Advice from Shiseido’s running coach, Mr. Iketani on how to set perfect running pace and timing of fluid intake for long-distance runners

In this sixth issue, Shiseido Running Club’s running coach, Ryo Iketani, explains how to set a perfect running pace and the timing of fluid intake for long-distance runners. This issue is a must-read if you participate or are aiming to take part in a marathon race!

Thu, Jan. 17, 2019

Mr. Iketani, who was a strong 1,500m and 5,000m competitive runner, answers common concerns when it comes to participating in a marathon race, such as “what pace should I keep?” or “when is the right timing of fluid intake?” etc. from his professional perspective.

ADVICEProfessional advice on running

Preserve energy for the latter half

If you’re a distance runner, you’re surely concerned about your running pace, right? In principle, when you run a long distance, it’s important not to run too fast in the early stage. If you use up all your energy in the first half, you’ll be soon exhausted, struggling to cross the finish line.

Especially, if you’re new to distance running or marathons, you may get ahead of yourself running too fast. So, even if you feel okay, try to slow your pace until the halfway point, so that you can keep a good pace and further expect to speed up in the latter half, in which runners start to feel fatigue. Even during daily running, it’s good to keep in mind that you preserve your energy for the latter half.

Proper breathing techniques keep a good running pace

Breathing also plays an important role in running at the right pace. Some runners may think that it’s okay to breathe as usual during a run, however, I wouldn’t recommend that. Breathe rhythmically in sync with the movements of your arms and legs while running. It’s important to develop a good rhythm, synchronizing your breathing, arms and legs.

During our daily training, I accompany the Club members on runs and pay particular attention to their breathing patterns, checking whether they’re in rhythm with the movements of their arms and legs. Some runners may say that a good breathing technique is “to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth” but I, personally, would rather go with mouth breathing, inhaling and exhaling through the mouth. Some female runners make a sound when they take a breath, and in fact it helps them to recognize if they are doing proper mouth breathing or not.

Take fluids in advance

Speaking of fluid intake, you must make sure that you take enough fluids before, during and after running, and as early as possible. During a race, it’s important to take fluids equivalent to “fluid loss via sweat”, depending on your running speed, body form and weather conditions, etc.

Take fluids once every 20 minutes or so during a run. If you feel thirsty while running, you’re already dehydrated, so even if you don’t feel thirsty, you must take fluids regularly. Of course, after running too, you must take enough fluids.

Thanks to Mr. Iketani for his advice on “setting pace” and “fluid intake”. Now, you may feel like going for a distance run, right? Here are tips for comfortable distance running, running bags and items to carry.


Run as light as possible!
Bags and items for a comfortable run

We want to run as light as possible, don’t we? Running without any belongings is, of course, the best style but you still need small items such as a mobile phone and keys even when you head for a short run. Furthermore, if you’re aiming for long-distance, you also need mid-run snacks and water, etc.

So here, we introduce useful bags and items to carry according to running distance.

Quick neighborhood running
Short distance of about 5km

●Items: mobile phone and keys
●Bag type: arm bag

If you go for a quick run, let’s say running about 40 minutes or 5km around the neighborhood, I would recommend an arm bag for carrying basic items such as a mobile phone and keys.

Many items have a Velcro strap, so you can adjust the fit to your arm, preventing it from bouncing while running.

Slightly longer running
Mid-distance of 10~25km

●Items: mid-run snack (1 energy gel), 200~500ml of water, mobile phone and keys
●Bag type: waist bag with bottle holder

When we run more than 10km, we must take fluids (depending on the outside temperature, though).
In such case, a waist bag is very useful because you can carry a water bottle in addition to a mobile phone and keys. With a buckle on the waist, you can easily put it on or take it off and adjust the fit. Some items have a tilted bottle holder, allowing you to handle a water bottle more easily.

Plus, if you run for more than two hours, nearly 20km, you may face the risk of “hunger knock”, a sudden loss of energy and fatigue which is caused by the low blood sugar. Even if it’s not so serious as hunger knock, running on an empty stomach is dangerous, so I would suggest that it’s better to carry a mid-run snack like an energy gel, etc.

Long-distance running
More than 25km, such as picnic runs, commuting runs, etc.

●Items: mid-run snack (1 energy gel), 200~500ml of water, mobile phone, keys, windbreaker and wallet
●Bag type: backpack

If you run more than 25km, which means you run more than two hours, you need good preparation. Needless to say, water and mid-run snacks are vital, but at the same time, you may also experience a sudden change of weather. It’s worth carrying an outfit such as a windbreaker, etc. to adjust body temperature. A slightly bigger but not too bulky backpack of 10~15L can be very useful. Additionally, highly functional backpacks with water proofing and a breathable back are also available, which are very handy too.

Some backpacks even have a hydration pack, which includes a drinking straw, so you don’t need to bother taking a bottle out of the bag. If you are a regular distance runner, it’s highly recommended.

The most important thing is running comfortably

You can run comfortably if you change the bag sizes according to the items (volume) you carry. But more importantly, you need to seek a good fit.
No matter what you choose, an arm bag, waist bag or backpack, select the one that comfortably fits your body while running. A loose bag may distract your focus, so if possible, try first to see if it fits you nicely or not.

I’ve just said that a mobile phone and keys will do when you go for a short run, but of course, this is only a reference. If you have a concern about your fluid intake, you can carry a bottle, etc. which is perfectly okay. Let’s aim for a comfortable, fun run.


Shiseido Running Club Running Coach

Graduated from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya. Came from Physical Training School to join Shiseido Running Club in 2016. Participated in the Japan Championship in Athletics where he was an active competitive athlete. Earns deep trusts from the Club members and develops good communication with the Club runners too. Puts his efforts into the pursuit of winning first place in an Ekiden race and nurturing future Olympic runners.