Blog Posts

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 […]

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 start and knowing after the race that you absolutely gave it everything. It’s great to turn down the last stretch knowing that you went so hard that you can just barely hang on till you cross the line.

 

On the other hand, you could start steady, go for the negative split and finish with a little sprint across the line: Nothing beats the feeling of knowing that your pacing-strategy worked out and you have just enough in the tank for a little kick at the end.

 

Nick Symmonds describes this feeling in Episode 393 of the podcast Marathon Talk. Photo by Freepik.
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 […]

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 last three weeks. Luckily I could recover just enough to get on the bike during the trip.

Here is a short summary my highlight, middle-light and low-light of the experience.

Middle-light: The Mont Ventoux

We climbed Mont Ventoux from Bédoin and descended to Malaucène. It was a beautiful day and there were loads of other cyclists. I only stopped once during the whole ascent, at Le Chalet Reynard, the restaurant 6km from the summit.

While I am really proud of doing the climb without stopping, falling over or pushing my bike, I am a bit indifferent about the experience. I still had flu symptoms and couldn’t breathe through my nose. Because I missed the last weeks of training I couldn’t keep up with the group and ended up doing most of the climb on my own. The scenery was pretty mediocre compared to the rest of the area. Also, it wasn’t really what I would call ‘fun’. It was a constant battle to keep peddling to not fall over!

Nether the less, I’m glad I did it.

Low-light: My bike fell over

My bike was only 7 weeks old when it helped me concur Mont Ventoux. After the decent, I propped it up against a pole and while I went for a shower. A guy in the group accidentally knocked it over and as the frame hit the pole it scratched the top tube. Since it’s aluminium, Canyon assured me the frame is fine. I shouldn’t have left it outside. It was just an accident, but it did cast a dark cloud over the week.

 

My bike after the fall. The scratch is covered with a Mont Ventoux memorabilia sticker.

High-light: Cycling in the Provence

While cycling up the Mont Ventoux was a bit of an underwhelming experience, the rest of the cycling in the Vaucluse was absolutely breathtaking.

We cycled between Malaucène, Bédoin, Sault, Savoillan and Eygaliers. We saw lavender fields, picturesque French towns, vineyards and the Gorges de la Nesque. My elevation gain for the week was more than 4 000 m. That’s 4000 m of climbing leading to amazing views!

Cycling in the Provance with our group. I’m in the blue shirt at the back. You can hear me coughing in the beginning of the video.
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. […]

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 […]

Literally, my Achilles heel

Literally, my Achilles heel

My last post was at the start of my marathon running journey. It was 21 weeks ago and I was pumped up and excited to get going with my training.

Unfortunately, I failed in the number one golden rule of Marathon training: “Don’t get injured.”

In week 9 of my 16-week training plan, everything was still going fantastic. I was doing 40 to 60 km per week. I had just run the 30 km in 3:11:56 which went so well that I did a few sprints during the last kilometer. I took a day off to recover (off from running, not from using my body). I spend those two days balancing on a stepladder and painting our ceiling. In retrospect, it was not a great idea with my already tired legs. At the end of the second day, I decided to do a 5 km shakeout run. I only go to 3 km before the pain in my Achilles stopped me.

I’ll try not to bore you with the details of going back and forth trying to recover so I can still run the marathon. I read all I could find on the topic, attended a running injury presentation and tried a multitude of things to ease the pain and get running again:

Week 1 and 2: Rest and Ice.

No running and almost no walking. I spend all my free time watching series with an ice pack under my heel. The injured heel healed, but then the other heel flared up out of nowhere.

Week 3: Hiking and walking in new shoes.

I was on holiday and since it felt a little better I went on two little runs. I had to walk the uphills and run only the flats and downhills.

Week 4 and 5: Slow running, indoor cycling and a race

Back home I tried one or two runs with my running group. I was the slowest by far and my heel was still sore. At the end of week 5 I ran a 12 km beach and dune race with my colleagues. I felt my heel towards the last 3 kilometres but pushed on and finished in 1:11. I also did a 75-minute indoor cycling class. At this point, I was feeling pretty guilty that I continued to run and race, but I felt I couldn’t miss out on running and having beers with my coworkers.

Week 6: Walking, foam rolling, ice and new shoes to wear in the office

I went to a presentation on running injuries and a physiotherapist said that while rest definitely heals Achilles injuries, it could lead to a weak tendon that gets injured as soon as you start running again. Instead of waiting for you Achilles to heal and risk it becoming your running Achilles heel, she recommends being active and continuing to run even when you are in mild pain. This way you encourage the Achilles to heal strong and you keep it ready to run.

This week I also iced it again every night to encourage blood flow. I bought a foam roller earlier, but haven’t really gotten into the habit of using it every day.

I feel like I’ve tried everything the last 6 weeks. I’ve bought three new pairs of shoes, two foam rollers and compression socks. I’ve tried rest and ice, low impact cycling and walking as well as a little running. I still experience mild discomfort to uncomfortable pain most days.

After feeling discouraged this week I watched a few videos regarding Achilles heel injuries. They ranged from guys advocating diet and massage to doctors showing what a ruptured Achilles surgery looks like. Needless to say, seeing Achilles tendon surgery encouraged me to keep trying to get rid of this injury for good.

In Week 7 I’ll be adding even more things to try and get this injury behind me.

Have you ever suffered from an Achilles overuse injury? Let me know in the comments what you did to rehabilitate it.

Ready, set.. go!

Ready, set.. go!

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzu Or with a small, silly idea that sprung into existence during an period of extreme euphoria – A roundabout way to say:”During a runners-high, I entered a marathon.” Since I need to […]