency and of staying injury free. And according (not only to the people on this video but ) many professional and amateur runners this kind of foot strike is the most desirable.

This video called Evolution Running delivers some nice advice and shows some interesting drills but is not worth the price they ask for it. On the whole it looks like a video amateur put together a few Youtube videos and taped an explanation for support of his theory.

Those of you who want to know more about this movie/ video or who want to know some of the drills could leave a comment here and I’ll get back to you.

Good luck with your marathon training!


My interval training run yesterday was timed with a wonderful downpour of rain. Obviously the rainy season has started with will make my running more difficult than the cold winter winds. I started my warm-up routine as usual by jogging for about five minutes, doing some dynamic stretches before doing my static stretches. Altogether it took me 15 minutes (I timed my warm-up routine for future purposes). Just as I had started running the skies turned darker and darker and wet water came falling down. I was worried about my form so I changed the interval run into Fartlek running.

By the end of my 8K training run I was completely soaked but it felt great because it was still about 25 degrees centigrade. The rain had made me run faster than I had planned because during the first halve I thought I would be able to out-run the rain… The day had turned into a dark evening and only flashes of lightning were reflecting in the massive puddles. I haven’t had a cold for about three years now so the only thing I worried about was my (fairly) new running shoes which were white when I left home. After coming home I took my new Nike’s with me to the shower and cleaned them thoroughly, they seemed to have survived the black puddles…

One more thing: while I was running in this crazy rain I had two cars pull over and inquire if I was alright? Meaning either they were worried about my health or looking to contact the nut house I escaped from. Either way their kind gestures made me happy and running with a broad smile all the way.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mileage Build-up Injury Prevention

I'm becoming an expert on running injuries and injury prevention/ recovery. With my history of injuries I've had the opportunity to experiment with various recovery strategies. So far the best results in injury recovery have come from rest and icing for muscle inflammation injuries. When the first pain is experienced don't be a stubborn head but take a day or two off. These two days can't do much damage for any level of running. However, continuing for two days in the beginning stages of an injury can eventually retire you for several weeks.

How to prevent injuries depend on many factors such as your experience, weekly total distance, running surface, weather conditions, etc.

While in the building stages of your weekly mileage avoid or minimize hard interval training, hill training, and races longer than a half marathon. What you should do is create a mileage build-up schedule (before starting a marathon training schedule) , using recovery runs between tempo runs and long runs. You should be drinking lots of fluid during the mileage build-up stages to reduce strain on your circulatory systems, providing sufficient blood and nutrition to the working muscles. You should be increasing your weekly mileage by no more than ten percent, this also applies to your long runs.

Shoes Arrived

Finally my shoes arrived through the mail after sending back the first pair because they were too small. My old running shoes are a size 28.5 but apparently Nike is keeping a smaller standard then other shoe makers. They're bright red and a little lighter than the other pair.

But what is a fun about a fresh pair of running shoes without a good injury! As this is the story of my life that marathon running comes with a serious package of injuries. Well, I might have been pushing my mileage build-up a little too hard by including hill-training and tempo runs which put a lot of stress on my calves and Achilles tendon. I felt the pain coming on so I slowed down and reduced my running to zero for one week. With proper care in the form of RICE (rest ice compression elevation) with an addition of self massage to improve blood circulation. The pain became much less after four days and was almost gone on the fifth day and I started with light stretching and jumped on the bike for some aerobic exercise.

So one week after receiving my new Nike Zoom Speedcage2 +  I was able to carefully run an easy-run which felt very comfortable. So this week only easy running for about 20K in total with the addition of one and a half hour on my static bike.

Monday, April 26, 2010

New Shoes

It’s time to buy myself some new running shoes. I’ve been running on the same pair of shoes for over a year now. They’re still good to go but it would be better to have some new shoes with proper cushioning because next month my weekly average will (hopefully) go over the 40K mark.

For more than one year I’ve been running and racing on my Blue Asics GT-2140 which have helped me through two long winters .
They are still wearable but as I said I need better cushioning and lighter shoes for more speed. I was thinking of buying the same shoes again but I want lighter and always had good experiences on my Nike’s, so I went shopping for new Nike shoes.

I went shopping at Sports Authority and Alphen Sports in Ibaraki prefecture, Japan where I found the latest Nike models very appealing. However, none of the shops were carrying my size (28.5 cm) so I went home and searched the web for Nike shoes. Online shopping is also a great way to find user reviews and maker suggestions on any model of interest.

I chose the new Nike Zoom Speed Cage+ 2.
Which I haven’t been able to find anywhere outside of Japan. I have found another type of the Nike Speed Cage2 but it doesn’t have the + (plus) in the name, so I guess it’s different not only in color but also in cushioning and finishing.
I've placed my order and hope to receive them either tonight or tomorrow evening. But I remember very clearly the first time I took my new Asics GT-2140 for a ride on through the local park and enjoying the fresh bounce too much that I went too hard, too long, and too fast. So I hope to restrain myself this time and let my feet get used to them slowly.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

40K Week Total

Finally I have reached the 40K mark again. It has been almost one year ago since my last marathon race and the last time I ran 40K a week was about 8 months ago. It feels good physically and mentally to be able to this much in a week. Now with this solid base I will be able to go to 50K by increasing my long-runs. This week my longest run was about 10K and the other runs were about 6K and 8K. Hopefully I will be able to keep up the basic runs while increasing my long runs little by little.

It was just 2 months ago that I had to give up my marathon preparations because I was unable to run more than 10K without ending up in pain. Looking back upon that decision I know that it was the right one. Thanks to "" and " forum" I got the courage to back-off from racing the marathon race which would have resulted in injury for sure.

Don't get me wrong, the last 6K leading up to the total of 40K were not easy and were at my slowest pace in many months. They were over 6min/k pace, but I just wanted to be save and not over strain my legs.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Marathon Interval Training

Finally it seems that my legs are accepting interval training for prolonged time. I’ve tried interval training before but started with 1000 meter increased pace with a couple of hundred meters jogging interval. But that gave me lots of pain in my calves and Achilles. Now I’ve adjusted my plan and do only 500 meters at increased pace with a 300 meter interval jog. My pace is at 4:40 per kilometer so 2:20 for the 500 meter. Yesterday I ran 8K with 6x500 meters increased pace work. I clocked in at 42 minutes for the whole 8K which isn’t a bad time for me.

In the future I hope to continue doing interval training in preparation for my marathon. I can feel that running faster pace is easier but at the end of the week I can also feel the exhaustion of the harder training workouts. This interval training will make me faster for sure.

If there is anyone with suggestion for my interval training or interval training in general leave a reply on this post.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Back on track

Although the weather here in Japan doesn't really seems to be willing to provide me with sunny, dry weather, there has been light and improvement in my marathon training. March and April have been good for me and my weekly training total has risen to 35K. This week due to rain and temperatures around 5 degrees centigrade I was unable to run more than three times to a grand total of 24K. Next weeks forecast seems sunny and warmer so hopefully I can go out about five times to run around 35K total.

I've started to incorporate some speed-training work-outs to my running schedule. One is interval-training where I run 500 meter repeats with 300 meter recovery jogs. The 500 meter increased speed is at about 2:20 pace with a max of 2:40. This month I'll do this once a week at 6x500 meter.

Another speed work-out I've adapted is running a medium distance which is about 8K for me at the moment, and gradually build-up my pace. Starting with the first 2K at 6:00 kilometer pace, then 2K at 5:30 kilometer pace, then 2K at 5:00 kilometer pace, and finally the last 2K at about 4:45 kilometer pace. This provides me with reduced risk of injury since the first 4K are at slower pace than my other training runs and thus proving a longer warm-up without straining. But it still gives me the distance and lubrication for a good work-out. The final 4K really pushes me aerobically and makes my lungs work hard.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Marathon runners diet

What can we say about a marathon runners diet? First of all we know that it is the fuel for every step we take and every mile we run. A specialized diet becomes important only if you train more that 70 miles a week. After that your body will become so seriously depleted of its vitamins and minerals that keeping your health will become a challenge. Carefully plan your daily diet so that you ingest all necessary food from the food pyramid. The marathon runners diet is something discussed in many books and magazines as well as the web. Read up about runners diet as much as you can to avoid injury and common colds as you come closer to your marathon race.

Also you can check out this page: the marathon training diet guide.

So far so good

As I decided back in February (re-thinking my long runs) to drop my long runs and build a solid running base, most of the hurting has been reduced to almost zero. Currently my longest runs are only 8K but I try to go out for a training run every day if possible.

The weather hasn't been cooperating very well. Temperatures have been swinging from 20 to 3 degrees Celsius over the past few weeks, with additional rainy days and windy days. This has led to more non-running days then I would have wanted but I try to ride my stationary bike at home for about 40 minutes to one hour instead.

One more thing I have realized just yesterday while I sat on the (...). Is that most of my training runs I push myself to run as fast as possible or at least run near my marathon race pace. Of course I have great excuses for doing this such as, making sure to get back home in time for dinner so that my wife doesn't throw a fit, or because it is cold outside and the desire to take a hot bath becomes increasingly stronger every ten minutes, or I want to get back home before it gets too dark outside for cars to see me. So I'll try to pay more attention to slow down on recovery runs and to actually take it easy on an easy-run day.

Last ten days of running:

2-Mar     8        44:20

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Japan Third - After Kenya and Ethiopia

Here in Japan where almost everyone is lean, there must be something to the food which we can eat without limit and not gain an ounce. The Japanese cuisine and food culture is very rich and is based on centuries of experience. General meals are very diverse and contain a variety of minerals, vitamins and healthy calories. If we fry things it is just for a short wile and often vegetables and fish. The raw fish we eat as Sushi and Sashimi provide a perfect source of low fat protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Sometimes fish are served with soft bones which produce a source of calcium.

I came across a list of yearly rankings of marathons which shows the fastest time run in that year with the runner’s name, country, date and location. When you click on the year you can find a list of the 200 fastest marathon runs in that year. Obviously the list is topped by the Kenyans and Ethiopians but as a good third there are many Japanese runners with great elite level finish times.

I think that the slim bodies of Japanese runners combined with the samurai spirit make a fierce marathon competitor from which I hope to learn many things in the future.

Monday, February 22, 2010

My Profile

As nobody knows who and where I am, it might be time to shine some light on that subject. I’m Dutch, yeah that’s right, Dutch courage, Dutch wife, Dutch oven, etc., I’ve heard it all before and it’s very funny. However, I’ve been living in Japan since 2001 and enjoying the food the people and the culture very much. After former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi left office , I’ve seen a bunch of prime-ministers come and pass and have become increasingly discontent with the Japanese leadership and have lost all interest in the current political agenda. In daily life we can see that the current youth has no sense of direction and has little willingness to improve the situation. But that isn’t really relevant talk on this “RUNNING BLOG” of mine, sorry.

I started running in 2008 after my asthma which I had from birth was cured with ten small pills of homeopathic medicine. My joy was great and naturally became interested in doing sports which I had never been able to do before. I was talked into running by a fellow colleague who had been running for some time. For the first time in my life physical activity didn’t hurt and I actually enjoyed it.

I started running 2 or 3 times a week and saw my stamina build up every week. Then I was encouraged to sign up for a marathon race here in Japan in my own prefecture (Ibaraki, which is about 100K north of Tokyo). From the time I began running to the day of the Kasumigaura marathon was about 7 months. Since the first few moths I didn’t have any kind of base, my training schedule was a little tight. I was able to survive the marathon just under 6 hours.

Now I’m working on building a solid base after injuring myself a couple of times… First I was blessed with a runners knee for which my physician prescribed me with TWO MONTHS of rest and rehabilitative exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee to give the joints more stability. Everything worked out very fine and I haven’t had any worries since. Another four months into seriously building up my base mileage again I bumped my toes against the door because I was in a hurry to get out and back before the typhoon come into town. My toes were seriously bruised and altogether I was on the sofa with my legs up for another month.

I’m very (overly) motivated to run more marathons and if I can avoid any major injuries I hope to run a 4:00 hour race and eventually a sub 3:30 marathon race. Currently I’m training at a 5:30 Kilometer (8:30 Mile) pace, which would finish me sub 4:00 hours.

Wish me luck!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Re-thinking my Long runs

In preparation of my mid-April marathon I've been obsessed by regaining my running base which was around 40K a week with 10K and 12K long runs. So after taking the whole month of December off for a silly toe injury, I hoped to just jump back to the point where I left off at week 2 of my intermediate training schedule. However, the 12K long run on Sunday put too much stress on my calves. Aerobically there was no problem and there seemed to be enough stamina to do proper cool-down and take the dog out for a 40min walk later in the day. Taking Mondays off wasn't enough and Tuesdays I ran in pain. I continued repeating week 6 during the month of January and in February I got nervous about my long runs. So I decided to lower mid-week averages and take that as recovery and prepare for increased long runs. I thought that if I could get my long runs to around 30K by the end of March I'd be ready for enduring 42.195 on race day.

Ignoring the 10% rule which is to prevent injury I ran 15K on valentines-day... it still hurts my right calf after one week. I posted my philosophy on the running times forum and got great advice from many kind people. As most, if not all, wrote that it would be better to build a base and forget about marathon racing in April, it gave me courage to give up my strive for running through pain in order to get race-ready. I knew it was difficult, and almost impossible to get physically ready by race-day in April, mentally I was (am) feeling very strong and ready to run the full marathon at any time.

Thanks to all you kind people out there, I have received your kind advise and will turn training back one nudge and contact the April marathon race committee to change my full marathon to a half marathon.

Last 10 days of running:

3-Feb     4.3K      25:30

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Getting back in shape

After a troublesome winter I'm finally trying to get a steady weekly increase which doesn't injure my calf again. I started taking protein supplement after every run and before going to bed on a long run day. The protein helps a lot to repair damaged muscle tissue and ligaments. After long runs and hard runs I either put an ice pack on my knees and calves or while taking a shower I cool my lower legs with running water which is very cold this winter.
Hopefully I can pull out a 10 miler this afternoon. It's been a good four months since I injured my foot and then my calves which forced me to pause my marathon preparation training.
I am getting nervous already for my marathon race in April. I really want to get under 4 hours. My current runs are mostly around 5.30 per kilometer so if i can keep that pace throughout the race I'll be save...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

How Embarrasing

Just yesterday I wrote how good my legs felt and that I'm burning rubber. Last night coming home around 7pm. it was late and cold but I wanted to do an easy run. I thought a short warm-up and little stretching would be sufficient but after 2K my calf started to ache. I tried to run to the 3K turning point but at 2.5K I turned back home with an easy jog. I jumped into the shower to run cold winter water over my lower leg. It felt good (physically) but mentally very disappointing to have to refrain from running for a couple of days again.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Back on the Road

I feel it is finally save to say that I am again good to go for a full marathon training schedule including the long runs and speed training workouts. Last November I raced a 10K in preparation for my marathon this year April. But maybe I got too carried away with my training and over-trained. This resulted in Injury. The worst thing of all was that I lost the appetite to continue training, and couldn't find the courage to face the cold winter weather. At the end of December, after being away from running for more than a month, I started going out again and ran rounds of 4 to 6K only.

January feels much better, I'm feeling strong and run four times a week. Last Tuesday's tempo run felt great with almost zero muscle ache. I pushed myself to run 8K in 40 minutes flat, at a beautiful 5 minute per kilometer pace.