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Adidas Stockholm Marathon, June 3rd
Adidas Stockholm Marathon is one of RunAgain's partner races and will be held this year on June 3rd. That's tomorrow! RunAgain will, of course, be represented before, during, and after the race, and among the ambassadors running this year is myself, Nicolaj.This internationally recognized marathon takes place in the heart of Stockholm. Although it is a one-loop course of 42.2 kilometers, there are several spots where you pass by two or three times, so it's important to stay focused on the clock and the kilometer markers! However, the course will take us through the most central parts of Stockholm, so it will be a fantastic experience. It goes, among other places, through the historic core of "Gamla Stan," past the Royal Palace, the beautiful nature of Djurgården, and Södermalm. The icing on the cake will be the epic finish inside Stockholm Stadion, where the 5th Olympic Summer Games were held in 1912!My goals for winter/spring 2023 - I had three main goals:Lisbon Half Marathon (March 12th)Drammen 10k (April 2nd)Stockholm Marathon (June 3rd)For these races, my aim was to run at my maximum effort and ideally set a new personal record (PR) in each one. Before Lisbon, my fitness was excellent until I caught a cold shortly before the race. Nonetheless, it turned out to be a great trip, even though my time wasn't as desired. I managed to set a new PR at the Drammen 10k, which was a fantastic race in this new event in Drammen!In Stockholm, my goal is to beat my time from Valencia in December 2022, which was a clear PR. However, Valencia had perfect conditions and a very fast course (only 46 meters of elevation gain according to my Garmin!), so my fitness MUST be better to surpass that time. Fortunately, I have been training very well for a long time and have not experienced any illness or injuries, so my fitness level is slightly better. It's necessary because the course in Stockholm has some hills and bridges... so we'll see! The weather forecast, at least, indicates it will be as good as one can hope for in June! It could have been 27 degrees with scorching sun from a clear sky, but the forecast says 15 degrees and cloudy! That's lucky because I run significantly slower when it's hot!The Training ProgramIn my 12-week program leading up to the Valencia Marathon, I ended up with the following training protocol:Tuesday: Intervals with 1000-2000m repeats. Alternatively, as a double threshold session (6 x 6 minutes, morning/evening).Thursday: Long intervals or tempo runs: 5000-meter repeats or ON/OFF sessions of 16-22 kilometers.Sunday: Easy long run, 20-30 kilometers.All other days: Easy jog, 30-75 minutes.This totals approximately 90-100 kilometers per week and has resulted in legs that aren't significantly tired. No discomfort either. I've used different shoes for (almost) every session throughout the week. It's been an excellent setup, so I've continued with it.But this spring, in addition to the three mentioned (main) races, I have also run seven other competitions, six of which took place in the last seven weeks. To avoid getting injured, I have only run at about 75-95% of my maximum effort in several of these races. Bergen City Marathon was used as a long run at marathon pace + 20 seconds per kilometer. Sentrumsløpet was a good tempo session (95%) for speed training, and Lierløpet was a controlled half-marathon where I paced at 1 hour 30 minutes. The last race was Fornebutrippelen, which took place 10 days ago, where I ran 3, 5, and 10 kilometers with approximately 20 minutes of rest in between. I went all out in that race as my final hard session. It was fun!So, I have incorporated many of these races as additional quality sessions. They have provided me with great experiences (as participating in races does) and valuable training benefits, all while minimizing the risk of injuries. Using races as tune-up events for other races is a well-known strategy, even utilized by the very best! You should give it a try too!Now I am really looking forward to completing the 42.2 kilometers in Stockholm. Mostly because I have had many solid long runs, so I am confident in maintaining my muscles throughout the entire distance. I'll see what the combination of my form, course profile, and weather will result in terms of time. In any case, I should be able to achieve a time under 2:55! If not... well, that's okay too! The experience of a big city race is much more significant than beating a time. There will always be new opportunities coming my way 😉 - I have already registered for the Valencia Marathon again in the fall.
6 min read
Tips and tricks for Birken
Now there are less than 2 weeks until Birken, and I'm starting to get really excited! Birken has become an annual race for me, and I eagerly look forward to it every year while preparing myself mentally and physically.I've already completed a few races this year, and yes, they were long or hot, but attending a race in the terrain is something completely different. I'm going to run the Birkebeinerløpet 21 km course, and I know it's a roller coaster ride. It goes up and down with many trails, grass, and rocks in the first 8 kilometers before it becomes easier and descends toward Lillehammer on varying surfaces. It's tough, but it's so much fun, and I enjoy myself every time I run Birken!Here are some of my tips for those who are going to run Birken:Study the course map and be prepared for a challenging session in the forest because you'll spend most of your time there.Bring a small water bottle. Yes, there are plenty of drinking stations, but some of the uphill sections can be a bit steep and require more energy.Good shoes. Find a pair of good trail running shoes. Trail shoes are best for the Birken as there is minimal running on gravel and asphalt.Choose your distance wisely. If you haven't trained enough for various reasons, it's not embarrassing to switch to another distance. In fact, it's smart!Have fun! Enjoy the Birken race because it's something truly special!PS! It´s still possible to sign up. Read more about the event HERE!
2 min read
Road to Göteborgsvarvet part 9
End of the road?The road to Göteborgsvarvet ended on Saturday May 13th, at the spectacular stadium finish line of the world’s largest half marathon. It did not end at 1:55 with my hands in the air and the biggest smile on my face after having had so much fun and having run so well. It ended at 2:05 after the toughest fight I’ve ever had in a race. It ended in pain and some tears. I crossed the finish line still with a smile, but mostly because I was so relieved to be done. Then it hit me like a wall, all the emotions I had at one moment. I was so happy I crossed the finish line, happy my pacer Marita was by my side the whole way, so proud of all the training I did to get here, but I was disappointed I could not reach my goals, neither time nor feeling good. I was sad it was all over. I felt dizzy for hours after and felt unwell that evening. Finally got some energy back after dinner. My stomach got better the next day. My legs were so sore for days after (worse than after my marathon!).What happened? I started out strong, but by 5k running up the bridge, my legs got stiff, and by 9k I was getting dizzy and my hands were swelling, the course flattened out but I couldn’t catch my breath or recover. Every meter was costing me way too much. By 13k my stomach cramped and my legs got even stiffer. I adjusted my pace so I could simply finish. I did not want to end up passed out on the side of the road. We ran by many who ended their race that way. Hot day and tough course! I would finish no matter what, I decided. At 16k I heard coach Ingrid Kristiansen yelling “Heia Lauren!!” and I will remember that forever. And at 20k I felt relieved. Even though I am struggling, I will make it!I learned a lot that day. It was my first “bad race” ever. But was it bad? Not really when I consider how much I learned! And it truly is a fun and a challenging course and the crowds are amazing!! World class race. The support, the music, the atmosphere, the variety of the course is unique!What did I learn? I learned to respect the heat and adjust goals and pace from the start, train more with gels during interval and race pace workouts, realize that not every race will be a great one! Also, as Ingrid warned me, and now I learned the hard way, running a marathon a month before an all-out half marathon effort is not ideal.Just getting started! The road to Göteborgsvarvet project has come to an end! But is it the end of the road? Although I’ve had my last coaching session with Ingrid and the race is done. I realize the journey is not at all over. It has just begun! Now that I have new knowledge and tools for bringing out my potential, and I know that becoming a better runner takes years, not days, I am prepared for more hard work and many exciting years of running ahead! Goals I plan to chase the next year:1) Run the Drammen half marathon in September in 1:552) Run two of the six world major marathons (Berlin and London)Does structured training work?We set out to show what structured training can do for an average runner. Though I did not have a good race day, I feel transformed as a runner! I hope we have inspired at least one person to try a different approach to training if they feel they have not yet reached their potential with their current training.Through my structured training with personalized training plans and follow up with Ingrid, I have become a better, smarter, happier runner. I have doubled my monthly volume and have had ZERO INJURIES! I am more motivated and confident than ever. I am having more fun in training than ever! I am getting more out of every workout. I still need to practice racing, because I just haven’t had enough experience to make the best choices and run to my potential each time. More to come! What have I learned from training that I will continue on my own?#1I love running fast, and I used to run interval sessions too fast. I ran short intervals so I could run faster because I thought it would make me a faster runner. I ran my “regular” runs too fast too. I was injured a lot in 2020 and 2021. No surprise that I did not get much faster!Now >>> My interval sessions are not as hard. They are longer. They are also goal-specific. I am running mostly half and full marathons. Since my goals are longer distances, I will do longer (slightly slower) intervals which build my ability to run at threshold for a longer time.#2I used to run based on distance. Weekly plan was for example: 5k regular run Tuesday, Intervals Thursday, 15k Sunday.Now >>> I run based on time. Weekly plan is more like this: Intervals Tuesday, 60 min regular run Thursday, 2-hour long run Sunday. #3I used to run on feeling or pace. Either not looking at my watch at all (my pace was all over the place!) or focusing on a target pace (like 5:25 min/km for example)Now >>> I run based on heart rate. I use a heart rate belt around my chest for intervals, regular runs, and races (not long runs, my wrist one is good enough when going slow and steady). It is such a freedom to run based on heart rate! You know you will never overdo it and you do not need to think about pace. I run my regular runs in a middle zone (for me heart rate 155), I run my intervals around threshold (170-175) and I run my long runs in my slow zone (about 130). Note: What are your zones? You can do a threshold test to find out. Ingrid does these for all kinds of runners! You can contact her to set one up.#4I used to jump right in! My warm-up for interval sessions was maybe five minutes max. A few rounds around the track.Now >>> I do a long 20-minute warm up before intervals. I do a long 15-minute cool down. And I love it! It is so nice to have that really easy start and finish sandwiching the tough intervals.#5I never really used treadmills! Only rarely while on vacation or work trips. I just did 25-30 minutes to get the job done.Now >>> I used the treadmill consistently all winter. Every interval session was on the treadmill. It is easier to time intervals and increase/decrease speed on the treadmill. And if the weather was really bad out (slush, ice, deep snow) then I split my long run in two. Half on the treadmill and half outdoors. I ran to the gym with spiked shoes (with shorts and t shirt under the winter clothes), switched shoes at the gym, ran for 45-60 minutes, then ran home. I will keep using the treadmill as a good tool for variety and for quality interval sessions.#6I used to doubt myself if training did not go as planned.Now >>> I am more forgiving. And this makes my running much more consistent. Plus, it’s more fun! I do not stress if the interval session does not go as planned. I always finish the workout, but adjust the speed as needed. Gives me a powerful feeling of never giving up! Ingrid always told me it is better to go a little slower than push over threshold. And better to complete a workout, no matter how much you have to slow down (walk if you have to), than to cut it short halfway when it feels off.What a journey it has been! Forever grateful for world class coaching from Ingrid Kristiansen, for the Göteborgsvarvet experience and fantastic support from RunAgain, friends and family!So what is next? I am going to keep training as I have learned from Ingrid and in July, I will start my road to Drammen half marathon 1:55! After that, Berlin marathon! Thanks for following my journey! Wishing you the best of luck on yours.
5 min read
Part 8 – Road to Göteborgsvarvet!Race prep! By Lauren HøivikRace day is just 5 days away! Am I ready?How do you prepare physically and mentally for a big day? I know my body is as ready as it can be. I have been tapering with shorter/slower runs the last 10 days before the race. I have done all the hard work in the past months and there is nothing else I can do now to change my fitness. All I need is fresh legs, a clear mind, and a fighting spirit on race day. Hydrating well, sleeping well, and just enjoying the extra time I have since I am running less this week. The mental prep is the biggest challenge for me. Do you get jitters or anxiety before a big race? I definitely do, if I am going to run all-out effort. I know it is going to hurt, so I get nervous about how I will cope with the discomfort, and to be honest, how it would be if I actually threw up. My stomach can get queasy toward the end of a tough half marathon.Race day jitters are a positive thing. They are the butterflies that bring excitement and extra energy. They BOOST us. Race day anxiety is something else. It is counter-productive. It can cause loss of sleep and low energy. It BURNS us. How do you turn anxiety into good energy? For me, it helps when I ask myself “What am I nervous about? What am I afraid of?” One thing I am afraid of is not meeting my goal. I do not want to have put in such hard work and had world-class coaching, only to not reach my potential of hitting 1:55 in the half marathon. But I also know that no matter the time I finish with, as long as I run the best I can that day, I will be really satisfied. And if I am satisfied, then it is a success! So I am working on my mental game, preparing a pep talk I can give myself during the race when it feels tough: “What a fun course! This is a privilege! Your legs are switched on. Keep them going until the finish line. Relax. Breathe. This pace is 15 seconds slower than the Drammen 10k. You can do this. Let your legs fly! It will feel so good at the finish if you give your all now!”And with the help of good vibes from coach Ingrid Kristiansen, the Göteborgsvarvet team, fellow RunAgain ambassadors, my friends Nina and Maria who are also running, and my friend Marita who is pacing me (what a GIFT!), supporters along the course, family and friends cheering me on back home, I know it is going to be an unforgettable experience!I AM READY!
3 min read
The Danish race above and below ground
The Limestone Run (or Kalkmineløbet as it's called in Denmark) is possibly the best, most unique, and memorable recreational race in Denmark - taking place both above and below ground!The next Limestone Run is on May 18, 2023. It´s several different distances, both in the morning and in the evening. Marathon, half marathon, 10km, "Batman" (50km), "Dracula" (10-hour race), and children's race. RunAgain has a great group of Danish Ambassadors who will participate together with friends. We asked them 5 questions regarding their participation in the race.Jesper Pedersen, RunAgain Ambassador Denmark Have you run the race before, or is it your first time?- I participated for the first time last year when I ran "Batman" (50km). I had a goal to run Dracula this year, but an injury has made my fitness level not up to it.Why did you sign up?- Kalkmineløbet is clearly one of Denmark's best races, the surroundings, the aid stations, the volunteers, everything is top-notch!What distance are you going to run?- I will "settle" for the half marathon, it's my go-to distance if I'm not running an ultra.What are you looking forward to / excited about?- I'm looking forward to the whole experience, cheering on other runners, seeing the mines, and giving high fives.Have you set any goals for this race?- Due to the lack of fitness, the goal is just to enjoy myself and spread joy around me.__________________________________________________________________________________________Louise Nissen, RunAgain Ambassador DenmarkHave you run the race before, or is it your first time?- This is my first time participating in the Kalkmineløbet. I wasn´t fast enough last year to get a ticket!Why did you sign up?- The race looks really fun, running with a helmet in a mine is an experience in itself.What distance are you going to run?- I'm running the half marathon.What are you looking forward to / excited about?- I'm looking forward to running a social race with a good group of friends who are also RunAgain ambassadors, as well as a couple of running buddies. The focus is on enjoying ourselves, finding joy in running, and having a good experience rather than a specific time.Have you set any goals for this race?- There are no goals for the race, it's just about having a good experience.__________________________________________________________________________________________Micael Jensen, RunAgain Ambassador Denmark Have you run the race before, or is it your first time?- It is my first time running the Kalkmineløb.Why did you sign up?- I thought it would be fun to try a different and unique race, and to run with the others from Runagain.What distance are you going to run?- I will be running the 21.1 km half marathon.What are you looking forward to / excited about?- I am looking forward to seeing if the race meets my expectations, and also being with other happy runners.Have you set any goals for this race?- I haven't set a specific time goal for this race, my main goal is to enjoy the run with the other runners.RunAgain wishes our Ambassadors and the organizer the best of luck on the 18th of May! HAVE FUN.
Ine Kristin Engbakken
4 min read
Five week training plan for Birken
02.05.2023 Text: Barbro Sætha, Photo: Birken.FIVE-WEEK TRAINING PLAN FOR THE BIRKEBEINER RACE.We want to inspire you and help you prepare well for the race in June. There are now five weeks left, and you have the opportunity to make a good effort on your fitness.The program takes into account that you train weekly and run approximately 3-4 times. However, it can be adjusted, so if you are not as experienced or do not want to train as much, you can moderate. The less you train, the more intensive sessions you can do each time.Always keep in mind what your goal is and what you want to be good at. For hard sessions, standard warm-ups can be carried out. For example: 10-20 minutes of easy running with 3-4 build-up strides (about 20 sec) before starting.Long runs can also be divided into two sessions a day, such as a transport jog to and from. Tip: Don't forget to practice running downhill. Relax your body and lean forward a little.Text and program are taken from Birkebeiner.no
2 min read
Road to Göteborgsvarvet part 7
Part 7 – Injury, Vacation, Motivation April 26, 2023 by Lauren HøivikDuring 19 weeks of training for Göteborgsvarvet half marathon with coach Ingrid Kristiansen, you can be sure I have hit some bumps in the road. How do you stay on track with training when injuries creep in, vacation interrupts your routines, or your motivation or energy drops? Life is a beautiful chaos sometimes, and things can get in the way of following a training plan 100%. MotivationI have been super motivated by following a custom training plan and working with Ingrid. But I also know that motivation will not always be there. Two rules I have learned to live by:1. You will not always be motivated so you must be disciplined. Why? Consistency will bring you results. That and following your heart rate (rather than pace) are your secret weapons!2. But don’t push yourself at any cost. Discipline does not mean torture. If you are in pain, sick, exhausted, or feel early signs of an injury, your body is telling you something. LISTEN and adjust your training plan.Stick to your plans and look for reasons to do your workout rather than excuses to skip it, while remembering rule two above. The more often you choose to complete your workout, the more consistent you will be, and the greater results you will see.InjuryAlready in week four of training, an old hamstring issue resurfaced. Why? Hard to say, but during winter there is a lot of running in rough weather with spiked shoes and it can wear on muscles differently. I was running long runs every weekend outside in all conditions. I consulted with coach Ingrid and she advised slowing the pace down until it felt better. I followed her advice and after just one week of slower paces, it felt better! Catch injuries early and adjust training so they can heal. Since then, by running consistently, not running too hard and slowing down when I need to, I have had no other injuries or issues. VacationDo you keep up your workout routines on vacation or do you rest completely? It is not “one size fits all.” If you need complete rest, then that is probably right for you. For me, vacation is the best time to work out because: 1) I have more time 2) I like to explore places on foot and try new running routes3) I enjoy rest and relaxation even more after a workoutBut, vacations and travel can also pose a challenge. Since my training started, I have had an unusually high number of trips, both work and private. One challenge is jetlag. Your body just doesn’t feel rested and ready to run sometimes when traveling through time zones.What works for me? Sticking to my workout plan, but lowering intensity if I do not have energy. That way I still get some benefit, but it does not wear me out.Another challenge is equipment and access to places to run. I’ve been in big cities too unsafe or polluted to run in. What can you do? Research in advance to find a safe route. I have also arranged a guide or a running buddy in places I felt unsafe or unfamiliar. I used a treadmill on vacation that was in miles not km and that did not seem calibrated, and that shut off after one hour when I was just on my last interval. Not ideal, but then again…. Some training is better than no training, and it contributes to consistency! I believe where there is a will there is a way. Make it happen!EnergyRunning is a hobby and passion for me, on top of a full-time job, family life, and other activities. Everyone has their commitments and responsibilities and challenges in life. Once in a while, I feel my energy drop…burning the candle at both ends, sleeping too little, doing too much. I try to avoid it but it happens. As much as I am disciplined, motivated, and prioritize running, my body is too tired to perform. Low energy & advice:Example: I had a period of two weeks at the end of January with low energy due to lack of sleep and busy times at work and home. I felt a touch of disappointment after a few of my training runs. I just couldn’t run at the level I wanted to or expected myself to. I felt I gave a top effort, but with low energy, I could not push to the threshold HR.Advice from coach: Sometimes we have a run that is not ideal. Better to complete it by running slower, than to push too hard. AND! Recharge and recover before the next hard session. Do not run one hard session after another while still low on energy. This wears you down and will not lead to progress.How to gain energy? Do fun things, sleep enough, and say no to things that are not critical. If you simply can’t get the sleep or rest you need, then try at least meditating or closing your eyes for short periods when you can. Breathe 10 deep breaths. How to get better sleep is something you can google, but for me it helps to listen to a 10-minute guided meditation. And repeat it if I need to.It is easier to stay motivated when you see progress and results. Progress and results come when you are consistent! Consistency comes from being disciplined and listening to your body to avoid injury. It’s all connected! 😊
4 min read
EcoTrail Copenhagen Race Report
Travel Day (22.04.23):The journey to the Copenhagen EcoTrail started with a smooth travel day from Oslo to Copenhagen. Upon arrival, I collected my bib and checked the route to the start and finish line to ensure I was well-prepared for the race. My accommodation for the trip was the Hotel Lautrup Park, conveniently located just 30 minutes away from the starting point.Race Day (23.04.23):The race day dawned with a challenging mix of weather, including lots of rain and wind, which made the 45-kilometer trail with around 1,000 meters of elevation gain even more demanding. Despite the flooded and muddy trails, the excitement was palpable as the race began at 10 am. The course took us through a beautiful trail track around Lake Furesø, up to Øverød, and through Virum, showcasing the lush and green Danish landscape. The adventurous off-track paths, coupled with the jungle-like atmosphere, made the experience truly unforgettable. The elevation was nicely spread along the course, with a continuous up and down throughout that tested my endurance and quads. Strategy wise I started a bit behind the leading pack to get an overview of the other female competitors. It wasn’t long before I began to catch up with the 6th and 5th positions after the first 3 to 5 kilometers. I left them behind with a good sight of the 4th woman in front of me. The chase continued until kilometer 30 when the real battle began.Once I was directly behind her, I knew it was time to make my move. At kilometer 33, I passed her and increased my pace to create some distance between us. It was tough, but I was determined not to let her catch up with me. I summoned all the energy I had left in my tanks to maintain that pace, focusing on the finish line.The last 3 kilometers felt like an eternity, but finally, I crossed the finish line, ecstatic to have finished the race as the third woman. It was a proud and rewarding moment. In the end, I had 48 kilometers and around 1,000 m of elevation on my watch.Travel Back Home (24.04.23):The day after the race, I enjoyed a nice breakfast and checked out of the hotel. Before heading to the airport, I took some time to do a little sightseeing in the city, appreciating the beauty of Copenhagen one last time.The flight back home was a time for reflection and recovery, as I looked back on the incredible experience of the Copenhagen EcoTrail. The challenging weather, the stunning course, and the fierce competition made for an unforgettable race that I will always remember. In conclusion, the Copenhagen EcoTrail was a true testament to the power of endurance and the beauty of nature. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in such a unique and challenging event, and I look forward to more ultra-running adventures in the future. THANK YOU to RunAgain and Copenhagen EcoTrail for such a fantastic race weekend and experience!- Yana
4 min read
Why you should run Spitsbergen Marathon this year!Last year I was one of the lucky ones who got to participate in Spitsbergen Marathon, the world’s northernmost marathon. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. I would like to share my story with you and encourage you to sign up for this year’s edition of this amazing race.Spitsbergen Marathon is held every year in June in Longyearbyen on Svalbard. The race has several distances to choose from, from 10 km, half marathon to full marathon. I chose to run the full marathon, which is 42.195 km long. The course goes through the beautiful and varied landscape of the island, with views of mountains, glaciers, and fjords.What makes Spitsbergen Marathon special is not only the location, but also the weather. It can be anything from sunshine to snowstorms, and the temperature can vary from plus degrees to minus degrees. Last year it was one of the worst weathers I have experienced in a race. It was windy and raining heavily. I was wet and cold from start to finish. But that was also what made the race so memorable. I really had to fight against the elements and myself to complete it. It was painful, but also a huge sense of achievement. I felt that I overcame my own limits and showed what I was made of. I also had good support from the other runners and the friendly volunteers along the course. They cheered me on and gave me the motivation to continue.Another thing that was unique about Spitsbergen Marathon was that there were polar bear guards with firearms out on the course. It is not every day that you run with the risk of encountering one of the world’s most dangerous predators. But I felt safe and well taken care of by the professional guards, who made sure that no polar bears came too close to us.Spitsbergen Marathon was my first marathon ever, so even if you might not think this is something for you it is achievable for most people. Maybe not 42 km, but half marathon or 10 km gives just as much sense of achievement. It is a race that everyone should experience at least once in their life. It is a unique opportunity to challenge yourself, see amazing nature, and meet nice people. It is also a way to support the local community in Svalbard.If you love running and want to try something new and exciting, I recommend you sign up for Spitsbergen Marathon this year. Im gonna do it. You will not regret it. It is an adventure you will remember forever!If you want to see more of Spitsbergen Marathon, check out these:https://www.instagram.com/spitsbergenmarathon/https://www.instagram.com/reel/CedxyUZIfJY/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
-1 min read