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T-Minus About 100 Days to a National record - Part 3 of Hitomi Niiya's Training for a Half Marathon NR

Hitomi Niiya won January's Aramco Houston Half Marathon in 1:06:38, the fastest time ever by a woman born outside Kenya or Ethiopia at that point and a new Japanese national record. Over the last three days her coach Masato Yokota has published her complete training diary for the three and a half months leading up to Houston. This is part three. Read part one here and part two here. Yokota will answer any questions about Niiya's training left in the comments, so feel free.

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Thanks for coming back three days in a row. This is the third and final day. It covers December and January's training. You'll be able to see the final approach and sharpening phase. Speaking of which, the only training camp Niiya went on from October on was a week in Okinawa in December. The rest of her training was all done from home in the Tokyo suburbs.

Please do not reproduce this info without permission. You're more than welcome to give these workouts a go (although I can't guarantee you'll survive).

Notes in advance
・Runs were twice a day except on Friday and Sunday, which were once.
・Strength training every day except Sunday.
・Daily mileage totaled about 30 km. Fridays were 15 km, Sundays 20 km.
・r = recovery. Where the time was written, it was stationary recovery (not jogging to the next one, although there were times when she did jog)

December

Dec. 1 (Sun.): Minato City Half Marathon guest appearance (jog effort)

Dec. 2 (Mon.): jog

Dec. 3 (Tues.): 4800(1600+3200)x3, r5'
4:57.4 - 3:20.7 - 3:19.8 - 3:17.8 - 39.81 = 15:35.51
4:54.3 - 3:17.0 - 3:16.7 - 3:16.6 - 40.45 = 15:25.05
4:52.5 - 3:15.4 - 3:14.7 - 3:12.4 - 39.34 = 15:14.34

Dec. 4 (Wed.): jog

Dec. 5 (Thurs.): 1000x6, r400 jog
3:04.6 - 3:04.5 - 3:04.4 - 3:04.1 - 3:03.5 - 3:01.3

Dec. 6 (Fri.): jog

Dec. 7 (Sat.): 20 km
4:07.6 - 3:56.4 - 3:50.0 - 3:48.5 - 3:47.5 - 3:42.7 - 3:38.7
3:36.8 - 3:37.6 - 3:38.7 - 3:36.3 - 3:33.5 - 3:34.6 - 3:37.6
3:34.7 - 3:35.0 - 3:36.7 - 3:35.1 - 3:33.7 - 3:32.4

Dec. 8 ('Sun.): jog

Dec. 9 (Mon.): 400x10, r30" + 400x6, r30" - in Okinawa
72.25 - 69.78 - 72.64 - 71.11 - 72.51
71.36 - 72.57 - 71.86 - 72.42 - 71.23
71.36 - 71.86 - 70.90 - 71.12 - 70.37 - 70.42


Dec. 10 (Tues.): 12000 m pace run (on 1000 m loop)
3:51 - 3:43 - 3:39 - 3:38 - 3:36 - 3:35
3:38 - 3:31 - 3:33 - 3:29 - 3:28 - 3:26

Dec. 11 (Wed.): jog

Dec. 12 (Thurs.): 5000x3, r6'
3:09.2 - 3:10.9 - 3:10.0 - 3:10.1 - 3:09.7 = 15:49.9
3:09.3 - 3:10.3 - 3:11.6 - 3:10.6 - 3:07.3 = 15:49.1
3:10.0 - 3:10.9 - 3:12.4 - 3:14.5 - 3:08.2 = 15:56.0
*No pics or video from this workout as she looked too ready to kill someone afterward.

Dec. 13 (Fri.): jog

Dec. 14 (Sat.): 1000x8, r60"
3:07.35 - 3:07.74 - 3:07.18 - 3:07.11
3:06.52 - 3:05.94 - 3:06.14 - 3:04.02

Dec. 15 (Sun.): 24 km - last day in Okinawa
4:18.2 - 4:04.7 - 3:55.8 - 3:54.7 - 3:53.7 - 3:52.8
3:52.1 - 3:49.8 - 3:49.9 - 3:42.4 - 3:43.7 - 3:37.9
3:38.1 - 3:40.5 - 3:38.4 - 3:37.7 - 3:37.9 - 3:36.6
3:34.0 - 3:33.8 - 3:32.7 - 3:33.3 - 3:31.3 - 3:31.2

Dec. 16 (Mon.): rest

Dec. 17 (Tues.): 400x20, r30"
74.14 - 73.70 - 73.91 - 73.91 - 73.90 - 73.95 - 73.56
73.27 - 73.42 - 73.46 - 73.58 - 73.38 - 73.56 - 73.23
73.26 - 73.28 - 73.45 - 73.09 - 7342 - 73.09

Dec. 18 (Wed.): jog

Dec. 19 (Thurs.): 2000x4 uphill (r jog)
6:53.7 - 5:21
6:50.2 - 5:08
6:44.8 - 4:45
6:45.0

Dec. 20 (Fri.): jog

Dec. 21 (Sat.): 24 km XC
4:20.3 - 4:03.8 - 3:54.6 - 3:51.8 - 3:49.1 - 3:44.9
3:46.6 - 3:46.6 - 3:45.1 - 3:43.8 - 3:43.4 - 3:42.6
3:41.3 - 3:39.3 - 3:41.0 - 3:41.4 - 3:34.9 - 3:36.3
3:39.9 - 3:35.7 - 3:35.9 - 3:36.1 - 3:37.1 - 3:36.3

Dec. 22 (Sun.): jog

Dec. 23 (Mon.): 2000x5, r2'
3:09.3 - 3:10.2 = 6:19.5
3:04.8 - 3:06.1 = 6:10.9
3:08.5 - 3:09.0 = 6:17.5
3:04.4 - 3:04.7 = 6:09.1
3:08.6 - 3:08.4 = 6:17.0

Dec. 24 (Tues.): 12000 m pace run
3:44.1 - 3:41.5 - 3:35.8 - 3:39.4 - 3:36.9 - 3:37.1
3:35.6 - 3:35.5 - 3:36.2 - 3:35.2 - 3:33.3 - 3:33.2

Dec. 25 (Wed.): jog

Dec. 26 (Thurs.): 1000x8 uphill, r1000 jog (back downhill)
3:27.2 - 3:58
3:26.3 - 3:55
3:26.3 - 3:55
3:28.5 - 3:52
3:25.1 - 3:52
3:24.0 - 3:51
3:23.2 - 3:49
3:23.7

Dec. 27 (Fri.): jog

Dec. 28 (Sat.): 24 km long run
4:11.9 - 4:00.3 - 3:49.4 - 3:52.5 - 3:48.7 - 3:46.4
3:46.8 - 3:40.9 - 3:36.8 - 3:34.1 - 3:37.7 - 3:41.2
3:37.8 - 3:35.3 - 3:39.2 - 3:33.0 - 3:34.4 - 3:41.1
3:35.8 - 3:33.7 - 3:36.3 - 3:35.9 - 3:40.4 - 3:36.8

Dec. 29 (Sun.): jog

Dec. 30 (Mon.): 400x18, r30"
75.83 - 72.35 - 73.27 - 72.11 - 73.12 - 71.68
73.11 - 71.29 - 72.90 - 71.47 - 73.45 - 70.46
73.13 - 71.08 - 72.58 - 70.50 - 72.75 - 69.04

Dec. 31 (Tues.): 12000 m pace run
3:43.3 - 3:42.6 - 3:39.7 - 3:38.4 - 3:36.7 - 3:34.9
3:35.2 - 3:34.9 - 3:33.7 - 3:33.9 - 3:32.3 - 3:28.7

January

Jan. 1 (Wed.): jog

Jan. 2 (Thurs.): 1000x7, r400 jog
3:05.9 - 3:07.1 - 3:06.0 - 3:05.9 - 3:05.6 - 3:05.7 - 3:02.8

Jan. 3 (Fri.): 20 km
4:22.4 - 4:06.5 - 4:02.6 - 3:55.5 - 3:51.8 - 3:50.2 - 3:48.3
3:45.8 - 3:43.4 - 3:41.1 - 3:40.8 - 3:40.5 - 3:38.1 - 3:39.6
3:37.8 - 3:38.5 - 3:37.3 - 3:40.2 - 3:33.9 - 3:29.7

Jan. 4 (Sat.): jog

Jan. 5 (Sun.): 3000x3, r4', target pace 9:30
3:10.5 - 3:07.5 - 3:10.4 = 9:28.5
3:09.6 - 3:06.9 - 3:08.2 = 9:24.7
3:07.3 - 3:10.5 - 3:07.9 = 9:25.6

Jan. 6 (Mon.): jog

Jan. 7 (Tues.): 400x12, r30"
72.19 - 71.77 - 72.71 - 71.91 - 72.64 - 71.93
72.30 - 71.75 - 72.27 - 71.39 - 71.85 - 70.59

Jan. 8 (Wed.): jog

Jan. 9 (Thurs.): 1000x4, r400 jog
3:04.6 - 3:08.7 - 3:03.6 - 3:04.8

Jan. 10 (Fri.): jog

Jan. 11 (Sat.): jog

Jan. 12 (Sun.): National Women's Ekiden
10 km 30:57



Jan. 13 (Mon.): rest

Jan. 14 (Tues.): 12000 m pace run
3:44.23 - 3:42.66 - 3:38.44 - 3:38.73 - 3:36.67 - 3:37.20
3:33.55 - 3:33.60 - 3:32.38 - 3:31.70 - 3:28.09 - 3:26.36

Jan. 15 (Wed.): jog (flight to Texas)

Jan. 16 (Thurs.): jog (including 2nd half of Houston Half course w/pacer)

Jan. 17 (Fri.): 3000 m (w/pacer)
3:09.74 - 3:06.53 - 3:08.14 = 9:24.41



Jan. 18 (Sat.): jog

Jan. 19 (Sun.): Aramco Houston Half Marathon
15:37 - 15:34 - 15:52 - 16:10 - 3:25 = 1:06:38
・won by 1:30 over 2nd place
・Japanese national record
・fastest ever by woman born outside Kenya or Ethiopia (a Tanzanian has since run 1:06:37)



Afterword
Thanks for sticking with this all the way to the end. As you can probably tell, we didn't really do anything special in training, just doing the obvious, day in and day out. From mid-October on she didn't have a single interruption to her training. That training was based on principles of increasing load, maintaining continuity, and goal-specificity.

We've readily published her training diary because what you can learn from a training plan is only one part of what's important. Developing training that is "based on principles of increasing load, maintaining continuity, and goal-specificity" is the hardest thing for coaches to do properly with their athletes. It's the essence of coaching, and it's something that can't be conveyed just by looking at the training schedule.

I've enjoyed all your comments so far. They've given me a lot to think about.

source article:
https://note.com/twolaps/n/nb3983f8edbb6
translated and edited by Brett Larner

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Comments

Anonymous said…
Did you ever use altitude training? If so how long did you use it for?
Geoff Burns said…
Yokota, thanks so much for sharing this. Such detailed and complete documentation of an athlete’s technical preparation for a major performance is rare, and as such, this is definitely of value to the running world (and big thanks to Brett for the translation)

2 questions:

1 - What is the reason for doing the 12km pace runs (or similar session) the day after intervals?

2 - Does she typically do her main sessions in the morning or evening?
Post Paint Boy said…
At what pace does she do her easy recovery runs? Do you feel that 3mile (5km) pace +1:30/mile is too aggressive for easy days?
Rick Brauer said…
Can you list the daily strength exercises referenced?
LabradorRunner said…
Fascinating training block! I’d love some insights on what her 6 weekly strength training workouts look like.
Unknown said…
Dear Mr Yokota,

Thanks a lot for sharing this and big congratulations for the great performances. 2 questions:

- when she does the 12K pacerunning, is this done at her own feeling/effort, or do you prescribe/control the pace? Since it's a moderate effort (slower than her estimated marathon pace), how do you determine the pace? Did you maybe measure the aerobic threshold (where lactate goes above resting values) and does she have to stay below that pace? Or do you go by heart rate?

- the 3 x 4800m is an interesting session, where she started with 1600m at 74" per lap (3.05/K) so around her 10K race pace. After that, the next 3200 she goes back to 3.20-3.15/K so slower than half marathon pace. I was wondering what the idea is behind that.

Thanks! Hugo van den Broek

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