Tomo Ihara’s 100-Mile Run on a Precor Treadmill
Tomo Ihara’s 100-Mile Run on a Precor Treadmill
Think about the longest run you have ever done. How far was it? Now think about what it would be like to run 100 miles. Crossing that finish line with tired legs, body, and mind. An instant feeling of accomplishment.
Now imagine running over 40 of those 100-mile races, but one of your most recent runs was unlike any of the other ones you’ve completed before. This is the story of Tomokazu Ihara, Asia Pacific Operations Manager for Precor. Hear in his own words about his experience running ultra-marathons, including a 100-mile run on a Precor treadmill.
"Every morning you have two choices… continue to sleep with your dreams, or wake up and chase them!" - Tomokazu Ihara
What’s your fitness story? What inspired you to start running?
Ten years ago, I used to be a big guy. I didn’t love my life as I love it now. I didn’t have the confidence that I have now. I wasn’t as passionate as I am now.
My first year at Precor, I joined a competition to see who could lose the most weight within three months using our Precor treadmills and Suunto watches for exercise. My goal was to run 5km every day for about 30 minutes. It was so hard at first, and I wanted to give up at times. I kept it up, losing seven kilograms within three months, and winning the competition! At that point, something had changed in my mind and running had become a part of my life. I tried trail running next – I loved the beautiful nature, the breeze of the wind, the smell of the forest, and the sounds of the birds singing. Trail running has changed my life. 5km turned into 15km, 30km, 50km, 100km, and now I run 100-mile races.
How has working at Precor/Amer Sports influenced your fitness journey?
It has changed my entire life in a way I could have never imagined. When I joined Precor back in 2007, I was out of shape and I couldn’t imagine running 100 miles on a treadmill. Life back then was a bit more boring than now. I completed my 40th 100-mile run on a Precor treadmill on August 25, 2017, with a time of 16:51:00.
What fitness awards do you hold?
I have finished 41 100-mile runs, with two wins. I’ve placed in the top 10 in nearly all of them.
What are the differences between running outside versus running inside on a Precor treadmill?
I specifically use the Precor treadmill for uphill training since there are no hills than can go longer than a treadmill. Also, when I ran the 100 miles on the treadmill, there was actually less fatigue on my body than running a 100 mile race on outside terrain.
What are the biggest mental and physical struggles to overcome when you’re running long distances?
There is no way to get around the mental and physical struggles. They will come anyway so you need to prepare and work through it. Mental and physical struggles are just the part of the sport. If you are going though it anyway, you might as well as enjoy the pain.
Do you have a strategy for making the miles pass faster, such as counting them down in your head?
I enjoy each mile. But I really enjoy the last 10 miles when you are counting down for the finish thinking about what you will eat and drink (mostly beer!) after the 100 mile journey.
How do you prepare mentally and physically for your races or long runs? How many miles do you run during a regular training week?
When I go for a 100 mile race, I will try and simulate the conditions of the race course-wise and heat-wise, so that I can be ready for anything that could stop me from finishing the race. Rather than training by running a certain number of miles each day, I go by hours. I run 2 to 3 hours a day for 10 days, take a day off, and then do the same 10 days again. I also do high intensity interval training (HIIT) two times within these 10 days.
What are your long-term fitness goals?
I would like to run 100 100-mile races.
Who is your biggest fitness inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is my friend in Japan who is 78 years old. He finished his first 100 miler at my 100 mile running event. He has proven that I could at least do the same when I am his age or older.
What advice would you give to anyone who is starting to pursue their long distance running passion?
100 miles is simply 1 mile times 100. Dream big but start small. You will get there if you want to.
How do you combine your role at Precor with your passion of running?
My job at Precor is to oversee the operational and service support for the entire Asia Pacific region. I have the chance to go to lots of countries in my region, and I realized there are many countries that are really poor compared to where I live in Japan, and it was heartbreaking. I asked myself, what can I do to help them?
I started collecting clothing donations during a 100-mile running event that I started. Even though my clothing donations to the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia are small, they are still making a difference in lives, and combine together to form a part of something big! I have donated a total of 403kg of clothing since 2014.
Want to see Tomo’s run? Watch it now!