Run. Bike. Code.

Living the active life while maintaining some nerdiness.

On Vacation

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In lieu of the 4x7 review, which would have been due on August 29, this vacation notice has to suffice.

As you might have noticed by the relative quietness of this blog, I was on vacation for the most part of August. We’ve done a nice 5-day trip to London, where we did al of the ususal: sight-seeing, pub visits, getting rained on, and of course, running.

Then, after spending a day at home, washing, drying, folding and repacking clothes, we went up into the mountains to a small self-supported cottage that the family owns. That meant carrying all the food for 10-12 days for the four of us. I did two trips of this 90 minute hike on the first day and another one a few days later when my brother-in-law came to visit.

To be honest, before these two weeks I was at a point in my run training that made me almost regret taking about two weeks off from running (after all, in the mountains, no running happens). On the other hand, soaking in views like this above quickly made up for it. While the weather wasn’t always great we did get some nice hikes in and I went out pretty much every day to gather mushrooms – a highly meditative activity!

I’d estimate we pulled more than 5kg of mushrooms out of the forest and had them prepared in many different ways (together with the eggs for breakfast, just solo with some bacon for lunch or in a risotto for dinner). Fresh mushrooms every day!

All in all, a great three weeks and I’m now back at the grind, preparing for fall racing and my spring marathon!

5x7 Review

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I stumble over quite a lot of interesting articles and some are worth sharing on this site. I plan to do this every 5 weeks (thus “5x7 Review”) and I will include my own posts, some training highlights and some of my nutrition. Enjoy!

As seen on runbikeco.de

Notable past training

For the first time ever, I’ve completed a month with over 200km of running. July saw me run 201km in 26 sessions. The best part: this came just natural, I didn’t really notice how coach Scott brought me to this distance. Many easy runs sprinkled with some workouts and I’m more pain-free than ever before.

The bad part about it? I had zero (0!) kilometers on the bike. It just didn’t fit, because on the days where I had time usually the weather wouldn’t cooperate, and then when the weather was great I was busy with my running shoes. Especially in the middle of July, where I ran a 10km race (yay, new PR of 41’49”) and didn’t want to have tired legs from riding my bike.

Upcoming training

I’ll be on vacation for the most part of the next three weeks, but I will see to get a couple of runs in (for at least 10 days that’s not possible though, as we’ll be in the mountains without running trails or anything). However, that’s the beauty of working with a coach, I’m confident that he’ll get me back into the rhythm in no time.

Food consumed

I won’t bore you with everything I ate during the past four weeks, but there is always a meal or two that was special.

It’s BBQ season! As I write this, my first ever pulled pork is on the grill, can’t wait to taste it. In the last four weeks, we’ve had burgers, and fish, and burgers, and steak, and, oh did I tell you I love summer BBQ?

Found elsewhere

Lastly, a more or less uncommented link-dump of the past 35 days.

With that, have a great four (or five) weeks ahead. And remember, you can subscribe to this blog via Atom as well as Feedburner. And if you prefer email over RSS, subscribe to my newsletter. Thanks for reading!

Picture Your Workouts

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There is the art of training, and then there is art made from training.

It all started very innocently with this tweet:

Which got favoured by @Sisu. Not knowing who/what that was I opened their website (yep, I’m that easy to link-bait). Turns out, Sisu is a web-service that lets you create prints of your workouts based on the data found on Strava or Runkeeper. You can customize the prints for color, the title, and whether to show the summary in miles or kilometers. As of this writing, it will automatically pull the data for 2013, but I’ve had a nice Twitter chat with one of the guys behind Sisu and more customization options are in the pipeline.

At first I wasn’t sure whether to order a real print or not. As you can see above, I run a lot on the same routes, which make for some repetitive patterns. Also, the two track workouts kinda stand out. On the other, this is what my training looks like, therefore I decided to spend the 40£ and order the real thing. After all, services like this only survive (and thus continue to add features) if there are paying customers!

After a couple of days the order shipped from the print company and arrived safe and intact at my house. The print is about 41cm x 29cm in size and looks really good. I will get it framed and probably put it on the wall in the staircase at home.

I can’t wait for more features to show up on the site, especially to be able to select a date range for the workouts, or to limit the selection to either runs or rides as well as maybe deselect certain workouts. Once the date selection is available I’m pretty sure I’ll get another print for 2012 and 2014, subsequently. I think the sequence will look pretty nice in the staircase.

I’m in no way affiliated with Sisu, I just happened to find the concept cool and thus ordered a print. If you find your training to be art-worthy, then head over to Sisu and see how it would look like.

My First Marathon - 275 Days Out

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Just a short post today before leaving for a father-and-son-camping weekend. I’ve registered for my first marathon!

When I started running again in earnest back in 2012, my inner nerd came up with the idea to run my first marathon at the age of 42. Well, I’ll turn 42 next year and so I registered for my first marathon.

On April 26, 2015 I will thus run the Haspa Marathon Hamburg. By making it public on the blog and with friends and family I’m building up enough peer pressure to actually do it. Today is a good day to post about it, because the marathon is exactly 275 days away.

If you follow me on Twitter or read my previous 4x7 Review closely, you might have noticed that I’m working with a coach again. I find the idea of running a marathon pretty daunting and therefore thought it might be a good thing to let a professional develop the training-plan for me. Since the beginning of June I’m a member of the Team All-American led by Coach Scott Fishman. So far, this has worked out very well and I’m confident that Scott will prepare me well for my first marathon.

If you want to follow along, you can do so on Strava, Instagram, and of course Twitter. Oh, and I’ll be posting training updates and stuff on this very blog. As always, I’d be grateful for comments and words of encouragement.

4x7 Review

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I stumble over quite a lot of interesting articles and some are worth sharing on this site. I plan to do this every 4 weeks (thus “4x7 Review”) and I will include my own posts, some training highlights and some of my nutrition. Enjoy!

As seen on runbikeco.de

Notable past training

I finished the month of June with 139km running in 21 training sessions. I did run the 3000m track race I mentioned in the last review, and boy, that was hard. But the PR streak is still alive, 11:14.25 minutes for 3000m; it was an automatic PR, because it was my first 3k race ever.

Bike-wise, I ended up having 4 rides with a total of 325km. Another planned long ride didn’t happen due to rainy weather, and for July it doesn’t look promising either (there is a 10km road race on July 20, and I won’t do any long ride before that for obvious reasons).

Upcoming training

That’s the beauty of working with a coach again: I don’t know what’s coming up, except for this week’s race.

Found elsewhere

Lastly, a more or less uncommented link-dump of the past 28 days.

  • Pro Triathlete Jesse Thomas (yep, that guy again) trains in the name of science.
  • Runners in Alberta, Canada, encounter a black bear bear during their run. Lucky them, for they have been able to resume their workout.
  • A cool service: Get a nice print of last year’s training. Works with Strava and Runkeeper. I’ll probably write more about Sisu in the near future.

With that, have a great four weeks ahead. And remember, you can subscribe to this blog via Atom as well as Feedburner. And if you prefer email over RSS, subscribe to my newsletter. Thanks for reading!

My Trek 1200 Road Bike

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Happy Fourth of July for my American readers! The Tour starts tomorrow and that’s a good opportunity (as good as any other, to be fair) to write about my bikes. Since I have two road bikes, I’ll start with the older one.

Back when I started with Triathlon I bought this bike at a local bike shop, which got recommended to me. At the time it was pretty expensive, even though I don’t remember the exact amount I paid. But I do remember that I had to work a full summer for it and get additional “sponsorship” from my parents. But then it was mine:

A Trek 1200 aluminum road bike, 1990 edition (white with purple decals)! The frame number is 481018 (hard to read though, might be off), which according to the list of serial numbers is in line with the year 1990.

It was equipped with a Shimano RX100 groupset (that’s one down from the classic 105), with down-tube shifters, a 7-speed cassette (11-23 if I remember correctly) and a 42/53 “biopace” chain-ring combo (“biopace” meaning slightly oval chain-rings). It came with Matrix 700C ISO C11 rims, which had a slight aero-profile.

I upgraded the rear-hub to a Shimano 600 at some point, because I had a second rear-wheel designated for riding on the trainer and used the 105 equipped wheel for that.

I rode this bike for all of my triathlon seasons (three, all in all) and after I stopped doing triathlon races I remember one year during university where I got back on the bike for a few rides. After that, it sat in my attic, for years.

In 2010, when I picked up riding again, I had the bike checked by a local bike shop and they were surprised about the good shape it was in. All it needed was some lube, new cables for the brakes, a new saddle and new pedals (because I also got new shoes which had different cleats), and I was good to go.

Vintage Riding

I still ride this bike these days, usually at the beginning of the cycling season or if the weather gets bad at the end of the season. In the meantime, I’ve upgraded the old wheels with new Ultegra rims, which came off my new Trek Madone (bought in 2012, more on that later) and had the bar tape redone. Other than that, it still has its original RX100 components, as you can see:

And it is still a damn fine bike to ride!

Thanks for reading and enjoy your long weekend ahead! If you happen to have a vintage Trek bike, too, please leave a comment! Or if you don’t have one, but would like one, comment as well. Or you can also comment just because!

Strava Gran Fondo 6

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I’ve finally completed a cycling challenge on Strava, which I count as an accomplishment.

The Fondo Story

Over on Strava Challenges happen on a regular basis, either for running or for cycling. Most of the time, especially for cycling, they are way out of my league, like riding a ridiculous amount of kilometers in a rather short time (1266km in 40 days, I don’t have time for that) or lots of climbing in even less time (not enough easily reachable hills in my hood). While I did complete a running challenge (the Strava Races Half-Marathon in April), awarding me with a nice (limited edition) Tech Tee (pictured in action on the right), I never had a go for any of the cycling challenges.

A Fondo, on the other hand, sounded doable. If you don’t know what a Fondo (Gran-Fondo, to be exact) is, head over to Strava’s explanation. The emphasize, as I see it, is really on trying a new route. I wouldn’t have had any problem to pick a route of 130km that I’ve done before, but for my first Strava Fondo I wanted to go with the true spirit.

The Plan

There weren’t many opportunities to go out and ride 130+km this June, with running races going on and work also happening. On June 18th though I had a day off from work and my wife was en route for a long weekend in the mountains together with the kids. The place is very familiar to me as I’ve been there often to start the hike up to the cottage and I always wanted to ride my bike there some day.

Using the Ride wih GPS I figured that the most direct route from there back home was about 100km. Too short. Then again, the most direct route wasn’t the nicest, so I started planning in earnest, trying to find small roads in unfamiliar terrain and connecting the last bit of the route to terrain that I did know. I ended up with a really nice route of 135km heading mostly north-west. That should do. Forecast was good (enough), about 20°C and dry.

6x7 Review

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I stumble over quite a lot of interesting articles and some are worth sharing on this site. I plan to do this every 4 weeks, except I didn’t prepare this one in time (thus “6x7 Review”) so I’ll try to play catch-up with this one and hopefully get back to a regular schedule soon. Enjoy!

As seen on runbikeco.de

Ummm, yeah, looks like I fell off the waggon … except I didn’t, at least not if you look at my Beeminder Goal, which states “one Trello card per week”.

I did change some smaller things behind the scenes for which I had Trello cards in place, thus the non-derailment of my goal. Granted, you can’t see those (yet), but it’ll have to do and I will get back to regular posting, promised (i.e. there aren’t many more low-hanging fruit in Trello right now, so I have to tackle some posts again).

Also, thanks to my Trello blogging workflow I’m confident that I will finish the Vienna City half-marathon race report. The notes are in there, I just have to find the time and energy to write the post.

Notable past training

Let’s see. I haven’t been on the bike for the whole month of May. Bummer. But I ran for 165.92km in 15 activities. This includes one half-marathon in Bayreuth (where my sister lives), where I ran yet another PR (1h34’07”) on a rather challenging course. Yep, the PR-streak is still going strong, fifth PR in as many half-marathon races.

Upcoming training

I’m trying to maintain what I have achieved so far and will maybe add a couple of speed workouts. There is 3000m race on the track coming up in about three weeks (btw, did you know track racing is hard?) and I’ll do at least one 10K in July.

Other than that I’m really looking forward to spend some time on the bike, now that the weather is finally warm and sunny.

Found elsewhere

Lastly, a more or less uncommented link-dump of the past 28 days.

With that, have a great four weeks ahead. And remember, you can subscribe to this blog via Atom as well as Feedburner. Thanks for reading!

4x7 Review

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I stumble over quite a lot of interesting articles and some are worth sharing on this site. I plan to do this every 4 weeks (thus “4x7 Review”) and I will include my own posts, some training highlights and some of my nutrition. Enjoy!

As seen on runbikeco.de

  • My injury before the Vienna City Half-Marathon.
  • Three ingredients for a Personal Record.
  • Race Report: Vienna City Half-Marathon. Well, this one is not quite ready, I blame the nice weather. You’ll have to wait until next week.

Notable past training

I did absolutely nothing the two weeks leading up to the race on April 13, which is sort of a taper as well. Of course I would have preferred to keep running, but it was what it was.

After the race I took it easy, ran for 29km the week after (6.7km, 7.3km, 15km) and am now dialing it up a bit. I also went for a short ride on the bike and look forward to spend some more time out on the bike in May.

Upcoming training

I’m basically repeating the last few weeks (including the taper, this time for real!) leading up to the half-marathon so that they align for the next race at the end of May, which is also a half-marathon. In between I will have a 5k race (May 14th) but I probably won’t adjust the training for this (it is part of a race series (3km/5km/10km) and the shorter two distances are best-of-two).

Food consumed

I won’t bore you with everything I ate during the past four weeks, but there is always a meal or two that was special.

  • Last Sunday it was time for a nice roast pork, which was prepared in typical Bavarian style with a nice crust, a dark sauce and dumplings.

Found elsewhere

Lastly, a more or less uncommented link-dump of the past 28 days.

Speaking of Boston, reading all the race reports and interviews makes me really, really want to run this race, even though I have no idea how one actually runs a marathon.

With that, have a great four weeks ahead. And remember, you can subscribe to this blog via Atom as well as Feedburner. And if you prefer email over RSS, subscribe to my newsletter. Thanks for reading!

Three Ingredients for a PR

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In lieu of a proper race report for Sunday’s Vienna City Half-Marathon (I’m still waiting for some pictures), I present you these tips for getting a PR in your next race.

I finished the fourth half-marathon of my more recent running career and got another personal best, making it four in a row (well, three, because the first ought to be a PR no matter how fast you are). Still, I’ve yet to run a half-marathon race slower than any before, which makes me think I have that “PR thing” figured out by now1.

1) Train with the goal in mind

This is probably the most serious of tips I have in this regard. When I prepared for my first half-marathon last year, I didn’t know what I was up to nor did I know the course. Which left me wondering/imagining/day dreaming about the things to come, just to find out that running the actual race was completely different from what I had thought.

This year, when I started training in November 2013, I knew I was going to run Vienna again, I knew what the course and the crowd would be like and I knew exactly what a half-marathon feels like. I don’t think there was a single training session (out of 87 runs since November) where I didn’t at least for a few seconds thought about the upcoming race and how it would feel like. Or how it might turn out, what conditions I might face and so on2. This helps tremendously in keeping the overall motivation high.

2) Always be smiling, even when it hurts

Or should I rather phrase that “especially when it hurts”? As I noted in my Baltimore Half-Marathon report, smiling is a good way to engage with the spectators, usually resulting in extra cheers. At the same time, it will relax your body and send positive vibes to your mind, which helps when you are physically and/or mentally struggling.

Even better: Blow kisses to the crowd. Well, in that particular case the crowd included my kids and I was really happy to have spotted them. Made me smile for at least the next mile, giving me an extra boost at roughly the halfway-point of the race.

3) Get injured before the race

Well, scratch that3. I tried this for last year’s (hamstring) and this year’s spring half-marathon and I can not recommend this. Even if I got a PR again in Vienna, it left me thinking “what if I had been able to prepare properly” for quite a while during the race, which is a very distracting thought. Also, I’m pretty sure that my breathing got heavier than it should have been at the end of the race and I blame my injury for that.

So, by all means, stay healthy, don’t do anything stupid, even more so in the last two or three weeks approaching your race!

4) Have a Game Plan

This is pretty obvious, but for completeness sake: You have to have a game plan. Know exactly what you’re up to, if possible recon the course prior to the race or at least try to memorize the hills/important turns/key sections from the pre-race information provided.

This also includes your pace during the race: Know how fast to start, when to increase the pace and when to go all out. Just going by feel will almost always make you go out too fast, which might be ok for a 5km race, but certainly isn’t for a half-marathon or a marathon.

For the half-marathon, I’ve found that 5/5/5 works well for me (even if I haven’t executed it very well in this race). For the first five miles run in a high-ish Z2 effort. Then, for miles 6 to 10, increase effort (and hopefully pace) to Z3. For the last 5km, go all out. Thanks to Mike Ricci of D3 Multisport for telling me this HM strategy.

If you follow steps 1), 2) and 4) and leave off 3) I’m sure you can get a personal best in your next race!

  1. Just in case: this article has more tongue in cheek than it might sound like.

  2. Thinking about a race usually makes my heart-rate jump up by at least 10bpm and I need to consciously think about something else to get it down again.

  3. Thus making the list indeed three items long.