Asics Stockholm Marathon 2015

Saturday May 30th 2015 was the day for the yearly Stockholm Marathon, a day that turned out just as wet and gray as forecasted and feared. Still, it was a good race experience and during my short trip to the swedish capital I also found time for a few turist impressions, the visit to the Museum of Modern Art (Moderna Museet) as the most prominent to mention. Especially this one piece of art has afforded many thoughts and feelings in me – ANGST ESSEN SEELE AUF.

Stockholm Marathon - Tor Rønnow

Stockholm City – Museum of Modern Art

Stockholm is a beautiful capital by the shore of the swedish “skjaergaard” (water side) and amongst the main turist attractions we find, of course, the Royal Castle which is situated in the very heart of the city.

Stockholm Marathon 2015
This was my fouth participation in Stockholm, a race that I historically have found very tough, my other times being in the range 4.29 – 5.08 hours. So I was extremely pleased to book the time 3.57.47, having the second half just 13 seconds off the first. My goal was a negative split but this was partly spoiled by congestion on the route during the last 800 meters, partly to the fact that I should have set in my finish-off sprint pace a bit earlier. Nevertheless, I have learned important stuff about marathon pacing strategy by my personal coach Søren Rasmussen and I believe I proved that in Stockholm (in sharp contrast to the April race in Paris !).

Stockholm Marathon - Tor Rønnow

As you will find in the the race summary Stockholm Marathon – several times crowned as “the best marathon in the world” – never ends to deliver the full marathon experience both physically, mentally, field-, spectator- and routewise, indeed one of the big city marathons not to miss.

See or relive Stockholm Marathon 2015 here:

Stockholm Marathon 2015 – billeder/fotos af Tor Rønnow (Danish)

Stockholm Marathon 2015 – pictures by Tor Rønnow (English)

Stockholm Marathon 2015 – bilder av Tor Rønnow (Svensk)

Stockholm Marathon 2015 – photos de Tor Rønnow (Français)

Stockholm Marathon 2015 – bilder von Tor Rønnow (Deutsch)

Stockholm Marathon 2015 – foto di Tor Rønnow (Italiano)

Stockholm Marathon 2015 – fotos del Tor Rønnow (Español)

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 - Tor Rønnow

Just two weeks after running Marathon de Paris I had the fortune to participate in yet another truly great marathon, the World Major Virgin Money London Marathon featuring in here in year 2015 the strongest field ever in the history of marathon running. Despite tons of rain in the forecasted weather charts the race day came out dry during the hours of the event, it was even close to optimal conditions. But hey, let’s start by looking at some of the major tourist attractions in London.

British Museum

It is often beneficial to be reminded of an historical perspective on one’s life and doings and you get that – for free – in surplus at the British Museum in London. If you walk through the exhibition halls in the right sequence you’ll basically learn or get brush up of the entire history of the important parts of the civilization for the last 3000 years ! In the times of selfies, media and “me me me” it’s good to remember the skills, struggles and troublesome life conditions of the past.

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 - Tor Rønnow

The collection contains several astonishing pieces of art from both the ancient Egyptian, Greek, Etruscian and Roman epoques / empires, notably the Parthenon Frieze and the Rosetta Stone.

National Gallery
Another free and absolutely mind-blowing museum is the National Gallery at the “top” of Trafalgar Square. It’s just a 15 minutes pleseant walk from the British Museum and you may choose to pass popular areas such as Soho, China Town, Covent Garden or the theatre district on your way. The National Gallery displays work of three of the four NINJA TURTLES, notably two pieces by Leonardo da Vinci. Other works are signed by painters such as Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Monet and Turner as one of the “latest”. Just insanely awesome stuff !!!

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 - Tor Rønnow

Interestingly, the National Gallery displays the alternate version of “Virgin of the Rocks” by Leonardo da Vinci, the “first” one being at the Louvre in Paris. Thus, we hereby invent the marathon doublet “Virgin of the Rocks”: The Paris and London marathons !

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015
As in Paris, it was my third participation here in London too and it turned out to be the fastest. I tried to maintain a 5.30 pace as long as I could, this lasted until around km 26 and at that point I decided to go for a “secure sub-4” instead of the otherwise planned negative split.

One word sums up the entire race experience: AWESOME !!!
I don’t think I have ever seen so many spectators at any marathon before – the atmosphere was just electric !

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 - Tor Rønnow

Of the 6 Marathon Majors London for sure has a special flavor to it !

See or relive Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 here:

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 – billeder/fotos af Tor Rønnow (Danish)

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 – pictures by Tor Rønnow (English)

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 – photos de Tor Rønnow (Français)

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 – bilder von Tor Rønnow (Deutsch)

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 – foto di Tor Rønnow (Italiano)

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 – fotos del Tor Rønnow (Español)

Marathon de Paris 2015

Sunday April 12th 2015 was an incredibly nice and sunny day in Paris (France) and it was also the very day for this year’s Marathon de Paris. Whoaa ! Speak about getting lucky ! In fact, the whole weekend was blessed with warm and sunny weather and it was a pleasure to walk around between the many shops and attractions of this mega-metropol.

Marathon de Paris - Tor Rønnow

Paris City

Paris is the most popular tourist city in the world and for good reasons: the atmosphere and charming sights, the cuisine, the museums, the Louvre and Mona Lisa, the Champs-Élysée and – oh, did I forget – the Eiffel Tower.

Marathon de Paris 2015
This was my third participation in Paris and even though I had to struggle a bit for it, I took home the full point. So did my friend Mikael and for his maiden marathon, it was a real privilege to accompany him towards his first finish line.

Marathon de Paris - Tor Rønnow

In toto Paris could not have displayed itself prettier than this race day, the support from the crowds was good and the overall race organisation impeccable. Next year is the 40th anniversary of Marathon de Paris, guess who is already signed up.

See or relive Marathon de Paris 2015 here:

Marathon de Paris 2015 – billeder/fotos af Tor Rønnow (Danish)

Marathon de Paris 2015 – pictures by Tor Rønnow (English)

Marathon de Paris 2015 – photos de Tor Rønnow (Français)

Marathon de Paris 2015 – bilder von Tor Rønnow (Deutsch)

Marathon de Paris 2015 – foto di Tor Rønnow (Italiano)

Marathon de Paris 2015 – fotos del Tor Rønnow (Español)

Amsterdam Marathon 2014

Sunday October 19th I completed the Amsterdam Marathon for the fourth time. It turned out to be a record  warm and humid Sunday in Holland and these factors made me struggle quite a bit, a little more than I had hoped for. However, it is always nice to visit cities like Amsterdam and with lasting impressions.

Amsterdam Marathon starts and ends at the old Olympic Stadion – a spectacular scene for a race lift-off indeed.

Below you find a series of the best pictures of the day and the full story is in the links. Enjoy.

See or relive the unique and spectacular Amsterdam Marathon 2014 here:

Amsterdam Marathon 2014 – billeder/fotos af Tor Rønnow (Danish)

Amsterdam Marathon 2014 – pictures by Tor Rønnow (English)

Amsterdam Marathon 2014 – bilder von Tor Rønnow (Deutsch)

Amsterdam Marathon 2014 – foto di Tor Rønnow (Italiano)

Amsterdam Marathon 2014 – fotos del Tor Rønnow (Español)

Brain Work: How Internet Chess improved my Running !

Ok, so maybe you read my October post on how to improve and reprogramme your Brain ? You pursuit in this could be many things such as working smarter and better, becoming more at ease, more loving or, like me, wanting to improve your running. Let me give you my personal breakthrough on a very surprising piece of Brain Work: how playing chess on the Internet improved my running technique !

Firstly, let me explain two concepts of Internet Chess that might be unfamiliar to you:

A) Bullet Chess Games
You typically have 1 minute for the whole game !

B) Premove
Due to the very limited amount of time, one tries (especially in the opening game) to move “before it’s time”, that is move whilst the other players time is actually counting. These premoves are often successful and save time, but can of course lead to major blunders and direct losses in a single move. The premoves are all about saving time.

Watch the first three minutes of the video below and notice how many moves that are made literally within 1 second ! This is only doable due to the premoves, ie. (intuitively/instrictively) thinking and thus acting ahead.

Premoves in Bullet Chess: thinking and moving “before time” (notice the clocks versus number of moves)

My Achilles heel in Running: Cadence
My awesome coach Aleksandar Sørensen-Markovic of OOB Coaching early spotted that in running, my cadence was way to low. I knew this myself, obviously, but it came as a surprise that it was way too low even when running “fast” (for my running form), and the general importance of keeping a high cadence at all times was also an eye-opener to me.

Cadence explained. Note in the video: “muscle memory” equals neuron memory equals a Brain Pattern

My Achilles heel in Chess: Losing on time
Well, knowledge is one thing, skills  to change the situation are another matter and to put it short, I struggled with this through months (through years, actually). Until I remembered my Achilles heel in Chess too: I HATE LOSING – and especially on time in a won position. I REALLY REALLY hate it. And this is a VERY familiar pattern for my Brain: to premove in those bullet games to avoid these disgusting defeats. You may sense the motivation here is very high.

The Solution: Improving my Running Cadence by tricking my Brain
So now we have the Lego pieces all together: The Premove concept, the runner with a pathetic cadence, the childish chess player hating to lose on time (in 1 minute games, sigh) and the Brain groupie wanting to utilize the hindsight of modern Brain research as intuitively “sensed”. So what emerges of all this ?

Well, I have “tricked” my Brain to “believe” that my legs are playing bullet chess ! One leg, one color. Ground contact time equals time spend on the chess clock. Therefore, my running cadence is forced to become high – ie. using as little time as possible – as the opposite is leading to defeat.  My feet, my legs, my entire body, actually, is premoving those Running Strides and thus utilizing an indeed very trained Brain Pattern for me. The result has been a vastly improved Running Form and Cadence for me and I am now doing split times I only dreamed of in the past.

Obviously, and luckily, the common denominator to Bullet Chess and Running Cadence is: Time. Applied differently but installed in me as a very strong Brain Pattern and with a Physical Component in each area: In Chess moving the pieces, in Running moving my legs. Surely, this “trick” repeatedly uses a sort of Visualization of my Running Cadence, thus implementing one of the recommended tools from the modern Brain research.

Learning Points: Identify Your Successful Skillset and Tranfer it
I believe my story here could be inspirational.  I firmly believe that Brain Work will be a central theme in many things in the years to come,  and that we are only beginning to hear about all the things modern Brain research can do for us. Or rather, how we all have the opportunity to learn, study and apply these things.

Doing so I believe that the fastest results may come by the re-utilization or transfer of skillsets (= Brain Patterns) already well installed in each of us, and, alternatively, by mimicking  Patterns observed / learned in others.

Every Human Being is the Master of something, or becoming so.