Link Love May 2015

As I’m spending more and more time on blogs I sometimes find some really nice blog posts that I’d like to share with you all.
Most of them are running related, some of them are not…

Some posts
Why I Started Running part two
I’m just a sucker for origin stories 🙂

Grins For Life
Wings for life had to be covered this month and it’s an inspired post.

Running Pet Peeves
Yes, I too hate punching holes through my clothes every race again.

Some tweets

Enjoy your weekend!

I Signed Up For My 6h Race!

As some of you might have noticed already in the right sidebar, my next race will be 11 July.
It will be a 6h run in Aalter on an official course of 2km measured by the IAU (Internation Association Of Ultrarunners)
Now that my heavy weeks are going well and I am confident (*knocks on wood*) that I will stay without injuries until then, I finally signed up officially.

The course in sky view

I’m heavily training for this as I want to break my distance record (~56k) as my duration record (5:57) on this.

I reckon it will be somewhat mind numbing at some points, but I see it as a big training for my ultimate 100k goal. The mind needs training too.

So wish me luck in the last weeks to stay injury free and I hope to do a nice recap with a massive runner’s high the week after July 11 🙂

46k Training … Exhausting!

Last Saturday I set out to run a nice bike route near my home. It’s mostly flat and would lead through a forest, some suburbs, the countryside and canals.
As I’m training for a 6h run in July, I needed to add some extra distance to my long run. This route was 44k, so perfect!

As you all know, preparation is everything for running this kind of distance and durations, so I layed out everything I needed to make sure I had enough supplies.
The weather got me doubting what to wear but I settled for my Tribesports outfit.
The short sleeves could end up being a problem, but I took my chances.

Preparation is key!

The route started about 2 miles away from my doorstep, so I took the bike there. An extra 4 miles wasn’t exactly what I needed at this point and in the end it would give me the opportunity to ride the stiffness out at the way home.
At the start there was a nice sign with the entire route mapped on it, so after a quick snap of it for some aid (you never knew…) I set out.

The entire route at the start/finish point

The first 21k/13mi passed at a reasonable pace. I ran consistent (6min/km=9.65min/mile) which was the pace I hoped to average on in the end.
Combined with a heart rate between 130 & 135 I felt good and strong.

Charming suburbs

Some nice piece of forest






The route was changing enough and pretty enough to be interesting, which helps a lot on these looong runs.

After the first half I felt my energy sapping.
The plan was to eat a date every 2km and something stronger (chocolate, meli-koek, piece of gingerbread) every 8-9km, but I felt I needed to adjust this to every 5-6km or I would be drained way before the end.

Just lovely sights!

Crossing the BE-NL border!






At about 30-35k I felt everything getting harder and harder.
My hip joints were getting sore and my knees were getting more sensitive. The breathing and the muscles however were still cooperating very well.
This all changed at about 38k.
I hit the wall. It wasn’t a big wall, but it was a wall none the less. My emergency caramel gel were promptly put into my mouth along with some gingerbread and a good deal of water and after struggling about 15min I felt it got slightly better.

Running next to the canal (watching out for bikers ;-))

But the best was behind me… I already knew at about 35k I would end up doing more than 44k (I was back on familiar terrain) and the last 8k I was struggling.
Not that I was totally kaput, but my heart rate was consistently at about 140 and my pace had dropped almost 30s per km.
To add to my “luck” the weather started getting worse, wind started swelling and was in my face, I got into a rain shower (short one, about 5 minutes) and I because of this all, my arms were getting cold. (this may sound more dramatic than it was.)

But I just kept going  and ended at about 46.5k.

Timing at the end.

I ended up eating/drinking:

  • 40gr of oatmeal with 250ml water and 1.5 bar of black chocolate for breakfast
  • 22 dades during my course
  • 2.5 bars of black chocolate during my course
  • 4 pieces of gingerbread
  • 3 meli cookies.
  • 2l of water (slightly too little, my head hurt in the end)
  • 0.5l of water during my stretching
  • 1 bar of chocolate during my stretching
  • 0.5l of recovery drink (protein)
  • 1 recovery bar (protein + carbs)

The aftermath is great, yesterday I wasn’t all that sore, but I was tired.
Today the same, no soreness, but I could have used some more sleep… But tonight I’m aiming at another 20k, heavy week 2 out of 3 is starting!

PS: If you’re interested in live updates, you can always follow me on twitter…


How was your long run? Seen some nice things during?
Ever ran a layed out route (for bikers)?

Tell Me About The Marathon

There are TONS of articles out there and even more blog posts that handle the mythical distance that Pheidippides ran somewhere 490BC.
Seeing that this is a mythical distance, I thought it would be nice to write down the general (training) experience and tips surrounding those daunting 42.2km or 26.2 miles.

1. Don’t try a marathon too soon in your career …

I have totally sinned on this one. I’ve started (serious) running February 2013 and did a marathon in October.
Looking back I should be lucky I’ve pulled this off.
It wasn’t all that wise and many people told me so, but it’s only now I can relate to their advice 🙂

Another reason to not run a full marathon too soon is that you should be able to grow to it.
First some 5k’s, 10k’s, 10miles, Half marathon, … so that you have always another goal to look forward to.

2. … but if you do, be happy with whatever time …

So if you care to ignore point 1 (as I did myself ;-)) don’t pin too much on a time.
Everything is a PR the first time, so do it at a pace you’re comfortable with.

After all, it’s your first time, that always needs to be comfortable 😉

3. … and always listen to your body during the training!

This applies to a first as well as a 80th marathon training.
Listening to your body is always rule #1!

If you feel injury coming up, don’t bite through it, it’s not worth it and it may come to a moment you need to cancel your race…

4. Eating And Drinking is important

You cannot run a marathon without some supplies. The amount differs from person to person, but fact is that you’ll need to eat and drink during the race.
You need to run far during a marathon, it’s obvious you trained for that.
You need to eat and drink during the race, yet a lot of people do not train for it during the weeks before.
Do it!

You’ll benefit a lot if you won’t choke on a banana or gulp more air than water down!
Hydration is important to prevent cramping muscles as well, so nothing than advantages to drinking (water of course :-))

5. Don’t try anything new on race day.

This is stated in practically every article about marathons, but it’s soooo true.
Run in the shoes you’ve trained in (not counting people who actually own race shoes and really know what they’re doing).
Run in the shirt you’ve trained a lot in.
Do not eat something before or during the race you haven’t eaten before. If your stomach starts cramping up, you’ll regret it for weeks!
ABSOLUTELY don’t decide to fasten your pace because the first mile goes very well, you have a long way to go.

It’s somewhat a mind game as well, if you run in all the conditions (except for the route and gazillion people around you) as you do on training, you’ll feel a lot more relaxed.

6. Enjoy the scenery, appreciate the volunteers/supporters, seize your day

A positive mindset helps a lot.
If you’re positive, every step feels lighter.
Look around you, enjoy the new sights. Say thank to the volunteer that ensures a safe passing, they do long days so everyone is safe.
High five some kids in the crowd, you’ll make their day.
Say an encouraging word to a fellow runner you see struggling.
This day has been marked in your calendar for weeks, so enjoy it to the fullest.

7. Ignore THE WALL

The Wall is something you read a lot about and before you know it, you just KNOW it’ll get hard in the last miles.
Ignore those articles. If you’ve trained well, hydrated well, paced yourself well, the wall won’t be all that high nor that thick.

Of course it’ll get hard towards the end, but this is what you trained for, you don’t need to be careful anymore. Right now you’re allowed to be sore tomorrow.


Something you’d like to add?
Or (dis)agree with, I’m always open for comments!

Morning runs are the worst … apparently?

Since I’m commuting on running shoes (a detailed lookback on this is coming…) I seem to be able to confirm a hunch I’ve been having for quite some time now.

My weekend long runs always start in the early hours (6-8 AM max) and it seemed my body always needed some waking up. It’s often that my heart rate/pace ratio only seem to normalize after about an hour of running. Often frustrating as it skews my training analysis, but I guess it’s part of the deal of doing long runs…

As I do the same run now often early in the morning and in the evening I can clearly see that my heart rate is a lot higher in the morning than it is in the evening.

Evening run may 08

Morning run May 08

You can see that the morning pace is slower and the heart rate always higher…

Evening run may 15

Morning run May 15

I don’t know whether this is due to ‘waking up’ or digesting (although I don’t always eat before my run) or hydration…
Googling the issue doesn’t really help much.
Most hits just babble about timing vs sleep etc.

So I guess I’ll just have to live with it. Although nothing life threatening nor really important, it can be frustrating at times (especially when I get out the door just in time ;-))


Does anyone have the same experience? Or maybe just the opposite experience?
Can you explain it?

Week Recap 222015

I’ve rested last week.
I “only” did 59k (~36 miles) and took some time catching up on sleeping mostly.

My shin pains (mild) and adductor muscle stiffness seem to be gone so I’m ready for an intensive week.
The goal is to insert more stretching in my daily routine and hope this helps for various little aches.

This week I’m aiming at a 100k week again.

Monday: 18k
Tuesday: 2x12k (to and from work with a detour)
Wednesday: 18k
Saturday: 44k

I’m already excited for this last one. Running more than a marathon for training is always a serious task.

Have fun running this week everybody!

Taking What I Can…

There has been an awful lot of wind the last weeks around here.
I don’t mind pounding against nature now and then, but after a while I’ve had it none the less.

Last weeks I’m running to commute (detailed post later :-)) and one of the advantages is now that I can always take a detour home without really touching the family time.

Wednesday I had 90 minutes in Zone 2 planned, but with a wind of 12ms/s (with bursts up to 14) and feeling tired I just stayed in and called it an early night (21:15 lights out :o)

Yesterday evening the wind was a lot less and after consulting The Girlfriend I agreed to do my 90 minutes then.

It was a while since I did a Zone 2 training on asphalt, the last weeks I always went running on the beach, so I didn’t know what my pace would be.
Turns out I managed to do a 4:45min (per km mind you) pace even with my backpack.

So with the lovely weather I decided to add an extra 10 minutes and got a semi-speedy half marathon for my training.
As you can see … I’m taking what I can 🙂


powered by EndomondoWP

Running: how to start?

As my friends know I’m an avid runner I often get asked how to start running.

I cannot claim I’m a running expert nor that I tell The Running Truth about everything, but there are some tips I give to everyone when asked this question.

1. Start running 3 times a week or look for a training plan

If you’re serious about running, start running 3 times a week.
My own rule of thumb is: 2x a week is maintaining condition, 3x a week is building condition.

You can just go out and start running the same lap for weeks on end and gradually build up the distance or you can search for a training plan online (see below)

2. Run-walking does not mean you are weak.

Depending on how much in shape you are or how much you weigh, it can be a challenge to go out and instantly run 5km.
In Belgium we have the ‘start ro run’ app and I know there are ‘couch to 5k’ apps out there as well.
The goal is the same, get to 5k of running in about 10-12 weeks.

If getting there means walking-running-walking-… during this process, this is no problem at all. When you keep on running this will get upgraded to running-running faster with interval training, so this is the start of speed work.
“But I’ve gone running for 20minutes and I barely broke a sweat” – Trust me: this will change 🙂

3. Don’t want too much too fast.

This follows up on my last sentence from tip #2.
It can be that you go running and barely broke a sweat, this does not mean you can skip a week in your training, they are designed like this with a reason.

If you do not follow a specific training plan, don’t just double your distance without thinking it through.
Your body (joints, muscles, lungs, …) needs to adapt to distance and impact. So build up slowly if you don’t want to get injured.

4. If you feel some joints struggling in your legs it might be time to buy proper running shoes

Proper running have an average high cost (it’s soon about €120) and that’s quite an investment if you’re not sure if you’re serious about running. The advantage is high though! If you can find a store where they can check your gait and do a funded proposition of running shoes it’s worth every cent.

Your joints will thank you, the chance of injury is much smaller and you will feel like you walk on clouds. Bear in mind that this is about the only investment you need to make. Clothing, water bags, … can be bought very cheap at the start of your running career, once you know what you like/dislike you can do some investments there as well.

5. Next investment should be a heart rate monitor.

I swear with running in heart rate zones. So once you kept up with running a month or two I usually say people need to buy a heart rate monitor.

A person’s natural pace is around his turning point (the point where you start producing lactic acid). During the start of your training that’s not a big problem. You come from “nowhere” and will automatically gain condition.
If you’re about 3-4 months further however you should start mixing up your training and do trainings at different heart rates, hence: you need something to be able to check this: a heart rate monitor.


What I usually don’t tell is the ground people need to run on.

I live near the beach and people often ask me if it’s better or not to run on the beach. I just cannot give a short answer to that.
For some it’s better, for most it’s not. Yes it’s softer and your joints will benefit, but that’s about the only advantage.
The beach is seldom flat or all proper hard sand.

Mentally it can be very hard because you won’t run consistent laps at all.
Especially if you have proper shoes,I’d say you’re better of with a flat stroke of asphalt.

Do you agree/disagree with this starting tips?
Do you have anything to add?

Bye April…

Goodbye April, helly May.

April has been kind to me. The weather didn’t really cooperate, but the mileage did go up!
Spring has arrived here for over a month, sadly it doesn’t show, nor by temperature, nor by hours of sunshine and especially not by a nice spring breeze.

April had one good week – weatherwise – which I took with both hands to start commuting by run.
This is the main reason I was able to build up my mileage a lot!

Strava overview April

I managed to get a whopping 306km!
This is more than January+February or February+March (February was not good to me…)

It’s also my 2nd best month ever since I started running March 2013. Only September 2013 does better with 324km.

My goal for 2015 of running 2500km is suddenly a lot more into reach than it was one month ago.

So how was your april month?
Managed to get the desired distance? Did any nice races?