I want to make it clear that I have a very firm goal of going sub three hours at Tokyo Marathon on February 18. Last year's weather and my performance, which were not necessarily intrinsically linked, were a bit of a disappointment and I want redemption. I wish to go into this race determined and motivated, and I need that to be reflected in my approach to training and socialising (the second of these being the most difficult).
The first part of the training plan required a conservative, restful recovery from Ohtawara. That was achieved quite nicely and now I've entered the second phase, which means getting back up to modestly high mileage while putting a certain degree of emphasis on speed work. For the next couple of weeks I want to run 80 to 90 km a week comprised of a couple of 14-16 km lower aerobic efforts, a not-so-long-not-so-slow (say 25km) long run, and two speed-oriented sessions (perhaps two items per week off a four-item menu of 1 k to 1600 m intervals, 6 to 10k tempo run, short hard intervals, hill repeats). Then any additional mileage would be just easy pace.
So how am I traveling? Last Wednesday I did a 6 x 1k interval workout with the club. Saturday I ran a short hard interval session of 10 x 30 s hard followed by 60 s easy. I also did a few plyometrics...just jumping from a static start up onto a 25-30 cm high block. Yesterday morning I did 11 km on a treadmill with 6 km at tempo pace of 3:52 to 3:55. I had the incline set at 1.5% at first, but after a while was going too lactic so backed the speed a tad and the incline back to 1%. I enjoyed this workout, especially since I'd had to squeeze it in to a tight day. Going pretty hard makes a treadmill more bearable.
This morning was scheduled as a 16km steady (lower aerobic) run. I awoke at 5:20 am fairly bright-eyed and ready to roll and was a bit shocked to see the steadily falling rain outside. Still, it didn't deter me and I got the run in without too much trouble, but I was a cold little boy at the end of it (it was 8 deg C). I am finding that a pace of 4:20 to 4:17/km is a nice comfortable aerobic run these days. I remember a time when I thought that 4:30/km was far too hard to be doing aerobic training! It eventually left me feeling a little fatigued this morning and perhaps I should have been a few seconds slower or should have shaved a couple of km off the distance. Finding that precise workload that pushes you to adaptation but from which you can recover for tomorrow is a fine line.
Anyway, the most interesting part of the training will begin on December 26 when we leave for Australia. The sudden switch to heat will be interesting. I'll have a few days based in Chatswood (Lane Cove Nat Park?), then maybe somewhere overnight on the way to Coffs Harbour, then almost ten days in Coffs with hills, heat, and humidity. I think this phase of the training will be a switch back to distance and endurance. I have a feeling that this period in Australia, timed as it is, will either make or break the ambitions for a good Tokyo. A few days after we get back to Tokyo I'll be running a hard half marathon, so that will be a good test of the efficacy of the speed and heat training.