… and I still know how to run!

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or: Why you will love Kyiv as your running terrain!

Final Data
Distance: 6.2k (3.85 miles)
Time: 0:38:41
Speed: 9.68 km/h (6.01 miles/hour)
Pace: 6.20 min/km (9.98 min/mile)
Terrain: hilly, concrete

So I have finally took the time again to go for a nice outside run. I have relocated to Kyiv, Ukraine recently, only temporarily though, and decided to use the fresh breeze outside to finally test me new Polar running watch. As I used to, I drew out my route on google maps and went for a 6.2k run along major streets.

I started pretty quickly and felt good with that pace.. until I had the first turn and faced a long part of the route that was all uphill. Halfway up, I was out of breath and started to walk. Oh well, this definitely ruined my time, although I was still within the projected time frame of 40 min. However, without this hill, I could have run the usual 30 min for this type of route.


For my first run though, I am satisfied and have even got to realize that Kyiv is a perfect running terrain for intermediate runners. It is located on 7 hills like Rome, as I have read recently as part of a comparison although it really is located on a lot more hills. Most ups and downs are not too steep, but it is generally hilly enough to have a good training. This is really a perfect setting. One can either discover the beautiful city of Kyiv via lots of city roads or decide to discover one of the many parks and green areas.

With an endless set of potential routes in and around Kyiv, I am sure this was not my last run.. and only the first run out of many to come here.

Only one more reason, why anyone will love Kyiv 🙂

On the way to become marathon strong!

by Konstantin von Brocke
@ MarathonStrong

Polar RS100 on a 5.2k Trial Run

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Final Data
Distance: 5.2k (3.23 miles)
Time: 0:22:15
Speed: 14.09 km/h (8.75 miles/hour)
Pace: 4.26 min/km (6.86 min/mile)
Terrain: flat, concrete

So then, I finally got myself to buy a digital watch, the Polar RS100, yesterday. Today I simply had to try it out, and so I went for the 5.2k (3.23miles) run that I already ran a while ago.

Polar RS100

My new running equipment, Polar RS100

The chest band (to measure the heart rate) has two sensors on either side of the chest. Those have to be made wet before for proper functioning. First I thought it may be cool but one hardly notices any difference from the beginning. They sit comfortably and well so that there is no problem with adjusting the fit during the run.

The transmission of the heart rate signal from transmitter to the digital watch works well as well. It updates constantly and promptly so that there is no waiting time to see the updated heart rate.

For the functions, I feel satisfied. I don’t think there is anything I would really need that this watch doesn’t have. I can switch between functions to see the clock, my time, can stop each lap, calories and fat burn, have in zone functions and the summary even tells how long I have been in, below, and above this zone. So overall, it has it all.

The only thing that I also hoped for was that it would show me the times for each lap afterwards. Unfortunately, this watch doesn’t do that. But most important for my case, that I can track my total time and am able to follow my heart rate during my trainings. That’s especially important to me because I intend to train in certain pulse zones.

But overall, I am satisfied with this purchase.

I ran the same route that I already ran a few weeks ago. It is a quick route leading me to town and back. Since it was rather warm for a quick and paced 5.2k run, I decided to train more in the morning or later in the evening. It was not comfortable. That depending on the weather of course!

Apparently I burned 316 calories and 30% of fat, although I don’t quite understand what the latter one means. That I lost 30% body fat is unrealistic. It may be that 30% of the calories burned are in form of fat… but I really don’t know for sure. From the 22 minutes, I ran 8:38 minutes in zone and 13:19 above. The watch peeped at over 166, and I my highest heart rate was at 170 for a while, so it’s not too bad. I only have to figure out how to turn off the peep tone. That could become annoying, especially on longer runs.


The only thing that I will eventually have to purchase are new running shoes. Mine work well and are sufficient right now, but especially for the longer runs, I should see to get used to a second pair. That will also benefit me in winter or on rainy days. If one pair gets wet, I will always have another pair to go back to.

On the way to become marathon strong!

by Konstantin von Brocke
@ MarathonStrong

Polar RS100–My New.. First Running Watch

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After the cardiologist yesterday, I went back to town and used some spare time to finally look at some digital sport watches that can also measure the pulse. I didn’t intend to spend a couple of hundred dollars on my first watch, so I decided to go with a standard version by Polar.

The next I knew is that I had the Polar RS100 on my wrist and left the store. I haven’t actually tested the pulse transmitter yet, but went through the basic set up to set date, time, age, weight, height, and what else it asked me. The plan is to go out this afternoon and go for a quick 5k run and see how it works and if it’s necessary to read the manual.. I don’t like reading manuals for things that are easier and faster to figure out by oneself.

Polar RS100

My New & First Running Computer, the Polar RS100

It is basic equipment, coming with the digital watch, the chest band, plus the transmitter.

For my current needs, and especially as long as I don’t go for any actual triathlon, this watch should be more than enough. Its functions include:

  • Digital Watch
  • Pulse meter
  • Coded transmission
  • Lower/Upper Pulse Limit Signal
  • Review Training Data
  • Cumulative Training Data
  • Battery of chest band can be renewed

I think that will work for me right now. My current main purpose is to be able to follow my heart rate and be able to run in certain pulse and training regions.

On the way to become marathon strong!

by Konstantin von Brocke
@ MarathonStrong

Cycling at the Cardiologist Part 2

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270watts.. and my legs said stop. They didn’t have enough strength to maintain the RPM. Pushing it much further had not had much effect because I already struggled to keep the minimum RPM, so I decided to stop.

That was not bad though. I was released from all the body measurements that were all over my body, especially around my heart. Plus, and that felt really good, they took the oxygen mask off, which enabled me to take a good and free breath. It’s simply not the same breathing through a mask. I recovered from my pulse quickly; from 164 max to ~135 after 1 min, ~110 after 2 min, 100 after 3 min, and in the 90s after the 4th and 5th minute. According to the graphics that the doc showed and gave me later, this is considered good (the 1 min relax is normal).

Talking to the doctor, he told me that I am in a good condition plus that my heart is in very good health. That’s the two things I was hoping for to be told. When I went to do this examination last year, my data was worse. While I was told to train at a pulse of about 125 last year in order to train my anaerobic point, I may go from basic to basic 2 and development, thus to a pulse of 135-160. I am sure that I’ve already done this recently, especially because the last examination is about a year ago and I had a lot of training and went up naturally.

There are a few goals that I intend to accomplish then:

  • Maintain running frequency at 3-5 times a week
  • Increase interval training to two times a week
  • Increase both biking and swimming to get a better overall exercise

The interval trainings are part of the running frequency. Doing that, I should get in an overall good shape and am then hopefully ready to go for my first half marathon. I want to run my first half marathon below 1:30:00 hours. Having run 17k in about 1:21:00 hours, I am about 10-15 minutes too slow at my current pace. With some good training, I should be able to accomplish this over the next month or two so that I will definitely be ready early in fall.

Running

On the way to becoming marathon strong!

by Konstantin von Brocke
@ MarathonStrong

Cycling at the Cardiologist

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The upcoming visit at my cardiologist: After having done the same thing last year and being told that my aerobic point is way too low for my age, I decided to go back this summer after having exercised a lot. Initially I trained exactly for that purpose, doing a lot of low-puls cardio in order to train this aerobic point. Eventually I felt better and better and could do more and more; and then it was part of my day. I was suddenly more of a runner and more motivated and dedicated than I initially thought I would be.

Thus, I hope that the biking exercise tomorrow with the oxygen mask on my nose and lots of little measure points all over my body, that I do a lot better. With all my regular training, it would almost be a disappointment if it turned out that I hardly improved. Well, I don’t expect that to happen, especially since I’ve also biked a lot recently. Münster is the city of bikes and bicyclists, so I got a lot of training, riding to and from my training of sometimes 25k a day. Point is, I feel prepared for tomorrow and hope everything will go the way I hope it will.

Gonna add the results tomorrow or on Tuesday, depending on when I will be back home tomorrow. Cheers!

by Konstantin von Brocke
@ MarathonStrong

Fast Short Distance Run of 3.5k

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Final Data
Distance: 3.5k (2.17 miles)
Time: 0:15:00 hours
Speed: 14.00 km/h (8.68 miles/hour)
Pace: 4.29 min/km (6.91 min/mile)
Terrain: flat, concrete

It was totally unplanned when I went for this 3.5k run earlier this week. I am still in my running low, although I added running with the Laufsportfreunde Münster (a running club). I didn’t even plan out this route on google maps beforehand although I knew already how I would go; a quick run around my suburb.

The run was good and I was fairly quick. I thought I was a bit slower or more relaxed than for my other runs, but looking up the route later, seeing the distance, and comparing it with my total running time, I found out that I was actually a bit faster. I still feel a bit tired so it maybe felt different; I don’t know.

My intention is to be able to run the 5k at a pace of less than 4min/k, which means I would run it in less than 20min. And in the end, I want to call myself marathon strong.

The route I ran the other day is the following:

Running all these local routes makes me really get familiar with the area and lots of neat places that I drove past so often but for some reason they never appeared to me the way the way I see them now after running past them and being able to enjoy their presence more.

by Konstantin von Brocke
@ MarathonStrong

Updated Training Plan with LSF Münster

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It was time that I worked out a new training plan or updated the one I’d already had. Running several times a week and always at a steady but quick pace was good, but after attending the fitness training at University of Bielefeld and getting out of breath really easily was a wake-up call for me that I have to adapt my personal training plan. As I was already told, every good training plan also involves intensive intervals and mountain training. But due to the way I organized my running training–outlining the route on google maps and running at a certain and constant pace the whole way–, I had difficulties to change.

Sportplatz Sentruper Höhe

Sportplatz Sentruper Höhe: a great place for doing sports

I then looked into finding people I would train with so that I would automatically have to adapt a bit and run both at a different pace as well as different types of runs; long-run, short-run, paced, non-paced, interval, and what not. I didn’t find people that easily so I looked into running groups. Last Tuesday, after being in e-mail contact with them, I finally approached the trainer of Laufsportfreunde (Friends of Running) Münster and did a whole training with them.

The training at Laufsportfreunde Mü was organized in that way that they did interval training in different pace groups. The group I was put in had to run 10 times 300m (just over 300yards) at 1.09min with a 200m (just over 200 yards) easy walk in between. It was easy running really, and I was happy to hear from the group and my coach that they think I could run in the faster group as well; but that for next time. Plus I was told that I have a good running style, which I was happy about as well. Running mostly by myself and without anyone who corrects me, that was good to hear.

They meet at Sportplatz Sentruper Höhe (an outside sports facility) in Münster. The training was parallel with that of the university sports and some other groups. Thus it was relatively full. It looked kind of wild but, at the same time, it worked well. As it was on an official athletic track, the surface was a bit harder but it was a great feeling to run there; a good motivation for me. Another good thing is that there were lots of people of all ages, mostly students though. I hope to be able to find some people that I can go running with outside of the regular training they have with the sports club.

Overall, I am really happy that I train differently now, or, in other and better words, I added some important parts to my own training plan, that is intervals and the social factor of running together.

by Konstantin von Brocke
@ MarathonStrong

Get in Shape at University of Bielefeld

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No condition or not in shape; that’s what probably describes me best regarding the fitness training that I participated in at University of Bielefeld last week Thursday. Generally thinking I should be in good shape due to my steady long-distance runs, in which I do great, I was surprised to be fatigued and exhausted after only some training that is more dynamic than steady running. As a matter of fact, I felt dizzy and sick.

Uni Bielefeld

Participated at a fitness training at University of Bielefeld

The fitness training had generally two main parts of 30 minutes each. The first part can best be described as interval training, in which we ought to ran loops. The instructor made us walk, run, and sprint consecutively, and also made us do some other exercises such as jumping jacks. After those 30 minutes, I suddenly felt very dizzy. Some good problems with my circulation. I walked in and out of the gym, took some deep breaths, and eventually sat down for on-the-spot exercises. I felt good again, even though I still was in shock and confused. Those on-the-spot exercises consisted mostly of push-ups, sit-ups, and other muscle exercises plus some good portion of stretching in the end.

I really have to say that it was a good lesson for me to go through this exercise and see that need to refocus my own exercise plans. As I was already told before, interval training is a must for every good exercise program. Unfortunately, I had difficulties switching from steady runs to intervals and have thus not really done it so far. I am sure I would pass out in a simple football game, in which I stop and go all the time.

My question remains though: How can I adapt my training plan? It may sound very simple, but being so used to steady long runs, I have some problems to switch; especially also because I usually plan my whole route out, including what time I aim for and at what pace I would have to run to achieve that. That seems difficult in interval trainings…

Does that also give me an excuse that I was rather inactive, not doing sport, for more than a week besides that day at Uni Bielefeld?

Or is it even potentially harmful to do long-distance runs without having trained properly overall?

And I still need new shoes…

by Konstantin von Brocke
@ MarathonStrong

Half marathon training objective: ✓

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Final Data
Distance: 16.8k (10.44 miles)
Time: 1:21:05 hours
Speed: 12.43 km/h (7.73 miles/hour)
Pace: 4.83 min/km (7.77 min/mile)
Terrain: flat, concrete and dirt roads

Half marathon training objective: ✓

It is strange how it works with one’s motivation and energy level. You may feel down and out of energy for a whole day or a series of days, only to suddenly feel full of energy and strong enough to beat all your records. That’s what happened to me today. After feeling tired since yesterday, I suddenly had a nice long-distance route in my head and the urge to go for it. I am sure most of you know what I talk about.

So what do you do in such an occasion? You run! And that’s what I did. There is a harbor festival in Münster, Germany over the weekend, and I decided to run there and back. Each way is 8.4k or 5.22 miles. The route on google maps shows only one way, but I ran the same way back. It was a great run, neither too warm nor too cold. As I felt this running urge relatively late in the evening, I was a bit afraid that I would return in the dark, but I was luck; it gets dark way later than what I had in mind. I had to take my sun glasses off though, but that’s fair enough!


With a medium pace of 4.83min/km (7.77 min/mile), I have reached the approximate pace that I hoped to be running in a half marathon. I think I could run the same pace in a run that is just 4km longer than what I just ran, which would be the length of a half marathon. So I officially feel (half) marathon strong; I have reached my first training objective and am ready to pursue my first half marathon. As there is none that I know about off-hand, I will have to do some research and see what is close and nice for a first official half marathon.

It feels good, and really, I feel another urge to go running. I think it’s addictive!

Endurance is key!

Harbour Münster

Harbour Münster: My destination and turning point of today’s training of a 16.8k endurance run

by Konstantin von Brocke
@ MarathonStrong

My Home & Running Territory: Münster, Germany

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Münster Schloss

Main administration of the University of Münster

A blog, twitter, facebook, Google+, and others, all speak about my running experiences and my quest of becoming, what I call, marathon strong. After implementing google maps to draw out my running routes and show them to you, I also would like to introduce you to my home and running territory: Münster, Germany.

General Info
Münster is a major German city of just under 300,000 citizens. It is most famous for its university–University of Münster–with more than 40,000 students and for being the bicycle city of Germany; statistics say two bikes for each person, meaning close to 600,000 bikes.

Geography
Münster is located in the north-eastern part of Germany and just an hour away from the border to the Netherlands. In a circa three-hour radius, there are many important cities, including Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Cologne, and Amsterdam. The altitude is at about 60m (196 feet).

History

The City Hall of Münster

“Das Rathaus” or The City Hall of Münster

Münster is a very old city dating back more than 1200 years, to 793, established as the seat for the bishop. It has a very rich history and cultural importance to the region. With the end of the Thirty Years’ War, Münster became known as one of the two cities (also Osnabrück), in which the Peace Treaty of Westphalia was signed in 1648. Establishing the University of Münster in 1780, the university became known for its academic excellence, which is one of the strongest reputations for the whole city today, a student city. Mostly bombed throughout WWII, the inner city was restored to pre-war looks, which creates a beautiful atmosphere.

A Green City

Promenade Münster

Promenade Münster: the Inner-City Belt Only for Pedestrians, Bicyclists, Roller Skaters, and Similar

As I already knew but also re-discovered through my many running routes now, Münster is a very green and thus friendly-looking city that displays a very familiar and homy atmosphere. There is a big artificial lake stretching from the outskirts to the city center, which creates ideal running conditions including the surrounding parks. Münster has many other parks and a very popular green belt, called Promenade. It is a 4.5k ring around the city, which is a green boulevard for pedestrians now-a-days and goes along the former line of the city wall. Moreover, even some farm fields are very close to the city center, not further away than 2.5km (1.5 miles) from the Promenade. Overall, Münster is a very friendly and green city and provides perfect running routes.

More information
http://www.muenster.de/en/: The official website of Münster
http://www.uni-muenster.de/en/: Official Website of the University of Münster
https://www.volksbank-muenster-marathon.de/marathon/?rubric=englisch: Official Website of the Volksbank Münster Marathon on 9 September 2012
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Münster: Münster on Google Maps
http://www.philipp-winterberg.de/galerie/muenster_wallpaper.php: Website with more Free Pictures of Münster

More pictures

Klosterfassade

Old facade of a monastery next to the Dominikanerkirche

Erbdrostenhof

Erbdrostenhof: an aristocratic inner-city mansion from 1757

St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral: The Centre of the Diocese of Münster

Prinzipalmarkt

Prinzipalmarkt: Main Street Downtown in Front of the City Hall

Münster Aasee

Aasee: The Artificial Lake in Münster