Auf die Platte – Berglauf

Image may contain: one or more people, text and outdoor

Everything has been going really well for me this year in training, I have lost a load of weight, am running well off very few kilometres, cycling strongly and even swimming a lot for me (3 days a week). I have been trying to not overdo things this year like I did last year, so races have been kept to a minimum, and I mean that literally, this was my first race of the year.

Something new

I want to try some new stuff, not just flat 10k races, so instead of doing the TCE 10k like last year, I signed up for an 8.1km hill run. I’ve never done anything like this before, but was looking forward to the challenge.

After a morning swim, me and Katja went to Wiesbaden and found the sign up for the race. I wasn’t expecting to know anyone there, but Basti had signed up late on so was another TCECler on the start line. Katja decided to stay indoors as we ran, as she was freezing cold!

Hilly Course

The race started at 3pm, pretty late but the weather was great for the time of year, 12°C and sunny. I had heard the course was flatish for 1km, steep for 1km, downhill for 500m then a 4-5% drag until the last few hundred metres, which would be about 25-30% up the Rodelbahn.

The race started and I fell back into about 20th place, I thought there had been quite a few good runners at the start, and it seems I’d judged them correctly! As we hit Neroberg it got steep and twisty very quickly. I decided not keep my pace manageable, I mean it was only the 2nd kilometre. I started picking off people who had started too fast, at first 1 or 2, then a few more, then a few more until I was suddenly in 4th place.


On the very steep downhill trail a guy passed me, but I was soon back with him as we started the long stead climb. It was more rolling than I expected, it wasn’t a constant gradient anyway. After about 4-5km I noticed that 3rd place was coming back to me, though I was running with 5th-7th right behind me.

I passed 3rd place, but someone stayed with me. I thought it would be the Waldlaufer guy who passed me on the descent earlier, but it wasn’t, it was someone else. He overtook me after 6km and I slotted in behind him. After 7km I thought his paced slowed, so I moved past but he picked it up and stuck with me.

The Rödelbahn

The final left turn onto the Rodelbahn showed the beast that lay ahead. It was just a steep dirt bank that went on for about 400m. The guy with me took off at a pace that I couldn’t follow, so I just stuck to my pace. It was tough and I did take some walking breaks, but to be honest, they weren’t much slower than running anyway.

As I got to the top, I could see that 4th was in the bag and I ran the last 100m over the finish line. The announcer said that I should smile for the cameras, I think I didn’t but the pictures show a different story.


It was a hard old effort, but oddly satisfying. Basti was 2nd, but 4th pace was a good result for me. Apparently the time on this course tracks very well with a flat 10k, so 37:35 for me, which I would be happy with at the moment given that I am running 20-30km easy per week.

We jogged back down to the start and found Katja, her feet were frozen and she didn’t much fancy waiting another 45 minutes for the prize giving, so I missed out of my bag of food and a waterproof bag, and we went to Hans im Glück to eat a burger instead.

Next up is Frankfurt half marathon in 2 weeks. I had pencilled in 1:25 as a goal time, but now I think a bit faster should be possible. With a good effort in the legs, I can see me going low in the 1:20s, but lets wait and see eh?

MyFitnessPal – Diet

For a good few years now I have wanted to get my weight down. It’s a bit of a longer story than that, so I will start from the beginning.

I was often a bit overweight as a kid, not obese but a bit chubby. I got back to a normal weight by the time I was 16-18, but after starting Uni, I started to put on a bit more.

After Uni, I was always a bit big, like 90KG, not ideal but not too crazy either. I was cycling in the summers and playing Softball and Cricket and Football in the winter. When I moved to Germany I stopped playing sports as I didn’t know anyone here and couldn’t speak the language, so Pizza was my friend and I started to balloon!

My turning point was buying some bathroom scales in 2011/2012, I weighed 106KG – obese. I started a low carb/ketogenic diet and got down to 90KG over the next few months. I started playing football again and cycling in the summer.

In 2013 I rode La Marmotte and wanted to get down to 80KG for the race, I just about managed it, but I was soon back up to 87KG in the winter. Since I started training properly and year round, I have settled more into a 77-82KG range, 77KG with more effort, usually in spring and then drifting back up to 80-82KG in the autumn/winter.

I have had the goal of getting down to 75KG for years now, but I never manage it! For Mainz Half Marathon in 2017 I had a big blip day and was 75.5KG, but the day before and the day after I was 77KG-ish. This year I decided to track what I eat, try to improve my nutrition and finally crack the 75KG barrier.

I started with MyFitnessPal in December, I immediately saw that I ate much more than I thought! For example I would eat 133g of oats, with 50g sultanas and 300mls 3.8% fat milk. That comes to about 835kcal, but I would think nothing of eating that with an omelette or toast or something.

I had to learn portion control. I looked at my ‘standard’ breakfast. For years I had eaten 4 eggs, milk, cheese and leberwurst for breakfast. That is about 750kcals (which is okay) but only 8g of carbs, 57g of fat and 47g of protein. To fuel myself for my workouts, I need more carbs, and although I don’t think fat in itself is bad, 70% fat for breakfast is high!

gI switched to 75g oats, 25g sultanas, 180mls 1.5% milk and 25g protein powder, that is 76g of carbs, 10 of fat and 40g of protein. That is 200kcals fewer, but has good carbs, little sugar, almost as much protein and most of the fat is gone.

I have been pretty religious about MyFitnessPal since I started, even on holiday I would try to write everything in, even if I overshot my daily target by 1,000kcals or more, it’s better to know if you ask me.

My weight has been steadily falling, I started at about 81KG, but soon got to 79, then 78, 77 and 76KG. It was still early February, so I moved my goals from 0.5KG weight loss per week down to 0.2KG. I think my base metabolic rate might be higher than the app thinks though, as I usually overshoot my expected weight loss!

Yesterday I was 75.6KG, that seemed like a steady weight for me, I certainly wasn’t dehydrated, but then today I was 74.7KG! Ok I think I was a bit dehydrated today, but I still cracked it. I changed my settings to maintain and will carry on (actually expecting to keep on losing if I eat for maintenance). I actually weighed in at 73.9KG the day after Frankfurt half marathon, that was pretty crazy, but I think 75KG is my actual weight at the moment.

I feel very good at this weight, my belly is very noticeably smaller and I am noticing definition where there wasn’t any before.

TrainerRoad Sweet Spot Base 2 Mid

After completing Sweet Spot Base I before Christmas, I had tested my FTP at 330w. I felt that that was too high, so after 2 weeks mainly off over Christmas, I set my FTP to 310w and started the Sweet Spot Base 2.

The first week started off fairly easily with 4 Sweet Spot workouts planned with one easier session during the week. I pretty stupidly decided to run for 15km on Saturday before my harder 90min session, so swapped it for the easier Sunday session (which also felt very hard). The problem was that on Sunday my legs were toast, so I switched from the planned 90 minute Kaweah to the easier and shorter 60 minute Kawaeh -2.

That led me to see that I was pushing it too hard for early January, so I decided to cut back on my weekend running and skip the easy midweek ride. That should make it possible to complete the plan.

Sweet Spot Base 2 has VO2 intervals on Tuesday evenings. I don’t have much experience with them, but the first week was fine with 14×30 seconds at 120% FTP repeated 3 times. The intervals weren’t long enough to bite and my trainer often shortens intervals by 3 seconds anyway, so it was all pretty easy. The next week was 6×1 minute at 120% 3 times. It was a bit tougher but fine.


The next week was 3x2mins 3 times. The 2 minutes were 45 seconds at 120%, then slowly reducing to 110% until the end of the interval (see above – Mills). I found those tough. I couldn’t help but look forward to the last weeks intervals, 6x3mins at 120% with dread. I didn’t think I could do them, but when it came to it, I lived with the pain for the 18 minutes and could grit it out. Phew!

The weekends are really tough if you ask me. The harder 90 minute session on Saturday is usually hard, but doable, but that leaves me a bit cooked for Sunday, when I have 2 hours of ever increasing amounts of Sweet Spot to do! Due to being a bit under the weather in week 4, I had to skip the harder Saturday over/unders, but otherwise I managed everything in the plan.

I will point out that I once managed my full weekend rides and bricked it with a 7km run, that was pretty good! The only other brick I managed was after a shortened Sunday ride (due to illness).

Week 5 is just nasty! It starts with the aformentioned 6x3mins at 120%, then has 4x10mins at FTP, on Saturday is 6×10 minutes just below FTP, but with 30 second bursts above FTP (Laconte – that was the hardest session I have done), followed by 3x30mins at sweet spot on Sunday in a 2h session. I’m writing this on the following Monday and my legs are toast!

Laconte – ouch. I even had to pause and have a longer break between the last 2 10 minute intervals

Just as a by the way, I did ease my FTP up throughout the plan, after 1 week I moved it to 315w, then 11 days later to 320w. A couple of days later I went to 325w before finally settling at 330w as my last Ramp test had given for the last couple of weeks.

So now I am planning on doing my recovery week (hopefully some outdoors, weather permitting), then starting the Base Half Distance triathlon plan mid. Now that looks a lot easier than Sweet Spot Base II, I don’t see anything as nasty as Laconte in there, in fact it looks easier than sweet spot base I, so maybe I can start to run and swim more to be ready for the season.

The next plan will start with a Ramp Test again – my result was …. 342w!