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Running From Göteborg to Rome. Figuratively Speaking.

Thanks to my beautiful, patient, loving, sweet and supportive wife, I have managed to log more kilometers during our vacation in July than I have ever done. I have covered a distance of 532 km, which is the distance between Göteborg and Norrtälje (yes, way past Stockholm), or between Oslo and Trondheim for my Norwegian friends. I have managed a little above 300 km a month a few times, especially leading up to bigger races, but nothing in the vicinity of this. As of Sunday 9th August, I have also run 2233 km since New Year’s (the distance between Göteborg and Rome), which is the earliest in the year I have reached 2000 km. When I am not in the middle of bulk training for a big race, I normally run a modest 50 km a week, give or take a few kilometers, and even during the most intensive phases prior to a race, I have rarely exceeded the 100 km-barrier per week. Not so in July. During the last five weeks I have run 120, 120, 111, 147 and finally backing off a bit: 90 kilometers (147 km being the most I have run in any week). Now, to put this into perspective, an elite ultrarunner can run up to 200 km a week, a few even venturing up above 300 km a week. A friend of mine (yep, I’m talking about you, Tim :) ran more than 5000 km last year, which is around 100 km per week, every week. My point here is that no matter how crazy you yourself – or your friends – believe you are, there is always someone somewhere more crazy than you, running amounts you’ve never dreamed of achieving (or even wanted to, probably). But won’t you destroy your body completely? Won’t your knees and hips wear out? What about your muscles, tendons and bones? And your heart, for God’s sake? Can it really be healthy to run all those miles?

Running statistics. You can easily see the bump in my schedule in April, for instance, when I was sick for 7-10 days.

Running statistics. You can easily see the bump in my schedule in April, for instance, when I was sick for 7-10 days.

Well, every man and womand has to decide for themselves, but I have found that three things are completely imperative if you want to avoid injuries; a) you need to be consistent in your training (i.e. don’t skip training because you don’t feel like running that particular day); b) you need to increase intensity and amounts progressively (i.e. don’t build up to 100k-weeks at once, but slowly work your way up to the necessary mileage) and finally and most importantly; c) listen to your body. If it tells you to back off and take a day or two off, then listen to it. Your instinct to back off rather than push through will rarely bring you wrong.

The view from the lawn in front of our little house.

The view from the lawn in front of our little house.

Early morning view from Nötesundsbron to Orust.

Early morning view from Nötesundsbron to Orust.

As most of you have already read, our two weeks on the French riviera were fantastic, even though it took a while to get accustomed to the 35-degree heat, let alone run in it. The final two weeks of our vacation were spent in a cosy, red-painted cabin a stone’s throw from the sea by the Swedish west coast. Heat was not an issue here, far from it. The less said about the weather the better, probably. At least I had ample opportunity to try out my rain jacket from INOV8, which has proved a very good buy. My coach Sondre has told me that if it rains during the UTMB, it rains cats and dogs and you’ll be soaked no matter what kind of jacket you bring, but it’s important to keep the water out for as long as possible. Wet = cold = increased energy demand = exhaustion = high probability of not finishing. The peninsula where we were staying featured a lot more hills than the beachside roads to Cannes and Nice, and I got plenty of vertical metres in. Still a lot of asphalt, though, but rotating between my shoes has helped a lot, as has taping my heel. I’ve become better at keeping an even pace, from start to finish, and slowly increased my speed during the final week (also known as Hellweek) where I hade three (!) back-to-back 35 km longruns. 105 km in three days is another personal record outside of races, but surprisingly, my body coped well. The training Sondre has been putting me through has really payed dividends. At least I hope it has. I’ve slept like a baby, and bedtime at 21.30 wasn’t all that uncommon during our last week. Luckily for us, our Panda is a sound sleeper as well. Right up until she wakes up with a smile and a holler at 06.00. By which time I’m normally long gone through the front door on one of my runs. Hence the gratitude to my wife at the start of this post.

Gentlemen and ladies, it’s only 2,5 weeks left to the UTMB. You fabulous people have helped us raise € 1288, which is more than half of our goal of € 2500!!! Please encourage your friends, family and colleagues to chip in some more for our charity Hand In Hand International by clicking the link to the right of this text or by visiting our website directly.

Loads of love and God bless!

Jakob, Jozef and Jakob

The last three weeks of training:

Mon 20/7        15 km (speed increases: 3x (3 km calmly (5.00-tempo) + 2 km increase (4.30-tempo)

Tues 21/7        45 km

Wed 22/7        Rest day

Thur 23/7       20 km

Fri 24/7           17 km (Long intervals: 3k warm-up/wind-down, 5×10 mins in 4.20-tempo)

Sat 25/7          14 km

Sun 26/7          Rest day

Total                           111 km

Mon 27/7         35 km

Tues 28/7        35 km

Wed 29/7         35 km

Thur 30/7        15 km

Fri 31/7            12 km

Sat 1/8              Rest day

Sun 2/8             15 km (Fartlek)

Total                             147 km

Mon 3/8         8,5 km (quick restitution walk)

Tues 4/8        15 km (220+ m)

Wed 5/8         13 km

Thur 6/8        21,5 km (four times up Wyllerløypa, the ski slope = 1750+ m)

Fri 7/8            20 km

Sat 8/8           Rest day

Sun 9/8          12 km (quick walking with the Panda in a child carrier in my back)

Total                             90 km

We even had time to catch some crabs, small as they were.

We even had time to catch some crabs, small as they were.

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