Cool corners of Kyoto (Adventures this week)

I’ve decided to reinstate my weekly training recaps, mostly for myself. It also gives me a chance to chronicle all the cool corners of Kyoto I’m exploring during my time here. Enjoy!

I’ve signed up for a 25K trail race on October 23, and I’m considering running another, longer trail race in November. This is mostly because I want to experience trail racing in Japan, and also have some motivation to keep my fitness level high. Since I don’t have as many options for alternative training here as at home, I have time to run quite a lot. So these months will be an interesting experiment in just how much I can run - without getting injured. Here’s how last week went down.

Monday: Rest day, AM yoga + body weight strength training. Quads were sore from the long descent off of Mt Fuji.

Tuesday: Run to the Imperial Palace including 6 strides, 11.1K. I was going to do intervals but I was feeling sluggish and decided to wait another day. I enjoyed the Imperial Palace park; there were actually some trails! It’s not super close to my apartment unfortunately, but I’ll definitely be back.

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Rainy morning selfie in the Imperial Palace park.

Wednesday: 8x400m around Nijo Castle. The circuit around Nijo Castle is rectangular, and the short sides are roughly 400 meters while the long sides are about 500 meters. So I did intervals on the short sides and recovered for the duration of the long sides. After consulting Daniels the Almighty, I decided to try to do the intervals at 3:49 /km pace. The hardest part about this was finding the right pace! My average paces were: 3:44, 3:47, 3:45, 3:50, 3:45, 3:46, 3:52 and 4:00. So, yeah, I went out too hard and basically bombed the last one. Pretty castle though! + 45min evening restorative yoga.

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Totally destroyed after the 8th interval at Nijo castle.

Thursday: Strength training + easy run along the river and through the Gion area, 7.1K. I wore my heart rate monitor to make sure I actually went super easy, but keeping my heart rate down was not a problem for once. I just cruised along, thinking about the interview I listened to recently on Running on Om with Runner’s World senior content editor Scott Douglas. He talked about running in Kenya, and how incredibly slow the Kenyans go on their easy runs. He described one instance where he ran a loop with his wife, who is a very casual runner, and then later he ran the same loop with the Kenyan marathoners. And guess who ran the slowest? The Kenyans!

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I may have also visited Mister Donut. Because, recovery.

Friday: I thought about talking another rest day, but when I woke up I felt like getting out, so I ran to Kiyomizudera temple, 7.4K. I don’t think going to Kiyomizu will ever get old! I had a lot more pep in my step than on Thursday, and my splits showed it. A lot of stopping at cross walks unfortunately, I still need to find the best routes to avoid waiting for traffic lights. 

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Kiyomizudera in the morning.

Saturday: Rokko-san traverse, 26.8K. So much more of which later.

Sunday: I went for a little run in the morning before I went to work, 6.2K (I don’t usually work on the weekend but I’m taking some time off next week). I wanted to run around Umekoji park near the train station, but there was some kind of festival going on and the nice running loop was closed off. So I ran a longer route home, and it started to rain. And did not stop. Actually working in the nice dry lab was a good use of the day considering how much it rained.

Weekly totals: 71.3K, 1549 m of climb (1400 on Saturday alone!), 8h59min.

- The Wild Bazilchuk