Long time no write – Zurich Marathon – RVV and ZUT 2022

I was reading through my old ‘mai oui, Paris’ posts yesterday and was very impressed with how fast I was at the end of January and in February, much faster than I am now. But then that was the problem wasn’t it? The marathon was in April, and I was dead in April!

So I was reading it and trying to learn from the past, but I’m not posting at the moment, so how will I learn in the future? Well, there is a cure for that!

It’s 2022 now, I haven’t done a single race since early in 2020 since the Corona shit hit the fan. I’ve done a few park runs and my achilles problem has completely gone (hopefully for good) so I have decided to give this marathon thing another shot.

It’s going to be a bit different this time though. I was listening to Matt Dixon’s podcast and he talked about how too many people collect miles (km) and measure success based on just the number of miles or hours run. Well that is 100% me! Reading about Paris in 2018, I would feel like crap, but run everyday and extend runs to meet my arbitrary km/week goal, until I wore myself out and overtrained.

So this time I have a training plan, it has shockingly little running sometimes and I can swap out any easy run with an easy bike, according to the coach (Matt Fitzgerald). I am way behind where I was in 2018 at this time of year. I weigh 80kg, whereas I want to race at 75kg. I reckon I would run about a 38min 10k (may be optimistic), not the sub36 I could do back then.

But there are definite positives too. I am getting fitter. I am losing weight. I stopped drinking caffeinated coffee and my stomach is a world better when I run now. I also sleep much better, no more waking up to pee in the night, I generally sleep right through now. I’ve also been doing more core exercises and cycling on the trainer, to keep things more rounded and hopefully injury free.

So, where does that leave me. I have just under 10 weeks until my marathon in Zürich. I think that my weight will be about where I want it come marathon time. I will do my training plan as close to perfectly as I can, and trust that that will get my fitness to where it needs to be. I have been working on my race nutrition already in training, taking Maurten gels in every other of my every 4km walk breaks, something I am considering for the marathon itself… I have also bought some Alphaflys, and some Saucony Endorphin Speeds for training to get used to the carbon plates, so I should be good on equipment 🙂

We will see, as always the goal is a PB, followed by 2:48, followed by 2:45. I think I can do a 2:48 if I get to February 2018 shape in April 2022.

Oh yeah, back to the title of this post – RVV and ZUT. I’m going to ride the 135km version of the Tour of Flanders 8 days before my marathon. I don’t see any downside, unless I crash. I’m also planning on doing the Base+ Zugspitze Ultratrail in July. It’s 49km with about 1800m of climbing, a big day, but not soooo crazy. It should be an adventure, which is good I think. Speaking of adventures, I am trying to get a start for the Ötztalerradmarathon again and I have put my name down for the London marathon (I thought it was in April, but it’s in October :/ )

So 2022 could be a busy year. After a very not busy 2020 and 2021, I am really looking forward to it.

So see you next time when I’m update on my 10k in Ottobeuren, my only planned 100% effort race in my marathon training.

Trailrunning and the Schwarzeck

So not much has happened since my last race, I raced another 10k in March 2020, it wasn’t great but I had excuses, then everything got cancelled because of Corona. My marathon was off, Parkrun was and still is called off and every other race going was done too.

I decided to try to stay fit and get in shape for a 5k later in the year (wouldn’t have been possible, but whatever) then I injured my achilles. I’d been having issues with my achilles for a while, but this was something different, this was a real injury – a partial tear.

After a few days I could walk without limping, but it just didn’t get better. I could run, but only with extreme pain in the following night. I tried some short runs and even ran about 16k quite fast once while supporting Alex run a marathon in Tempelhof, but my running was basically over for 2020.

We moved to Bayern near the mountains in mid February 2021 and we did a few hikes and lots of walking. I decided after about 9 months of not being able to run, to give it another go. After a 6km run all was okay, but the real test was in the night afterwards. I woke up the day after – and everything was fine! I could run again! My achilles still feels a little sore to the touch, but it works for running.

So, with no races happening in 2021 either, I decided to try some trail running here in the mountains. I’m not very fit at the moment and a few kg heavier than I should be, but it’s been fun so far! I am getting used to walking up steep gradients, I basically have no other option most of the time around here, when the paths are uneven and 20% steep.

2nd from right is the Rabenkopf (Schwarzeck too)

So today I set out and wanted to run up the Rabenkopf. Its a 1550m high mountain (starting at about 600m in the valley) that starts 6km from where we are staying in Bichl. I ran to the start and hit the climb after a quick dixie break. Pretty damn quickly I was walking, but could jog sections. The climb is only 5.5km but with 900m climbing. The 1st km was done in 8 mins, all good I thought. The next part was also fine, I briefly took a wrong turn, I somehow missed the slightly trodden 20cm wide path that went off to the left!

Soon came an unexected flat section which I ran until I got to a hut. I looked to the right – fuck – did I have to go up there! I almost turned back immediately, it looked steep and getting progressively steeper, as well as being covered in snow at the top!

I set off anyway and apart from a few little slips and slides, it wals fine. I did lose my footing on a narrow section which gave me cause for thought, but nothing came of it. Soon I came to a cross and a plateau, I knew it wasn’t the top, but I thought it probably wan’t that much further to the top.

I asked someone coming down if that was the way to the Rabenkopf, they said yes, so off I went. There were plenty of sections where I had my hand down to help with getting up rocks or over roots. There were also at least two exposed parts where the wind hit and it was icy, I won’t lie, I was scared on those bits. I was overtaking a lot of people though and I felt calmed by the fact that some fairly old people were coming down the mountain, if they could do it…

I got to the top of the Schwarzeck and the view was great down into the valley, I mean I could see Roche off in the distance even thought it’s 20km away! The view to the Rabenkopf scared my though, I had to go down a little, then it looked very narrow and steep to the top. I hardly even considered it, I turned straight back the way I came (Mistake – I could have taken the easier other way down)

Going down steep, narrow exposed icy paths aren’t my speciality apparently. I fell on my arse at least 3 times, the rest of the time I was hanging onto trees and branches for dear life! Only after getting back to the hut was I back in the clear. I decided to take the MTB route back down so it would be runnable. After that it was all easy going, I mean it would have been if I wasn’t knackered, but I was safe, just tired.

MTB route down

I got home after 23.5km in 3h08. If you consider that I ran there and back (12.5k) in just over 1h, it means the other 11k on the mountain were done at 5.5km/h!

So – my conclusion – I like this kind of adventure running but should probably wait until the routes are free of snow. I think it would have been fine if there was no snow today. I have to get used to being underway longer than I normally would be. 3h08 is a long time, but I still ‘only’ did 950m of climbing. I fancy running up some bigger stuff or doing a few peaks some time in the future, so that’ll take a while longer!

I hadn’t blogged in over a year, and I am back to running and races aren’t coming back anytime soon, so I thought I’d check in. Actually it was that I read my old Liege Bastogne Liege repost a couple of day ago that made me want to blog again, so here I am. I am going to try to run the peaks of the Gipfel Cup in the coming months, I may blog my progress…

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.

Sporting Review of 2016 – Some success and some failure

I made a list of goals at the start of 2016, I try to make them hard to reach, but not impossible either.  Lets have a quick looks at how I got on:

Goals for 2016

Get down to 75kg – Failed by about 2kg
17:20 minute 5km – Success (kind of)
36 minute 10km – Failed
1:20 half marathon – Success!
Comfortable sub3 Marathon(s) – Success!
Run 3500km in 2016 – Success!
Sub 6h Maratona dles Dolomites – Failed!
WIN A RACE! – Failed


That is a 4/8 success rate, which isn’t bad I reckon.  I haven’t really been close to 75kg, even when training lots and in form, I still struggle with my weight.


The running time goals were tough. I ran a 17:07 at the Mainz Firmenlauf, but it was possibly a tick short (my GPS showed 4.93km). It is close enough to count though.  The 36min 10k didn’t quite happen, but I will keep that as a goal for 2017.

My best sporting achievement of the year was my 1:18:55 half marathon in Frankfurt. That is better than a 36 mins 10km or a 17:15 5k and predicts a 2:45 marathon. It was just a great run for me and one I hope to repeat someday.

The marathon goals was a little bit weak, I wanted to break 3, and didn’t know how far under I could go. Really I wanted to run sub2:50 in 2016, but 2 runs of 2:55 aren’t bad either. I haven’t got the hang of the marathon yet, I always feel sluggish, even when running slower than I should be able to.

I thought 3500km in 2016 would be tough, but I cruised it!  The first 4 months of the year were crazy running months for me and I was running so well too.  I kept up my mileage after that though, so almost got to 4000km by the end of the year. My cycling was cut way back to allow for the extra running, so I reckon I will run less in 2017 to allow for more cycling.


I picked a 6h Maratona finish time out pretty randomly. Given the amount of training I did and the traffic for the first 4 climbs I was very happy with my sub6:30. I think I could do sub6, but I also don’t think I will as there are lots of other sportives to do before going back to one I have already done!


Win a race, well that didn’t happen either. It will be a lucky day for me if and when I win a race. This year there wasn’t ever a race I ran where I had a chance, though there were others that I could have run and probably would have won.  I will target one or two next year where I have a chance, I am specifically thinking about the Polderlauf 15km, Lampertheim super-sprint tri and maybe even the Wörrstadt TT.

My Health – Anemic, Helicobacter+ and more

I thought I would write a little post about my health. Don’t worry, it isn’t too bad. I have had my issues with being anemic though and they flared up again in the last couple of weeks.

Time number 1 – Vegas/San Diego

So to start with, a little history. In April/May 2009 I went to a conference in San Diego.  I got there a bit early and headed straight from San Diego to Vegas, where I spent a few days. I then headed back to San Diego for about 5 days.  My life wasn’t very healthy generally back then. I guess I weighed 90kg or so, but I was training for La Marmotte so had been cycling quite a lot.  If all had gone to plan, I would have been a 11h finisher (I finished in just over 8h in 2013), but it is hard to say exactly.

My short stay in Vegas wasn’t exactly a healthy time either. I drank lots, I ate lots. I stayed up all night and even took an ADHD pill that was offered to me by someone who I met when I was there.  It was a really fun few days, but when I flew back to San Diego I wasn’t feeling great.  I remember very clearly playing pool with a colleague of mine Ed, and having to go to the bathroom.  A deep black tarry mess came out and I even commented on resuming playing pool that that was the worst thing ever to come out of my body!

Continue reading “My Health – Anemic, Helicobacter+ and more”

Swimming – review of my swimming 2016

Now that Berlin Marathon is in the books and I have taken 1 week completely off, and this week has been an nice easy week, I am thinking about the future, more specifically about swimming!

I went to the TCEC swim training yesterday, I was awful!  We had a 4x200m set in the middle, I swam the first 200m in 4 mins, then it was a downward spiral to 4:20 and even as low as 4:30.  I could feel that my technique was falling apart, my muscles ached and I was just so slow!  So today I decided to have a look at see how I got to where I am today, the best way to understand the future is to understand the past.

I didn’t go swimming at all this year until March 28th.
In April I swam 6 times,

all after the 16th of April, so I guess I can say that is when my season started. I was worried about the Woogsprint Triathlon at the end of May, so wanted to get some swim fitness going. Continue reading “Swimming – review of my swimming 2016”

Jack Daniels 10k Plan – Week 2 – Feeling good!

Into week 2 of the plan.  I started the week with a real long run this time, though long might be an exaggeration!  I did 17km to Gau Bischofsheim and back, so it was quite hilly. I ran at exactly 5:00/km pace and felt pretty decent, even with a bit of muscle ache still.

Although I was feeling ok, I stuck with my plan of having Monday free, so I didn't run and went to the pool instead.  Tuesday is workout day.  On the menu this time was 4 sets of (200m R 200m jg, 200m R 200m jg, 400m R, 400m jg).  I stupidly did all of the intervals too quickly, especially the first 400m interval in 75 seconds instead of the prescribed 81.  That made the last set a bit harder, but I could have done another set had it been required.  My calves started to seize up pretty quickly after the run, but no where near as badly as last week.

On Wednesday I ran straight after work, I trusted my stomach so much that I ran in the clockwise direction of my normal 11,5km loop, something I rarely do!  I did 9 sets of strides and had a 4:48/km pace with a 149 HR, not too bad.

On Thursday I ran in the evening as the sun was setting.  In wanted to do more than the 7,3km I did last Thursday, so ran to Klein Wintersheim and back.  It worked out to be 9,3km and a nice run, all slightly uphill on the way out, then an easy cruise home.  My new Skechers Go Run Ultras had arrived so I used them for the first time, just like my old ones, they didn't rub and fit nicely.  I really enjoyed this run it was 4:56/km with a HR of just 138 ave.  It was made all the better by a mention on the Rob Watson show podcast that I was listening too, I couldn't help but laugh.

Friday was workout day 2.  Last week i had made these intervals easier, this week I was going to do it as close as possible to what was described.  I ran to Willy Wacker straight after work and after a quick pitstop did my 3×1 mile T intervals.  They are supposed to be 6:20/mile, I was running 9 metres less, but ran them all a little too fast, but in control too.  6:11, 6:15 and 6:13 were the splits, followed by 6x200m R which were at almost perfect pace, 2 were 40.xs but the others all about 39s.  The whole run ended up being 12.3km at 4:23 pace and a 158bpm average HR.

Yesterday I ended the week with an easy run.  I ran to Bodenheim, which is a hilly route for me.  I completely forget about the strides until I was quite close to home, so only managed 6 sets, though I think the 10% inclines must count as a stride too, so I won't lose any sleep over that.  Again my pace was good at 4:52/km for 11.8km with an average HR of 146.  It was definitely a bit harder due to the inclines, but probably better specific training for Zornheim and Ebersheim as they have a hill or 2 en route too.

All in all I did 71.8km this week.  The next 2 weeks could be a bit tougher as I am going to Ukraine on Wednesday.  I will run everyday until then, have Thursday as a rest day, and see what I can manage when I am away.  The general plan is to get up to at least 80km per week, that would be a long run of 20km and 12km 5 days a week, that doesn't sound too stressful.  I feel great at the moment, I am running sub5/km pace all the time very comfortably.  I want to lose weight as I seem to have settled at 82.5kg, at least 4kg more than I want to to be. I'll see what happens in the next few weeks, if I don't start crawling towards 80kg, then I might have to make some dietary changes 🙁

Jack Daniels 10k Plan – Week 1

I've decided to start doing the Jack Daniels 10k plan to try to get some structure to my running, and, hopefully, be on top form for Ebersheim Adventslauf on December 13th, where I want to try to go for the win.

I haven't followed a running plan before, but as I have the Jack Daniels Running Formula book, and I have heard good things about it, I chose that one.  It will also be a stepping stone towards Rotterdam marathon in April 2016.  The problem was that I have to select my VDOT.  My garmin showed that my 5k time recently was 18:20 (VDOT 55), though the course was long so I actually finished in 19 (VDOT 53). I also ran a bumpy 10k in 40:08 (VDOT 52) but I was tired post Ironman and it wasn't so flat, so I have decided to go for a VDOT of 55.  My PB half marathon scores best on the VDOT system, and that would be a 57.

Now that I have selected my training paces, I can follow the plan.  The week starts with a long run, but only up to 25% of the total mileage I run per week.  This week I just did a normal 11.5km run to ease into things, in the future it should be a 16-20km run at easy pace (about 5:00/km pace).  On Monday I had a day off as I was climbing for several hours during the day and was pretty tired.  Tuesday was the first workout day: 2 sets of 8x200m in R pace, i.e. 40 seconds for 200m.  I went to the Willy Wacker track to do the workout and was consistently under 40s for the intervals, apart from the first interval, where I was basically guessing the pace needed!

I felt good post-workout, but I had really bad muscle ache in my calves for a few days afterwards (along with arms, chest and shoulders from climbing!!).  On Wednesday I did an easy run with strides, 10.9km with 8 strides.  My guts weren't happy with the gap left between eating and running, something to remember for future runs.  On Thursday I was exhausted, but got out to run 7.3km, it was actually at a decent pace, even though I was planning a really slow run.

Friday was workout 2. 4x200m R pace, then 2×1 T pace, then a final 4x200m R pace.  I had seen this in advance and knew that Jack meant for me to run 2x1mile at T pace (3:56/km) but as I am easing into the quality sessions, I went for 2x1km instead.  I also messed up the paces so ran 3:41 and 3:46 for the 2km.  My legs were still feeling tight before the workout, but actually felt better afterwards!  The T pace was ok, though I was still happy to cut it short this week.  Next week I will have to push through.

Today I ran an 11.5km route at E pace with 8 sets of strides.  I feel like I am getting into my rhythm already as today was much better than the other E days.  I ran at a decent pace (4:55/km) but my HR was quite low at 145.

I plan to follow the plan as closely as possible for the next 11 weeks.  I did 62km in the first week, that will rise to at least 66km this week, maybe 70km.  I will keep the day off for a few weeks, then add in a 7km run, then increase it to a normal run, so I'll be up over 80km by that point.  I don't want to do too much too fast, so increases will be gradual.  I want to try to lose a bit of excess weight too.  I have started well this week, my appetite isn't so high when I just run, cycling always seems to be the killer!

Tomorrow I will run 16km or so at E pace. I think my calves are recovering well, my Skechers Go Ultras are on their way too, so I am confident I will start hitting all of the prescribed workouts in the very near future.

Review of my 2015 Running Season

Last week I looked on this very blog, and clicked on the Race Reports tag and read through the 4 races I have done this year.  I started this blog at the end of December and wrote what I thought were realistic but really hard goals for the year:

18:30 for 5km – well I haven't done this one, but I think I might have done it as a 5km split in a 10km race!  I can run 18:30 for 5k
38:00 for 10km – done and then some.  My PB is 37:22 and I think I could be in sub37 form now.
1:25 for HM – done and another 3:10 more off! I didn't even dream of a sub1:22 at Christmas, but it's done now!
London Good for Age time – done – Goal creep led to 3h being the true goal, but I did my original goal, and 3 is just a number, I'll do it some other time.

So all in all, I can't complain!
I obviously need to keep running, but I will take some down time, then I think I might try the Jack Daniels 5 week cycles, but skip all of the easy runs as they will be replaced by cycling.

I still have a 10k run in the Köln bike and run to do, a 14.3km run in 2 weeks as part of the Wingerts Cup (maybe a chance to win too) and Mannheim relay marathon, but now I have learned that it is unofficial distances, it somehow doesn't seem as important anymore!

After Mannheim I might take a month or so of just easy running, then start on the 5 week cycles.

I hope the cycling season goes as well as the running season did.  It's a lot harder to quantify things in cycling (until my power meter arrives anyway) but a 5:30 bike split is required in Köln, 5h would be even better obviously!