Berlin Marathon 2016 – 2:55:16 a PB but…


So finally it was time for the Berlin marathon.  I didn’t know what to expect, and that is exactly what I got!  so let’s start at the start and go through my training going into the race.

12 week build up

I had decided that I would do a 12 week build to the race, starting straight after the Maratona.  It would be 3×4 weeks with an easier week every 4th week.  I was aiming to run 100km on my up weeks and obviously less on my down weeks.  My routine for Rotterdam worked well and I wanted to do that again. That means running 8 times a week, with intervals on Wednesday, a ML run on Thursday, an easy double on Friday, and a long run on the weekend. Continue reading “Berlin Marathon 2016 – 2:55:16 a PB but…”

Rotterdam Marathon 2016 – Sub3 for the first time


We got to Holland on Thursday afternoon ready for my first sub3 and stayed in Rotterdam on Thursday night.  On Friday I signed in to the race and headed to Den Haag for 2 days. That was a good decision. Den Haag is a really nice town, and only 25 mins away by train. So even on race day I could travel over without problems.

I tapered quite a lot.  On Thursday I didn’t run (but walked quite a lot), and on Friday and Saturday I ran with Katja in the park, doing a few strides on Saturday to be race ready.  Diet-wise it probably wasn’t ideal as we were away from home. We were eating out and enjoying the buffet breakfast in the hotel.  I tried to control myself and keep my fibre down. No spoilers so I won’t say now if that was successful or not! Continue reading “Rotterdam Marathon 2016 – Sub3 for the first time”

Frankfurt Half Marathon 2016 – PB + Goal Achieved!

Five weeks since my last race! Five weeks, that is a long time for me.  I would normally have raced at the end of February, but we were away in Cagliari, so I have just been getting stuck into training for the last 5 weeks.  2 weeks ago I did my best long run ever, a 36km run with 2x5km just faster than goal marathon pace, some hills and a final average speed of 4:30/km.  I was flying all that week, but then the following week I started to feel the fatigue. After a slow 30km run last weekend I was absolutely bushed, so took the week up to Frankfurt half marathon as a down week/ mini-taper to get ready for the race.

I only had 1 half marathon in my schedule before Rotterdam and there is only one goal for me in a half marathon, and that is to run sub1:20.  For some reason that has always been more of a dream for me that a sub3 marathon, maybe because it was always close enough to be a realistic long term goal, but was always far enough away that I knew it would be hard work to ever manage it.  Last year I surprised myself in Rheinzabern by running a 1:21:51 in a near perfect race for me.  That was great, but it was still 112 seconds shy of a sub1:20!  This year my best 10k was slightly short of being equivalent of a 1:20HM, so finally breaking through that barrier was not a given. Continue reading “Frankfurt Half Marathon 2016 – PB + Goal Achieved!”

Groß-Gerau 10km Frühjahrslauf

So just like last year, I had an early February 10k planned to see how my training has been going.  Since the last 10k I did 3 weeks ago I have been trying to lose weight.  I have managed to lose 1.5-2kg in the last 3 weeks, not extreme but not bad either.  I have been piling in the mileage too, so I was hoping to set a nice big PB today.

A look on the sign-up list online showed that TCEC had 3 male runners taking part, Bastian Schäfer, who I know is fast, Sebastian Dahl, who I know is fast, and me!  I got the train to Groß-Gerau and promptly got lost on my way from the station to the start.  It ended up taking me 40 minutes to get there, and when I did I found that there was no changing area, and one Portaloo for everyone!  I did a little warm up and got to the start line, where I saw Konrad another TCEC guy, who I know is really fast, I was worried I not even make the TCEC top 3!

Continue reading “Groß-Gerau 10km Frühjahrslauf”

Lindenseelauf 2016 – 10km Race – PB

So I did this race last year, and decided to run it again this year as it was a good run last time.  I had it in my head that it was a really fast course, perfect for setting my 10k PB, which I did last year and wanted to again this year.

My training has been going well, I have only had 2 days off running over the Christmas period, I have been at or over 80km/week for a couple of months, and have pushed on to over 110km last week and this week.  I went into this one thinking that a 36:30 should be possible, though I didn’t taper at all for the race.

I’d luckily met Christian Hafner in the supermarket a few days ago, and he offered to drive me to the start.  We got there really early, like 1h10 before the start, which on a cold day could have caused problems!  I was getting ready when I saw the frequent winner of the race – Martin Skalsky – dressed in shorts.  I decided that I too should wear shorts, a good decision in the end, even though it was about 2 degrees and slightly snowing. Continue reading “Lindenseelauf 2016 – 10km Race – PB”

Sub-18 minute 5km Time Trial – Goal Achieved and 2015 Goals Checklist

I had set myself the goal of running a sub-18 minute 5km this year, but I only ran one 5km, and that was 4 days after my Ironman and over a 5,2km course, both making a sub-18 somewhat unlikely!

Given that I am in good shape and got through Christmas without illness or allergy induced bad lungs, I fancied giving it a go by myself as a time trial at the local track.  I mentioned in my last post that it isn’t an easy goal for me, it’s certainly much faster than a tempo run.  It was windy today, which didn’t help, but it was also cold and the track was completely empty, especially as the gates were locked so I had to jump then to get in 🙂 Continue reading “Sub-18 minute 5km Time Trial – Goal Achieved and 2015 Goals Checklist”

Race Report – Lindenseelauf 15km

I haven't been posting my weekly training updates, but I have been fairly religiously following the Jack Daniels' 5-10km plan for the last 9 weeks, whilst slowly increasing the amount I run by 5km every week too.  Last week I ran 96km and I will run 100km this week.  I have also run every day for the last 40 days or so, obviously a big record for me as I doubt I had run 10 days in a row until this streak!

So to the race.  It started at 2:30pm but had to set off at midday to get the tram, train, then bus to the start!.  I was happy to see a few TCEC guys were also doing the race, 3 others doing the 15km and the younger lads all doing the 5km.  It was pretty cold at about 3 degrees, so I wore long sleeves and long tights, but after a few seconds of the race I noticed that everyone ahead of me was wearing shorts, maybe I need to wear shorts too!


I started and straight away there were 5 guys ahead of me, one more passed me after a few hundred metres.  I didn't overtake anyone all day!  I looked at my pace and saw that I was running 3:35/km, too fast but not crazy for the first km.  I settled in and soon realised it would be a lonely run, the guys in front of me had all paced well, and those behind me were well behind me.  I felt a bit tired after 6km, and with 9km still to go I was a little worried, but soon enough I reached the airport which I knew was the furthest point of the course and made the turn.  I realised that we had been ever so slightly climbing for a while, so now I could enjoy the slight downhill, though my pace didn't really show that!

At the 10km marker I made a lap on my GPS, it showed 37:30, 10 seconds outside my 10km PB.  It also meant that I could technically run 19:30 for the last 5km and still beat my main goal time of 57mins.  I still felt strong but after 12km it started to hurt.  My heart rate monitor slipped down, so the readings went crazy, I pushed to hold my pace and felt confident of keeping below 57mins, but 56 seemed a real push as I would have to have a great last few km.  I could hear clapping behind me after I ran past some onlookers, I was worried that that meant that someone was coming up behind me, but I soon saw that it was a race official cyclist, and they were ironically clapping him – phew!.

The last km was ok, I didn't have a sprint left in my legs, but I wasn't dying either.  I crossed the line in 56:28, well inside my goal time, but short of my dream time of 56mins.  A quick look at the Vdot charts shows that it was my best run ever, and equates to a sub 37min 10k and a 1:21low HM, both much better than my PBs.

I think that if I had tapered into the race I could have run a bit faster, but this isn't my goal race, so I am happy that I didn't.  It was also run mainly on trails, not on asphalt.  I think that makes it a little slower, but it is still a good and fast course, they are nice wide trails, hardly technical!  I will definitely be back to do the 10km in Rüsselsheim early in January to try to beat my 10km PB again.

I was 7th place overall, 2nd in my age group so I got some lemonade and a certificate for my troubles!  The other TCEC guys all seemed to have a good race too, Torsten wasn't ecstatic, but I think everyone enjoyed the run.

Next up – Ebersheim Adventslauf on December 13th

Race Report – Wasserstadt Half Iron Distance Triathlon – With Photos!

On Saturday was my first Triathlon of the season, and a not-insignificant one at that.  I did Wasserstadt Half Distance Triathlon in 2014 as my first ever triathlon, or at least my first ever when I had trained at least a little bit!  I did it in 5:09 last year and didn't enjoy it too much, but this year I was back and on better form, hoping to smash through 5h and maybe even get down to 4:45.

I travelled to Hannover on Saturday and couldn't check in the bike, so just signed in.  There wasn't too much more to do except get my pasta and head off.  On Sunday the start time was 11:30, so I got up at 8am and ate breakfast at the hotel.  It was good to know that I could eat plenty as it was a late start, so I drank plenty of coffee, ate lots of muesli and toast and felt good about the prep.  Me and Jochen checked our bikes in just before 10am and I was making sure I had everything where it should be.  It was wetsuit legal, even after a few hot days in a row, which was definitely good news!

Soon enough I was ready, I went for the trisuit under the wetsuit, with my HR monitor already on underneath.  I got into the water and took my place near the front on the side, hoping to find a group.  We started and this year was much more aggressive than last.  I got hit a few times and crowded out by people swimming on either side of me even more often.  After maybe 400m I had settled into a group but I think I meandered off course to the left quite a lot.  I re-adjusted but was soon off the course to the right!  Not ideal sighting!  The turn came quite quickly and on the return part I just kept the coast about 10m from me and swam pretty straight.  I swam almost alone, which for speed isn't perfect, but it let me concentrate on my stroke and not have any bother of being hit.  I was happy enough that the swim was over, I couldn't see a clock so didn't know my time, but I guessed faster than last year.

On the ramp up to transition my goggles fell off.  I didn't realise until someone shouted, but in the moment I decided it wasn't worth going back for, so I left them behind, and need new ones now!  I wasn't speedy through transition, but got everything done and was on my way on the bike route.  I noticed an immediate clicking of my not well enough held together disc cover, but it wasn't a hindrance, just an annoying click.  I settled into my rhythm quite quickly, but someone came past me early, so I decided to try to go with them.  I could stay with them and on my wattage plan (266w NP) but I messed up a corner after a few KM letting them open up a gap, I decided not to bridge it as I was pushing a little too much anyway.  That was the only person who passed me on the bike and didn't get re-passed.

I had decided to move my aerodrink to next to the stem of my bike, so my Garmin had to be moved further away to accommodate.  I hadn't tested this set up and was duly punished when my wrist kept switching off the Garmin.  It happened about 5 times over the ride, it was very aggravating!  I still got all of the data at the end, but it was unneeded stress.  My aerodrink was also wonky all day (see photos!)  It also wasn't a big problem, but annoyed me.. I tried to fix it but it would just slant in the other direction, so I gave up on it.

After the first bike loop I looked at the time and saw 12:57, I had expected about a 35min swim, 4 min transition and 50 min ride, so 12:59, but 2 minutes faster was very good news.  My power showed as 278w after the first loop, so I decided to back off a little.  The next loop was uneventful, I thought it was about 48min and a bit easier than the first, so all good.  Last year I didn't drink much, this year I drank the 800ml aerodrink, then my 700ml bottle, then 2 refill bottle, so 2.9L which seems reasonable to me.  I had 400Kcal per bottle for the first 2 and the one more energy drink and a water, so maybe 1100Kcal total.  I didn't use any gels, but I didn't think I needed to, they were there in case anyway!

The final loop was a bit more eventful.  I caught some big guy, who promptly sped up, so I stuck behind him.  Soon enough he slowed and I overtook, only for him to pass again.  I was a bit confused when he passed me as I thought it was someone from the later group, until I recognised his ass when he got ahead again!  Within a km or 2 I passed him again and didn't see him again.  On the 'climb' I caught a group who had been close in front for a while.  I decided to sit in 10m back and take the last 10km easy.  I thought 30 seconds or so lost here could save minutes on the run, so I span in nice and easily, even having plenty of freewheeling on the downhills!

The run transition was easy, though someone next to me got a yellow card for some reason.  I was soon enough on the run course, already aware than I needed to pee, but there were no toilets in sight.  I told myself that I should go slow.  I had 1:55 left to break 5h, so that should be no issue.  I wanted to start at 4:30/km pace, but as I slowly trot along I saw 3:55 on my watch… SLOW DOWN!  I did slow, though the poor km markers don't help with pacing.  The first marker was after 1.38km on my GPS, so my pace was either 4:05 on my GPS or 5:45 according to the marker, very useful.  I trusted the GPS and continued my easy pace, thinking that it would be great if I could keep up this pace at this effort, whilst also fearing the last 5km in the heat after a long day.  I seemed to be passing more than I was passed by, and my pace dropped to 4:15/km which was great.  I got the 1st band after 6km or so and finished the first loop after 10.5km feeling very strong.  I did however have some business to see to, i.e. a toilet stop.

I hadn't seen a single toilet on the loop, except for at the very start.  I had decided that I would use that one, except it was occupado…  I waited about 5 seconds not sure what to do, before deciding that I had to go on and nature would be my friend!  I managed about 2km, before some thick bushed seemed like the way to go.  All done in about 40 seconds, and I could comfortable run it the last 8km or so.  I had seen that Jochen was maybe 4 mins behind me at the turn around, and I was slowing and had my toilet break, so I was worried that he would catch me.  I kept plodding though and after 20km there was a little switchback where I could see he wasn't in sight so was more than 100m behind me, I was very relieved!  I didn't sprint it in, I didn't feel the need to, I took off my cap and sunglasses, and hoped for some good photos!  I was in at 4:15pm so about 4:45 finish time.  My chest was feeling very tight and I didn't feel too healthy, but 30 mins or so later I was back to being ok.  Jochen came in 8 minutes after me, having apparently slowed by more than me.

Swim 34:30
Cycle 2:27:52
Run: 1:37:10
End time – 4:45:23

I am really happy with that. A 24 min PB!  I think there is time to be taken in each discipline, with the run being the one I could push more.  I also saw afterwards that I under did the bike:
Loop 1 : 268w 47:52 154bpm
Loop 2 : 261w 48:59 148bpm
Loop 3 : 243w 49:41 144bpm
So just by holding my planned wattage I would have been about 2 mins faster on the bike, though the last loop was also 260w average until I hung with the group and did the last 10km at 217w!

Confidence is high now, but work needs to be done before the long distance, time is on my side though 🙂

Race Report – Bonn Marathon – Goal Achieved (kind of)

So the big day was upon me, I had travelled up to Bonn on the Saturday and spent a bit too much time wondering around, but had a nice day.  I wasn't feeling overly stressed, mainly because Katja was stressed enough for the both of us! I got up and ate some bread and cereal bars for breakfast, not much else was available.  Katja’s half marathon started at 8:30 or 8:45, it wasn't really clear, but it meant we were up at 6am and ate breakfast well in advance of the race.

We went to the start area, it was really cold but sunny.  I was well wrapped up and watched as Katja started the race, I went to the bridge that is about 600m into the race and watched her come back over it at the 8km mark, and then saw her again at about 9.5km.  As the HM started late, it was already 9:55 when I had seen her a second time, so I went to check in my bag and get ready.  I decided for a minimalist warm up, mainly just wanting to be sure I was done with the toilet and have a very short jog.

I got to the front of the race corral by 10:20, the 3h pacers were basically at the very front of the race, barring the few Africans who were there.  The race started and I had no issues with people around me, so tucked into the 3h group where I intended to stay.  After only 2km I noticed that I had to pee, I wasn't desperate, but I needed to go.  I decided to run a bit more before going, so that no 2nd stop would be needed.  I stopped, peed and started off in pursuit of the group.  I caught them back up after maybe 1.5km, maybe a bit too quick but not a crazy sprint either.

The group running skills of people was pretty bad, lots of trips and one guy was swinging his elbows everywhere and hit me about 5 times, later after he hit someone else the person he hit got really annoyed and shouted at him.  A 3rd person had a chat with him, and he immediately apologised profusely.  5 minutes later elbows man hit into me, so I moved to the side, where he followed and hit me again, I said "come on man! FFS" or words to that effect, then realised that he had a disability, not good…

After 10km we were almost perfectly on pace, so I stopped checking my watch.  my heart rate started rising over the next 10km, which was worrying to me, but I still felt good.  After 20km I realised that we were way ahead of 3h pace, the 3h group went through the half in 1:28:30, I went through in 1:28:45 having noticed and slowed my pace.  I was happy to have a cushion, but worried that it could be too fast..

After 24km I noticed that I would need a portaloo, this wasn't a simple run to a tree problem.  I got to the drinks station at 25km and quickly got everything done and started off again.  It cost me very little time, maybe 15-20 seconds, and I could run in comfort to the end.  I finally got to see Katja after 29km on the bridge, she looked very worried, but i reassured her that everything was ok, it was going to be close, but it was ok.  I reckoned I had about 50 seconds "lead" over a 3h pace at that point, though I wasn't gaining anymore, I wasn't losing too much either.

In retrospect and looking at Strava, the next 6km are where it all went wrong.  It felt hard and it had warmed up quite a bit.  I didn't have any idea of my pace, expect for the KM markers but at this point all I could work out was that it was really tight.  In the last 5km I gave up the ghost of getting a sub3 about 10 times, each time then thinking of how much I wanted it and surging on.  I had decided that I could do the last 1.2km in 5 minutes, but faster would be a push. I came around the corner to see the 41km sign and passed it with about 4:45 to spare for a 3h run.  Again my head dropped, but I knew I had to give it my all. A slight downhill made me think I might do it, but the km dragged on until eventually I could see the finishing line ahead of me and my watch read 2:59:45.  The finishing line as more than 15 seconds away though, so with the crowd screaming me on, I crossed the line in 3:00:15.

I wrote at the start of the year that a London good for age time of 3:05 was the goal, but it hasn't been my real goal for quite some time.  It was so close that I could only laugh after the race, that is laugh and almost cry from the pain of my legs!

My excuses:
1) Strava shows my running time as 2:59:33, without the toilet stops I would have broken 3, almost no doubt.
2) The 3h pacers went out 90 seconds fast, in fact they ran the 11.1km between 10km and 21.1km about 75 seconds fast.  It doesn't sound a lot, but I am 95% sure that if they had run an even race, I would have broken 3h with or without toilet breaks.
3) It was a touch warm in the 2nd half of the race. I don't know why they start the marathon at 10:30am, thus ending at 13:30ish for me, but the last few km were getting pretty warm, especially as there was not a cloud in the sky.  I think on a cloudy day I would probably have run sub3.

It doesn't matter now anyway.  I can hopefully run London next year off real marathon training and I am sure I will smash 3h, I want to be looking more at 2:50 really.  Now the next part of my training season starts, cycling season.

Race Report – Rheinzabern OsterLauf (Half Marathon)

Right I haven’t updated for last week but I ran a half marathon today so will do my race report and get back on track with the regular updates tomorrow!

Jochen has been planning the Rheinzabern Osterlauf for a while, but it is a long way from home for me, and he wasn’t going to come back to Mainz after, so I was going to give it a miss… until on Thursday he changed his plans and offered a ride there and back, so I was on for a last tune up race before Bonn!

Last year I ran the 10km in Rheinzabern, I was really happy with a 39:56, a new PB, but things have moved on a bit since then. My aim for the half marathon was a 1:23:00 or better, as that would mean that my half marathon time is as good as my 10k time, and both would predict a way faster than 3h marathon, my big pre-season goal. I did also hope for a top 10 finish, but that was very dependent on who turned up..

So we signed in and did very little warm up. The weather was cold, about 4 Celsius and raining, good race weather in my opinion. With only 300 runners in the field, there was little traffic, so I wasn’t held up at all. The first k I was actively trying to run slower, but I passed the KM marker after 3:47, too fast. Jochen had planned to hang on as long as possible, as he wanted to run as fast as possible, with 1:25 being a goal time. He stayed just behind me as I tapped out km after km in just under 4:00/km pace. After 6km I was feeling great and the wind was behind me and without really trying I accelerated to 3:45 pace.

That was when Jochen dropped behind and I started moving through the field. There is a cross-back after about 9km and I counted that the first 8 were well clear, then came 2 groups of about 10, then me. I was pretty sure of catching the 2nd group, but the first would be tougher. 2km later I was into the 2nd group, which had started to splinter. A guy in red was going off the front, but I caught and passed him by 12km. There were a few people falling back from the first group but not enough yet, and man in red was hanging on behind me. I had gone through 10k in 38:42 and then 15km in 58:04, so the pace was consistent and good. After 17km I caught 2 more with man in red still behind me, then came the 2nd cross back (its a 2 loop race). I counted 11 ahead of me, all pretty well clear too, so top 10 was out, but sub 1:22 was looking good. It was only after the 19km marker that I really started to feel the pace and it hurt.

The last 2.1km were purgatory, I knew that any decent pace would get me my goal, but I think the man in red passing me hit me mentally, even though I had expected it to happen. I saw that no one was behind me, so I could just do what I could do, and see what happens. Through 20km I worked out (possibly incorrectly) that a 3:45km would get me a 1:21:30, I fancied that and was even mumbling 1:21:30 with each breath! but Through 21km in 1:21:25 I realised that wasn’t happening but I ran in a self-timed 1:21:49, great!

I got a cup of tea and saw Jochen sprint in a 1:24:58 (somehow rounded up to 1:25:00 by someone!), to round off a very successful day. The results were soon posted and I was 13th overall, and 3rd in my age group 🙂 So I got a little easter basket for my effort, which was nice.

So there is not much more to say – don’t F up the last 2 weeks to Bonn, and run and even paced 2:59! Vdot says I can do a 2:50:45, so 2:59 should be easy… right!