Dusseldorf marathon 2019

After a week of absolute rest, or to be more precise physical rest , the nerves were breaking havoc, it’s finally time to travel. Dusseldorf marathon here we come. Not running for a week is always strange and feels uncomfortable. If I am not running processing day to day events and input becomes a lot harder. I function quite a bit less than when I am running. So I have to adjust everything. Do less. That’s always a bit of an adjustment.

De trip was excellent, The ICE takes you too Dusseldorf in no time, an easy relaxed and comfortabel way of traveling I can highly recommend.

Weather forecast was promising during the week ahead and kept on getting beter. On the day itself it was dry and chilly at the start. Because the new half marathon start got delayed so dit the main event , the marathon. So another 15 more minutes keeping yourself warm. I felt a bit stiff while waiting but that was just nerves I guess.

The waiting went pretty fast and it was time for the start. During training it was pretty clear my sub 3 hour marathon was a bit of a stretch for now, but the pacers for sub 3 hours had a slow start and I felt pretty comfortable in this group.

The first kilometer was done in 4:30 so that was fine, I just stuck with this bunch and that went well. It was pretty cold during the first 7 kilometer en sometimes I felt pretty cold myself. The pace went up slowly and probably too fast for me between 10 and 15. But it felt very good and I decide not too slow down and decent towards the 3:15 pacers. Sub 3:15 was a time I could aim for based on training results and general fitness level. Which would mean a small improvement of my personal best.

But I ran very easy and it was time for a bit of a gamble. Let’s see how far I can take this and stay with this sub 3 hour group. The half marathon mark was passed in 1:28 so perfectly on target for just under 3 hours. But as everyone knows. A marathon starts at the 30 kilometer mark. And so it went, after 30 the pace started taking it’s toll. Also the gels didn’t go in very well. Normally it doesn’t matter which brand , flavor or whatever I take it’s never a problem. That’s why I never take my own. All the solutions for taking them along just irritate me. And the gels which the organizations give out normally work fine.

Not this time, they made me a bit sick. So now I had too rely on Iso drinks, water and bananas. Works as well just not as fast. At the 35 mark I was well and truly drained. No more energy and I had too walk at one refreshment post and make sure I took my Iso drink the right way. My lap times between 35 and 40 deteriorated a bit and weren’t as fast anymore.

It takes a lot of effort just getting too move forward, or so it feels, maybe it looks that way too. It’s at that point in the marathon I simply stop watching the lap times and pace on my watch and focus strictly on the running part , just keep running. The kilometeres go by and the signs on the road counting down, 5, 4 , 3 ,2 ,1 kilometer too go are unmissable here in Dusseldorf so hat helps a lot. It gets you thinking in kilometers instead of the bigger numbers.

At the 40 mark I felt better and the finish line started pulling. The final stretch on the Koningsallee and then on to the waterfront. At one point you make a slight turn and then run down towards the bank of the river with a nice view on the finish clock. At that moment it said 3:08 and change. At that moment I wanted too cross the finish line under 3:10, and I was going for a final sprint. Which didn’t feel like sprinting at all. 3:09:25 it was. I should have crossed the line cheering and jubilant , but I was simply happy just crossing. The final kilometers were very hard, and maybe because of my fast pace in the beginning. Then again if I had started out slower and try keeping it flat during the race and the energydip had come along I never would have crossed the finish under 3:10.

It has taken me a few days in realizing this new personal best and all the race day impressions. But I am stoked with the result. I’m very happy indeed.

Under 3 – Final week of training

Last week was my final week of training before the marathon. And all of a sudden it was quite a bit warmer. Sudden temperature changes are always take a bit of getting used too, but all in all it went relatively smooth. Training wasn’t very long or intense in this last week which helps.

Oddly enough my last long run wasn’t one I was keen on for some reason. I just wanted too stay in bed. Got myself out of bed and after a few kilometers it all went as normal. The temperature reached above 20 degrees Celsius at some point , which wouldn’t be ideal for the marathon. Hopefully we’ll see a drop in temperatures this week.

The goal running a marathon sub 3 hours is one I am not yet going to achieve. I’m simply not fast enough. But because I set this goal and adopted a new training method I did achieve a lot of progression. By getting out of my comfort zone I have learned a lot of what I am capable of and what is out of my reach. By slowly increasing and breaking through barriers you will see improvements in the long term. Something I hope in achieving in other parts of my life as well.

For this week its a lot of resting and recharging, something which is a bit of an odd moment in itself. Getting out of the rhythm of training. Luckily I can stop myself from going out and train and causing unnecessary riks by doing too much. Now it’s waiting and hoping for good circumstances. I will write a race report when it’s all done. I can’t wait.

Under 3 – Fourteenth week of training

Another week of training goes by, fast. The end of my training schedule is in sight. And so is the big day. The ultimate goal of running under 3 hours might in this instance be a bit of a stretch. My newly acquired long run pace has just been on the right level for a short amount of time. Too short in order to do a solid attempt at under 3. So this adventure will go on for a bit longer. But with the new way of training, the adjusted schedule and all things considered I have made some serious progress.

So I will go on and continue in this fashion. So how did it go this week? To be honest, it’s about time to run that marathon. Training went fine but the real drive is a bit lost, I am just excited to go out and run that marathon!

At the beginning of the week there was a bit of fatigue due to lack of sleep and therefore I had a bit of a hard time getting into the groove. Luckily after a few Km’s this mostly goes away and I have managed too run all planned runs. The longrun was not that long anymore with 24K so I had more time for recovery.

Yoga is still part of the routine and as I have said before whether it really helps or if it’s just in my mind, it works ! So I will keep practicing Yoga. One more week of training, then a restweek and then it’s the big dat. I for one can’t wait !

Under 3 – Thirteenth week of training

Another week in the bag , in other parts of my daily life things were very hectic and this week I really needed the running to keep it all together. Fortunately I was able to digest all the runs planned and I am really getting the benefits of the small and incremental improvements I am making. All these little things are adding up and are playing a big part in my overall condition and health.

This week also marked the last of the big long runs, 34 kilometer in this case, now the schedule gradually winds down in the coming weeks , the milages still is pretty substantial in the coming week just divided over more days.

I am really amazed by all these shall we say 1% improvements that starting to appear. It has inspired me to write an upcoming blog on the importance of small and continuous improvement. It really adds up.

The 2 weeks ahead are still in full swing of training, but it slowly depreciates in volume and after that it’s recovery and then it will be time for the Dusseldorf marathon, and I have too say , I am excited !

Under 3 – Twelfth week of training

Week 12 is a wrap. This week its been harder than normally, my brain didn’t cooperate at all last week, mentally I was very tired. My daily dose of outside impulses I could not process. Running mostly provides a way for me too process all the left over information my brain hasn’t dealt with during the period before the run. Now it was a nessacity just to get some of the unprocessed information out of my head.

But because of my fatigue I really had to force myself out of bed, starting a run and simply showing up was the hardest part. Once outside it was mostly ok. These hard weeks make me very appreciative of the good ones. Training itself went pretty good, the long runs in my new pace start too feel more and more easy and relaxed. I will not run a sub 3 hour marathon at my next attempt , but I am hoping this progress will continue.

Onto week 13 !

Under 3 – Eleventh week of training

This week a lot of long runs and a bit more yoga too keep everything moving and flexible. Four longer runs ranging from 14 to 34 K and one short slow run of 6,5 K. They all went well, made one mistake and forgot too drink enough on my 34 k long run on Sunday.

I was just running very easy and did pay attention too my gel intake and didn’t get thirsty , but at 32 K I suddenly felt my leg getting heavier and I was thirsty then I realized I had relied just of my gels and forgot about the water.

So the last 2 K were a bit harder. But all in all a very good long run. No muscle pain or other inconveniences afterwards. I do think yoga is playing a big role in keeping my body healthy and problem free. Usually I had more muscle problems, tiny pains and sometimes smaller injuries during long training periods and after long sessions. Knock on wood off course , but since I incorporated yoga these all disappeared.

4 more weeks of intensive training to go and then a week of relaxation and rest. I am very happy about my progress, whether I will ever be able to do a sub 3 marathon remains to be seen. But the road is so enjoyable and exciting just because it seems an impossible goal. The progress is real so it helps me in a lot of ways.

Till next week !

Under 3 – Ninth week of training

Week 9 , time flies. This week was relatively calm in the way of training with a half marathon run as the piece the resistance if you will. Not a road race but a bit of trail run. Apart from a few patches of hard surface the track mostly went via horse trails and forest lanes. With the added bonus of a few climbs along the way.

The start was a bit slow, it was pretty busy and it took a while finding a free zone and picking the right pace. Ahead of the race the warning was too save a bit of energy in the first part , because the hard bits in regards too climbing were in the second half of the race. I took this advice , and didn’t go too fast in the first half. Retrospective , this part could have gone faster. But because I am in the buildup towards a marathon this isn’t a bad thing. It’s good not to go all out and exhaust yourself.

The second half of the run was easier then expected and I could keep my pace without a problem. Didn’t force anything towards the end and ran the remainder quite relaxed. Net finish time 1:29:59, just shy of 1,5 hour. Excellent result, and a happy me.

The usual Yoga strength training and the rest of the runs also went excellent this week. No complaints there either, all in all a good week. Hopefully this will continue in week 10!

Under 3 – Seventh and eight week of training

2 weeks of training already over, forgot posting last week. Anyway back again. Week 7 went well. Bit harder because of a lack of sleep and a lesser recovery. Which you will notice , but by paying attention too my body I could manage the training load pretty well. It took a little longer than usual before I got into a comfortable rhythm. Fortunately after the training is done it always feels good and I got an empty mind. All very good benefits.

Week 8 was a lot easier then week 7. Thanks too some adjustments in my overall planning and getting more rest moments pushing it a bit in training went a lot smoother. This week was the first week we got to a 30 K long run. Lot’s of rain and wind and it took a while before the auto pilot kicked in. After 8 K all went smooth and the right mindset and feeling were there. Did a bit of experimentation with gels on route and none of them were a problem for the stomach or otherwise. This is usually the case but better test it beforehand.

The recovery on this beautiful Monday is good as well, no funny pains and or sore muscles. This week the program is somewhat less demanding since I got a half marathon next weekend. A trail run , looking forward on pushes the limits a bit on this one. Let’s see how it goes!

Under 3 – Sixth week of training

This is week 6 already, a though one because of the busy week I had, which had its fall out when training. I skipped one run and took it a bit easier in the other runs and workouts. Also took some extra rest when possible. I am still happy with this week however , because I could largely maintain a good pace and despite the fatigue I could also do most of the training.

In ways of running speed I have some progress too make. The long run tempo’s and faster paces I can cope with just fine, just the hart rate is a tad too high. My next marathon will most likely not see a sub 3 hour finish. I still keep training for it and see how far it takes me. Because if you not train for it, you will never reach your goal. See you all next week !

Under 3 – Fifth week of training

Time flies, another week of training in the books. A lot of rain during all sessions except for my long run of 22 K . Lucky me. I am getting in my stride a lot better. Hart rates are down , also when running higher paces. Which is great but the biggest win this week is getting a sense of rhythm. It all feels lighter, simpler , there is less need thinking about where too put my feet. Also my posture is improving slowly.

I am thinking this is down too Yoga, which has a lot of focus on breathing and maintaining the right or better posture. It has me convinced this is a very good addition, which as a very nice bonus also incorporates a lot of strength training. I must admit I always found yoga a bit out there , not for me. But that’s changed a lot. It’s just very beneficial for your mind and body.

I am nowhere near performing all the poses and transitions in a smooth way, but who cares. I am surprised at how fast progression is actually made , even by me. I would encourage anyone to give it a good go for a longer period, just too see how it affects your body and mind. It takes a bit of getting used too but the benefits will show themselves pretty quickly.

Hopefully this week will be as good as the last.