Tokyo Marathon Training: Back to Back Training with St. Luke’s Run for Wellness

Friday, 13 December 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

This begins a series of posts about my training for my 10th marathon, Tokyo Marathon on February 23, 2014.  My goal is to run the World Marathon Majors and, so far, I’ve run 3 of them (New York twice, Berlin, and London).  Tokyo should be the 4th Marathon Major.  

To say that I’m excited about Tokyo Marathon is an understatement.

For one thing, I’ve been wanting to visit Tokyo for years.  I’ve always been fascinated by Japan.  I took up Japanese as my foreign language in college and immensely loved learning it.  I most especially enjoyed our final exam held in Furusato along EDSA where my classmates and I dined over tempura, sukiyaki, and fried rice while toasting to sake with our Professor.  (Um, yup, that was pretty much the “final exam.”)  Speaking of Japanese cuisine, it’s my favorite.  I can feast on sushi, sashimi, and ramen for an entire year.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve just always been fascinated by Japan from Hello Kitty to cherry blossoms to Haruki Murakami.  I tell you, I was probably a Japanese in my past life.

As for the Tokyo Marathon, friends have told me that it’s one of the best marathons in the world.  I never doubted it as Japan is a running city.  They say that spectators even line the streets with chocolates in hand for the marathoners!  Last year, when the World Marathon Majors announced that Tokyo would be included as the 6th marathon major, I was even more convinced (on top of the free chocolate incentive) that I just had to do it.

So, I signed up for the lottery, got in, and here I am now, all set to start training for Tokyo, baby!


Training for Tokyo officially started this week.  By “official,” I mean that I went through my marathon program last week, assessed if it was the right one to help me achieve my goals, printed it out, then posted it on my home office bulletin board.  Yup, that’s as official as I can get!

Even if I’ve been “off-season” since Ironman 70.3 Cebu last August and I haven’t had a major race in the latter part of this year, I really haven’t stopped training.  In fact, I’ve been working out 6 days a week juggling run, swim, and bike along with the rest of my life.  It’s been awesome. Just really living an active lifestyle and enjoying every minute without the pressures of hitting a specific distance or speed.  This is THE life!

The best thing about this is that, now that marathon training begins, I’m not really starting from scratch.  Truth is, I’m starting at a level where I can run 21k comfortably.  Now, that’s a good thing.


So, last Saturday, I joined the St. Lukes Run for Wellness.  Plan was to run a total of 21k that day.  I ran 5k before the race, 10k during the race, and 6k after the race to reach the goal distance all within Bonifacio Global City.

– with good friends Jun, Lit, Gene (Thanks for the race kits, Gene!), Anthony of Otterbox, and Cliff –

It was great to see such a huge turnout, around 5,000 runners, show up for the 3k, 5k, and 10k distance of St. Lukes Run for Wellness.  I had absolutely no plans as to how I would run the race.  When the gun went off, I wanted to test my fitness level so, without glancing at my watch, I ran based all the way based on feel.  Goal was to maintain a comfortably hard pace.

For the first few kilometers, I ran along with good friends from Alabang, Atty. Joey and Elaine, my swim classmates.  I had a chance to say hi to friends Lara Parpan of Women’s Health and TBRDM Alum Jonathan from Ayala Land.  Near the end of the race, I heard someone from behind yelling: “Operation Bull Runner, achieved!” It was Ernie Lopez talking to his son who was by his side on a bike.  As he passed me saying hi, he told his son: “On to the next target!” and off they went disappearing ahead of me.

I finished the 10k with an average pace of 5:45 at around 57 minutes.  It wasn’t that great.  I know I have a long way to go in terms of training if I want to do well in Tokyo, but hey it’s still early so I still have a lot of time to work on my training.

– Happiness as I run toward the finish line –

– with Trixie and Anne after the run. Congrats to Trixie for her first 5k! –


At the very last minute, we decided to run a back to back in preparation for Tokyo.  Back to back training helps to train us to run on tired legs.  So, yes, with tired legs from the day before, we set off to run another 15k on Sunday morning.  I decided to change my shoes from New Balance 890 to Asics Gel Kayano 19 (doing so keeps injuries at bay by providing varied midsole height and cushioning for your feet) and this definitely helped to keep my feet comfy despite a little blister development.

The weekend ended with my legs as sore as ever, but me being completely happy that I have a goal to work for (and even be slightly anxious over) again.  Tokyo, here we come!