Tag: ultra


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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 goingย  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)?


Race Recap: 50k Maasmechelen – My First Ultra

A while ago I talked about my decision to my step to ultra.

After some nice months of training, I felt ready for my race.
Seeing it was the first ultra I was going to undertake, it was a plunge in the deep.
Therefore I set out with a goal with a big margin.
I was happy to finish under 5h and hoped to get in the 4:30 region.

Race day conditions seemed good and after waking up, a carb loaded breakfast and a 2h drive I arrived at the scene.
The race was part of an ultra weekend. Together with the 50k, there was a 6h run, 12h run, 24h run and a 100k run, so the scene was buzzing with excitement and a lot of fit people were walking around.
Somewhat nervous I got to the start after having some last water and a toilet break.

The race consisted of 4 laps, all on solid and flat ground, basically the biggest reason I had chosen this race.
100k and 50k started simultaneously, but our race got a head start of about 500m so the pack was thinned out.

There were 3 food/drink stations over the course of one lap, which meant I would mainly rely on what was provided.
I had left a camelbak with water, gels, dades and bananas with my girlfriend who would stay with our 3month old at the cafeteria at the start/finish in case of “emergency”, but I hoped I would not need it.
I also had left a bag with sugar water, a banana and a bar of dark chocolate at the 2 stations during the lap for backup.
This way I felt fairly confident I would not have hydration nor food depletion issues and that my stomach would hold up.

When the gun went off, I went out too fast, which by now is just normal. First lap: 5:17… Bear in mind I was aiming for 6minute laps and hoping for 5:24 laps (per km mind you, not per mile ;-))
Although I went off way too fast, a lot of people passed me. Second km I managed to pace myself (5:31) and not look at all the speeders.

After 4km I found my own pace and got into a small pack of runners.
First lap went very well and ended after about 1:07:00, which meant an obliterating success.
I still felt strong and decided to keep on running this same pace.

Second lap went just about the same way and just like that I was halfway my ultra.
Weather was good running-wise: overcast with sometimes just the slightest drizzle and a nice 17ยฐC and I was having fun. So off to the second half.

My heart rate slowly started rising, so I knew my body was starting to feel tired. I made sure I stopped for the necessary time to eat and drink enough at the stations.
Constantly cramming a lot of sugar in my mouth really helped my legs. At the last station during my third lap I decided to drink some Coke and I don’t know if this was the trigger or it was just generally tiredness, but … there were the gut cramps ๐Ÿ™
I had passed the start/finish point about 10minutes ago and knew there wasn’t any toilet available until the near end. I would be unable to make it like this, so went behind a tree.
First time ever this was necessary, thank god for the tip of always taking toilet paper.
Plus side: it helped me a lot. I felt relieved and strong for the last part.

Last 15k I decided to try to step it up a bit and km 42 actually was my fastest one! (4:48)
So in all honesty I can say the last part was just fun as I could still push myself and just like that I ran my 2nd marathon time in 3:39 and my (official) end chrono was 04:23:00.

First ultra: CHECK
Ended it in a hoped time: DOUBLE CHECK
Not walking like a disabled person week after: Not so check ๐Ÿ˜‰ – Quads were sore after, but it was manageable.

Thank you for reading my report ๐Ÿ˜€

My Step To Ultra

As you might have read on my blog here before I’ve run a marathon in October 2013. (Posts here, here and here, race recap here).
Seeing that the marathon is a mighty big goal, I lacked motivation once finished to continue running for a while.
I still enjoyed it, it helped me relax etc, but feeling that I had nothing to achieve gnawed at me apparently.
This went on for about four months and then I got invited to join a noncompetition trail run at half an hour drive away.
I went there with a couple of friends whom I never met before in real life, but chatted a lot online.

The run was 25km (~15.5 miles) with some nice hills and about 85% off-road. Nothing too hard, but much more enjoyable than constant asphalt.
We went out at about 5:30min/km and roughly continued at this pace the entire run.
Coming towards the finish I still felt very strong and had the feeling I was able to add a lot more distance if it were necessary.
The day after I wasn’t too sore, nothing worse than a tough interval day.

It than came to me that ultra maybe was possible.
If 25km went this easy, I felt obligated to myself to give it a shot.

We’re talking March-April 2014 here and after some looking around on the Internet I found a nice and easy 50k run at Maasmechelen at the end of June.
It consisted of 4 laps and knowing my daughter was coming (turned out to be April 15), I thought this the best for my girlfriend. This way she could come along and see me a couple of times passing without having to drive around herself.

So this meant I needed to start training.
For my marathon I hadn’t really followed a strict training plan, so I figured I wouldn’t look for one now either.

I focused on upping my mileage steadily with some stabilization now and then. Once again, being a ‘new dad’ meant I had to compromise towards my running (with pleasure off course :-), so I only had the time for 2 runs in the week and one long run in the weekend.
In the end I started with:

  • 1 run in my Zone 1 (Heart rate zones, see here…) for 70 minutes
  • 1 run in my Zone 2 for 70 minutes
  • Long run of 22km

And decided to go with:

  • 1 week adding 5 minutes to my Z1/Z2 runs
  • 5k adding (first time 3 to come at a proper distance) to my long run
  • Running the same as the week before

Rinse and repeat…

I had 12 weeks to go and managed to follow it quite strictly

50k schema
My schema

Ending with a 40k run, which was 80% of the distance made me feel confident about the race to come.

Race report coming in a later post, hope you enjoyed ๐Ÿ™‚


Goals For 2015

I gave it a lot of thought and decided on my running goals for 2015.
The major doubt was if I could spent as much or more time in 2015 on running, but after putting the schedules together, J. and I decided it was an option, with a peak somewhere near summer as one of the major possibilities.

So here it is, my goals for 2015:
2 ultra distances
And in these 2 I plan to take on one at least one trail, which means about 90% off-road.
This is nothing extra from 2014 per se, but more to follow ๐Ÿ™‚

+2500km of running
2500km ~= 1553miles.
2014 I’ll strand on 2274km (~1413 miles) give or take.
I planned for 2014km in 2014, and I obviously went way over.
My goal means an average of 210km (~130mi) per month, so this is no small goal.
If I run like this year and make sure I don’t have “down” months like Jan or Feb, it’s definitely possible!

Break distance record (currently ~57km)
Running further in one race or another would sure add to a nice year.

Break duration record (currently 5:51)
This goes for the duration as well.
I’m strongly doubting to run a 6hour run in 2015, if I should do this, I’ll definitely break both.

I have some nice-to-haves as well. It would be great to get these as well, but they are not really complementary to the above goals, so it would be logical if I wouldn’t get them.

  • 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)

Be sure to link me up to your goals for 2015, I’d love to read about them!