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Blog 48- Tokyo Bound- Entry 6. By Craig Appleby.


Welcome to Tokyo Bound entry #6

By Craig Appleby.

“Variety is the spice of life…” William Cowper wrote in his 18th Century poem, ‘The Task’.

This proverb best describes me and my training for the past 12 months or more. Dane and I (95% Dane) have mapped out my training for Tokyo to incorporate session variety, and with the inclusion of holidays, variety in training locations too. I am a huge supporter of mixing up training stimuli, training locations and routes; I believe this is one aspect that has helped me remain consistent, injury free and to get out of bed on those cold, dark mornings.

Other reasons (also reasons I love) why this approach to training can be beneficial to many runners is that it allows you to explore, get lost in the running moment, and go with the flow – not focusing solely on pace, or trying to match your time from your last effort over the same course. Similarly, and more specifically to my training, mixing up the ‘marathon specific sessions’ each week has helped give me the motivation to complete them (because at times they appear massive)…however, I’ll be honest, I am one who is always keen to get the best of a challenge! Obviously this can have less desired outcomes for some people as they will attempt to defeat the challenge regardless of what their body is telling them… leading to potential illness or injury.

The marathon specific sessions that you have been reading about in ‘Tokyo Bound’ all look different on paper; however, the training stimulus behind these sessions are fairly similar – we are trying to extend my body’s exposure to hard running for longer durations, as well as attempting to build the strength and resistance to muscular fatigue needed to complete a marathon successfully.

Seeing as though this is my first, full-tilt attempt at marathon specific training, similar to the Canova model, the proof will be in the Tokyo rice pudding hopefully.


Now let’s dive into my weekly recap:

Monday 21st Jan – easy double today to absorb yesterday’s big marathon session.

AM: 10km in 46mins @ 4:32’s

PM: 8.4km in 38mins @ 4:34’s

Tuesday 22nd Jan – AM: 16.4km easy in 76mins @ 4:37’s. Feeling better each run.

PM: easy 7.6km in 34 mins @ 4:32’s

Wednesday 23rd Jan – AM: Session day. Easy 5km warm up. Feeling heavy/tired in my quads… Not sure how well this session would go… Nevertheless, I would soon know after the first few km’s which way this session would play out…

8km (2 x 4km laps of Wright Rd and Moola Rd) over hilly/undulating terrain later and I was very pleased! 27mins @ 3:22’s with 138m of elevation gain.

Once I got into the rhythm of the session, after a km or so, I began to feel strong over the hills and finished stronger in the second half. Very happy as it shows I am absorbing the marathon work and recovering enough to hit the faster/harder sessions.

4.9km cool down straight into a gym session. Gym for me looks like this: single leg squats, deadlifts, arabesque and calf raises (all with 8km dumbbells – soon to be upgraded), as well as push ups and single arm rows/pull ups and planks. I do these in a circuit style, making sure adequate rest is given for each major muscle group (i.e. Legs then push ups then calves… etc)

After this we had a terrific family outing at Arthurs Seat and rode the Eagle – thank you EPS families for your kind gift.

PM: easy 9km in 42mins @ 4:38’s. This turned into a food run. Grabbing some tasty fish and chips on the way, yum!

PM#2: 60min massage – so relaxing!

Thursday 24th Jan – AM: 24km in 1:44mins @ 4:20’s. Another nice run out past Gembrook and back. We’ve made sure that a mid-week long run is scheduled in for most weeks. Today was just a single run, one because of the distance and two, the weather.

Friday 25th Jan – AM: Easy 12.2km in 54mins @4:28’s

PM: Easy 6.4km in 29mins @ 4:30’s.

Most evenings I use a massage stick, spikey ball and a foam roller to work through my legs, hips and back – I find this helps enormously to freshen my legs, ready for the following day’s run (alongside some quality sleep!).

Saturday 26th Jan – Bianca’s birthday and Australia Day – AM: Early morning marathon specific session – 15km @ 80% marathon effort; 5km of 1min on, 1min float; 5km @ 80% (quick change of shoes, into the 4%’s); 5km @ marathon pace; 5km @ half marathon pace – wowee!

I met with Dion to complete this session (he is going from strength to strength!), 7:30am at Casey Fields Criterium Circuit – a fantastic venue for both track, gravel and road sessions, as well as training in all of Melbourne’s weather conditions…


We got into it pretty quickly, feeling good, and rolled 15km in under the hour (3:56 avg ish), then onto the circuit for the 1 on, on off, averaging around 3:20’s for the 5km of interval work. The following 5.5km rolled around in 3:51 avg. We quickly changed shoes and got onto the circuit again for the final 10km’s of hard running. The crunch time, time to focus now!

The change of pace was a little hard for the first km, trying to find that comfortable effort. After the 2nd km at marathon pace, I felt locked in and comfortable. 3km later and we ran the 5km @ 3:17’s. Not long after getting comfortable (not easy pace, but hopefully a pace I can run 42.195km at) we dropped the hammer, so to  speak, and increased the pace. The first few km’s at 3:08’s were pretty good, focusing on relaxing and keeping form: however, the big challenge lay in the final 3km. A point where, just like in any race, you can wander off pace or feel like you’re struggling more than you hoped.

At this point I made a conscious effort to stay strong and keep relaxed… easy to say, but it worked. We finished off the final 3km strong and was more than happy to stop and enjoy some walking. Final 5km in 15:41. Another massive confidence boost. The shoes tested well, although I still need to get used to the Flyknit upper, and I was really impressed with how my quads (legs in general) held up.

In total: 35.5km in 2:09 @ 3:37 avg.

PM: After relaxing in our friends pool and enjoying plenty of delicious food, I rolled around the Overport oval area, in Frankston South, for and easy 6.5km in 31mins @ 4:44’s.

What a massive day!

Sunday 27th Jan – AM: Let’s just say, I was a little tired this morning. Both from the day of socialising and running.

I rolled an easy 6km in 28mins @ 4:35’s, surprised by how I felt after warming up – not as robotic as I was at the beginning of the run. No speedster, but able to roll around feeling human.

PM: We had family birthdays at the Seville Water park – a fabulous spot for families – and was pretty exhausted in the afternoon. I decided to get the boys sorted for bed before heading out for another run… turned out they weren’t so tired after their afternoon nap… I eventually got out for an easy 10km at 9:20pm (head torch on) in 49mins @ 4:49’s.

Total mileage: 170km

Now with less than 5 weeks until the big dance, my focus is on all the 1%ers. I’ll be making sure I do everything possible to aid in a successful Tokyo campaign – the most challenging part of any training program I believe.

Happy running!

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