My Lactic Acid Test

About 2 years ago I went running on a treadmill and had my ear pricked every 3 minutes.
What I learned there was that my base could be a lot better and that the shape I was in at that time did not offer a good breeding ground to do a sub 3:30 marathon.

I proved the advice wrong (barely), yet I feel I could not have achieved it without the test itself.
Running on heart rate is golden for me, it gives me a sense of security and supports me on a day-to-day basis.

About 2 months ago I went for an update, this time “in the field” (on a track is more correct).

The general idea was the same: run at a specific intensity, pause, prick some blood, put down the timings and go running at a somewhat heavier intensity.
Difference was at treadmill they crank up the speed, here I needed to watch my heart rate constantly.

So I managed 6 times 2k and shortly after that I had to push it all out over 600m to find my max HR.

For the number minded people: a comparison. My take on these numbers are underneath.

2013 2015
Recovery 134-143 <140
Z1 144-155 140-155
Z2 156-161 155-162
Z3 162-167 162-169
Z4 168-173 16-17.5km/h*
Z5 174-182 >17.5km/h*
Anaerobic threshold 168 @ 14.2km/h 168 @ 15.15km/h
Max HR 182 @ 16.8km/h 183 @ unknown (didn’t press my Garmin button properly)

* The 2 tests were with a different firm, the second one opts to only give speeds at intensity levels as HR can fluctuate too much in their opinion.

So after 2 years it turned out that:

  • The last year or so I did my long runs too slow
  • My speed really picked up
  • I have consistent zones once above my threshold.
  • There is still room for improvement on my total capacity, which means I should be able to get even faster.

Good times coming 🙂

Any of you ever did some test like this?
Did you think it upped your trainings?

Crushing The Long Runs

There has been a lot of changes in my training regimen since Summer, which I all want to share, but somehow I don’t seem to come around to writing more than 2 sentences at once.
So more is coming … probably 🙂

One of the things that have changed since Summer is the time slot of my long runs. The weekends are always super busy and with a 18 months old daughter and a SO that works 1 weekend out of 2 it isn’t always fun to run away (literally…) for 3h or so.

So we came to the agreement that I put my long runs Wednesday evening (or if that doesn’t work, the Monday) and it seems to be working.
In September I’ve managed to do 4 long runs –  1 20k (~12.5 miles) and 3 35k’s (~21.75 miles).

It’s especially with those last 3 I’m very happy! I’ve done a new lactate test on the track in the beginning of september (more later…) and it turned out that I can do my long runs faster (among others, but again, more later :-))

This meant that, three weeks ago, I went for a 3h long run, which is nothing new per se, but it did mean I was going to:

  • Up my distance from ~30k to ~35k
  • So +16.6% in distance
  • and about +11% in speed

But I can say I pulled it off and am very very happy with it, because last 2 weeks I did it on Wednesday after doing already ~30k combined on Monday & Tuesday.

This gives me a new baseline and a very bright perspective for the future!

Running 100k A Week

In order to optimally prepare for my 6h race that’s coming up I felt I had to step up my game and run more distance per week.
Feeling comfortable with 100k a week was the goal to achieve, but never before having run 100k in one week, this was somewhat challenging.

For me it was a somewhat magical line, that’s why I want to share my experiences with you all.

Make sure you do it in enough runs

Don’t go out as a madman and keep on running until you practically collapse so you only have to do three runs for making it to 100k.
There are seven days in a week and with the rule of thumb of ‘the long run = 1/3 of your total week’ you can even have a rest day (or two) if you plan properly.
I commuted by run to work and easily could go for a 20k a day without really tapping into my family time.

Rest afterwards

Afterwards being the week after.
Especially after breaking the barrier a first time you’ll feel tired. No problem, take a calm week and go back to your comfortable week distance.

Don’t overdo your long run

Sort of covered this in the first point, but don’t go out and suddenly do a long run that’s double as long as your normal long run. Your system, joints, muscles just won’t take it…

Skip the interval/high intensity for a while

70% of my runs were in my lowest heart rate zone (~60% max heart rate), the rest was one zone higher (~70% max HR).
I steered clear of intervals and high intensity for a while, because tomorrow and the day after and the day after … I needed to go running again 🙂

Listen to your body, as always!

I cannot repeat this enough in all of my “advice” posts.
Listen to your body! Always!
Pain is bad, not just an annoyance.
It’s normal to feel stiff or sore, but pain (stabbing, constant, …) pain is a clear signal that you’re not ready yet.Trim down for a while and try again.

It’s more than running alone.

Once you’re at the point of 100k a week you should know that your body benefits from more than running alone.
Clean, healthy eating and a decent amount of sleep (~+1h per week for every 10km) is paramount if you run distances and as frequent as this.

Make it your new comfort zone

This was my goal, feel comfortable running this much so it doesn’t feel like “having to”
At some point I ran 300k in three weeks and yes my body needed rest after that, but every day I went for “just another run”, which felt nice.


Did you break 100k a week? Was it as much planning for you as it was for me?
Or do you have another ‘mental barrier’ that you want to break in one week someday?

Goals For 2015: Halfway Evaluation

Hooray July! Welcome summer!
We’re halfway through 2015, so it’s time for an overview of my goals for 2015.
3 months ago my quarterly evaluation could be better so let’s see if it’s already better.

2 ultra distances
Nope, not even one ultra yet.
At least, not in a race. Furthest training has been 46km, so technically I’ve done an ultra already, but I’d say it doesn’t count.
Next week will be my 6h race, so first one is definitely covered!

+2500km of running

I have not yet covered 2500km, but I am ahead of schedule, so I’m hopeful.
I should have done 1250km by now and already covered 1476km, which meant I’ve done a whopping 1020km since April 😮

Break distance record (currently ~57km)

Nay, let’s keep them fingers crossed for July 11

Break duration record (currently 5:51)
See above 🙂


  • PB on the 5k
  • PB on the 10k
  • Marathon under 3:20
  • Run a nice trail just to enjoy the scenery (chance is, I’ll already get this at the end of January)

I did the last one with Trail Du Mont and will do it again with Trail Des Fantomes in August.
Funny thing is that ‘PB on HM’ is not included above, but I did achieve this already this year...


So how are your Goals going for 2015? Will you make it or do they need some adjusting?

No More Heavy Weeks

That was basically my feeling after my Saturday run.
The last 100k week before my 6h run July 11th and I’m not really sad about it.

I felt like I was reaching the verge of overtraining: Constant tired, not really feeling like running, massive hunger all the time, …
So it seems it’s not a week to early to end my heavy weeks.

Three weeks before my race and I plan on doing 2 weeks of 70k (both in 3 runs, so plenty of rest days) and the last week will be tapering (it’s a must ;-))

I have some nice runcommute pictures of last week I wanted to share with you to start this week.

Commuting On Running Shoes

I’d like to offer a first evaluation of my time commuting on running shoes.

The first week

I was not properly organized, which meant I had to start with what I had “in stock” around my house.
So I took my 20l hiking backpack and packed it with all my clothes, towel, soap, shoes, lunchbox, …. Put on my running clothes and shoes and off I went.

First impression “this is awesome, I’m running to my work, FFFRREEEDOOOOM!”
Second impression “This backpack is not OK for running to my work”.

Second day I tried pushing everything in my trail backpack that holds my camelbak. Waaay to small.

So although running to work felt like a good idea, I soon realized that preparation is everything (isn’t it always…)


General preparation nowadays

I bought a new backpack at Decathlon that was suited for long trailruns.
I think I’ll write-up a review some day for it, because it suits me pretty well for my needs.
The biggest plus about it, is that the band around the waist is with velcro. Why didn’t anyone think about this earlier!

Along with the new backpack I decided to leave an extra pair of shoes and one of my older jackets at work. I do not need these during my run and as I have a desk job, it’s ok it’s one of my older, more worn, jackets.
This way I could free up some space and my was my backpack more than big enough for my needs.

All of my stuff I need layed out.

I also have a small towel with fast drying microfiber which is just big enough for a quick shower at work.

Then it’s just rolling everything neatly in a roll and start filling the backpack.

Everything neatly rolled

Still got some space left

The Dangers

  • My running form seems sloppier with a heavy backpack. It’s not rare I end up with stiffness in my lower back. That’s something new for me that I can work on.
  • The weather is unpredictable… Running to work is running home as well. Weather can change a lot during the day. I don’t really mind, but your clothes could end up wet…
  • Running too much.
    I had a sense of new found freedom and upped my weekly mileage too much in the first week. I needed to restrain myself or I knew it would be too much for my body.

The Big Advantages

  • Sense of freedom. You step out of the office and have an instant feeling of being liberated.
  • Easy way to get your weekly mileage up.
  • You run new routes

If you have any questions whatsoever I’ll be more than happy to  answer them.
Hit me up in the comments or

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!