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Tokyo Marathon training week 1: October 28 – November 3

After seven weeks of base building, it’s finally time to begin training for the Tokyo Marathon in earnest! This is week 1 of a 18-week training plan that will hopefully get me to the marathon start line ready to have an amazing race, and maybe hopefully PR!

As a reminder, I am following the Hansons Marathon Method training plan. Since I’m not working right now, I have the time to complete runs during my weekdays, and I don’t want to have to slog through long runs alone. I’ve found half marathons every weekend where I need to complete a 15 or 16 mile run, meaning that with warm up and cool down, all of my long runs will be very doable.

For the next five weeks, I am completing the weekday workouts from weeks 6-10, but with the weekend runs remaining as scheduled for weeks 1-5. I am doing this because during weeks 1-5 there are no speed workouts or tempo runs and the mid-week runs cap at 4 miles. Thanks to the past few weeks of base building, I am confident that my fitness has surpassed this level. Therefore, I want to use the next five week to start prioritising speed workouts and “quality runs”. I have two 10K races on the calendar for November, and hopefully these will be a good opportunity to

Monday, October 28

My last day in Paris–Camille and I wandered around, bought lots of last-minute snacks, and then parted ways on the train, with me going to the international train station and her going to the airport. After a long line and going through both French and UK border control, I rushed onto my train. I made it back to London, and between all of the traveling and the fact that it was already dark, I had planned for today to be a “rest” day. Lior and I had a nice, relaxing evening together, and it was nice to be back.

Tuesday, October 29

Lior left for Leeds/Sheffield this morning, and will return late tomorrow evening, so I have the next two days to myself.

Today’s run is the same speed workout from two weeks ago: 1.5M warm up 12 x 400m @ 5K – 10K pace, 400m jog rest 1.5M cool down

This run was again 9 miles in total. In honor of officially starting my marathon training, I wore my NYC Marathon tech shirt for the run. I ended up completing the run 4 minutes faster than when I ran it two weeks ago, which was a nice confidence boost. And just like that, I finished my longest run of the week!

I celebrated by watching the season finale of Great British Bake Off live–taking advantage of the apartment’s basic cable package, as next week we move into a new (and much larger) apartment with no cable. It’s okay, I can watch RuPaul’s Drag Race UK on my computer!

Wednesday, October 30

Today I began to tackle the giant mountain of dirty clothes in our apartment. Clean sweaters and pants for everyone!

In the afternoon, I ran five easy miles. I planned to go to a Halloween-themed after hours event at the Science Museum (Lior had a work event), but when I arrived and saw that the line was blocks long and I’d have to wait there alone, outside, in the cold…I bailed. It was disheartening, but I should have checked about the potential wait time and arrived accordingly early. Instead, I went home and had a gin & tonic in my pjs and was toasty warm.

Thursday, October 31

Happy Halloween! Today was rough. Something about Thursdays, it seems! I ran five miles, and was rewarded by my Garmin telling me I had a new (higher) VO2 Max (volume of oxygen my body can process during exercise)!

I then went to Lior’s office, where they had a Halloween wine and cheese party, and Lior learned that he cannot go trick or treating as an unaccompanied adult. And I got to pet a dog!

Friday, November 1

Today was also a rough day, but I got out of the apartment with plenty of daylight for my run! Today was supposed to be a tempo workout: 1 mile warm up 5 miles @ marathon pace 1 mile cool down

That did not end up happening, but I did run 7 miles today, which I consider a win. I know that not every workout is going to go well, but that unless I’m in pain, it’s important that I push through and at least finish the distance. This is where the mental training for the marathon takes place! On the way home, I bought a pumpkin for Lior and I to carve…it will be his first time!

Another development: For mental health and physical health purposes, I bought a 3-month gym membership, to a place by the apartment we’re moving to next week. The gym offers a wide variety of classes, so I’m going to try and go to two a week, with at least one of those classes being yoga. I’ve found that I’m already getting stiff, and I think yoga will help with that, and also hopefully help with some of the sadness I’ve been feeling. I don’t always enjoy yoga, but I definitely need the added flexibility and I hope it will also help keep me injury-free during this training cycle! I also hope to take a few spin classes, since I’ve always enjoyed these and I do think that when I was taking spin classes I was more injury-free as well.

There’s also the small chance that I will use the gym’s treadmills when it’s too cold outside (unlikely), or when I want to run after dark, AKA anytime after about 4:45pm. My longest treadmill run to date is 8 miles, and I only did it because it was bitterly cold for a bit in January 2018. But we’ll see!

After work, Lior and I met up with some of his friends who are in town, to go to Ballie Ballerson, a bar/adults-only ball pit. It was very fun! Unfortunately, today I had what I’m pretty sure was an allergy attack, with lots of sneezing and congestion. Ironically, feeling a little sick made me feel better, emotionally. I’ll take it! I took some cold medicine before going to sleep, and hoped for the best.

Saturday, November 2

I woke up feeling mostly better! Today was a planned day off from running.

After breakfast, Lior and I went to Westfield Mall. Lior needed to get a proper winter jacket and some nicer boots, and I found some new boots, as well (and a winter hat, see below). While we were there, we saw a massive line for the Pokemon Center, where they are demoing the newest game. Seriously, the line looped all the way around the massive floor…no thanks!

After dropping our purchases off at home, we went and explored Camden Markets. It was very fun, but also overwhelming at times. Eventually, I had enough (a massive store selling rave clothes that looked like a rave itself did me in), and we went to a large Sainsbury’s in the area before going home. I got a new flavor of tonic water to try (with gin, obviously)!

On a side note, today I felt much happier in London than I have for the past few days. While I know that I can get out of the apartment for non-running activities during the week, it’s exhausting to be in “tourist” mode for so long. I think I need to find ways to be social during the week. I found a running group that meets in different parts of London. One of the smaller runs meets relatively close to my new apartment, and a larger one meets a bit farther, but still very doable. I’m going to give this a try, because I think it will make a huge difference, to meet some other runners. I put this off initially because I wanted to spend my evenings with Lior, but now that I’ve realized he works such long hours that we’ll probably return home at around the same time (or he’ll still be later).

Sunday, November 3

Happy NYC Marathon day! I’ll admit that I have a LOT of FOMO today, but the timing just wasn’t quite right to be running a marathon right now. Today I went on a five mile run, and at the end of my run, I was rewarded with the best thing ever–I stumbled across a bulldog meetup! The dogs were so adorable, running around and playing with each other. Two managed to break away from the playing just long enough for some pets.

After I returned, Lior made lunch, and then we set off for the day. We booked tickets (regular, not fast passes) to the London Eye. The weather was gloomy, with a bit of rain, which led to few people in line. We ended up boarding the London Eye 30 minutes before our timed entry, with no wait. If there had been a line, I would have been very disappointed. As it was, I found the London Eye a bit underwhelming, so I’m glad we didn’t pay for fast passes and I’m even happier that we knocked it out relatively early in our stay.

After this, we visited Leake Street Arches, a graffiti tunnel. This was cool–almost as cool as the board games cafe/bar inside! We had some coffee and walked around the neighborhood a bit, before heading home…

…to carve Lior’s first pumpkin! This was a surprisingly tidy endeavor, and I am very proud of our masterpiece. I saved the pumpkin seeds–they are currently drying and I’m going to cook them tomorrow for a tasty treat.

After carving the pumpkin, we made our lunches for the week, before eventually making dinner. It was a very nice, relaxing, and homey afternoon/evening–exactly what I’ve been craving. This definitely helped with my homesickness.

Total distance: 31.1 miles

This week was an emotional roller coaster, to put it lightly. I made a lot of progress, mostly by talking about feeling sad/miserable, and also by running a lot, scheduling yoga and spin classes for next week, and also RSVPing to some running events for next week. I’m looking forward to the week to come, settling into our apartment for the next three months (not excited for the move, but it will be relatively simple), and continuing my marathon training!

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