Saturday, September 30, 2006

Believing is seeing

Thanks for the comments on the last post. I've quoted something that's related to these, I found and copied it a few years ago from the web somewhere.

"Everything begins in the heart and mind. Every great achievement began in the mind of one person. The great achievers have a habit. They "see" things. They picture themselves walking around their CEO office in their new 25 million-dollar corporate headquarters, even while they are sitting on a folding chair in their garage "headquarters." Great free-throw shooters in the NBA picture the ball going through the basket. PGA golfers picture the ball going straight down the fairway. World-class Speakers picture themselves speaking with energy and emotion. All of this grooms the mind to control the body to carry out the dream."

I'll focus on "seeing myself" getting a few PBs this coming year and after that I'm going for that "new 25 million-dollar corporate headquarters."

Friday, September 29, 2006

In the mind

Ran 4kms all sub 4mins today and did it with less effort than usual. I am trying to decide whether the fact that I've been doing strength work is making my sessions easier or is it simply because I'm thinking that the strength work ought to be helping and so I run better. After all, I've only been doing this extra work for 6 weeks.

I know a little of how the mind works to know that "thinking makes it so," within reason, and I'm interested in the "mental" side of sport. The main reasons I'm so attracted to long distance running is because it has so much of the "mental" in it, so to speak.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Went to harvest a half dozen pumpkins today. These were two handed leg benders that my father-in-law has been growing. He is somewhat of a big vege growing genius.

We are going to cut them up into so called "Jack-o-lanterns" to decorate the home for Halloween. I'm not really sure how to celebrate this tradition as we never did growing up in Australia, but it has become popular here in Japan especially over the last 5 years.

Although there is no "trick or treating" there are some parties for grown ups and many shops are decorated for the Halloween period. Japanese
people love tradition and like to participate in their own and many introduced ones, but sometimes with strange results.

I don't know if this is really true or not but I've heard a story of a Christmas display in a shop window here which had a full sized Santa hammered to a crucifix.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


The surest way to get faster is to lose some weight, but that takes a lot of discipline. In Japan there are many delicious healthy alternatives to burgers and pizza but there is also some of the best tasting fried pork cutlets, beer and all you can eat restaurants. It's a constant battle.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Power Yoga

I was asked what exactly is "Power Yoga"? While it sounds cool it is not anything too different from exercises you have done before. Here are some explanations of the ones I'm doing now mixed in with a weights program.

So called “Power Yoga” exercises are all done with leg weights I use 3 kilo ones now.

To do the Salabhasana you are on your stomach with your arms beside your body and palms facing up with each breath in you raise one of your legs as high as it can go exhale and bring it down. Do relatively slowly each leg 20 times per set. I do 3 sets and I find these hard, somehow.

To do the Kondasana you lie on your side with one hand holding up your head and the other hand resting near your stomach. Lift one of your legs as high as you can in a scissor motion and bring it down slowly. 20 each leg and 3 sets is good for starters.

To do the Padchalankriya you are on your back with hands palm down by your side. Raise your legs about 30cm off the floor and move them like you are riding a bicycle count slowly to 20, 1 for each rotation.

They have many exercises in the DVD “Yoga for body building” I brought this in a shop in Byron Bay when I was down there for the Gold Coast marathon this year.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Strength training

I've been doing hour sessions, three days a week of strength work for the last six weeks and I'm going to continue these except for before and after race weeks until the end of the year and look at things then.

I read somewhere that "Deek" had exceptional core strength that allowed him to keep his form right to the end of marathons. In my last race my wife watched me come into the finish and said I looked a bit wobbly and that it looked as if I was weak in the stomach area.

After she got up off the ground......Joke. I took her advice and made myself a nice workout that combines power yoga with weights and some traditional exercises. Happy to pass this along if anyone wants details.

Anyway I feel much stronger already and with a diet that has me eating only fresh food, no coffee, beer or milk I have cut 10cm off my gut and I've toned up. Even though I've not cut my weight people are commenting on how I'm looking "buff" no well "healthy" at least.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

New track

Did my long run today, 1:40mins, around a pond near my place. I've been here before but not around , just out and back. Today I found the way around and did 4 loops each one taking about 25 mins. Nice course with plenty of shade and a couple of bush tracks. I'll post a photo in the coming blogs.

I saw about ten other runners there today and it was relatively cool considering it was sunny. Looks like we've just about seen the last of the summer here.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

running legends

Above some running legends with good advice. If you want to hear what they had to say that day you can at

It was another beautiful September day here. No running plan for the day and although I feel fine and would really of liked to run today I'm going to stick to the plan and build up my weekly kilometers slowly.

I'm starting to see the benefits of rest days to the overall plan and think the main contributing factor to my past injuries and plateau vis a vis results was that I was running too much and training tired.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Did the speedwork session I was set. It was hard at the end but I can feel my fitness coming back. It must be due to the strength training I've been doing for the past six weeks. I will elaborate on this in the coming posts.
Above is a photo of Koyasan an hour or so away from my house.

Cooling down

Going to start to increase the speed in tomorrows run, I've got 4kms to do at sub 3:48 per K. This is the start of my campaign to get my body used to running under 4 minute Ks so as I can try to get a PB and a sub 40min 10k this coming October.

My ability to do this, or not, will depend on getting through these sessions. Although I do my best with speed work it is never easy and
sometimes it is my metal strength that lets me down.

I always do these speed session by myself and hate the feeling of say finishing the 3rd of 8 X 500m efforts at a good clip and thinking to myself there is no way I can do 8 of these buggers. If I can't put those kind of thoughts out of my mind I usual can't finish the session.

I envy those people who train with groups of friends that help them to push it that little bit further. But I guess everyone battles with these type of negative thoughts.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Running plan

These are the races I plan to do in the near future

Oct 22 2006
wakaura bay marathon (10K)
Nov 12 2006
19th riverside mara (half)
Dec 23 2006
takarazuka mara (half)
Jan 7 2007
sakai new year mara (10K)
Jan 21 2007
takatsuki city mara (10K if can)
Feb 18 2007
tokyo marathon (full)
Mar 19 2007
senri international (10K)
April 9 2007
ashiya fun run (half)

September morn

No running today as my online coach, Pat Carroll, has me on a 4 day a week plan as a build up to the new racing season here. From Oct to April
you can find a race a week here and you don't have to travel too far.

I've heard that the marathon, they call any race from 5K to 42K a marathon, is only second to baseball as the most popular sport,
and often people line the streets to watch complete strangers run.

Being a foreigner runner here has its rewards as there are few of us in each race and people are friendly and talkative, more so than in a normal situation. But there are problems. One is that people think that because you're a foreigner that you are "Steve Prefontanie" incarnate so there is some pressure to run well and Japanese runners seem to get a kick out of beating me. I think even if they finish in the middle of the pack if they can beat me they think they have done well. But sadly that's not really hard to do. I did have one guy throw himself at the finishing line and take me by a nose. I think we ended up 451st and 452nd respectively.

Anyway Autumn in Japan is a perfect place for a runnner to be so I'm glad I'm here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Here is a photo taken last year before a race with my two sons Casey and Tyler.

First time

Hello. This is my first posting so I'd like to introduce myself and explain why I wanted to start this blog.

I have been living and working as an English teacher here in southern Osaka Japan for the past 10 years or so. Three years ago I started running as a hobby initially to help me lose weight and give up smoking.

I now run regularly in local races, 10K to marathons, and have progressively been getting better at it. While I have gotten to know some of the local runners in my area, I mostly run and train alone. I would like to be more social and share my experiences with other runners who blog regularly.

I have been reading with interest other running blogs and see this as a way to both keep a record of my progress and share in other peoples passion for running.

I hope you will find my posts as interesting as I find yours.