With the Tokyo Marathon a week behind me, I am beginning to prepare for the Nagano Marathon on April 15th, which is 6 weeks away. Nagano was my back-up race in case the Tokyo Marathon didn’t turn out well, but since it did, the pressure is off to race against the clock. Having said that, I still want to give this marathon my best effort and will attempt to break 3 hours and 10 minutes. I was concerned about how my body would feel after the Tokyo Marathon, but those concerns have quickly vanished. Although my quads hurt for a few days after the race, I ran two easy runs of about 7 miles each so far this past week and I’m planning on doing an easy pace 20 miler after this blog post. As I write this post, the body is feeling great with no lingering pains or injuries. I’ll probably keep the training at a moderate level for another week, then train hard for two weeks before going into another three week taper period.
I ran the Nagano Marathon in 2010 and had a good experience running a respectable time of 3:24:46. Unfortunately, last year’s marathon was canceled due to the major earthquake and tsunami. I enjoyed that this is a smaller low-key race (about 10,000 participants) and is just a pure marathon – you don’t have a half marathon, 10K, 5K, people dressed up in costumes and whatever else races do nowadays going on at the same time. Although there is nothing wrong with the extracurricular or multiple events, I sometimes like the simplicity of single focus races like this. This race seems to be tailored to the serious runner and has a five-hour cut-off, so all entrants have to come in pretty prepared if they want to finish within the time limit.
The course is at some altitude (about 350m) and relatively flat with only one significant hill early in the race. The weather usually is cooperative, although a bit windy at times. The course in general is considered fast (and less crowded), so if I can maintain my current fitness and conditions are favorable on race day, a personal best is achievable.
With only 6 weeks to go before the marathon, I don’t expect to improve my fitness level. I think the best I can expect is to maintain the fitness I currently have and get to the start line healthy. Below is my training plan, which you may notice is similar to the Tokyo Marathon training plan for the last few weeks.