Blog Posts

Death by chocolate keto cake

Death by chocolate keto cake

The lead-up While stuffing myself with lemon meringue tart, trifle and pavlova around Christmas, I read Tim Noakes’ Real Meal revolution book and become reconvinced that low-carb eating is the way to go in 2018. The main course My brother has been keen to explore […]

My favorite moments of 2017

My favorite moments of 2017

Before we reach February and everyone starts to forget that new year’s resolutions are ‘a thing’, I thought I should hurry up and post a belated 2017 retrospective.   Last year has been the most turbulent running year yet. 2017 had fantastic highlights interrupted by […]

Running in Switzerland

Running in Switzerland

I have the privilege of travelling to Basel, Switzerland, to work with a customer at their head office. This is my first time in Switzerland, and I am absolutely loving it.

I spent the first week cooped up in a drab hotel room without any running shoes. The second week, I made sure I check a bag and bring enough running stuff.

I painstakingly planned a 5 km route from the hotel in Binningen. I set out nervously the first morning and immediately encountered 100 m of elevation in the first 3 minutes. Stopping to catch my breath, I had a fantastic view of Basel City.

The route then took a turn away from the city and climbed up a rolling hill through meadows and community gardens.

At the top of the hill, I chose to stray from my pre-planned route and run into the forest. This was a mistake. The forest path turned in the wrong direction, taking me down a busy street and through a neighbourhood that seems to be designed to contain a perfect mix of old Swedish houses and modern glass buildings.

By this time I was spending more time studying google maps than running. When I found the tram line I just followed it to the stop in front of the hotel.

Wow. What an invigorating run!

The next evening I decided to take it up a notch by adding 5 km to my previous route. The additional section took me through corn, cow and pumpkin fields and had scores of other runners.

I followed the signs for walking route 483, and luckily had to spend less time looking at google maps.

I didn’t spend any less on my phone, though. The landscape was breathtaking, and I couldn’t help but stop and take photo’s every few meters.

I think tomorrow will be my last run in Basel. While there are so many options; run through the city, around the zoo, climb the hill to the west or run through Germany and France, I’ll probably stick to what I know: Cow fields, meadows and city views.

Have you ever had a surprisingly green run in a big city like this?

My multisport debut: Unexpected success at the Ouderkerkerplas run-bike-run

My multisport debut: Unexpected success at the Ouderkerkerplas run-bike-run

Last Saturday I nervously made my debut to multi-sport competition. I took part in the Run-Bike-Run at the Ouderkerkerplas in Amsterdam.     This race has a triathlon and a duathlon, and while the triathlon has many participants in different start waves, the run bike […]

Quote of the Week: Nick Symmonds on the kick

Quote of the Week: Nick Symmonds on the kick

Welcome back to the fortnightly instalment of our weekly segment: “Quote of the week”.   That’s right: Like with running, pacing blog posts seems to be surprisingly hard.   So, let’s talk briefly. About pacing.   It feels good pushing yourself too hard from the […]

Lessons from my first transition training

Lessons from my first transition training

It’s official. I am making my debut in the world of multisport events.

Since this endeavour is more than a little nerve-racking, I’m starting out with a duathlon instead of the more traditional sprint triathlon. This particular duathlon is a run-bike-run and entails a 5 km run, a 20 km bike (4 x 5km laps) and the another 5km run. This means I have to transition from the bike to run like a normal triathlon, but I also have to transition from running to cycling.

This week I started preparing for the event in earnest, since it only two weeks away. On Friday evening I went to the venue and ran the 5 km running loop. I was ecstatic to do it in 28 minutes, despite taking one wrong turn and running with a flimsy paper map in my hand. 

Today I upped my game even more and did my first transition training. Normally I when I’m feeling tri-inspired, I do a brick training: A short run after a cycling workout.

Last week a former Ironman athlete told me that I could also do a training focused only on the transitions. So instead of a difficult workout, I do a short interval on the bike, switch to running, do a short run and switch back again. This way, the focus is on the transition and not on the cycling/running workout. 

So my training today was build up as follows:

  • 10 km cycle, 1.5 km run
  • 10 km cycle, 1.5 km run
  • 10 km cycle, 3 km run

As you can see I did a lot of transitions with relatively little mileage. Here is a short list of things I learned about transitioning; most of them embarrassingly obvious:

  1. This session is best done at home where you can leave your bike in a safe spot while you run. Just do it when you know your neighbours won’t be hanging around in the street, cheering you on as you sprint down the street, only to appear seconds later in the driveway on a bike.
  2. Your bike should be in the lightest gear before the race. You don’t want to mount outside the transition area and then not be able to make an immediate speedy getaway because of a gear miscalculation.
  3. Don’t drink too much on the bike or during the transition: You’ll regret it during the run.
  4. Laces are hard to tie and untie when you’re tired. Since I have to transition into and out of running, I am going to invest in elastic laces and spare myself the frustration (twice).
  5. On race day, your cycling shoes should be all the way open so you can just slip your feet in after the run and fasten the straps.
  6. While it was a really good session for the transitions, I would extend the runs to at least 3km next time. This time they were just too short to really feel the fatigue before I had to jump on the bike again.
  7. Simplify the accessories you need. At first, I put on and removed my cycling gloves, but during the last transitions, I decided it was something I can do without.

This week I’m awaiting my first tri-gear delivery and I’m going to check out the race’s cycling course. Do you have any other advice for a duathlon newbie? Let me know in the comments below!

Quote of the week: “Pain is temporary”

Quote of the week: “Pain is temporary”

Since it’s July I decided to go with a Tour de France themed quote to kick of this brand new weekly series. It’s the year 2003. It is likely that you are the proud owner of a Nokia 3310. Lance Armstrong is the envy of […]

High-light, middle-light and low-light of my Mont Ventoux Cycling trip

High-light, middle-light and low-light of my Mont Ventoux Cycling trip

Last week was our long awaited cycle trip to the south of France. I started training for this trip in March and even bought a new race bike that would be more suitable for climbing. I ended up getting the flu and not training the […]

Should you eat carbs during racing?

Should you eat carbs during racing?

I listened to an interview with ultrarunner and iron woman, Kate Driskell, on the podcast Marathon Talk. In the interview, she said that she used to fuel her endurance races with bars, gels and Gatorade. She felt sick and gained weight while training for Ironmans. This resonated with me since I expressed the same fear of gaining weight when I recently spoke to a sports dietitian who recommended that I increase my carbohydrate and sugar intake for cycling.

Since I biked the 100 km sportive last week I thought I would explore all the fuel I ate during and directly after the event. Just a disclaimer, I ate based on the advice I received from this same sports dietitian who is very pro carbs. She recommended eating as little fat as possible before the race and then drinking an electrolyte drinks and bars, gels, baked goods and bananas during the race.

Based on this advice, the following is my food diary and cycling activity from last Saturday:

I ate a small cup of oats and sausage for breakfast. At 9:30 I had a toasted sandwich and banana. When I returned home at 19:30 my husband had a bowl of Bolognese ready for me. 🙂

This is not even everything I ate while on the bike!

Between my 9:30 brunch and 19:30 dinner I am embarrassed to admit that I ate:

  • 2 current buns, 2 Dutch wafer cookies and half a banana
  • 750 ml Isostar sports drink, 750 ml SIS sports drink and a glass of Coca-cola
  • 3 different types of bars (Oats, grains and a PowerBar) as well as ¼ of a caffeine gel
  • A cup of chocolate milk

The snacks accounted for a whopping 1909 calories. You could argue that since I spend 2048 calories cycling, consuming the additional calories is probably necessary and that my diary is pretty much what you would expect from someone who cycled for 5 hours.

If you look deeper though, my racing fuel and recovery menu accounted for 176 grams of sugar. The World Health Organisation recommends not eating more than 25 grams of sugar per day (or depending on your caloric intake, not more than 5% of your daily calories).

Since I consumed 3213 calories for the entire day and ate 184 grams of sugar (or 712 calories) a shocking 22% of my calories came from sugar. That is more than 5 times the amount the WHO recommends!

How can I justify filling up on with Coke and caffeine gels in the name of doing a sport to stay active and healthy? I don’t know the answer yet, but I going to make a point of figuring this out.

***

To get back to Kate Driskell, she decided to go low carb during training and races and said that she completed an Ironman on nothing but water. Is this the way to go? Would this work? Or more importantly, would this work for me?

Let’s hope I can answer these questions soon. In the meantime, if you want to listen to the interview with Kate Driskell, head to marathon talk and listen to EPISODE 385.

10 things I learned from my first sportive

10 things I learned from my first sportive

On Saturday I rode my very first Sportive, the Tecklenburg Rundfahrt in Germany. It was a 100 km route through West German countryside with 16 climbs; two with 20% inclines! I experienced the hills as brutal and continued to see the members of my group […]