Hi, I’m Merlijn,
While completing over 25 races within 5 years, I learned how to cover and enjoy distances from 10 to 90K, without major injuries.
In 2017 I started training for more adventurous races abroad, including my first 100miler. Since my DNF (Did Not Finish) at the Javelina Jundred in October 2017, I’m on a humble journey to get back after a long term injury.
I enjoy the lifelong journey of gradual improvement, growing the distance, and learning to cope with challenges on the way.
I test what I learn from other runners of all levels, and share every step of my Ultra Journey with you in my blog!
There are many reasons why we want to run.
Whether we like to look and feel better, live more healthy, become more confident, or want to challenge or prove ourselves, taking that first step is a whole different story.
People that got me started
I think that inspiration in one way or another is always the reason to take the first step and also to stay motivated.
It can be a friend, family or someone like Usain Bolt that inspires us to start running or even to run a Marathon.
The first people in my life that inspired me to run were my parents.
They joined a running club when they were in their sixties. My mother still ran when she was 82.
I started in 2009 with a step by step course on my mp3 player and for a few years I ran just once in a while and never more than 5K.
April 2013 I decided to train for the Amsterdam Marathon because my boyfriend at that time encouraged me to do so.
What I like about running
The benefits of running are countless.
What I really enjoy is the freedom to run where and whenever I want, feeling alive, living consciously and just being in the moment. The joy of being outdoors, exploring the world, while getting to know myself a little better every day and surprise myself with what I’m capable of. That is what makes me lace up my shoes every time again.
Trial and error
Between my very first run in 2009 and finishing my first marathon in 2013, I got injured a few times.
My first Marathon I hit the wall…
But I contributed the race to my father, who had died of cancer, and to other people who fight for their life.
That made me want to finish, no matter how.
So I did, with the help of the audience and with the mental support of my boyfriend, who ran with me.
By trying different exercises, techniques, new shoes and many hours of training, I learned how to improve gradually and enjoyed running more and more.
By reading and practicing a lot I learned how to listen better to my body and how to recover from an Achilles Tendon injury and runner’s knee just by myself.
I discovered through trial and error that being consistent is key in injury prevention and recovery, but also that nutrition, strength, fitness, endurance and relaxation are all equally essential for lifelong health and happiness, as much as social connection and being in nature.
My running goals
After my first Marathon I discovered a whole new world of running varieties.
I didn’t know there were so many running adventures all over the world. From a marathon to the most challenging multiday expeditions.
My bigger goal is to run on Top of the World in the Happiest Country on Earth: Bhutan.
In 2014 I ran 2 Marathons (without hitting the wall:-) and my first Ultra training of 51K, which I really loved.
In 2015 I focused on running more efficiently and improving my finish time. My biggest goal was to run a Marathon under 4 hours with fun and injury free, which I managed to do (3:56).
It motivated me to keep improving and run my first 100K in 2016, of which I completed 90K:-)
The goal for 2020 is to get back on track
After three years of physiotherapy, recovery, setbacks, work stress, breakup and worries of being a caregiver, I really enjoy finding my way back in running and life.
Like every year, my overall goal is to run with fun and injury-free.
My biggest goal for 2020 is to complete a 100K Run Winschoten, the oldest ultramarathon in the Netherlands.
I ran the following races in 2016:
I ran the following races in 2015:
What I do to run with fun
It demands commitment and consistency to enjoy running injury free and see improvements.
That means running 3-5 times a week in combination with some stability and strength training, foam rolling, stretching and relaxing. It also involves eating and drinking healthy and consciously.
This year I’ll stick to my habit to eat as natural as possible: unprocessed food, no unnatural sugars, no gels.
Originally I planned to drink no alcohol for 365 days. I adjusted that plan a bit and just go with the flow after a race or when on a holiday. I really like it though to drink not at all during weeks of training.
On average I drink 2 coffee’s a day plus ca 3l water per day and herbal tea.
I enjoy fruit, vegetables, legumes, fish and eggs. I don’t care much for meat and poultry and eat it less than once a week.
I eat a bit of yogurt and oatmeal and sweet potatoes before a harder training and races.
I read the ChiRunning book of Danny Dreyer regularly to keep improving my Running Techniques.
I started practicing Phil Maffetone’s 180-Formula to run more smart and aerobic.
I like to run “light”, without devices, apart from the Garmin Forerunner 610 to keep track of my training results.
DCRainmaker is a source I always check if I’m looking for new gear.
To see my improvements and setbacks I use visual tools that I also will introduce soon on RunningYourLife.nl.
Since 2013 I run on Nike Free shoes. With my first pair Nike Free 5.0 I ran my first 3 Marathons.
I used Nike Free 3.0 since 2015 for shorter distances and daily use, and in 2016 I ran on the Hoka Clifton in ultramarathons.
In 2017 I ran on Merrel Master Move Glide Trail running shoes and Altra-Superior 3.0 Trail running shoes.
Currently I train on my old Nike Pegasus because the thick sole keeps my feet warm in winter. When it’s warmer and dryer I run on more minimalistic shoes like the Nike free RN Flyknit and Merrell Trail Glove 4.
IF SOMEONE WAS ABLE TO DO IT, YOU CAN DO IT!
That thought always keeps me going.
The question is not OR you can do it but HOW you can do it.
Make it happen!
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