The final countdown

My nerves are starting to get to me. I just looked it up and my first mentioning of the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc date back to February 2013. Back then I mentioned it in the context of “dreams”. Now it’s about as real as it gets as I just noticed my race bib has been assigned. T minus 10 days.Still, I feel confident too. Looking back at the past year, I’ve done what it takes to make it to the finish alive and well. It all started with a bad note with the Achilles injury. I started running again somewhere mid-February, but I steered clear from races because I knew I’d have a hard time keeping my cool and gradually increasing my running, risking getting injured and having to start all over again. I did the short edition of Crêtes de Spa as a test and it went perfectly. A signal that all was well and I could run properly again. And then things went fast. Both in progress as in races. I broke records on shorter distances where- and whenever I ran. Still, a half marathon is not 168k trail run in the mountains

So I headed for the Ardennes. I headed for the Vosges. I ran the Ardennes Mega Trail. And when all those things went really well, I made a plan for my last month and stuck to it. The closest thing to a training schedule I’ve done in years:


July 22nd. T minus 37 days

It’s Wednesday and in UTMB preparation times, my week starts. However, after doing a 150k week, this is my rest week. I run about 80k this week. No pain, nowhere. Body seems to deal well with the 150k week. Things are good.

July 29th. T minus 30 days

First of 3 training weeks. I do 120k this week. I do 31k the first day, followed by a marathon the next day. With only 50k to go in 5 days, things are a bit more relaxed the next few days. I make sure to keep Tuesday free so my legs get some time to recover. Because they’ll need it.

August 5th. T minus 23 days

Week 2 of 3. The plan is to do 160k this week. I start with a marathon, but after a day at work and drinking way too little, I feel totally, totally empty afterwards. I basically fall into a chair and sit motionless for 10 minutes before I find the strength to have a shower. The plan to do another marathon on day 2 seems impossible, but somehow things are better the second day. 2 days down, halfway. I do a relax 10k run on Friday and finish off with two 35k runs on Saturday & Sunday. After a relax bicycle ride on Monday, I take Tuesday off so I can start the final week with fresh legs.

August 12th. T minus 16 days

The final week, and the hardest one too. The plan is to run 30k a day this week, every single day of this week. It’s up and downs, mostly because there are days when I just don’t feel like running the same roads again the day after day. Luckily, there’s the Zomergem run on Saturday. I have a hard time on Sunday, but Monday’s better again. I do the ski hill a few times and get home around 22h10. The only downside is that I have to get up at 5h30 the next day because I can’t run in the evening so I have to squeeze in my 30k’s before work. But with the finish in sight, the mind tends to get a bit stronger and I run my 30k under 2h15, fastest 30k of the week.

And now my work is pretty much done. 9 days until UTMB. 9 days in which I’ll mostly let the magical super-compensation do the work and eat ice cream! Life could be worse.



  1. August 19, 2015

    Jij gaat dat kunnen. Enjoy while you can. Het moment waarop je je afvraagt waarom je het doet, komt vroeg of laat sowieso. Maar daar bijt je door. Succes big man!

  2. August 19, 2015

    Solid! You'll do great and somehow find a why to enjoy (a part of) it. Good luck!

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