Stepping Up The Nutrition Game

Recently I followed an online course at Shaw Academy called ‘Sports and Exercise Nutrition – What Fuels Energy Systems’.
I had the luck that I found out about it through an online action, so I paid €5 instead of €395.
If you would happen to stumble upon it through Groupon or whatever, I’d say go for it, because I learned a lot from it in function of my long distance running.
There’s a lot of trivial info, but seeing it all aligned and being able to adapt it for yourself helps a lot.
Just to show what I’ve learned I’ll show you the calculation I did for myself and some conclusions I’ve made because of it.

Some sideinfo:

  • I weigh ~72kg
  • 1g CHO (carbohydrates) = 4 calories
  • 1g PRO(teïnes) = 4 calories
  • 1g fat = 9 calories

First step: finding my CHO intake

I’ve put myself in the ‘Competitive – moderate’ because I do 3-5 training sessions between 1 & 3h.
This means 6-8g carbs/kg

Second was my PRO intake

A bit harder to find
I chose ‘Moderate intensity endurance athletes’ with a range of 1.2-1.5g/kg so I had some room to manoeuver…
The course went into length about the PRO intake and said you can safely up it to 1.8g/kg without side-effects, …
They give a fuller feeling when eaten, so I figured, if I eat too much of one of the macronutrients, it might as well be my protein.

Total Calorie intake = RMR (Resting Metabolic rate) * PAL (Physical Activity Level)

I’m 28 & male ==> (15.3*72)+679

Chose Moderate ==> 1.7-1.9

I averaged everything out, soooo …

RMR * PAL = ((15.3*72)+679)*1.8 = 1780.6*1.8=3205.08 calories/day (before I ate about 2500)

CHO average = 7*72 = 504g ==> 2016 calories
PRO av g= 1.35*72 = 97.2g ==> 388.8 calories
CHO+PRO = 2016+388.8 = 2404.8 ==> 800.28 remaining ==> 88.92g vet

At running days I try to go higher on the low-fat/high-carb ratio than on non-running days.

This is all very theoretic of course, but I’m roughly a month into this new calorie regime and have noticed that:

  • I run better
  • I’ve lost a bit of tummy fat (my hardest region)
  • crave less junk food (I eat/ate too much crisps in front of the TV)
  • I get to eat more, because it’s “better” food and do not need to starve myself.

If you happen to have questions about this, feel free to hit me up in the comments.

Goals For 2015: End Evaluation

Fa la la la laaaaa…. Merry Christmas everybody, what better time to evaluaty my goals for 2015.
3 months ago my quarterly evaluation could be better, 6 months ago my halfyear evaluation wasn’t all that better, let’s see what the end evaluation is…

(Three quarters failed to be written up, so it’s a bigger leap than last posts…)

2 ultra distances
From one I was certain: my 6h race I did in July.
This was one of my major goals for 2015 and it went … well enough (click the link for an elaborate review.

The plan was doing another ultra somewhere near december, but starting from mid November sickness and lack of motivation got the better of me, so it seemed for a while I wouldn’t be running another ultra soon.
But suddenly an event called ‘Warmathon’ appeared, this was 5h of running in every province’s capital.
I wanted to join in Brugge, but did’t know my current form… However I wanted to run the full 5h, even though I decided to take on a slow pace. So last monday I ran about 52km (See Strava). I plan to dedicate a full post to this one in the near future…

+2500km of running

Hooray, according to Endomondo I have now 2646km (~1644 miles), so not only did I make it, I feel like I’ve crushed it.
Very very happy with my progress across the years.

Month Overview of 2015

Year overview Endomondo



Break distance record (currently ~57km)

July 11 I ran the 6h of Aalter and ran the furthest and longest time I ever did for now.
Separate post here with all the details.
Still very proud of this achievement!

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


  • PB on the 5k  Did not run any 5k race
  • PB on the 10k Did not run any 10k race
  • Marathon under 3:20  Nope, but PB’ed (see below)
  • 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 did it again with Trail Des Fantomes in August.

Not a goal, but notable:

PB Marathon: ~3::23 at the end Of October with my brother.

PB Half Marathon ~1:30 at the end Of October with my brother.

End thoughts:

Although I always think I don’t run a lot of races, it seems that my 2015 was filled with races I’lll remember for a very long time!
Running-wise it was DEFINITELY a great year.
Still thinking about the 2016 goals, so it could be they only get written up after New Year…

Did you achieve (almost) everything you wanted to achieve in 2015?
Why (not)?
Be sure to link me up in the comments!!

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?

Race Recap: Marathon van Brabant October 25, 2015


Sometimes life just goes and goes and suddenly you realize you haven’t written a blog post in almost two months 😮

This will hopefully be the first of many again!

You might know or not know that my first marathon was the ‘Marathon van Brabant‘ two years ago.
I chose this marathon then because it’s a nice calm one, 2 loops in a nice environment on various terrain.
Obviously I ran a PB, but I also managed to run under 3:30, my dream goal back then.

This year, my brother wanted to run his first marathon and was looking for somewhat the same specifications as I was looking for two years ago: nothing too crowdy, nice terrain, not too expensive.
Seeing that I really enjoyed my run in 2013 and knew the supply points were ok and the volunteers were super enthusiastic, I recommended Marathon Van Brabant.
The choices in this period for a marathon are limited here so putting it all together, he decided to run it. I said I wanted to be there when he ran to encourage him, but around three weeks before we just decided it would be more fun if I ran along, which I did ^^

Race Day

The marathon started at 11:45 and we had a 1h40min drive before we got there, so around 9 I stood at Nico’s (my brother) doorstep so we certainly would be on time.
The drive itself was uneventful (carb stocking!) so we got there really on time. Picking up Nico’s bib and registering myself went really smooth, which meant we had about 45minutes to kill.

Hey ho, let’s go

We strolled to the starting line, where the family run just started. It was great to see all those moms and dads going with their child(ren) through run. We saw some really red faces, adults and children alike, because it was sometimes very clear that mom/dad wanted it more than son/daughter and vice versa and who was trained better than who. But it certainly made for a light mood around the starting line.

After seeing the 5k start, we went back to the changing rooms to make final preparations (toilet!) and headed to our corral of sub 3:30 (there were only 2, where 3:30 was the border).
292 registrations made sure there wasn’t an awful lot of shoving going on at the start, one of the biggest reasons to choose this marathon.

Chipper before the start

Once the gun popped we went out and made sure we weren’t going too fast (spoiler: failed) and took in the crowd, scene and weather.
The weather was really good for the time of the year, almost a little too hot. Wind was okay, so it promised to be a nice race.

The aim was going at a 4:50m/km pace (~7:46m/mile) aaaaand we blew it the first kilometers although we were sure we wouldn’t. (4:36-4:33-4:45-4:48-4:41)
Not bad for a 5k, especially in a marathon :-/

Luckily we found our pace after this and managed to run at a fairly consistent pace while putting some time in the bank, which I usually tend to try in the longer distances for when the times get rough. (They usually do).

The first half went really good and we clocked our half marathon 1:39:25, so on cruise speed for the goal:

  • Goal was 3:30
  • Stretch goal was 3:25
  • Dream goal was 3:20

But we all know a marathon only really starts at 30-35km.

In all of his training my brother sometimes had severe cramps, so it was a rational fear that this would happen during the marathon. He took every precaution possible: drank lots and lots of water and sport drinks, ate bananas, dates, … but alas, it was of no avail.

First cramp hit at about 32km, after some stretching he managed to go and run again.
At 36km however we had to make a quick pit stop again and at 41km it really hit.
We had the luck there were 2 children cheering with a chair, so a quick stretch session later we were going for the last piece.

It’s for this that I was happy I tagged along, it’s a lot easier to give a mental boost if you’re running side-by-side. I did my best to keep on motivating and pushing him forward (figuratively off course).

I did my share, but Nico certainly did as well. It’s great to see how good he is at clenching his teeth and keep pushing forward to his goal.

Once we reached the finish line we were both as happy could be with an official time of 3:22:20.

Post Race Thoughts

I’m really happy I did this with my brother, achieving things like this together really tightens our bond!
Further: I started to get in some trouble at about 35k, but with the pauses of the cramps I managed to finish with a more than decent feel.
Which basically means in 2 years time I really evolved as a runner. I shaved 7 min of my marathon time with some gas in the tank left.
So good times coming 😉

Strava & Endomondo stats right here

Full result here: (VolledigeUitslagenMarathonBrabant2015) (only one available places everyone in age groups)

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!

Unexpected Golden Legs

After my Trail Des Fantômes I took a week off (although I’ve done some small runs that week).
After that it was a week of work and decent running (70k week) and lastly last week I took another week off without running. I got back Friday and did a 2h sloooow run on Saturday. Someone I know went on a 6h solo run and asked a bunch of people for support.

So all this writing is mainly to show that resting can help.
Yesterday I went on my scheduled run, but because there was quite some wind I decided to do a Zone2 run instead of a Zone1 run (more on my zones here…).
In my Z2 runs I normally aim at a 4:44m/km pace (~7:37min/mile) and from the start I dove under that.
Even after 5km it was still going great despite it was headwind. I knew I would have the wind in my back going my back so I was hoping for a more than decent run.

The Best partial timings according to Endomondo

Going back I started with about 4:22, so 22seconds faster than aimed.
Some quick counting showed I could manage a half marathon under 95 minutes if all went well. So I decided to add about 5 minutes to my training and I got my half marathon in 1:34:21.
According to Strava this is my second best half marathon ever!

(See it on Strava or Endomondo)

So do you ever run an awful lot better than you’d expect?
Has previous resting something do to with it then?

Race Recap: Trail Des Fantômes

Yet another trail run in the pocket!
Last week I went running Trail Des Fantômes with my brother.
We agreed on running this trail and adding some well deserved time off to it.

This meant we arrived at La Roche-En-Ardenne on Saturday, setup the tents with the family, had a first rough night (party at the camping) and woke up looking forward to the race.

The day set out to be better than expected, so I decided to bring along my camelbak, but just to be sure wear a T-shirt rather than a tank top.

At the start my brother was surprised by a local news station with an interview, I just smiled from a distance. After picking up our bibs we browsed the runners-market and waited for the start.

Interviewed Brother

When the gun went off we tried to get in front of the big pack as we knew the race started with a rather steep climb. These are always easier if you can keep your own pace.

Height profile 31k

The first climb was steep, I instantly felt my calves blowing up, NOT a good sign. First trail I started walking after less than 3km, but looking around me I wasn’t the only one, which was comforting in a way.
I saw my brother swiftly running up the mountain, he sure had a golden start of his first trail!

Starting in the big pack

Up until the first supply point I kept on struggling. I seemed to be too hot and felt rather weak, not a fun feeling only 8 out of 31km into the race.
I decided to eat quite a lot of sugar and salt in the hope it would relift my spirits.
I told my brother he shouldn’t wait for me if I kept struggling like this, but he decided to stick with me.

It actually got somewhat better, although I still felt hot. The tough thing however was that the trailrun did not bring a lot of time to recuperate.
The climbs were steep, but some of the descents were maybe even steeper. Some parts it was sliding down, hoping you could find a tree to grab so you wouldn’t get too much speed.

Despite this fact, it was B-E-A-UTIFUL!
Great nature, great views, great single trails. In total 2 river crossings, running across the rough rocks, climbing up with the help of a chain, stepping over little creeks and seeing a lot of the river ‘Ourthe’ next to you. I enjoyed a lot, a lot!

What a view!

After about 20kms my quads were starting to protest, but that was nothing compared to my brother. He got his first cramp in his calves, which made me pull on his toes so it would go away.
This made it go a lot better for about 5kms before cramping up altogether. Quads, calves, hamstrings, everything seemed to cramp.
The guess wasn’t enough water, but that didn’t help us now.
Luckily he isn’t one to let his head down at such a point and decided to grit his teeth so his first trail would not turn into a first DNF.

The last 5km was at a slower pace, but it got us talking and enjoying the scenery some more. After the last brutal (see the height profile) last climb (+150m in 1k) it was finally some track that made it possible to recuperate.
One last hard descent got us to the last river crossing and we could already hear the commentator at the finish line!

Fun touch, about 150m before the finish we went over a registration point, so the commentator could call everyone by name at the finish.
We heard that we finished 91 & 92 (from 413 people) and frankly … we were pleased with ourselves.

What I learned:
– Don’t pack too heavy when you know there are will be lot of heavy climbs.
– Don’t pack too heavy if there are 3 supply points over 31km.
– Dipping your cap in the river is nice way to cool yourselves.
– If you doubt about clothing before starting a race, take the choice with the least fabric.
– Trail Des Fantômes is a very technical trail, but for now the most beautiful I have run so far.

Link Love July 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…
Interesting read for everyone who wants to be more aware of what’s going into his/her mouth
I think this is a recognisable read for every partner of an (ultra)runner!
We all know it, we all neglect it (or at least I do too often)

A simple shin splint exercise. Doable wherever whenever
Because I’ve been tapering since my last link love and I hated it 😉
The eternal question…

Race Recap: 6h Of Aalter


A week has already passed, so a recap is long overdue by now!

The race itself took place in the afternoon, which I thought was great, because I could get all the sleep I wanted and do all the food intake I wanted.
So I got up around 7:30 am and started eating some oatmeal, a banana, piece of chocolate and starting drinking water water water.

The food I brought to the race myself.

My brother was going to pick me up at about 10:30 so we could get there early enough, install his stand in time and see the course beforehand.
It went over a track for about 200m, followed by a small but steep uphill, some streets in and out and ended through the building, which was a good find!
This made up for a 2km total, which I hoped to lap about 33 times.

Because of the expected warm weather an extra water/sponges stand was put out at 1km, which meant that water was provided every km, together with my own stand (manned by my brother), this ought to mean that I could be hydrated enough and beat the heat!

The Race – Part 1

The race goal was hitting 66km in 6h.
The way towards this goal was running 11k first hour, 12k 2nd hour, 11k, 12k and then see how I feel with two hours left. In the best of circumstances I would be able to run more than 66km, in worse circumstances I “only” needed 20k in two hours.

From the start my heart rate was up. “Must be the adrenaline”.
Sad thing was, after about 5km it still wasn’t where it should be. Starting around noon (sun high up) and being hot for quite some days (less oxygen) did no good to running conditions, but here I was, so no use to complain about. Just watch the heart rate and keep going!

First hour went fairly uneventful. My brother gave me all the dates I needed and provided me with mental support every lap I did.

Second hour was a “fast hour”, with the heart rate already up, I was somewhat afraid I would go above my threshold. Luckily this wasn’t the case and the hour passed good.
After this I was about to start my last “slow hour” if everything went ok, so I decided to eat a bowl of oatmeal. My biggest fear was hitting the wall, since being out and about this long was new to me. Apparently, this meant my “downfall” as well.
In the first two hours I ate a dozen of dates, some gingerbread, a “melikoek”, some salty nuts and a bowl of oatmeal.

The third hour I drank a lot and ate at a normal rate but my stomach started to acting up.
I don’t know if it was the heat, some dehydration, the nerves, the stress to my body, but my stomach acted up and I decided to switch to mainly drinking for the next “fast hour” of 12k/hour

The Race – Part 2

The first half went really well, with ~34,5km in 3h. I was 0.5km ahead of the pace I wanted and 1.5km ahead of my halfway-goal.
But then I started dropping in pace.

Everything I tried to eat I felt my stomach turning and protesting, big things were not an option at all anymore, so I stuck to sugary drinks and small bites of salty crackers, dates and pieces of gingerbread.

After the fourth hour I seemed to be climbing back from my mental setback and decided to just run it out and see where it took me. 66k was still possible, although it would be pushing myself to the limits.
Legs still felt good, breathing worked, heart rate wasn’t a lot higher compared to the start, but my head started aching and the stomach still was bad.

I couldn’t drink more than I was doing, so the I just had to work with the (minor) headache, but my stomach and the lack of food worried me more.

Halfway the fifth hour, my brother joined in to give me some mental support, this was well needed, as I needed to stop for some time at this point. It was never long, nor was I planning to DNF, but it was rough.
It felt like my body was constantly saying “stop this shenanigans and go rest. Lay in the sun and just relax!”.
But I clenched my teeth and kept going.
Sadly it was clear by now 66km was no longer an option, so I really hoped to get to minimize the damage.

The last 1.5h was clenched teeth, as less thinking as possible, taking my time to drink at the aid stations and just keep going.

For my final laps I decided to skip the aid station and just get out of it wat was possible.
At 6h they blew the whistles and I stranded at a decent 64.6km.
Glad I could stop I threw myself on the grass 🙂


The aftermath

According to my watch I had about 1km extra, which means I didn’t follow the perfect track, but did get me closer to my desired goal.
Officially I stranded at 64.664km.
This lands me at 14th place of the 93 men, 16th of the 107 men+women.
The winner landed 73.102km, which puts my goal-shortage in perspective, seeing this 6h run already had winners of 80km and more.

It feels somewhat strange to not getting my goal, but all in all I’m happy.
There will be other races and everything is the road to the ultimate goal of 100k 😀

One week after the race I still feel tired, but the legs and body feel recuperated.
I did 2x4k last Thursday, which went so-so, that’s when I decided to wait until today for my next run.

Statistics @ 6h Aalter Strava & 6h Aalter Endomondo!