TABLE OF CONTENTS
Race Information -- How to find (and register for) races anywhere in Japan
Japanese Running Magazines -- Also a good way to find races
Running Bulletin Boards -- Communicate with runners throughout the world
Various Links -- running calculator, Okinawa running club, maps, shopping, podcasts, running log, weight training, Run the Planet
Race Information and On-line Registration
The easiest way to find (and sign-up for) races in Japan is to search the following on-line data bases, or purchase one of the magazines listed below. Some races are only listed on one of the two lists; many races are on both. Unfortunately, information is only provided in Japanese, but the lists are simple, so even a modicum of Japanese ability should be sufficient. Even if you don't know any Japanese, you should be able to navigate using Google Translate. To navigate effectively, you should open two windows: one for the translation and one for registering (i.e. the Japanese page). As you advance through the steps of the registration process, just keep pasting the new addresses into the Google Translate window to get the translation for the new pages. Note that you cannot register or submit information through Google Translate. Filling in the various fields (i.e. name, address, etc.) for registration in English should not be a problem, however.
1. RUNNET provides a list of races throughout Japan, in order of the application deadlines. You can also search the database and apply for races on-line. Though convenient, you will have to pay a small processing fee. The data base also provides detailed information about all the races. In order to register for races on-line, you first need to sign up here. (The service is free.)
2. Sports Entry has a much larger data base, which also provides information for golf, swimming, cycling, triathlons, and many other sporting events. Race information is even more detailed than the RUNNET data base, and searches are much easier to perform. Just chose the prefecture, date, or sports category from the pull down menus, and hit the search button. You can apply for races on-line, but (free) registration is required. The English registration page is here.
Japanese Running Magazines
There are two major running magazines published in Japan: Running Magazine Courir and Runners, both of which are available in most bookstores. Both magazines provide long, detailed lists of upcoming races, along with information about how to sign-up for the races. Click on the links below for additional information (in Japanese) or to order back copies.
I prefer this magazine because it is geared towards more serious runners. The articles tend to focus on how to improve times by training more effectively. The magazine lists all races from the Sports Entry data base.
Geared towards beginners, this magazine has a lot of articles about how to finish a marathon or how to stay motivated during training. Races from the RUNNET data base are listed in the back.
For those of you living in Okinawa, the following magazine is a must!
Okinawa Marathon Guide
Released at the beginning of the running season (around November), this annual magazine has detailed information about all of the races in the prefecture, in addition to helpful information about running in Okinawa. Although the magazine is only in Japanese, you shouldn’t have any trouble figuring out the basic information. You can order the magazine on amazon.co.jp, but there are also huge stacks in most bookstores shortly after it’s released.
Running Bulletin Boards
Cool Running has training advice, detailed training programs, logs, and best of all, the most vibrant running community on the Internet. Post a question in one of the discussion forums, and you will have replies within a day. Most of the posters live in the United States, but many live in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Over the years, I've also met a half dozen or so runners that live--or have lived--in Japan. It's truly an international running forum! Posters are extremely helpful and supportive. I used to post frequently, so if you do a search, you shouldn't have any trouble finding some of my posts. (I'm smink63, by the way.)
McMillan's Running Calculator -- Input your time for a recent race, and the calculator will estimate equivalent performaces for every race from the 100 meter to the marathon as well as optimal training paces for all workouts. Distances are provided in both metric and mileage.
Okinawa Douraku no Kai Running Club Home Page -- Although entirely in Japanese, the web pages of this running club based in Naha, Okinawa provide up-to-date and thorough information on running in Okinawa. Unlike my List of Races in Okinawa, their list of events also includes some that are open to groups, held outside Okinawa, or limited to certain groups. They also provide timely announcements, such as when application periods begin and end. If you can read Japanese, this is an invaluable site for runners in Okinawa. It’s where I go to get my information!
Gmaps Pedometer -- This is an excellent site for mapping out distances for running routes anywhere in Japan. Just type your location in the "jump to" window, and then zoom in on your exact location. The maps are extremely detailed and accurate, so that I had no problem mapping out a route starting from my house. Once you map out a route, you can save it on the Internet for future reference. Routes can be laid out in English or metric units, and distance markers appear for every mile or kilometer. As an example, take a look at one of my favorite long distance runs: starting at Onoyama Park in Naha, head straight up Route 58, pass through Chatan, and finish at Kadena Town Hall. Route 58 Course
Road Runner Sports -- A great place to shop for running clothes while you are living abroad. The quality of the goods is superb and the service is pretty good, but some items cannot be shipped to Japan. Other than shoes, I buy most of my running clothes and accessories from this store. I especially like their split running shorts.
Phedippidations PodCast -- A quirky podcast put together by a runner for runners. In the show, Steve Runner provides listeners with "thoughts, opinions, observations, and rambling diatribes composed during weekend long runs." Steve is extremely responsive to listeners and has done a great job of creating a virtual running community. If you have an iPod, this is a positive and encouraging show to listen to on your long runs.
Garmin Connect -- If you have a Garmin GPS watch, this site allows you to upload all of the data on your watch. Very, very easy to use. After you purchase a watch and install the software, all you have to do is hold your watch near your computer, and all your data will be uploaded to the site. You can even review your runs on google maps. Highly recommended!
ExRx.net -- An extremely informative site with excellent advice on weight training. The site offers training programs, fitness information, and tiny videos that show you how to do just about any weight training exercise you can imagine. If you are at all interested in weight training, check out this site!