Talk about being mesmorised – or “in the flow” whilst running. I would like to share this experience with you, I am currently focusing on my breathing. Some very simple exercises, Before and after running:
– breath in through your nose
– breath out through your nose twice as long as you breathed in
– pause after breathing out
Prior to running do this for about 2 minutes and after for about 5 minutes.
This morning it was the exercise that I did DURING the run that really caught me:
– breath in through your nose
– breath out through your mouth for twice as many counts as breathing in
– pause and repeat for 10 minutes
Its taking me some time to find the right pace (slow) and discipline myself to stick at it – including the pause. This morning something really surreal occurred. I think that I finally got it! My hearte rate is also a focus during this exercise. I was keeping heart rate at 135 and focusing in the 10 minutes breathing. I breathed in for two paces and out for four. As I continues to do this in the dark and damp (fresh drizzel!) I suddenly “woke up” and wondered where on earth I was!!
You will see on the runkeeper record I actually was totally lost! I could hear the roar of the planes so I knew that I was close to Schiphol – but how close? Luckily I had a lamp with me and was able to find some sign posts indicating where I needed to go to return “home”.
Even in that “panic” I was able to maintain my cool and the running was relaxed. My goal was to run 12 km today. I ran almost 14 km so I had a 2 km diversion! Apart from the dash to catch up with a late start during my training my heart rate remained below 145 beats per minute. For someone who used to train standard at 160 beats per minute – I found this pretty awesome.
With some intrepidation I stepped in the car at 08:30 to drive to the Groet uit Schoorl 30 km race:
1. it’s a while that I have run a full 30 km
2. I wanted to run it within 3 hours & my last 2 (slow) trainings of 3 hours have resulted in 25 & 26 km, respectively, being run
3. there were reports of rain and winds gusting to 145 km/hours
To kill these “dood doeners” (bad myths) I countered arguments to myself:
1. I have ALWAYS run this 30 km under 3 hours
2. I have ALWAYS run this 30 km under 3 hours
3. at least 50% of the wind would be behind me
PLUS I always find the atmosphere and the countryside – a mix of forest and dunes AMAZING!
We began in light damp stuff just enough to confuse my Phone for runkeeper so that it decided to whirl around as we went over the start and then pause as soon as it was on. I have a “clock” of the event from c.2 km…
The first 5 ish km are in the village of Schoorl itself. It’s very pretty although the roads were FULL of runners and very wet so with avoiding the people and wet feet I missed much of the lovely houses and amazing gardens. The tour of the holiday village ends with a climb “false plat” out of the village to the foresty parts on the edge of the dunes. Again there is some amazing scenery to see. The translation into English of the name of the village is “shore” and, indeed you can bike/walk/run to the sea from Schoorl. We do not actually see the sea during the run, although we did experience the wind! In the forest there are great caverns of sand and people often climb these for fun!
I was very focused on not running too fast at the start. If you are regular readers to this blog you know that I do this almost EVERY race. It’s a great example of theoretical knowledge over actually DOING the stuff that I have learned. THIS time is would not happen. I had worked out that so long as I simply ran 6 min per km I would make the run in 3 hours. There is always, with me, a bit a thing for building “margin for error” and I wanted to be absolutely sure that I would make the time – recent slow runs with hr between 120 – 135 have been run at averages of 7 – 7,45 mins so although I know I have achieved this “in the past” I was not sure if this is the form that I am currently in. So between 5,40 and 6 min was the target per km.
It felt VERY slow to begin with and I managed to find a small group that were chatting away to each other and seemed to running just under the 6 min mark so I stuck with them for a few kms in the wood.
As we trotted out of the forest area we hit the dunes. Paths were wet. At the moment that I thought “best to keep my feet dry for as long as possible – cannot stand wet feet” – SPLOSH! right in a puddle – the wet cold oozing mud squelched around in my trainer… The wind was pretty much playing the game. Some strong side winds but mostly it was behind. A challenge in itself not to run too fast.
Then we hit it! A wall of wind and piercingly sharp rain that stung my face like tiny pin pricks. Luckily there were people around so I tried to run behind them but it could not be avoided. We run almost 90% to the right to follow the bike track and the wind seemed to die away as quickly as it had hit us. We ran between the dunes and it was incredible how the dunes and the scraggy little bushes growing protected us.
The other thing that I decided early on in the race was that I WOULD enjoy the last 10 km. The previous year had been a different parcours to the first time that I had run this race and there was much mucking about in the village. The half marathon and 30 km run together. I had already spotted the km boards so I knew that there is a point where the two part – its 1 km from the end of the half marathon. So we still have some 9,5 km to go – the mental torture is enough to make the last 10 very difficult. I checked the boards and also saw the 29 km board – that was my target. Reaching that would be my glory point.
I was also counting down in big chunks of the race – 10 km = 1/3; 16 km over halfway (note 15km is not interesting); 20 km 2/3 21 km ONLY 9 km to go; 27 km ONLY 3 km to go and, of course, 29 km – pretty much made it. I heard someone mutter something about “almost a quarter of the way there” and thought – oh could also be a milestone – but it sounds very far away!!
Indeed as we came into the village again there was much encourage from the side lines “not much further to go…” etc. I tried to think “everything’s relative that is true – only 11/10 km to go…” but it was a struggle! The first of the last 10 km is, again, that climb out of the village. I was pleased to see the 21 km fairly soon into the climb then the ONLY 9 km was reached. A couple of kms further I heard heavy steps behind me as a group pf some 6 runners overtook me. They were not running THAT much faster than me so a took a gamble and tucked in behind them. I felt that they were running some 5 seconds faster per km than I really wanted to go… or was I just tiring? I focused on my breathing and set my self a test. If I could continue to fully breath and inflate my lungs then I would continue with them BUT if I started breathing too high I would drop back. It got a bit crowded on the wooded path as we ran to a dead end and round some cones and ran back to join another path. I heard some fellow Englishmen who were running even more enthusiastically than we were and that for Bowl Cancer UK as well [note the whole structure of the running races in the UK is centred around running for charity – watch this space – I will also be running for a charity soon].
I was managing to keep up and it still felt good! 25 km came and went. I missed 26 and 27 km seemed to come fast. I was beginning to feel tired. I kept focusing on my breathing and the wind also seemed to be helping. We came into the village again. My little group broke up as some started to run faster and others fell back. I gathered that the “pacing” had been to support one of the women in the group. I could not see 28 km I really hoped and prayed that we had passed it. The “pacer” was behind me and I heard a friend of him chatting and saying that he had warned him not to go so fast… At last! 29 km – WOW! I planned to feel elated – instead I could feel myself flagging – come on!! So far I was running to plan – runkeeper was telling me 5,39 min per km so I had actually run the last 10 k faster than the first (some 5,46 min per km) – keep it up!
The National Champions were warming up for the National Champion (NK) 10 km race. Some of these runners are professional.
As I approached one of the last turns there was a group of ladies warming up in the other direction. “not far to go – keep it up” shouted one of them to me – truly amazing what that can do to you! I started to accelerate. A short while afterwards, she ran alongside me for a few meters – “looking good – keep up the pace” wow! I was on a high. I could see the FINISH line banner and I focused hard on it. I made it a magnet and I made it get bigger and bigger. I passed a few people on the way – including the commentator who was not fast enough to see my name – I sped under the finish flag and over the mats!! FABULOUS what a great run! A short analysis of runkeeper confirmed that I had run a NEGATIVE split! And that the last 10 km was the fastest. Total time was 2 hours 49 mins 5 secs – VERY PLEASED!
It was strange to think on my short run of 30 minutes today that a week ago I left the village fresh and fruity in the morning to run the Egmond Half Marathon. We arrived with 4 BergseRunners and immediately bumped into another group from the club – unbelievable!
The day was warm and Sunny with only a slight breeze. This classic half marathon has brought all kinds of weather conditions. There is a 7 km stretch along the beach which provides a rather unique slant to the race. This was to be the third time that I was to run this race. The first time we had a strong side wind along the beach and then I flew along the dunes! The second time the wind was slightly behind us and I found the dunes busy and rather stodgy. In between the years that I have run the race it was cancelled due to snow and ice!
This year was the sunniest that I have run it in. Wind quiet – although there are always the pessimists who were pointing out that the sea was very high and that would make it difficult. I knew that as long as there was a strip of wet sand then we would be alright. Plus some 4000 runners would probably have made the trip before me and it would be well stomped in!
I started with a friend and we were together for a few kilometers – or at least in contact, before she ran on ahead. It felt so good to run that I was telling myself “slow down”. Although part of me wanted to beat my previous year’s time of 1 hour 55 min. In addition the time from Linschoten Half Marathon a couple of weeks previous of 1 hour 52 was ringing in my head. Pushing these thoughts aside, I slowed down and focused on finding a steady pace and breathing regularly so that my heart rate would remain below.
After about 3 km we approached the beach. The commentator jovially referred to our smiling happy faces and wondered if we would be so happy at the end of the beach. The runner next to me and I exchanged comments – ha – lets see about that!
It was indeed rather busy on the beach. The sea was quite high and there was a thin path on which it seemed that 8000 runners were all trying to follow. The supporters were enthusiastic and also very close! In previous years I seem to remember finding space! This was very different. As we approached the end of the beach section we were catching the runners from the business run and I was forced to run into the stodgy deep sand OR the sea and as I did not fancy wet feet so early on I chose the sand. Great training for your legs!! I focused on how lucky we were that we could run along such a lovely beach. It was warm and I wondered if I should have run in a T-shirt only… I imagined that I was riding my pony (that I had when I was younger). I have always wanted to gallop along the beach on horseback.
Suddenly we were there! The end of the beach was in sight! Coming off the beach was not as tough as I remembered previous runs. We ran under a big arch with “Dutch Army” emblazoned on the top – I saw a few standing to the side – so great that we have so many volunteers helping. I wonder if they could also use this as a training.
After staggering up the hill from the beach the dunes are usually a happy relief. This time it was so busy it was difficult to find a line and rhythm. I managed to find my pace. It’s quite a hilly phase and I tried to relax and enjoy the downhill parts and use them as momentum for running up the hills.
Once we are through the downs then we run along a rather nice cycle path towards wood. Again people were running all paces. Technically we are supposed to run on the right and overtake on the left. I found it tricky as I was overtaking many people and at the same time being overtaken by faster runners. I decided to take myself out of the melee and run on the grass to the left. I came across the occasional straying supporters!
I knew that there was a nasty hill towards the end of the race. At every turn I started to anticipate it! Not yet! Not quite yet! “Just focus on enjoying the run!” I told myself. I was rather pleased that I had opted for a running jacket – it was not as warm as it was on the beach. I also focused on keeping hydrated with Winrgy. The drink posts were very busy. I can never understand why it is that some people have no thought for their fellow runners and simply stop dead in front of you! I shouted to a few people to “think about where they walked” and managed to escape too many bruises.
It was great to be swept along with the enthusiastic supporters.
We needed them too.
The hill! I certainly knew when we were there. It kicks in around 19 km and makes the last kilometers seem endless! I focused on how near I was to the end – only 2 km NOTHING if you are in a full marathon! There was a strange sign scribbled on one of the sign posts. It read “an extra 100 km” what?? How odd? OK then be prepared!
As we came into the last part of the race, the streets were lined with enthusiastic people. It was amazing. Steady girl – don’t get carried away – there is still almost a km to go! On the other hand, was I really going faster or did it just FEEL that way? Go go go! – the last few seconds may be the difference between under or over the previous time. Wow ! it felt so good. End time was 1 hour 55 mins and 33 seconds – EXACTLY the same time as the previous year! Good job I pushed the accelerator down!
The massage afterwards was absolutely incredible. Worth the wait (which, by the way, was also fun as we chatted with so many others who had just been through this great experience) and resulted in a shorter wait for the busses.
What an amazing day out by the beach!
The Sylvestercross takes place annually on the last day of the month. It’s a huge event in Zoest, The Netherlands for all age groups and abilities, and over various distances. From children in various athletic groups to up to 99 years old recreational race (choice 1 – 3 circuits from 2.9 km to 8,7 km). For many it’s a tradition and a way to burn off a few calories before we indulge in drink and olieballen!
This was my third time of running it. The terrain is down (sand) and woods and, for the Netherlands it’s hilly. The three years have also offered a variety of weather. The first time I ran it was in the snow and ice, last year it was wet and muddy and this year dry and cool.
I prepared this year, as I do for all my events, by checking my number – time and place of pickup, packing my products (see http://www.feeling-healthy.net) (protein shake for directly after the run). As the event was close to home I could make up my energy drink in a water flask. I added my telephone with the runkeeper app and my number belt. I had the added bonus of having my husband as supporter and bag carrier this year!
I checked the times of my last 2 runs: 2010 – 45 mins; 2012 – 52 mins. The fastest a little over 5 mins per km I figured that given the dry conditions which resulted in more than usual of the race being run in soft sand and the even more people than normal would be tricky to run so fast. In addition I am focusing on building up my speed throughout the race so that would mean that I would need to run the final round in average under 5 mins per km. I am not doing that yet. Running under 6 mins per km and so faster than last year, also seemed a challenge which I decided to go for.
The professionals were running when we arrived. Vests and shorts were the order of the day for them. It felt very cold. I had my 3 quarter length running tights and then… t shirt or t shirt and light fleece. Most of the field were wearing long sleeves, hats and gloves. I never run in a hat or with gloves – I get far too warm. I thought about my goal. I would soon warm up. At the last moment the fleece was handed to Joost and I was ready!
The field was crowded! The start gun went off and we did not move! I remember from previous events that I sometimes feel irritated with so many people around. That’s not a great mind set to have to I decided I was going to embrace the challenges. I looked around and laughed and joked with my fellow athletes as we shuffled to the start. My group was even facing the wrong way and had to take a left turn as we funneled in over the start line! Runkeeper on. Now embrace the next challenge – the sand!! I watched as people used various tactics to attempt to run through the deep soft material. I spotted someone lightly running on his toes. He gained a lot of grip and did not seem to running as stodgily as many of us. I tried it. It certainly seemed to work.
As we approached the forest we ran into a narrow path and actually were slowed to a walk. I heard people becoming annoyed around me. I just thought – hah! This is all part of it – this is the Sylvestercross! As we continued I focused on finding a rhythm. Not easy with the crowded and uneven terrain. It was a great distraction from thinking of being bumped and was a kind of game to run round the slower people whilst not being run over by the faster people! I also focused on thinking of the previous times that I had run this and how in the 2nd and 3rd rounds I had virtually been on my own! Difficult to imagine at this stage!
Runkeeper was also feeding me information about distances and averages. I was slower than the average required. There was little that I could do to go faster with all these people. I decided that this was, in fact, a positive as I often start my races too fast – I was still in touch with the time I wanted to run.
The end of the first round and the beginning of the second was through deep sand. I told myself one more time of this and then less of the sand to the finish. I focused, again on method and also thought about what good strength training this was for my legs! Such training I could only achieve here – fab!
In the forest the field was beginning to thin out and it was easier to find. There was a man who clearly was a trainer focusing on a group of runners. I heard him saying 10,5 good pace. This was, indeed for me a good pace for the second round – I still needed to be faster in the third to really come well within the 52 mins. It seemed already quite hard to speed up and I wanted to be sure that I had enough to go faster in the 3rd run.
The sand was again a super training moment. I experimented with posture and tried to run more upright and balanced. My husband cheered me on – that gave me a further boost. A friend of mine who also is also a race steward, shouted further encouragement.
The final round! I was really starting to enjoy this race. I used the downhill parts to power me back up the steep areas. It was also interesting to observe those around me – some powering up the slopes (that were really causing pain now!) and others choosing to walk. I came across the trainer again. He actually started to run beside me – or so it seemed. He muttered 10,8 good pace. Yes! He confirmed Runkeeper – I was running faster on this stretch than the previous round.
Then I had a decision to make. Do I go all out in the last part of the forest and accept that I will be slower in the sand, or do I save my energy for the sand? I knew I would be slower in the sand. It felt good in the forest so I upped the pace. Here it was – the sand was, in places, packed down so I stayed right and found the hardest parts. Focusing on a good rhythm, it meant passing people so venturing into the softer parts.
The finish was in sight! I focused on that sign and let the letters pull me towards them! Again I passed people. Over the line! Wow! That felt good!! Time according to runkeeper 49 mins! Yes !! The netto time according to the race timers was 48,59!
Are you training to run a Marathon?
Are you training to run the Marathon in Vienna?
Then please contact me via this blog!
STILL the fastest marathon that have run is my first in Paris, 10th April 2011! Since then I have run a total of 5 marathons (one was somewhere around 50 K in the nearly impossible terrain of the Devon coast of England – where time does not count!).
Paris was 4 hours 26 min. It seems eons away from the “magic” 4 hours. Apart from the UK all the other marathons have been run in under 4 hours 50 mins and then mostly around the 4 hours 30 mark.
So what did I do then. For one thing I started training in October. I also received amazing guidance from Bergse Runner trainer Mark Hilberts. He and I have discussed how I seem to have reached a “drempel” (sort of “hobble” but now it seems like a mountain) and seemingly need to do something drastic to break through to the “next level” (I just HATE that expression!!).
So its time to start LISTENING to the expert and just DO what he says. I started training 5 weeks ago. Mark arranges the programme in blocks of 3 weeks. The third of the three weeks is a rest week and the three weeks that follow are tougher than the previous three weeks. It’s a very personal programme. At the end of each three week block I e-mail back the “results” of my training. The results are reported as times; heart rate; weight; fat percentage; muscle weight; how easy/difficult I found the training to be.
So far the programme has been extremely varied. It includes interval training, crosses (running in forests, mud, etc.), intensive training and slow running.
Slow running is one of my main focuses. In order to run faster I need to get my heart rate down. This is being achieved by slow running. It brings a new meaning to LSD – see this Wiki article:
In reality, it’s a real head breaker. My fastest half marathon is 1 hour 46 minutes and I my slowest competitive half is 2 minutes over the 2 hours. Its killing me to run 21 k in training in c. 2 hours 20 mins. OR even running 2 hours and only reaching 18 k. HOWEVER – it’s about a CHANGE of GOAL and a DIFFERENT FOCUS. I AM DELIGHTED when I have run for over 2 hours and my heart rate has stayed for the most part in the 125 – 135 range and not gone above 145!
It means that I am running 1 k in over 7 mins. HAHA! I hear you cry – some of you could walk faster.
It is working. We repeated an interval training of 5 weeks ago. We ran 3x 4x 300 metres at D4 (that’s fast but just not killing yourself) and I was consistent 10 seconds faster than the same training previously.
Its also a great way to clear your head. Knowing that for the next 2 hours you just have to run at a low heart rate. No pressure on how far and how fast. Just poddling along… it’s a great form of meditation.
Attached is a link to runkeeper of the last slow running of 2 hours 20 min that I ran: http://runkeeper.com/user/lizzybm/activity/276380675
As a test – I was “allowed” to run 7,6 km as fast as I could (gradually building up, of course), in the Midwinterduinloop yesterday. I ran a reasonably consistent 11,9 km per hour – very pleased. What was most fun was that 11 other Bergse Runners also ran.
If you would like more information about my training programme to date – contact me via this blog.
- Building a base (rularuns.wordpress.com)
- 70 Year Old Woman Finishes Her First Marathon (wtok.com)
- Endurance, planning key to running Honolulu Marathon (being808.com)
- The Road To The Road To Ironman Lanzarote 2015 (hemingwayrun.wordpress.com)
I thought I may be too late in the year for this blog. As I sit inside on a cold and windy MAY day I realise that I am not.
For the last 6/7 months I have added Vitamin D3 to my supplements. I have noticed stronger nails, even better skin and improvement in my hair. It could be my imagination, even happier! Especially after my last marathon in Devon, I realised that I felt stronger and did not have any “down” periods that I have occasionally experienced after my other marathons.
Looking further into this “simple” vitamin, which I learnt at school we “make” from the sun, I was amazed to find out just how important this vitamin is. It is responsible for thousands of processes in our body, including the well known calcification (Vitamin D is actually needed so that the blood can carry calcium to through the body and thus enable uptake), our immune system, soft tissue, blood sugar level, eyesight.
Inadequate Vitamin D can lead to:
- Decalcification of bones
- Heart problems
- Multiple sclerosis
- Over weight
I even read an article where, according to research, written up in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society 2009, 65 plussers with low Vitamin D are almost 2x likely to die in a period of 7 years than those with a more Vitamin D in their blood. I have also read that it can prevent some kinds of cancer, kidney disease and lengthen your lifespan.
It all makes so much sense when you think that our genes have not changed very much. So the issue of shortage of vitamins lies in what we eat. For vitamin D we know that the homo sapiens grew up in Africa around water and swamp land. Thus fish were an important part of the diet. Now grain, milk and sugar products dominate our diet. Thus fish and the sunlight from Africa were important sources of Vitamin D.
So how much do we need? Ah! here is the great debate! Here are a few things that I have gleaned:
- if you live in the Northern Hemisphere then you definitely need to supplement – you can almost never get enough from the sun consistently
- if you have darker skin then your sensitivity to t he sun is not as sufficient as those with light skin (yes there is a reason for us Brits being so pale!) and therefore need to supplement
- weight also needs to be taken into account – the heavier the more you Vitamin D you need
- pregnant women need more
- breast feeding women need even more
- supplementation of Vitamin D begins right from the time you are born
- you need Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)
- you will need more if you drink excessively, smoke, sport
The “how much” can be boiled down to “more than you think”…
The UK NHS site makes a difference between the pregnant, baby. young, old etc. from 7 – 25 micro gram (1000 IE). The Dutch daily recommended dose is 2,5 micro gram. The USA recommend 50 micro grams (2000 IE).
It’s too confusing for words!
Bottom line is: Shortage is more likely than too much, especially in winter. Too much = some 10,000 IE (250 mg) per day.
Sources of information that I used for this article:
- Vitamin D Might Be Able to Slash Your Breast Cancer Risk by 90 Percent (foodconsumer.org)
- What Is Vitamin D3? (homesimplicity.wordpress.com)
- Eating Vegan: Getting Enough Vitamin D (eatdrinkbetter.com)
- Vitamin D (chrisheskettfitness.wordpress.com)
- Vitamin D3 Boosts Effectiveness of Curcumin for Brain Health (liveinthenow.com)
- Food For Eyesight (musthaidekhna.com)
- Sunshine vitamin may ‘treat asthma’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Extra Vitamin D May Ease Crohn’s Symptoms, Study Finds (webmd.com)
- Study finds obesity can ‘lead to lack of vitamin D’ (bobbyedegbo.wordpress.com)
I realised that MOST of my running mates where going to run the half marathon.
I had all the excuses in the world NOT to run 30 k, including that I know that I am not where I want to be in my training scheme. Even when asked – what will you run? I replied with the facts – I had entered the 30 k.
As we started – the switch turned on. YES. I had entered the 30 k so 30 k I would do.
A small voice on my shoulder whispered the breakdown for the half marathon. NO go away! 15 k = half way.
We seemed to be running back to the finish line. I was curious, the last time that I had run this race the split of the 30 k from the 21 K was in the dunes. We were back in the village.
What a psychological test! The division was IN the village – some 500 m from the end of the 21 k the division for the additional 9 k for the 30 k. I trotted off away from the village. My body was screaming to turn the corner and go over the finish.
I had come to run 30 k and so I would run 30 k.
For the following 2 K the voice whispered – “it’s not too late”, “it’s still quicker if you turn back now” – it was almost a killer!
I trotted on. A LOT of people were passing me. NOT encouraging. We had to run a funny “tail” turn round and run back. People were enthusiastically coming the other way. They had a couple more km in their legs and looked great on it!
At 25 k logically I had JUST 5 k to go. NOT far at all!?? I could also hear the commentator bringing everyone in.
The km 25 – 26 seemed endless. I passed someone in pain. “Come on – I feel dreadful too” I encouraged – dribble, run, dribble. As I continued with this strategy I did actually put some pace on
FINALLY into the village. The last 3 k seemed endless. There was still a chance that I could come in within the 3 hours. I pushed on.
There is was – the Finish. And the time was just in if I kept on going – yesss!!! I made it! I DID come within the 3 hours – most important of all I – Winning the psychological battle was MUCH more satisfying than the physical one!
When have you been tempted AWAY from your goal?
How have you ensured that you stay on track?
Please comment the more strategies you have the better equipped you are.