Skip to main content

A Report From World Championships Marathoner Akaba on Boulder's Magnolia Road

http://ameblo.jp/redwing36/day-20110806.html

by Shuhei Akaba, coach and husband of World Championships marathoner Yukiko Akaba
translated and edited by Brett Larner

Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) training on Boulder's Magnolia Road. Click photo to enlarge and to see other pics from the workout.

This is our fifth report from the 2011 Boulder training camp.  This time we'll be looking at Yukiko's long run on Magnolia Road.  Last year we took part in the federation's Boulder training camp and learned about this course, where a lot of athletes who train in Boulder do long runs.  The road is packed dirt and starts at over 2400 m altitude, going as high as 2600 m within the 11-mile stretch that people run.  Boulder itself is at around 1600 m, so when you go up to that kind of height even light exercise leaves you feeling out of breath.

The course has a lot tough hills so it would be pretty rough even if it weren't at altitude, but having an average altitude of around 2500 m makes it harder and something more valuable.  Last year Yukiko was injured and couldn't do a long run workout there, instead just jogging it.  "I'm going to go out and get a clear mental image so that next year I can train here seriously," she said at the time.  Then this year when the time was right and she was ready for the final stages of her training she came back to run this course.

The surface of the road is extremely hard-packed dirt with some rough sections.  Like other places at high altitude there is a bewildering variety of weather.  At the start of the workout it was nice and cool, but partway through the sunshine became intense and burning.  Some parts of the course are relatively flat, but it is mostly continuous ups and downs.  The main point of the workout was to run without letting the up-down changes break the flow of her running.

On the uphills it was business as usual.  You could tell the effect it was having on her body because on the flat sections she looked like she had tasted something terrible.  I could see that this Magnolia Road course wasn't something you could just go run without being prepared.  If you are going to go train there you need to be physically and mentally ready.  You could say that the point of running on a tough course is to crack the shell.  If you can break through it then the sense of accomplishment can help lead to great things.

In this workout Yukiko went all out in her last surge.  It showed magnificently how strong and powerful her musculature has become, the solid, crystallized result of focused, intent running on seriously undulating courses.  There is no doubt she is ready to roll in the main event.  We're now into the last part of the Boulder training camp.  The race date has grown close but we're still keeping things in relax mode in our day-to-day life.  We want to keep things going all the way to the end without breaking this vibe.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Weekend Overseas Japanese Results

Lost in the luminosity of Eliud Kipchoge's world record and Gladys Cherono's women's course record at the Berlin Marathon were a score of Japanese results there and elsewhere overseas, ranging from the sparkling to the dull. Cherono and 2nd and 3rd placers Ruti Aga and Tirunesh Dibaba all broke Mizuki Noguchi's Berlin Marathon course record of 2:19:12 which has stood since she set that national record mark in 2005.

A kilometer behind Dibaba, Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) followed up her 2:22:44 debut in Osaka in January with a 2:22:23 PB for 5th, making her just the fourth Japanese woman ever to break 2:23 twice in her career. 2:23:46 woman Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) ran 2:25:23 for 7th, beating Tenmaya teammate Rei Ohara whose 2:27:28 put her only 10th but qualified her for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon trials, only the second athlete after 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) to qualify for the trials under the two-race average wildcard opt…

Running the 2020 Olympic Marathon Course Part Two - The Women's Marathon

Today marks two years until the women's marathon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. There's been a lot of concern about the 7:00 a.m. start time approved by the IOC two weeks ago as it means that athletes will be running under direct sunlight in temperatures in the low 30's and potentially high humidity. I went down to the Olympic Stadium site this morning and, starting at exactly 7:00 a.m., ran 30 km of the course to check for myself what kind of conditions the athletes will be facing.


If you're not familiar with Tokyo, take a look at the map to get a better idea of what I'm talking about. I ran from the stadium to the 20 km point and then back, cutting out the sections from 20 to 28 km and from 31 to 35 km which I'll do next week on the 9th, two years ahead of the men's marathon.
The bad news: The conditions were tough. With zero cloud cover and very little wind, at the time of the 7:00 a.m. start at the Olympic Stadium it was 31.1˚C with 68% humidity according…

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…