The perfect end to Yvonne Van Vlerken’s triathlon career would have been in September 2020. After 20 years of winning national titles, completing 17 ironman triathlons in under nine hours, and breaking world records, she announced she would quit professional triathlons in 2019, to give herself time to recover from something she didn’t know was a problem: a missing menstrual cycle.

“I never got an injury and almost never went to the doctor,” Van Vlerken said. “But I didn’t have a menstrual cycle.”

And the consequences didn’t show until 2017. “There was no night I didn’t have hot flashes because…


The most common mistake runners make

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I’ve done it too many times.

I laced up my running shoes, and headed out the door with my coaches’ words in mind: “Heart rate should stay in zone 2.” But with the beep of my watch and a few steps into the run, they vanished into oblivion.

This was going to be a good run. Each time I checked my pace, I was surprised I was running well below 7:30min/mile because it felt so effortless. …


How we can take care of the land we enjoy running on

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

If you buried your old running shoes in the garden and looked after them each time you turn one year older until you die, you would find them unchanged.

Running shoes take up to 1,000 years to decompose because they mainly consist of plastic foam, mesh fabrics, and in some cases even carbon soles. The glue that holds all the pieces together makes it even harder to recycle them.

And still, running is considered one of the greenest sports you could do. But did you know that major marathons produce about 2 million plastic cups per race? Or did you…


As athletes, we make an effort to train our body to become fitter and faster almost every day. Why should we do the same with our minds?

When I was eleven years old, I watched a documentary about a runner who ran a marathon every day for a year. His secret? He didn’t only run a marathon each day, he also meditated for several hours each day.

That was the moment when my interest for meditation sparked. What if I started meditating as well? Would I run faster? Would I win the upcoming triathlon race?

Sadly, I soon forgot about that documentary and it took another three years until my meditation debut. But long story short, nine years after watching that documentary and six years after meditating…


Secret benefits and how to foam roll the right way

Photo by Andrew Donovan Valdivia on Unsplash

In the corner of my living room, there’s a container filled with foam rollers of all shapes and sizes. Cylinders, balls, mini balls, double balls, mini rollers. I sometimes make a detour around that corner of my apartment because I feel guilty for not using them as often as I should. But since doing research for this article, I’ve stopped avoiding foam rollers. Keep reading if you want to know why and if you want to learn how to use foam rollers the right way.

1. Always roll in only one direction/towards the core

Most people think that foam rolling…


How to change your mindset on injuries

Before summer 2019 came around, I’ve never taken a break from running for more than two or three weeks due to injury or sickness. One year later, I’ve had a fair share of injuries ranging from an ankle sprain to Achilles tendonitis to stress fracture. In that year, my running shoes stayed in the closet more days than they were taken out.

And of course, during that time, there was a lot of doubt, fear, and yes, even tears. Because when you’re standing at the beginning of a road, you often can’t see the end of it. When will the…


A short guide to barefoot running shoes

Barefoot running has the potential to make you a better runner — that idea is around at least since the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall was published. Although many people write barefoot running off as a short-lived trend, there are a number of benefits you should know about. In this interview with the barefoot running expert Ralf Kusterer, who is also a passionate trail runner, you’ll find out how to make your training more effective and how to get started.

How can runners benefit from adding barefoot runs into their training schedule?

Ralf Kusterer: Running barefoot is the most natural way of running. In barefoot running shoes, your body will…


There are many synonyms for aqua jogging: water running, pool running, or deep water running. But no matter what word is used, some people are still hesitant to jump in the pool for an aqua jogging workout. So keep reading if that’s you 🙂

WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE AQUA JOGGING A TRY (EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT INJURED!)

When you start out with pool running, you might feel like you’re the only person in the pool that’s less than sixty years old. But don’t let yourself be fooled by that! Aqua jogging is not only an awesome way to maintain your…

Julia Gralki

fueled by plants. in love with running & triathlon. blogging about both at runflysmile.eu

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