Post by Adrian Storr, an ALT in Hioki City
When I arrived in Kagoshima two and a bit years ago I weighed roughly 85kg (13.5 stone) and didn’t really do any exercise. During school and university I’d mostly kept my weight down by playing Rock Band drums a lot, but in the last year and a half of university my friends, and then I, lost interest in the game. As a result, during final year I put on a lot of weight. Now, 2 years later I’m down to around 73kg (11.5 stone) and it’s due to two things; running and elementary school lunch break.
I started doing the odd run in my first year around this time. I only ran around 2k around my little village back then, but it was enough for me to feel like it was a good way for me to lose some weight. For my New Year’s Resolution in January 2014, I decided that by the end of the year I wanted to run a half marathon. I managed this on December 7th 2014 at the Akune Bontan Road Race with a time of 1.49.17.
I’ve found Kagoshima to be a good place to run, especially outside of the city. It’s a great way to see nature here and a good way to relax and unwind while listening to some good music.
In Kagoshima, the running season is based during the winter, stretching from early December through to around March. This is great for two reasons. Firstly, unlike the summer, the winter here ranges between cold and cool with no humidity, allowing you to run in really comfortable temperatures. Secondly, for training, as your distances increase the temperature decreases, making running longer easier as the season approaches.
For training there are many resources you can find online for the various distances you can run. I took influence from several and made my own, but make sure you give yourself plenty of time to train. I’ve listed a couple down below.
When planning your runs, I recommend making sure you know your half way point, as it makes it easier to judge your speed for the second half of your run. Secondly, choosing music appropriate to both your pace and the current point in your run is important. Anything with too fast a beat will likely make you run too quickly. Anything too slow and it won’t have the desired effect of being a decent pacemaker. Also, you’ll want songs to pick you up and encourage you towards the end of your run, to help you go through the final kilometre or two. Two examples that I use are Survival by Muse and Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. If you have any other suggestions, please put them in the comments below.
Starting to run was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my time in Japan. It’s been a good talking point for people who’ve seen me running and has made me happier overall. There are plenty of runs happening in southern Kyushu and it’s a popular pastime here, so make sure to ask around and see what runs you can join!