Tagged: Training

2014 Training Progress Update #1

I’ve been trying hard this year to avoid posting boasting about my training on social media, instead leaving my workouts where they belong, on RunKeeper and Strava. But please let me indulge myself a little on my blog. :-)

Three big races

I have some big goals this year and am doing some big runs to prepare for them. The three big races I’ve set my sights on are:

1. June 14th: “Mt. Asama to Sugadaira Trail Mountain”, a 90km race in Nagano with over 5,500m of elevation.

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2. July 5th: “Utsukushigahara Trail Run & Walk”, the same 70km race I did last year. Hopefully I won’t drop out half way through this time!

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3. July 20th: “OSJ Ontake Ultra Trail 100K”, a long one on rocky, mountain roads around Mt. Ontake.

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I wasn’t expecting Utsukushigahara to be sandwiched between the other two, but it’s been moved from the end of August to the start of July this year, and I had already signed up for the others.

Training so far

I’ve put “running” aside for the most part and instead am concentrating on “moving”. That means running, hiking or walking, it doesn’t matter just as long as I’m moving for as long as possible. I’m not an elite athlete and can’t be expected to run for 20 hours straight! With that in mind, the big “runs” I’ve done since the KA50K in December are:

1. Jan 2nd: a 10hr, 76km run beside the Nagara River railway.

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2. Feb 1st: the 2nd KA50K – 13hrs and 52km of trail running in the Kakamigahara Alps.

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3. Feb 28th: a 15hr, 52km overnight run in the Kakamigahara Alps.

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4. Mar. 15th: a 12hr, 86km road run from home to Tarumi station and back.

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I’ll try to do something big every other week, and as the snow melts I’ll head a bit farther north in Gifu to get my legs used to hiking up mountains bigger than the 300 meter ones here in Kakamigahara.

How I Get Motivated To Work Out

An old school friend of mine has decided to undertake a triathlon, and she’s just been given a rather grueling training schedule.

I feel exhausted just looking at it. I think I need a lie down to recover!

I’m not one for training programs. Without a doubt, they push you to work out and be ready for whatever competition you’re entering, and I’ve followed programs in the past with good results.

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However, I wonder what percentage of those people who start a training program actually complete it. I would assume, for all manner of reasons, that it’s actually very low.

It’s one thing to be excited about and motivated by an upcoming race, but it’s not so likely you’d get excited about and motivated by each workout in a training schedule. In order to complete a full program, you need absolute commitment to seeing it through.

I don’t have that commitment. I couldn’t possibly run intervals on a treadmill or ride a turbo in the basement. I do swim lengths in the pool, but given an ocean and warm weather, I would much rather swim in the sea.

Wherever possible, I try to make my workouts exciting and motivating. First, I give myself choice. Depending on how I feel, and the weather, I can choose from any of the following:

  • Walking
  • Hiking
  • Running
  • Trail running
  • Cycling
  • Mountain biking
  • Swimming

For all but the swimming, I can then decide where to go. I am surrounded by beautiful countryside here in Japan’s Gifu prefecture. There are hills and mountains for more aggressive training, and acres of rice fields to run around, and rivers to run or cycle beside.

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Every workout is an adventure. I like to choose different places each time so I can take photos or video to share with my friends on social networks, and that itself makes each workout something to look forward to.

Whether such random training will see me through to the finish line of an Ironman triathlon, I can’t be sure. I know I won’t be standing on the podium, but if I can cover the distances in training that an Ironman demands, and do it within the time limits of a real event, I don’t see why I can’t reach my goal.

What I can be sure of, however, is that every workout leading up to that Ironman is itself an adventure and awesome experience.