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I have been a serious runner for a while now and have begun scaling back on the running gear. At first, I bought socks, watches, shoes, shirts, pants,
I love that my shoes have a robust tread and grip well even on ice and snow which we have a lot of in Alaska. The toe box is protected and water resistant.
Founded in 1997 to exemplify the endless possibilities of the human spirit, the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race is held every year on a concrete footpath
I was really touched when I looked at the beautiful pictures that Joao, one of the ultrarunners I've been coaching long-term, sent me. All pictures tell a story. Last weekend, he did his long back-to-back runs on the trails surrounding Lake Fureso about 20 kilometres outside Kopenhagen in Denmark.
He captivated the stunning landscape which has an almost untouchable, mystical feel to it and is a proof of how persistent the winter weather has been up in Northern Europe. Beyond that it's the personal story of what it takes to reach the next goal, the Comrades marathon at the start of June.
The journey may hold surprises, the path is scattered with consistent training runs and surely there are always those magical moments when you're not looking and decide to pause for a while staring out into nature and knowing why you're out there running!
Do you ever stop along your way to see what's beside you? Can you remember the last magical moment when you were running?
I'm back again with a few updates and want to share some of the great moments and opportunities I've had in the recent past. I'm going to break the blogs up into bite-sized chunks to digest.
The past year has been one of uncompromising, consistent training for me. I try my best to fit my training into my agenda. I never have to find the time for training as running belongs to my daily life like the air that I breathe.
A short 45-minute run can be as purposeful as a 2-3 hour run. Sometimes it is just a matter of deciding whether to run early or late in the day.
With a highly time-demanding job I've also learnt to go with the flow regarding my running training and not to expect the impossible.
Instead of worrying about miles and minutes I have a good idea of what my particular goals are for the week and resist to be disappointed if not everything goes to plan.
Despite not having stepped out of the comfort zone too often I've built a good base for the summer and hopefully being able to race again in fall.
Talking about consistency I want to mention an interesting encounter with Alexander Huber , the world's best free-solo climber whom I had the chance to meet and greet in person at a business event in Munich.
I've been a follower of the Huber brothers' adventures for years - inspirational, courageous and breathtaking in many ways.
Alexander talked about his motivation, ambitions and goals in a capturing speech.
Afterwards I caught up with him curious to find out what still drives him after all the years of consistent training, the decades he's been there travelling the world with his brother to seek new adventures and discover unknown places, always going for the next big challenge and just never stopping.
I asked him whether he ever wants to take things a little easier after all his successes, the countless records him and his brother broke.
'What's still in it for you, what exactly keeps you going, Alex?'
He looked me straight in the eyes with that passionate glance and burning desire immanent in those who still feel that burning passion and ambition for what they love doing.
And with no surprise he answered:
'As long as I can still find pleasure and greatest joy climbing the rocks nearby my house where I live always finding new routes and improving my technique I know I'm doing perfectly ok. I love the travelling, the challenges worldwide – it's a great aspect of my sport as well as meeting so many like-minded people. Though, for as long as I live, I will be happiest climbing around the places I know the best since never one day equals another.'
Sometimes the fulfillment of our sport is found right in front of our doorstep!
These shoes are light and very soft to run on all kinds of trails - down and up hill, nice grip on all surfaces. What I like the most is that this shoe
I am currently training for my first 50 mile race. I have also recently started limiting my wheat and dairy intake which works well in my daily life but
I'm excited to announce that Don, Scott and Faith from Trail Runner Nation got in touch with me to record a podcast on the mental aspects of the sport via Skype.
The title is catching as, of course, it's meant to be the mind that will either screw you up in a race or bring out the best you can be - providing you've learnt to apply a few techniques that make you a much stronger ultrarunner.
In the 30-minute interview, we talk about my first experiences with battling the mind in the desert race back in 2008 and how it's possible for anyone to develop individual techniques and focus more on training the mind so it won't play tricks on you.
It was such a fun experience and the talk could have continued on for hours. There are more podcasts planned in future going into detail about the life balancing act and ultrarunning.
All you need to do is to click on the link and listen. It might be you'll fly like an eagle in your next race.
In order to keep a long story short, I've decided to divide this blog post into individual sections for easier readability in a clutter-free, simple style and with the goal to keep you interested.
First off, though, I'm thrilled to see the numbers of visitors still increasing whenever I take a random glimpse at my statistics, more out of curiosity.
I genuinely honour each of you who regularly stumbles upon this website and even better, returns for tips and help. There are still many topics I want to write about buzzing around in my head but I've gone through a pretty ruthless phase of working hard on my time management these past since February.
Let me start from the beginning...
Job: It was about time for me to think of a job that would secure me a regular income, one that would be fun, where I'd get to meet many people each day, working in a team and contribute and love what I do. After a short process of sending off applications, getting invited to assessments, waiting in a line for a 'yes' or 'no' from various airlines I was parallely working out a masterplan on how to organise the job life with my family life.
For once in a long time I put my running ambitions aside and got immense support from my family and friends to help me make my job goals possible. In the end, I was even able to choose the company I wanted to work for after weighing up the pros and cons.
It took me a good three or four months to adapt to the workload and intensity, specially physically, flying all across Europe many days each week and luckily, always being able to return home.
I feel lucky right now and happy that I can be present for the kids as I always have a fair amount of days off allowing time at home and attend to my social life. It's a highly energetic job, every flight is different and I love meeting hundreds of new faces each day.
I never thought of myself as excelling in a team as much as I do. Still, I value the quality time and life at home and never take any issues from work home with me.
The airliner world is exciting and fascinating. I've felt passionate about flying since my early childhood and part of it runs in the family.
Funny to talk to my long-lost cousin again after 20 years not even realising he's working for the same company. I've noticed that, after all, it's a small world, fast-moving and diversified.
Running: For the entire 12 months I've been practically injury-free. The odd niggle sometimes bothered me and I took it as a reminder to be a little more aware and careful.
In late winter and throughout spring I averaged 4-5 runs per week and 90% of those were geared to improve my speed, more for the fun of it than working towards an ultramarathon race.
I did mainly hill intervals, long tempo runs on flat terrain and pyramids.
I was often too tired to go out for long runs and chose to spend more time with my kids instead.
I feel quite fit at the moment, light on my feet and happy whenever I can free up the time to head out. Often to my surprise, I can just follow my nose and be totally happy and balanced. I turn nothing into rocket science and simply tap on the resources I can make available from experience.
Running continues to be my essence, my soul food like the air that I breathe. Each run is special as my mind wonders and thoughts come and go before eventually there is only flow cruising along on the tracks of the forest. With autumn in the air now it's even more intense when being surrounded by the cool, magical cool winds and whilst the leaves slowly drop on the ground.
Fun facts: In search of a new pair of trail running shoes I decided to try a different pair of Salomon's. The XR Crossmax is a reliable shoe on normal to slightly rugged terrain.
In the beginning they worked a little against my feet or vice versa but after about a week of running in the Crossmax I'm very pleased. It's versatile and good on tarmac, trails and softer surfaces.
It's an all-in-one shoe with good cushioning and ideal for runners doing higher-mileage training. For racing, I'd choose a lighter shoe.
The summer held many highlights in store. At the start of June, I took my daughters on our first hiking trip to the Alps. It was amazing to guide them along narrow single trails, pass a herd of capricorns, crossing snow fields, picking flowers and spending the nights in an alpine hut.
A truly bonding experience with no distractions and cut off from mobile phone and computer networks only carrying the bare neccessities with us.
Two months later we flew to Greece for a few days relaxing by the sea and equipped with books enjoying the hot temperatures and indulging in delicious Greek food.
Aside my running I have discovered another passion that I can't quite turn into a regular hobby – yet...but I'm working on it. It's pure adrenaline flying in a helicopter being locked up in a small capsule and having to trust the pilot's skills.
I've had the privilege to fly in a helicopter a few times and am addicted already. I've learnt a tiny fraction of the most basic basics and plan to get the license as a long-term goal.
Lastly, aside many challenges this year I consciously create moments of fun and connect with people.
Just recently I sat in a cafe when an older lady joined the seat next to me and suddenly started to talk and share her worldly wisdoms with me, some true pearls about decision-making in life.
I saw myself reflecting in a mirror and some of my questions were answered without having asked the lady a single question.
It was a magic moment of recognising profound truths and I experienced another magic moment yesterday when I bumped into a Moroccan woman.
It's meeting the right people at the right time!
It's often in the attitude that something can feel too hard to handle and next, by changing the perspective and allowing new input it all gets easier. And sometimes there is only black or white with no shades in between.
I know this post turned out a bit longer than I had planned again. I guess I'm no good at keeping long stories short.
Keep on running and smiling!
Congratulations to Markus from Switzerland!
He successfully finished the famous K78 in Davos last weekend.
He feels blessed to have finished in such a respectable time given the tough weather conditions and that he faced some problems on the last climb up Sertigpass but managed to stay mentally very strong. This is what he says in reflection:
'It all came together on race day for me. I went into the race with best intentions and knowing that I had worked really hard for 3 months. I had optimised my race nutrition, adapted my training and knew exactly what to expect on the course. I'm so happy I never gave up and embraced the overwhelming feeling of the last hundreds of metres when I eventually crossed the line in a little over 8 hours. That's when I realised why I came here to race again.'
Markus first contacted me three months ago and from the beginning I knew it would be a unique challenge to coach such an ambitious runner and athlete like him.
His training was designed in accordance with his full-time job and other commitments. Markus put in countless hours of core strength exercises in addition to the running training.
During the last eight weeks prior to the race he noticed an improvement in his speed endurance and overall strength, specially running the hills.
Two training camps in the mountains helped to simulate the race conditions and added to the quality of his training as he always knew exactly how far he could push himself. Throughout, he kept an exemplary attitude towards the sport - always committed, passionate and smiling.
Congratulations again, Markus!
Running is probably the oldest exercise. Even before people coined the term exercise, people already ran to get faster to where they want to be. You
It's time for yet another success story.
Dominic has finished The North Face Bear Mountain 50K Challenge in a respectable time and, of course, with a smile on his face.
I've been guiding Dominic on his ultramarathon journey for a few months and luckily there is no end in sight!!
Dominic started running ten years ago and has already completed a few ultras. The challenge was to come up with a plan for him that suits his busy work life and routine in general.
His priority was start pursuing his goal based on consistent training.
He approved the first plan and has since followed his monthly training schedules.
What is so impressive about Dominic is that he developed a fine sense for improvisation during the extreme winter in New York and somehow managed to get his long runs in.
A minor setback a few weeks prior to the race wouldn't let him down as he's just a born optimist.
Months of hard work, willingness and passion for running paid off and for a change, a triathlon is on his agenda next before embarking on a new ultra marathon in summer.
It wasn't just the finish or the time. It's more that I got there basically injury-free after all the setbacks of the last few years, and that's what I would highlight more than anything.
Run on, Dom!
Congratulations to my mother Anna Maria and her two friends Marisa and Sabine! The three ladies recently finished the Trail Petit Ballon, a mountainous ultramarathon taking place in the French Vosges.
'Trail du petit ballon' in fantastic times and with a smile on their faces. Three inspiring journeys and three stories. The race takes place between 200 and 1300m altitude over a distance of 47 km in altitude 2100m. The track has the shape of an 8 whose center is located at Osenbach which the Circuit des Grands Crus is the first loop. The second loop will lead the "trailers" at the top of Petit Ballon. The climbs take place on roads rather large, raids on beautiful mountain trails ... maybe with snow!
The course is challenging in many ways. Only two weeks before the start the three ladies took part in a training run taking place on the race course. Due to bad weather and a split-second of not concentrating my mother slipped on the wet trails on a downhill section and pretty much injured herself from head to toe.
And with only a week to go she also had to battle a cold. As her coach, I advised her to decide at the last minute whether it would be worth it or rather look for another race. Needless to say that she did make it to the start in good health and demonstrating once more that ambition drives!
She sat out running at a steady pace and taking her time on the uphills securing a solid finish even passing her two friends near the end.
Sabine and Marisa also showed great stamina throughout the entire race. In reflection they admitted that ultramarathon racing differs so much from running a classic road marathon. They loved the diversified training schedule, specially the pyramid training and concluded that it suited their needs perfectly.
My mother, an experienced 'Grande Dame' of endurance running for over 25 years, took her training with enough sincerity whilst sometimes compromising on a speed session and continuing the long runs with serenity.
The images here tell more than words can say - individual journeys following the same goal!
Do you know where your next journey is going to take you?
Hi, I am not saying I am a super sports or athletic person but I have found something that really works wonderfully for me. It is called Factor 4 Weight
What a fantastic result for Jayne Angilley at last weekend's Gloucester 50K race crossing the line as 1st lady.
It was an undulating course and there was quite a bit of wind at times. Reading other runners reports made me realise that it was not a pb course! My time was 4.27, and I would have liked 4.15 but all of the above would have made for slower times anyway. Still a pb for me I guess as I have not done a 50k before!
I've only known Jayne, an experienced (ultra) marathoner, for 6(!) weeks. She signed up for a one-month coaching in December with the clear intention to establish a training routine that would allow her to work towards her goals, and her first one being the 50K.
The key was to provide a training plan that generates continuous interest and motivation as well as increasing the weekly mileage step by step.
During her race preparations she also adjusted her daily nutritional habits and specifically her race nutrition.
Jayne is already planning to run an ultramarathon every six weeks until summer, an extraordinary ambassador in the sport, dedicated, keen and striving to go further and further.
My wrap-up for 2011 is ready. There have been many eventful times in my life last year. Amongst securing emotional stability for my daughters, I was drifting in and out of the questions whether I would attempt re-entering the ultrarunning scene.
As for life in general, 2011 can be summed up as a year of parting from everything and everyone that didn't match my needs and where the future outlook would have meant to compromise more and more.
Some of those decisions came very easily and some needed time to mature in order to take massive action. If I place a sticker on last year, then it would say 'clarity, massive action, letting go'.
January-May: At the start of 2011 I was suddenly confronted with staying or leaving a then fairly close person who within seconds, was on the edge of life. I stayed for the time being.
Right before I wanted to sit down and start planning the ultramarathon season, I tripped over pretty badly and injured my left ankle. Forced rest and light, mindless training dominated the following months until May.
During my first-ever trip alone with my kids in April I realised how easy life felt away from the stamped down paths and sensed a strong urge to break free once again. I felt like being tied up in a bottleneck.
Looking back, there always tends to be something in the air in advance to seeing a new opportunity arise.
It was during a trip to the mountains in May that I decided to attempt a long trail run again. And I was finally running pain-free. That day I also realised that life would continue on with no one else but Christoph.
I was catapulted out of that bottleneck and landed safely with both feet on the ground: metaphorically speaking on a bright open space, entirely barrier-free.
Everything made sense to me!
June-December: I finalised my race plans and signed up for the Chiemgauer 100K ultra at the end of July. A boot training camp with my friend Armin eight weeks prior showed me where I needed to focus my training on.
A decent amount of trail runs in the Alps as well as shorter sessions helped to build speed endurance and got me fit right on time. I still feel the sense of achievement when I think back to the race, a long day out in the mud, rain and cold in mid-summer.
The race finish empowered me to pull through with the major decisions that followed and helped me to keep up my credentials as an ultrarunning coach.
The timing for my move out of Switzerland to Germany was ideal as it allowed the children a smooth transition into their new school right after the summer holidays in September.
It was the first time that I handled a move all by myself downsizing from a spacious house into a charming old 19th century flat with creaky floorboards and high ceilings.
It truly feels like a snuggly, cosy home to be in, parks, forests and the city centre all around.
The growths and shifts that have happened in the communication departments have been very rewarding.
Sarcasm kills – communication and transparency rules! Following this principle has improved all my relationships and my work as a coach, too.
Becoming aware of such patterns and changing them for the better in your immediate environment makes life a lot easier and joyful.
Coaching: Admittedly it took me a while to make the step and offer a selection of online ultramarathon coachings services.
The first person that signed up after the first announcement about nine months ago is still with me and plans to prepare for Comrades. I tweaked and refined the services offered in order to maintain the individualised coaching experience. I'm learning and keen to become better and better with each new client at understanding their needs.
My plan this year is to keep up with the demand and continue with the coaching.
I'm also looking to get involved in voluntary work and become a mentor for teenagers that need help with their German, homework or simply someone they can listen to. Small steps can help in a big way and instead of donating to organisations I think that direct feedback from needy people pays off quicker. It's the visible results that have a big impact.
Another real dream of mine that I've always wanted to fulfil was to write a book. With respects to my website it made sense to offer an e-product that is available for download right after completing the order.
The process is a matter of literally two minutes and the product is ready for access. Once I had tweaked over the topic I was going to write about, it was an easy task with a precise plan and following through.
Still, books aren't written and formatted over night. Many hours went into the book writing during the day and often until late at night. I'm happy with the result and so far have not received any complaints from people that have purchased the book. Thanks.
Facebook & TV: I feel inclined to describe the effects that Facebook and the television have had on my life in 2011.
I used to watch TV regularly, often daily. When I lived on my own with the kids I put the TV out of our sight which had the effect that we forgot it was there. My evenings were filled with reading, talking to people, working on the website etc. that I simply didn't watch the news or any of the – honestly said – mindless shows.
The TV has not even been plugged in since we live in our new flat and it's so liberating to have eliminated daily discussions about who can watch what show at what time – phew!
My experience is that I don't miss out on anything; there are superb online news websites where I can check out the latest happenings. All those hours that many people spend sitting in front of the TV each day, is so much passive time.
I honestly don't know when I could fit it in. There are always other things I'd rather do before I'd decide to go back to a telly routine getting bored and lazy.
Facebook has two sides to it: I use it mainly to read updates from ultrarunners that post meaningful stuff but most often, it's too much annoying nonsense from so-called friends that's being spread throughout so that it lets me lose interest quickly.
There are some truly clever people out there using facebook as a means to contribute rather than just wanting to be heard. As this is still the minority of people, I spend no more than ten minutes per day, if, scrolling through.
And I rigidly resist to post any pictures of my children anywhere on the net proclaiming that these days, a little bit of self-protection instead of full exposure is good.
Facebook is good if you're being very selective and the ultrarunning community is evolving at rapid speed so that I can see the benefit long-term.
Bottom line: Less distractions, more quality in life.
Often, it's those extra minutes spent in front of the TV or on facebook that can be used more effectively. Everyone knows this yet changing a pattern never comes that easy.
I keep getting questions about exactly this issue on a regular basis: I have no time. How do I fit it all in?
How about trying to do a set of core exercises next before logging in! This easily adds up to many hours each week, hours during which you could be building additional strength as an ultrarunner.
Lastly, I want to thank my closest family and friends for their continued support. I would also like to express my appreciation for the ultrarunners I had the opportunity to coach and get to know their backgrounds, goals and motivations. It's been very rewarding work.
Still savouring in the vivid memories of the recent trip to Russia - St.Petersburg - I want to share more pictures of my run with Helga and her husband Sergey.
While we were running Christoph took a walk by Toksovo lake, a popular location for surfing, swimming and sailing in summer, capturing the magical light and atmosphere.
Even though it was past noon at the time, it wasn't until an hour later that the sun shone through.
I also discovered a new way to prepare a wholesome meal made from buckwheat that's not only filling but contains many nutrients like iron, potassium and protein.
Kasha is a very traditional Russian meal, usually served as a main course or side dish with meat or fish.
Buckwheat is rather filling and can also be an option for a nutritious breakfast alternatively to toast or muesli.
Instead of onions and mushrooms, simply add raisins and ground cinnamon.
Place mushrooms over buckwheat, add water, bring to boil, then simmer for 10 mins. Cut onions and sweat in oil, then add hard-boiled eggs and onions to buckwheat, stir gently and enjoy!
I received an email from a passionate runner last week asking me to help spreading the word about his ambitious film project. Since I'm always curious and open about what other ultra athletes are doing when they're not racing, I'm totally supportive and keen to help Barry turn his vision into reality.
If you're, too, interested in what 'The toughest ultra on earth' is all about, take a look at the campaign and be astonished:
Here is also a presentation of the film-maker himself:
My name is Barry Walton ~ I am an avid athlete as well as a film maker working on a new film of the making of - arguably - the toughest ultra on earth.
Two years ago in 2010, I started following the making of the toughest/highest race in the world and have been working for 2 years now to build this piece.
Over that time I have researched, traveled to India, filmed, and am now in the midst of editing, structuring, and working to get this finalized and up to a professional level for viewing and festivals.
To help I have started a Kickstarter fund raising campaign with plans to raise $5000 in 40-days (or we don't get any of it). The goal here is to help with recreations, further interviews, and editing.
Happy New Year to everyone! May all your ultrarunning visions and dreams come true.
On New Year's eve, I stood alongside the Newa river in St. Petersburg facing the admiralty from which the most fantastic fireworks I've ever seen, went off.
2012 started with a huge party with thousands of Russians on the main road through the city centre. Strangely enough, it was a safe place to be, a calm and peaceful atmosphere with everyone out on the streets having a ball.
In total, we spent five days in a city that never sleeps, memorable, adventurous days of exploring and discovering the beauty, shine, glory and magnificence not only found in historical buildings such as the Amber Room, the Eremitage and Catherine's Palace.
It was also the countless encounters with the real people that made this trip so special: the old Soviet history that can still be sensed in places, the welcoming feeling, the hospitality and warmth from Russians, running over bridges and alongside the Newa river, indulging in the traditional cuisine enjoying blinis, kasha, soups, salads and other tasty foods.
Showing a little initiative to talk Russian, even just single words and a simple 'please' and 'thank you' and you're welcomed with open arms.
For me it was a matter of getting by, being able to re-awaken my Russian and reading the words while Christoph perfected his already fluent Russian. I remember running in the darkness at 9.30 am with such strong sea winds that nearly blew me off the side of the road.
Another highlight was to meet up with two marathon runners, Sergej and his wife Helga, who took us to Toksovo, a small town outside St.Petersburg and training base for many top Russian biathletes. Both Sergej and Helga started running last year in April and are currently training for their first marathon.
The 12K turned into a long run up and down the snow-covered trails and continued with a spontaneous invite to the Popov's apartment being served smoked cheese strips, sausage and berry juice. They also showed us around their area before we headed back into the city centre together to end the day chatting over cups of coffee.
It was a truly memorable and effortless journey. More than just a collection of stories of people and places.
Where are you going next?
Q: I have run a 72 mile 24 hr run, 2-50 mi, 1- 100k. I have been playing with running at 70% of my heart rate. I ran 19.5 miles yesterday and my Garmin
After a week of complete rest from running I feel like I've run a marathon after an easy run in the forest today.
Exceptions always prove the rule!
As I'm usually healthy and barely ill, I was more than suprised at how long my immune system took to recover from a heavy cold. Never mind, I took this 'down-time' as an opportunity to gain clarity over my goals for 2012.
My training has been going extremely well since September. I've had the most consistent months of running training I can remember continuing to thrive in this beautiful area. Whether it's a steep six-kilometre uphill climb, a flat fast-paced tempo run in the park or training on any of the other countless trails in the nearby forests - it is simply energising to be and live here.
My running times prove to be faster than ever and when I do use the km-tracker on my Garmin I'm almost surprised to be running sub-4 kilometres with ease.
During the long uphill running sessions it's always - without exception - the case that if I'm totally focused and in the moment, the sense of achievement doubles and triples. Mental techniques help to stretch out of your zone.
And no exception proves the rule in this case.
My first race is a 55K ultramarathon in January and I expect to see many familiar faces from previous races. It will be a different experience to run in snow for hours! My further race schedule remains tentative before I definitely commit to longer races.
In case you're still looking for ways to improve your running, your nutrition or simply need some general guidelines about ultramarathon training, then get a copy of my eBook. It's filled with helpful tools and information including bonuses such as training plans for beginners and advanced ultrarunners. The current price will only stay until January 8, 2012. Just click here to get your copy now!
If you're looking for ways to go beyond a marathon and achieve your ultramarathon goal. And if you search for solutions to combine dedicated training with work and family without losing...
My first eBook How to Train For an Ultramarathon Without Losing Your Life Balance is online and available for download here!
First, I want to thank all subscribers who filled out my survey.
Without your help and effort to take the time and answer a list of questions, this book would still only be a blurred vision.
The recurrent themes of the questions you asked based on what you needed specific help with were:
I didn't hesitate for a second to create and deliver a product with solutions to all your needs concerning ultramarathon training.
After weeks, days, hours and minutes of visualising, researching, planning, writing, sweating , tweaking, modifying and perfecting the eBook you can download your copy NOW.
I've literally spent all hours trying to include all aspects that matter to you and find solutions that allow you train most time-efficiently.
Check out the contents of the book and get your copy. You're only a click away from receiving this must-read serving you as a daily guideline and reference to your ultramarathon training.
And the best thing is: You also receive 2 FREE BONUSES including Beginner's and Advanced Training Plans and more.
Enjoy your book and be as fast as the wind in your next ultramarathon!
This morning the UPS van turned up right in front of my window as I was typing another chapter for my first eBook that will be released before Christmas.
A minute later, I opened the door and accepted a rather big parcel...with a brand-new pair of Salomon's XT-Wings S-Lab 4 embedded in it.
Thank you, Rainer Schlump, from Salomon Germany for your support!
It's just the perfect shoe for my feet given that it took me years to find a shoe that handles any terrain - and works for me instead of causing tired and sore feet.
Whether I do a tempo run, combine tarmac with off-road running, rocky trails, soft grounds - it responds to any terrain with perfect grip and most importantly, enough agility.
I was reminiscing on my 100K race today and concluded once again that I couldn't have had a better shoe to master 14 hours on technically demanding terrain.
100% comfort, 100% fun! Can't wait for my next training run out on the trails!
The Adidas Adizero XT is lightweight, but offers good protection. The outer sole provides good grip
I'm back with an update about my recent training efforts!
The past two months were mainly dedicated to trying out different running routes near my home.
The passionate uphill runner that I am lead me to select hilly routes up and around the woods nearby. Besides including various inclines of different lengths in my training routine, I've also maintained weekly tempo runs and intervals.
But my favorite part of training still is to find ways to spice it up, playing with what nature has to offer, getting creative, have fun and to think outside the box.
About once per week, I drive up to trail paradise for a long run, a blend of nature, solitude and freedom. It's more than running: it's a journey, one of my favorite connotations connected with ultrarunning. Each training run is a small part of the journey toward a goal.
Just like a journey needs to be prepared, I put a lot of importance to high-quality and time-efficient training.
What's also a fun part of any journey is that it takes improvisation at times.
Two days ago, I felt in great form and ready to rock the hills. If it wasn't for the ski piste I had approached: 'Why not run up to the top of this beauty of a hill? That would be serious hill training!'
Turned out that the piste is 500m long with an incline of 20%!
A mere six minutes later I had approached the top enjoying the clear views and continued running on on the trail at the top winding back down and up to the top of the next hill. An hour later I ran past the same ski piste again and decided to...run up once more, only on tired legs this time. What added to the fun of it was that the initial feeling resembled running up a sand dune!
In total, I covered 22K on trails in two hours that day. Quality-filled, fun and little off my original idea to stay on a particular route.
For all of you who happen to live near skipistes that aren't covered in snow yet: diversify your training with this type of hill interval! Key is to keep ankles loose, holding the arms quite high up (imagine a sprinter's arm position!)
It's fun! It's different! And it's outside-the-box type of training.
The bottom line? Following a training routine is great. Running outdoors on trails, in the solitude and peace of nature refreshes mind and body, offers a million different opportunities to add some spice into your long run.
Sometimes 12 minutes can make all the difference! The rewards are well worth it!
How To Find The Ideal Ultra Marathon Nutrition That Lets You Thrive
One of the most frequently asked questions revolves around which foods are best to consume during training and racing.
Instead of coming up with a one-fits-all formula I'm asking you to join the latest forum on Ultra Running Insights.
Do you prefer to take whatever is available at the aid stations? Or do you still find yourself tapping in the dark searching for the perfect solution?
From my experience, finding exactly the foods and products that fulfil my needs was merely a matter of a few weeks. It took a lot of trial and error over a few years. I now know my needs without much fail. The formula always remains the same whether I head out for a short tempo run or for a few hours on the trails: I'm always prepared prior to running and consider what I have eaten before to decide what I will take on the run.
It's not rocket science in reality and often it's easier said than done, I realise.
What I want for you is to save you years of trying and help you to take the shortcut to immediately thrive on the foods that knowingly work in most cases.
Let's create a broad spectrum of answers to one of the most pressing questions - help and be helped right here .
I look forward to what you've got to say!
Do you struggle to fit in your running training in line with your job, family duties, social network, hobbies?...The list is long. I know that this daily balancing act is not easy!
The good news first: you've made it this far already! You want to strive farther, you want to dig deep and test your limits, feel amazing when you cross the finish line.
You are willing to do what it takes!
Ambition and passion are both key factors in ultrarunning forming the foundation on which everything bases upon. Just like you I have to plan my training very wisely around my children's daily schedule, that of my partner's and my own needs. We are all aware that ultrarunning training is more than a nice walk in the park.
It's not a question of when to do your training! The question you have to ask yourself is: How can I maximise my training efforts in the least time I have available?
For most of you, running at lunch time is the only way to fit in any training during the week. Turn this time into your hour of power! Running in the park nearby with a group of runners is nice...but let me give you a running session that will pay off in a big way giving you the focus you need and realise that every run doesn't need to be ultra-long.
This 35-minute-threshold run is best to do on a treadmill – alternatively on flat terrain if you run outside.
This interval increases your body’s capacity to produce energy aerobically and increase performance in ultra distance races. The key to this interval is to resist the temptation to go too fast or set the pace on the treadmill too high. It is not a maximum effort workout. As you become fitter, this type of run should become easier.
I squeezed this run in yesterday shortly before my kids came home from school and was very happy with the outcome. Last time I did the interval I felt out of breath as the pace was hard to hold. This time around I felt much fitter running at the same pace but easily being able to chat. Next time, I aim for a higher pace and see what happens. Again, going full out is not the purpose.
It's a light out-of-the-zone run that is also ideal to focus on high cadence and good arm posture.
Each time you come down to 13.3 km/h it should feel harder to 'recover'. That's the magic threshold! If the set pace is too high, start with 12.1 km/h or 11.5 km/h. Do this interval every 1-2 weeks and notice improvements.
I have suffered from knee and back pain and been through every physical therapy program. I also had dynamic scans of my foot done and my back x-rayed.
Basically, it's important to test all the foods and drinks you plan on using in a race in your training. That's the only way to find out what your stomach
Regarding race nutrition it's admittedly a very individual matter. It's always important to test everything in your training. Try coconut water as a
What specific question do you want to ask about training, nutrition or racing? What do you need help with?
Just got back from running in the simpson desert multimarathon race. Each day had very different tracks to run on ! Sand, red dust, small stones, gibber
I have started more routinely wearing a pair of Salomon EXO Calf Sleeves for longer races, 15K and beyond. When I first got the calf sleeves, I tried
I have come up with the idea to create mini-forums on my website giving you the opportunity to actively engage in talking about various topics of interest - all having to do with ultrarunning, of course.
Each week, you'll find a new topic that's up for discussion.
Here is how you take part: there will be a short blog post providing a link directly to the mini-forum. You only need to click on the link which takes you directly to a form. You can fill out as much as you'd like, upload photos if you wish and even comment on other's opinions.
The topic of this week is compression socks.
What's your take, your experience with compression socks? Do they cause the placebo effect or truly make you run faster?
The beneficial effect of compression socks causes controversial opinions specially amongst ultra runners.
Is this surprising at all as they're sold under the promise to boost blood flow, run faster and recover quicker?
But...why are there still so many ultrarunners running without compression socks?
I started wearing Booster socks a few years ago and became soon addicted. I only felt I could maximise my running training when I wore the socks.
And some time later I honestly started questioning my conviction. I had run without compression socks for 14 years and suddenly, a pair of socks would supposedly help me perform better?
I think I was more drawn to the look of the socks than really feeling a noticeable difference. I made the bad mistake to wear my Boosters during the first two stages of the Marathon des Sables. I experienced the reverse effect in the heat (sauna effect) ending up with stiff and sore calves for the rest of the race. After that I stopped wearing compression socks and only occasionally put on Nike's knee-highs after long runs for recovery.
Interestingly, when you look at both top female and male ultra runners not many actually wear compression socks. And they would be the first candidates, don't you think?
Share your opinion here.
It's merely been three weeks since I found my belongings packed into 40 odd moving boxes that were transported over the border back into Germany. And I shed a few tears when the immigration official banged 15 odd stamps onto all the papers and forms I had filled out beforehand. Welcome back in my home country!
I'm keeping many nice memories from Switzerland. After all, it's where I first discovered my love and passion for mountain running.
When I think back to my first mountain half-marathon in Davos in 2007 I remember how overwhelmed I was with emotion. The energy I had felt running on the trails gave me a whole new perspective. Running off-road made total sense to me and my desire to go and explore ultra running was the only natural consequence.
Where one door closes others open up – you don't know what's going to happen when you decide to walk through.
Only chance is to go for it – being that go-getter!
As I'm writing this I'm looking out of my window facing the spa gardens opposite our new home. Nature presents itself with such abundance at this time of the year.
The leaves on the trees are changing their color and as nature is preparing for winter, I always find myself getting a real boost from running in the forest in autumn. The leaves falling from the trees feel like gentle rain drops touching the ground and the scent created by the stirred up leaves makes running even more intense.
The other day, I took a walk in the sunshine with my daughters and as they were chasing the dove vivid childhood memories sprung to my mind.
I remembered how I used to chase after the birds on that same square over twenty years ago.
I'm finding ideal training conditions here, living right on foot of the Black Forest, and am only dictated by my own choice which peak I'm running up next.
Last weekend I took on my first little adventure exploring the trails. 30K and just over three hours later I arrived back at my car, contented and a touch exhausted from the effort. I felt light on my feet, free in my mind and spirits.
The trails here present themselves in a variety of shapes and sizes – from narrow, soft and rolling terrain to very rocky, rooty and super-steep. I noticed an improvement in both speed and endurance as I never covered such a distance in that time before - where is my next race going to be?
I did a wonderful race in the beautiful area of Ayveron in France. The run took place in and around Millau and we passed under the famous Viaduct de Millau
Congratulations and chapeaux to Alexandre-Thierry!
He successfully finished the 100km de Millau ultramarathon and most amazingly, ran in Huaraches all the way!
About three months ago, Alexandre asked me whether I coach barefoot runners and how I can help him prepare for his race.
From day one, I felt very inspired to assist him and his approach to barefoot running made it an even more special coaching experience.
Step by step, Alexandre optimised every aspect of his training and managed to do just every training run out on the streets of London, sometimes drove out into the countryside to do the long runs.
He completely turned ultrarunning into his lifestyle next to working full-time and caring for his family.
Even a minor setback in his training didn't impact his focus and ambitions.
We'll do an interview in the next few days where he'll answer questions on running with Huaraches, his preparations, nutrition and how this race differed from other ultramarathons he'd done before.
"During the race, I got so much support and respect from other runners for attempting it with Huaraches. It was both humbling and a tremendous feeling of connection to my fellow Humans in the race.
Less than 48 hours after the end of my race, I feel a million dollars,i.e. no pain in my legs, calves or even ankles."
May this real-life experience be an inspiration to leave the old paths to try something different!
My love, desire and passion for mountain running is un-broken. It has become even stronger since my last race that was an amazing adventure.
After four weeks of more or less easy training I felt inclined to head to the mountains to explore some remote areas and high alpine trails.
Predicted thunderstorms on Friday meant to delay the trip and make the most of it in just 24 hours. It usually takes a while to arrive at a place to sleep for the night and just as the dusk had set in I arrived at the hut right on time for a wholesome, freshly cooked meal and in pleasant anticipation for Christoph's arrival.
On the way up, I passed donkeys, goats, sheep and cows and was entirely infused by the late-summer atmosphere while realising that running on the rugged terrain equipped with only the bare necessities and nearing the foot of the glacier that I could make out on the far horizon was more than a few good moments of joy; it's my fuel for body, mind and soul.
The first step I set on mountaneous ground always marks the beginning of a journey that never takes me back to where I was before.
After a quite challenging 2,5 hour hike on a glacier path the next day I sat down for a short break and looked at all the surrounding mountain peaks. I chose to run up a summit that would take me back down towards the lake where the car was parked. It was a first for me to run on high alpine terrain and winding up the mountain on a narrow trail. My legs felt amazingly strong all the way up and after an hour, I stood at the top on 8860 ft. , calm and serene, before continuing running across the ridge and descending back to where this intense journey began only a day before – and it was only yet a new beginning. I invite you to take a look at my photo gallery and get inspired to try new routes and adventures. Enjoy the trails!
Find Out How A Vision Becomes Reality In This Race Report
I'm still feeling a great sense of achievement three weeks after my big race. When I try to put into words what was so special about it, many aspects spring to mind.
What could I expect of myself after a 21-month break from racing? And how can it be that the women's race was decided on the final stretch after 99.7K?
What are the factors, the elements that ultimately lead to success, irrespective of placement and time?
The one common fact about all of my ultramarathons is that initially, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude, happiness and enjoyment. The feeling when crossing the finish line is a massive kick...Read more
I have just about recovered two weeks after my big race that, in many ways, was different from all the other ultramarathons before. I'll cover more on this in an upcoming race report which is slowly taking shape.
Meanwhile I have checked out Flickr to upload an album. I think it's a great way to share photos quickly. There are a few images taken at various points during the race; most of them show the pre-and post race atmosphere.
Simply click on this link which takes you directly to the album.
It was a truly empowering racing weekend also for the reason that two ultrarunners I've coached for the past months, fulfilled their dreams.
Three ultrarunners racing in three different countries and each of us on a different mission.
Joao, who currently lives and works in Denmark, wanted to have an attempt at this personal best at the mountainous Swiss Alpine K78. He selected me as his coach three months ago with the one goal to train most efficiently in the 8-10 hours per week he could free up for training.
After a 2-week warm-up period during which he got used to the type of training that really works for ultrarunners, he was on a roll and totally smitten and dedicated to his schedule continuously working on his abilities and learning all about 'out-of-the-zone' training.
Ultimately, he crossed the line after just over 9 1/2 hours! Congratulations to you, Joao.
Then, there is another success story this time of a female ultrarunner.
One of an amazingly ambitious woman, working a full-time, career-orientated job, running a household and raising her two young sons.
Carla booked a training plan package literally over four weeks ago: 'Anna, I've won a slot for the Lakeland 50-miler at the end of July, am completely new to ultrarunning and want to finish, no matter what! Help me to make this dream come true. I will do anything you tell me to do!'
Within a day, I provided her the individual training plan that included exactly the sessions she needed. She quickly adapted to her new routine and when I spoke to her on skype after a week, I saw a different woman. She had a glow on her face, had revived her diet and confessed that she had never before trusted in anything that was written on paper. Somehow, within those four weeks she made the impossible happen and finished her first 50-miler as 5th lady!
Congratulations to you, too, Carla.
It has been such a pleasure and joy to be working with you both! I look forward to continue working on your future ultramarathon goals and see those happy faces.
I can't describe in words how happy and overwhelmed I feel about my 2nd place finish at the Chiemgauer 100K after covering 14435ft. in elevation gain on trails, rocks and forest roads and crossing the line with a huge smile on my face after 14:08 hrs.
Peak performance on a perfect day.
The challenge was even greater due to the weather conditions: rain, fog, wind and temperatures ranging from 12-18°C added to this fabulous experience.
I loved every single second of it, settled into second place right from the start and only focused on what was ahead. I ran up the major hills quite steadily and totally excelled on the downhills.
On the last climb up at km77 I was caught up by a (male) runner and it just so happened that we were going the same pace pulling one another along on the last 15K to the finish.
I closed the gap to the leading lady by eleven minutes on the last 7K and spotted her as I approached the stadium finishing just one minute behind her.
What an amazing sprint finish, entirely happy as I crossed the line!
It was the most intense ultramarathon journey for me so far. Just everything that could fall into place on this particular day fell into place.
It was fantastic to meet ultra runners like Armin again. We ran the Swiss Jura Marathon, the last stage race I did in 2009, together for the most part. He finished his first 100 miler on Saturday and we caught up on the last two years after the award ceremony.
It's barely settled in what this race means to me!
A detailed race report and pictures will follow soon. In the meantime, there are some impressions to take a look at right here.