From 3 to 43 kilometers

11 days from now I’ll be running the Forest Run Forest Ommerland Trail. That means I went from 3 to 43 kilometers in a year and a half.

I’m slowly getting excited. 11 days from now I’ll be running a 43 kilometers trail race. The Forest Run Forest Ommerland Trail. That means I went from 3 kilometers to 43 kilometers in a year and a half. I still can’t believe it.

Actually I went from 910 meters to 43 kilometers. Or went, I will go, as I still have to run this mid-winter marathon, but you get the point.


910 meters

Looking back in my Garmin Connect the oldest run I can find, is July 14, 2021. That day I did a benchmark run, and ran those 910 meters in 5 minutes. The other 4 minutes of that run I just walked. Five days later I ran 3 kilometers. Well, I ran part of it and walked part of it.

Now 19 months later, I’m going to run a marathon. How cool is that?! I still can’t believe it. More than 25 years ago I had to stop running, because of tarsal tunnel syndrome and an operation that didn’t solve the problem. Now I’m running again, and not just running, I’m going to run a marathon. A trail marathon even.

RELATED: I signed up for my first trail marathon


Doubting if I could run

It gets stranger, or more beautiful, depending on how you look at it. I mean a year ago around this time, I was doubting if I could and should keep on running, and if so, if I shouldn’t limit myself to maximum 10 kilometer runs, as my ankle was giving me problems again.

In those days I did my long runs on the road. Sara and I used our Sundays to get to know the area around us by visiting different nature reserves. I would create a loop somewhere and go for a run. She would accompany me on her bike.

December 5, 2021 we went to Hamont-Achel. I ran 14,55 kilometers and was super proud and super worried. Super proud, because I almost completed 15 kilometers; a distance I used to struggle with in my first running life. Super worried, because for the first time I felt my ankle again.


Ankle problems

Two weeks later I took a break of a month to give my ankle a rest. I restarted, took another break at the end of January, and restarted again in February. Only this time I took my training schedule in my own hands, and decided not to run on the road anymore.

RELATED: When will I trust my ankles again?

Slowly I progressed. May 2022 I ran 17 kilometers, without any problems, and I started dreaming of running a half marathon. July 2 I did. In training. In Bibione, Italy. At the end of that month I ran my first half marathon race; the Leenderbos Trail run. All that time I kept doubting my ankles. Sometimes I felt something, mostly they were fine.


Three runs a week

What I didn’t do is run often. Three times a week, sometimes 4, that’s it. After every day I run, I have a resting day. On top of that, I run slowly most of the time. I train according to the 80/20 theory, which means that 80 percent of my runs are slow, and only 20 percent of them are fast.

The other thing I do is yoga. I am convinced that I can run, thanks to years and years of yoga. I now have strength in my feet. No more inlays, but muscles.


Focus on strength training

In the last couple of months I have focused more on strength training for my feet. I ran the Brabantse Kluis Trail without any ankle problems. I ran the Houffa Trail without any ankle problems.

In the meantime half a marathon became 25 kilometers, 25 became 27, 27 became 32 and 32 became 37 kilometers. Pushing my boundaries a little bit further every time.

RELATED: I am the Sergey Bubka of trail running

Now it’s time for a marathon. A 43 kilometers trail marathon. I’m ready for it.

Today's training

Morning Meditation
15 minutes

Physio Exercises
5 minutes

Foot Mobility & Strength
15 minutes

Trail Run - finding marathon pace
5,91 kilometers in 32 minutes and 54 seconds


John Kraijenbrink

The Running Dutchman

I run. Trails mostly. I am Dutch. That makes me The Running Dutchman.

I am also a massage therapist, yogi, sports science nerd, and journalist/writer. Everything I learn and research about trail running, I share here, on this website, with you.

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