Hal Higdon marathon training
Tokyo Marathon Training: Weeks 1 to 5

Tokyo Marathon Training: Weeks 1 to 5

Training Weeks 1 to 5 in a nutshell

  • Birthday month! But training never stops.
  • Switched up some training days to accommodate personal plans
  • Figuring the right shoe
  • Long run hydration and nutrition
  • Did not take the “run slow” pointer on my first two weeks. Result: shin splits! 🙁
  • Vinyasa Yoga on active rest days, Yin Yoga on some run days
  • Cycling and climbing for cross-training
  • Mindfulness!


Hal Higdon marathon training
Hal Higdon marathon training

Long runs

Longest run so far was 16.10 km. 500 ml of water and 2 gels were sufficient. Took 1 gel and sips of water every 45 mins. GU Chocolate Outrage is the shiz! I would maybe take another 250 ml of water next time. I use Cali’s Nathan VaporKrar WaistPak on long runs. It’s big enough to fit an iPhone 8, a 500 ml soft flask, couple of GUs, a card, and some cash.

Shin splits

Upon research, I’ve come to understand that shin splits are common to beginner runners who aren’t yet adjusted to the stresses of running. The key is to take it slow. I became impatient on my 2nd week and pushed myself to run faster. The result was temporary pain on my anterior shins and left knee. There’s a tiny bump on my right shin that I think has been there before I even started training.


I do 4 runs a week. I went really fast on my first two weeks. I now do 2 easy runs (tempo), 1 workout run (threshold), and 1 long run where I sustain an easy-breath pace (tempo). I try to strictly observe proper breathing and posture mindfulness. The nagging pain that I felt during the 2nd week is long gone.

The right shoe

It took me months to scout for a pair of neutral running shoes only to find out that what I ended up getting wasn’t a good fit. I took the HOKA ONE ONE Cavu 7-1/2 sizing although I’m normally an 8. I started using it on my 2nd week – about the same time the shin splits came around. The sizing wasn’t what caused the problem though. My heel up to the arch just felt very uncomfortable with every step. After 3 days of easy running, 3 different sets of socks, and a total of 15 kms in, I gave up on them. I got them from the official HOKA store but it’s now way past the return period. It just wasn’t worth the injury. 

I have not fully given up on HOKA. They have other road to trail shoes that are on my watchlist that I’m looking forward to try after marathon training.

Brooks was never in my radar. I had my eyes on HOKA, Nike, or Asics the whole time. I went to the local Runnr store one time and tried on the Brooks Ghost and Brooks Levitate 2 after Cali’s recommendation. Impressive! Both were on a different price range, but the comfort that both shoe provided was comparable. After a few more hours of research, I ended up with the Brooks Levitate 2. It’s the more recent model of the two. I have been on it on for more than 50 KMs now and it has been fantastic! The knit shoe upper feels and looks great, I’m just not so in love with the heel collar.


I have on-going yoga practice. Prior running training, I feared that I might not find the energy to practice yoga with my training schedule. That wasn’t the case! I found yoga to be, more than ever, the perfect activity to counter the running-related soreness on the hips, quads, and sometimes even shoulders .

  • 60-min Vinyasa classes during my active rest days (Twice – Monday and Friday)
  • 60-min Yin yoga after running (Once – Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday)

A more focused cross-training

For the forthcoming weeks of training, I would be more committed to lower body strength training. I need more power there. I would continue to do cycling and climbing to build endurance.

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