Failure is just a stepping stone !

Wow, this important race was another bucket of ice-water in the face. I mean wow, bang boom and slam. I have done like 3 or 4 races this year in the 40minute range for 10km with 3 to 400meters of elevation. All of them were around the 40 minute mark.
This race had 10km for 500m of elevation gain. I said to myself, no difference. Keep a check on the lead group, hold back and then accelerate after 5.5km on the mid climb.

I felt great for all the way. I had no low points or very fucked up moments. This is the strange. I mean I could not hold up to anything what was happening on the front. The last descent was a single track. 2km. All alone I was. It was not so technical. I also consider myself an excellent downhill runner on that kind of terrain. I was not able to run at the predicted 3:15 / 3:16 pace. I was pulling 3:50s. That is like loosing over 2minutes only on the last 2.5km !

I don’t look for explanations to see what my weaknesses were in this case. It is probably the mix of factors. Like running at critical speed and than hitting slopes with an angle what was over my comfort zone. It is not like I went out fast. I was already 10 seconds behind at the first km and like 1minute behind at the 3km mark. When arriving to the 5th km I had no move left to show.
At 7.4km we hit a final ascent and I felt something popping, probably mentally. I wished that hill was holding on for a D+1000m more and I could have caught up with everybody. I was finally feeling epic. The final descent I was just flying and sticking to an impact free high cadence as already thinking about recovery.

I created some very specific workouts to counteract this mishap and I am going to hit them hard for my next event.

  • No°1 : Bike VO2MAX sets uphill 5 x 4:00 increasing towards 6 x 5:00
  • No°2: Mix of track workouts and trail runs. Starting with one or the other. 4 x 6min threshold on trails with climbs and descents followed by 6 x 400s for instance.
  • No°3: Up and downhill MAF runs. That is very important as those MAF range heart rates will let me recover very fast despite the speed and the impact.
  • No°4: Final but the most important, trail specific mixed intervals
    • For instance starting out with 1km on flat road at almost critical speed, then hitting 1min of steep uphill, 1min even steeper one where I forced to walk and then another 1km at the fastest speed possible afterwards. 2 to 3 reps. If the event was longer I would change the flat parts to threshold effort and do like 4 to 6 reps.
    • The second option is to work on my fast downhills in conjunction with trashed legs from the climbs. For instance 20sec road uphill all out sprint, followed by 3min rolling uphill threshold run, 3min walking climb, finishing with 4min downhill back to start. 3 reps top, starting out with 1 as part of another workouts. These are for 10 to 15km events.

Examples for random terrain repeats. You can do these kind of planned sessions on stairs, on roads or on mixed terrain. Some people have tracks in forests, where after a hard 400repeat they can hit a slope. These are beneficial even for 10km flat road runners as developing power and acceleration will naturally happen here.

Screenshot 2019-04-10 at 07.37.35

Screenshot 2019-04-10 at 07.47.42

I am not looking for excuses. I am searching solutions. I want to take actions. I am in a MAF period now, looking forward to execute two weeks of high mileage, low heart random maintenance / recovery. This will ensure that my tendons and ligaments get a fresh start, fitness will remain, motivation and steel will be still present. I hate to stop running even for a single day. This is why I make very sure that I properly warm up, cool down and focus on mobility multiple times a day. I am very meticulous about my strength training regime, core and back routines, foam rolling and so. I have absolutely no excuses to not to get them done. Every day is a new day, every moment is a new moment, so I seize all, just seize them all !

Also, being able to say out loud what you can do, based on previous workouts and races is no problem for me. It is not about having a perked up nose. It is about confidence. Breaking down your horns after a failure and having people looking at you, thinking inside hmm, he is not that good, he cannot win everything, he is just like another runner from the field…that is just fuel ! It is just wood on the fire ! It might take years or a decade, no problems. It will come if persistent hard work is constantly done !

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