Tokyo Marathon Training Plan

After a decent 10-mile tempo run yesterday at about a 7:15/mile pace, it doesn’t appear I’ll need much recovery time from last weekend’s marathon.  I have no muscle or joint pains, so I think I’m ready to jump into my next marathon training cycle starting next week.

I have 13 weeks before the Tokyo Marathon on February 26th.  I will make another attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon (need to run a sub 3:15) and I’ll be training to  run a 3:10 (7:15/mile pace).  I think I’m close to putting together the right training formula and will just tweak it a bit this training cycle to improve my speed endurance.  Just finishing the New York and Kobe Marathons gave me a little insight on where my fitness shortfalls may be.  New York humbled me with the hilly course and aggressive early pace, whereas, Kobe gave me the confidence that if I can find that right even pace, I won’t hit the wall and can finish strong.

Running at a 7:15/mile pace doesn’t appear to be the issue, but maintaining that pace over 26.2 miles is questionable.  I’m fairly confident that I can maintain that pace for 18 to 22 miles, but it is highly uncertain if I can hold it past this point.  I did a little research on improving speed endurance and decided I needed to run more 800 meter intervals, consistently run longer tempo runs, and incorporate more aerobic cross-training (e.g., cycling).

I’ve outlined my training plan at the bottom of this post.  It is pretty similar to my New York Marathon training plan, with the following differences.

1.  Plan to run eight to ten 800 meter intervals every week and keep the rest intervals short (90 seconds between intervals).  Previously, I ran a variety of distance intervals, shorter and longer, but the 800 interval workout with the short rest period were the most challenging.  Although I don’t plan on increasing the interval speed from the last training cycle, I will run these workouts on a treadmill at a 3% inclines instead of a 2%.

2.  In preparing for New York, I did my tempo runs at various distances (5 to 11 miles) and speeds.  This time, I plan to run the longer 10-mile tempos every Thursday at sub-7 minute pace.  Hopefully, every week the tempo pace will get a little faster.

3.  Instead of increasing my running mileage to increase aerobic capacity and risk injury, I plan to incorporate cycling into my training.  I will commute to work a couple times a week (if the weather cooperates) and cycle between 50 to 75 miles a week.  This is equivalent to running an extra 15 miles a week without the extra running stress to the body.  So although I’m running an average of 37 miles a week, if I factor in the cycling, aerobically I’m running well over 50 miles a week.

I still plan to strength train with the kettlebell (30 minutes) and do yoga (30 minutes) three times a week.  I find the kettlebell strength training to be about as good as I can expect and have noticed my core strength and form has held up really well the last two marathons.  There will not be much change to my long run routine, alternating each week with a 20+ mile long run with a 13 – 18 mile long run at marathon pace.  I incorporated the usual taper three weeks out.

I also have a half marathon planned about 3 weeks out from the marathon.  This will be a good gauge as to where I am fitness wise going into the Tokyo Marathon.  Also, I have two travel weeks, which are always challenging to plan around.  Fortunately, they are not too close to the marathon date and may actually be productive weeks to recover a bit from a fairly intense training plan.

The Tokyo Marathon is a moderately easy course.  The first 6 kilometers are actually downhill, then it is relatively flat until around 36 kilometers.  Then it becomes a little challenging with a couple decent size bridges/overpasses from 36 kilometers until the end of the marathon, so you need to play it safe and conserve some energy for this portion of the race.

So we’ll see what happens, hopefully this time I have the magic training formula to get me a BQ time.

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7 Responses to Tokyo Marathon Training Plan

  1. I think your program is a little light on with running. Also I suggest the half marathon us a little too close to your race.
    Just a couple of suggestions to help you get the BQ that you are after.
    Cheers, Scott

    • Thanks for the feedback, Scott. You may be right on the running being a little light, I may reassess the plan in a few weeks. Regarding the half marathon, agree, three weeks out isn’t ideal, would have like it to have been four or more weeks out, but that was the only half in the area. Again, appreciate the feeback.

  2. Hay Yau says:

    I stumbled across your blog a fortnight a go as I was searching for fellow runners who base their training on the FIRST program. I’m also running the Tokyo marathon and just completed my first competitive race (1/2 marathon) at Kita Senju last week.

    I wanted to say thanks as your blog encourages and inspires me.
    Keep it up and good luck in your training!

    • Hay,

      Thanks for the comment, hopefully you can find some value in the blog and continue to visit. I post a lot of random things, but about half my posts relate to running.

      I’m a big proponent of the FIRST program. I’ve been using the program for about 2 years now and my times have continued to gradually improve. The best part of the program is that it allows adequate time for recovery between runs. Although each run is pretty intense, the reduced overall mileage will help keep someone running at a pretty decent level for many years without excessive wear and tear on the body.

      Well, I hope you continue to visit. Best wishes as you prepare for the Tokyo Marathon, as your first full marathon, I’m sure it will be an unforgettable experience!


  3. Pingback: Top 10 Things that Helped Me Finally Qualify for the Boston Marathon | Running Inspired Blog

  4. neoeahit says:

    I am actually looking to follow your post, for my training schedule. I am running the tokyo next year and preparing for that currently

    Is it possible to add some pointers how to converge on those timings you have. My aim if to achieve the marathon finishing time around 4 hours. So i need to adjust your plan and adapt to it.

    Please do provide some guidance.

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