Thursday, May 5, 2011

Track Training Kawauchi-Style

by Brett Larner

With four months to go until the 2011 World Championships men's marathon in Daegu, Korea, the last few days saw the three 2:09 men on Japan's team racing 10000 m on the track, Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) running 28:24.59 at the May 1 Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational and Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) and Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) setting PBs of 28:30.32 and 29:04.24 at the May 3 Nobeoka Spring Time Trials.

Top-ranked Japanese man Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.), who ran 2:08:37 for 3rd at February's Tokyo Marathon, was also on the track on May 3, running at the Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials meet near his home in Saitama, northwest of Tokyo. Kawauchi ran the meet with sometime training partner Saeki Makino (Kawaguchi T&F Assoc.), doing three 5000 m heats as a progression workout with 25 minutes recovery between each repetition.

Heat 4 - 4:10 p.m.
Makino - 14:58.29, 1st
Kawauchi - 14:58.54, 2nd

Heat 6 - 4:50 p.m.
Kawauchi - 14:48.95, 2nd
Makino - 14:54.07, 3rd

Heat 8 - 5:30 p.m.
Kawauchi - 14:21.66, 3rd
Makino - 14:48.24, 11th

Kawauchi's next serious race will be the first running of the Naoko Takahashi Gifu Half Marathon on May 15 together with the fifth man on the World Championships marathon team, 2010 Asian Games marathon silver medalist Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN). Following that he plans to run the 50 km division of Japan's premier ultramarathon, the Lake Saroma ultra in late June.

Kawauchi was not the only noteworthy runner at the Heisei Kokusai meet. Women's 10000 m junior national record holder Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno), who dropped out of last week's Hyogo Relay Carnival 10000 m during her most recent comeback from an unending streak of injuries and illnesses, ran Heat 1 of the men's 10000 m together with male teammate Shunsuke Abe who ran as pacemaker. Kinukawa clocked 33:01.21, far off the pace she attempted in Hyogo but still credible as a step on her comeback trail. Stephen Mayaka-coached newcomer Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/Sozo Gakuen Univ.) won the 1500 m A-heat, running 3:48.70.

Also on May 3rd, high schooler Tomoka Kimura (Chikushi Joshi H.S.) set a meet record in the women's 5000 m at the Fukuoka Prefecture T&F Championships. Her time of 15:55.26 was the 7th-best by a Japanese woman so far this season and the only competitive performance at the otherwise low-key meet.

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


Nate Jenkins said...

Yuki kawauchi has obviously become very well known but I haven't heard of his training partner, Saeki Makino, what kind of times has he run? 14:58, 14:54, 14:48 in the span of a couple hours is pretty good!

Brett Larner said...


I don't know too much about him. He graduated from Komazawa Univ., one of the best running schools, last year and lives in Saitama, the same area as Kawauchi. At Komazawa he wasn't part of their ekiden team and just ran for fun. It looks like he is running independently now and not for a corporate team. They both ran on the Saitama team at the National Interprefectural Ekiden in January, so I would guess that's where he and Kawauchi met. Best times I can find for him are:

5000 m: 14:25.97
10000 m: 30:09.42
half: 1:04:52
marathon: At Fukuoka last year he went through halfway in 1:09:05 but DNF'd after 30 km. It looks like that may have been his first try.

He set the CR, 1:02:38, at an apparently hilly 20km in Okinawa in late March.

Brett Larner said...

Here he is running Fukuoka:

He has the Saitama logo covered up but you'll recognize the uniform as the same one Kawauchi wore in Tokyo this year.

Nate Jenkins said...

Thanks Brett! I think if Makino is looking for a break through he has hitched himself to the right training partner!