It’s the 1st of January 2019, time to look back at 2018 in terms of running and achievements.

Mainly, it was a fantastic year of running, after taking it very easy in 2017, and I learned a lot of lessons.

2774 km of running
193 runs
68 gym sessions

It’s also been the first year of serious strength training 2x per week, focusing on running strength (not becoming bulky). All the other years I often went to the gym, but my training was never as focused as it is now. I improved massively, like from struggling to box jump 40 cm in December 2017 to now jumping 90 cm just 1 year later.

Maybe the biggest highlight was my 10th consecutive Two Oceans Ultra Marathon and receiving my blue, permanent number. When I started running in 2007 I never imagined being a 10 time Two Oceans Ultra finisher just 11 years later. What a journey. 

Let me tell you: Never underestimate what you are capable of. Never! Because it is soooo much more than what you imagine now! 

I’m really happy. And the German flag next to my head is really a coincidence!

My 10th Two Oceans finish

At Two Oceans I wasn’t too happy about my time, I started questioning my own training regime and hired a professional running coach. Between Two Oceans and Comrades there was too little time to completely change the training, but he added some twists to my standard training.

My main goal for Comrades 2018 was to finish in sub 9 hours (2018 Comrades Ultra Marathon race review), but I knew it would be very hard due to a lack of mileage and pace.

I eventually only finished in 9h 15 min, which is – let’s be honest – still a decent time for a 48-year-old. 

What’s been much more important was my success as a fundraiser for The CHOC Cows of almost R 80,000. Now the stakes are even higher for 2019 😉 and can you help me – it would mean a lot to me! Support Axel and make a donation for The CHOC Cows at Comrades 2019

Axel for CHOC Cows at 2018 Comrades Marathon

Axel and Silke Cows at 2018 Comrades Marathon

After a few weeks of recovery from Comrades, my focus was set on improving my marathon PB of 3h 30 min (2009). 

Now the real coaching kicked in, with extremely tough speed sessions, repeats, hill repeats, … I clocked 300 km for each month between July and September, preparing for the Cologne Marathon in October.

Unfortunately – it didn’t work. Until about km 35 I was almost on schedule, and then I broke down, finishing in 3h 34 min. Very, very disappointing. Right after the race I got quite sick (flu) and rested for full 3 weeks. After that, it took me a long time to get back into running and as of this writing, my heart rate is still much higher than 3 month ago (when I compare the sessions). 

Axel at Cologne Marathon 2018

Now I’ll have to create a plan for 2019, but it will definitely be less extreme than what I did preparing for Cologne.

Due to my work (facilitating leadership programs and coaching executives globally) I had the opportunity to run in many different locations, Mumbai being the most exotic one (apart from Cape Town, where I live).

Axel running in Mumbai 2018

Axel running in Mumbai 2018

Axel running in Mumbai 2018

I am very much looking forward to 2019, with lots of runs, a few races, jumping boxes, lifting weights, and hopefully meeting many of you – my blog readers!

What are your plans for the year? Please comment, send me a message, or follow me on Instagram and let me know of what your 2019 is going to look like…