translated by Brett Larner
Sydney Olympic marathon gold medallist and Beijing Olympic hopeful Naoko Takahashi returned to Japan yesterday after 6 months of altitude training at her base camp in Boulder, Colorado. Inspired by the popular "Billy`s Boot Camp" series of exercise videos, Takahashi (known in Japan as Q-chan) joked that her recent training could be called "Q`s Boot Camp" due to its heavy emphasis on cross-training exercises and weight training. Takahashi will attempt to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics at either January`s Osaka International Women`s Marathon or March`s Nagoya International Women`s Marathon. The deadline for entering Osaka is December 12. Takahashi will spend a short time in Japan before heading to Kunming, China for further altitude training.
Touching her abs while talking, Q-chan described "Q`s Boot Camp" as consisting of a customized, daily 80-minute regimen of exercises accompanied by original music. Her Japan-based management staff brought a copy of "Billy`s Boot Camp," which went through a period of maniacal popularity in Japan over the summer, to her training camp in Boulder. When Takahashi watched the workout video she thought, "Oh, this is easy."
Up until now, Q-chan has always just done what she loves, running, but lately she has found that it isn`t enough. Weak areas of the body not strengthened by running have become more of an issue. Q-chan explained, "(Q`s) Boot Camp, kick boxing, aerobics.....These things are essential parts of my training now because they help to strengthen my whole body." As she focused on developing these weaker areas during this training camp, Q-chan found that her running improved as well. "I was advised to change my arm swing but had trouble doing it. Now that I`ve developed more upper-body strength I`m able to make these improvements to my form."
All of this preparation is targeted toward making the Beijing Olympic team. She has only one month left in which to decide which race she will run as her qualifier. "My motto has always been `never give up on your dreams and they will come true.` That`s the kind of running I want to show everybody." Whether in Osaka, where she ran one of her greatest speed races, or in Nagoya, where she won to qualify for the Sydney Olympics, Q-chan will only be racing herself. "I haven`t decided which race to run, but I`m not concerned with who else will be running in either race. The most important point for me is to run how I feel and to make it the best run I can."