I did it!

ImageI felt like such a baby when I aborted my long run Friday, but in hindsight I’m pretty happy about my decision. It turns out my blister was pretty bad, and I walked funny all weekend. If you see the picture to the left you can see a saw tooth-edge on the insole. I had a bit of skin caught between that stiff insole and the outer liner, so the shoe was basically sawing my skin and then squeezing the blister with a force of my bodyweight times 2. I could blame the shoes, but my feet are so ridiculously wide, hardly any shoes fit me. I think I just need to break them in. To sum it up: The Innov8 Bare-x 150 is a great shoe, apart from the evil saw of Mordor under the ball of the foot.

Today I headed out in a well-tested pair of shoes, but because of the heat, it wasn’t the most comfortable 1h 20min. But thats not important: I made my target! I ran 17km @ 5min/km pace all the way! Around 8km I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to make it. My GPS watch’s battery was dying, and I was a bit discouraged to see what waiting for red lights did to my 1km splits, but it seems I picked up the pace again. I was lucky and found a guy in a triathlon suit who was running at about 4:30 pace, so I made a game out of trying to pass him, slowly but steadily. Without him, I probably wouldn’t have made my goal. It felt pretty good to be able to pick up my pace to around 4:00 so late in the run, around km 15.

As I said, It was a bit too hot today. I never complain about running in the rain, but when the sun is shining and temperature rises above 25°C, my body starts complaining. At one point I was running back and forth on a tiny stretch of tree-shaded path just to avoid direct sunlight. I could  see my pace dropping as soon as I was out in the sun. I’ve also read somewhere that a tech shirts isn’t always the best choice of garment in the heat, unless it’s very breathable. The fact that they keep you dry, also stops the body from cooling down. I’m fuzzy on the physics here, but my long sleeved shirt felt like a bad choice today.

I also saw a young woman bicycling with a cat on her shoulders!?! She was going at pretty high speed while cuddling her cat. How come that cat didn’t stick it’s claws out? Or was she wearing some sort of body armour?

After my run I had to lie down. All in all a pretty good training session, and I’m beginning to think that a 1:45 half marathon is within reach.


I did not run a marathon today…

Screenshot from 2013-07-04 21:20:21

…but at least I tried.

People everywhere! AARRRRGH!

Amager Strandpark. People everywhere! AARRRRGH!

The idea of a morning run was scrapped at ten thirty last night, while I was watching Arrested Development. Instead I had this idea that I would run around the island of Amager (see map above), roughly 42km. Amager is maybe the best place to get away from the crowds of Copenhagen. As a Norwegian I’m used to being alone from time to time. Denmark is quite densely populated compared to Norway. I’m used to wilderness, and that, arguably, is something you won’t find in Denmark. Sure, you can walk undisturbed for a few km through beautiful forest; but more than that and you will tumble in to a garden with a trampoline and a dog. Of course it’s not the Danes’ fault that most of Norway is uninhabitable and Denmark is not. Some would say it’s a good thing. Enough about that.

So to get that feeling of existential battle with nature, I chose to run along the Urban north side of the island first, and then enjoy the scenery on the way back. The real reason, of course, was to force myself to finish the whole route. Once I’d be out there in the unknown green area, there would be no way back, no buses to hop on. (Next time I might do the opposite, because I’d rather enjoy the scenery while I can.) I gave myself a 6 hour cutoff time, and started out by the famous statue of the Little Mermaid, full of expectation and self confidence.

Beautiful houses close to Dragør. They've built a ditch (left) to keep the sea out.

Beautiful houses close to Dragør. They’ve built a dike (left) to keep the sea out.

I was in pretty good shape until 20km. I should add that the longest I’ve ever run is 21.1km. I stopped shortly in picturesque Dragør to refill my bottle with apple juice. After that it started getting hard, even though the scenery kept improving. The far end of the island must be one of the prettiest landscapes around Copenhagen. I was still running most of the time, but from this point I was walking more and more. For every km I developed a new sore spot in my legs. I told myself that crashing through boundaries always hurts a bit. I ran/walked until 30km, still dreaming of finishing in 5 hours. At 30km I had to sit down and eat some chocolate. I felt like I was out in the desert with no idea how to get home. My legs were aching. This was what I came for, but I didn’t expect my legs to be this sore. I don’t think I technically hit the wall, but I think my legs are simply not ready to run this long. Hitting the wall might take a bit more effort.

I walked the next 6 km, which felt like much longer. Even walking was hard at this stage. I tried to get myself to at least walk fast, but that seemed impossible. I tried to envision images of the endurance athletes running the Badwater Ultramarathon, but that really didn’t help at all. The fields around Kalvebod Fælled are endless and the roads are dead straight, making this part of the trip a bit of a “Twin Peaks” experience. Luckily my wife called and told me I was awesome. I still had some vain hope I could make the six hour cutoff, but that would mean doing some more running.


At about 36km I started running again. I really surprised myself there. I ran another 3km through Ørestad. (I’m not crazy about the architecture here.) I had to start walking again, trying to not look like a lost junkie on the highway. My six hours were up, and I’d only run/walked/crawled 39km. At this time It was painful to even sit down. I took a train home and bought a whole grain Kebop from my local Turkish take-away place (times have changed), and went home.

Ultimately I had failed, but I was still pretty happy to have explored the remote side of Amager island, and especially happy I was able to pick up the pace at the end. I’m even proud of the walking, just because it was so uncomfortable. Am I ready for a marathon anytime soon? No. I’m definitely going back to good old mileage training. But I feel like I have taken my first steps to knowing how far 42.2km really is, and hopefully this knowledge will come in handy. Maybe at least 21km won’t feel as long after this. I am truly curious as to how I will feel tomorrow at work, though. Right now I feel fine. Back to old episodes of “Arrested Development”. That show is addictive.


Off the grid

Obviously I’m not off the grid. But I went for a two hour easy run without GPS today. The last 15 minutes I couldn’t help myself but had to check with Runkeeper if I could keep a decent pace. And I could. I’m a little bit addicted to my gadgets.

But the general feeling of peace and freedom from just running around aimlessly for two hours was great. I could take all the slower, rougher routes, do some drills, run backwards, or just enjoy running through deserted industrial areas in warm rain and the crowded park in sunshine. Also I’ve decided to not rush the long runs, but to just use them to get some easy mileage, and save the pain (or fun) for runs under 12km.

I love the idea of setting a time limit instead or distance. Less fuzz, and I know when I’ll be done!


This guy doesn’t like rain.


Rain. Natures own Hipstamatic.


Danish Oil and Natural Gas. No kidding.


I’m wearing my jazz shoes.


100% whole grain rye. Who needs all purpose flour?


Free group training

Great trip today. First I ran 5 km’s along Søerne, then I joined up with the group from the shop ‘Marathon Sport’ for some intervals. Twice a week you can meet up in front of the shop and go for a run. It was astonishing how much faster I can run with a group.

or a total of 16 minutes I could easily maintain a 04:15 pace, which is a lot faster than my  regular interval pace. Will definitely go again, and I’m thinking about joining the running club Sparta. But first I’ll do the free training for a while.

Finished with a couple of km to top up this somewhat irregular long run, 12 km in all.


OK I should have tried this before. Seems like having a training plan lets you get the most out of running. Great trip today, and after just two sessions of intervals it feels easier to go fast. he week started badly with a tempo run well below tempo, then an interval session with heavy legs (both runs with a backpack, I should add). And then a great 10k today. I had a good deal of extra energy at the end, and it just felt light and good. I’m heading towards the best running month ever, and I haven’t even worked that hard for it. Planning can be a good thing.

Also, according to coach Jay Johnson’s lecture (mentioned in an earlier post), it’s good not to drop too low in tempo, as that changes your efficiency. I can really feel that when I’m running. It’s also by his recommendation, and that of a team of Norwegian scientists at NTNU, that I stick to the 1km (or approx. 4min) intervals. 800 meters can be good too, but doesn’t improve results as much.




Fartlek Friday, anyone?

Sometimes it’s great to have a running blog. Yesterday I read my old posts, and saw one post where I happily stated I could take an easy run every day, and one post asking why I wasn’t getting any better? Then I googled around a bit, and found this video:

The title says it all. Of course I learned again what I’ve always known and never really practised: There is a perfect time to go for the next run. And now I have a catchy graph to picture in my mind, while I’m making a training schedule. I always get so fired up every time I run, that I inevitably go for a run the next day. And the next. And the next. And then I rest for a week or more. What would coach Jay Johnson say? No, no! So I read up a bit on training schedules and I’ve made my own, which is like this.

Tempo Tuesday. (Comfortable distance, MUST be run at race tempo.)

Tough Thursday. Intervals. Four times 1km, at 90% of max pulse, active rest.

Satisfying Saturday. The longer the better.

And the rest is rest. Hopefully this will get me in shape. I think this concludes my endeavours to adapt to minimal shoes. From now on it’s a little bit more about progress and results.

I started today with a big success. My race tempo is 05:00/km and after 5km averaged at 05:01! The trick is to learn to know and love this tempo as “my” tempo.

Comments on how to build a better training schedule are welcome!