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Leermomenten als legostenen voor de opbouw: EK Ironman in Frankfurt maakt Marlene de Boer completer

Learning moments like Lego bricks for building up: European Ironman Championships in Frankfurt makes Marlene de Boer more complete

, by Johan Boef, 7 min reading time

Pro triathlete Marlene de Boer finishes in the top 10 at her first European Ironman Championships in Frankfurt, despite challenges such as stomach problems. She now looks at areas for improvement and the next race in Almere and shares her learning moments for other triathletes.

A top-10 place at her first European Championships as a pro racer, a swimming event that went well, but also the necessary areas for improvement: that is the result of Marlene's eventful race. 'I'm going to see how things can be improved, but I'm also going to celebrate!'

Three days after her race, Marlene is already in full recovery mode. The appetite has returned after serious stomach problems. And her heart rate was still 55 on Monday, on Tuesday it was 42 and three days after the race the familiar 38 beats per minute was back on the counter. She doesn't move vigorously yet, half an hour in the water is the maximum.

Cycling on the autobahn

“It's such a beautiful race,” she says as she looks back enthusiastically on her first international title battle. “It's nice to swim in that lake and the bike course is fantastic. That German autobahn, if you turn onto it, then we are messing around in the Netherlands and we are not yet allowed to close off the N-road in Maastricht. But here you simply drive 20 kilometers on the highway into Frankfurt. Everyone encourages you. Also along the running course of four laps through the city. It's really bizarre that there are so many people out there to support you”

Pushing through despite stomach problems

“I had hoped it would be a bit faster,” she continues, critically reflecting on her race. “These were mentally quite tough conditions, it was no Almere, Roth or Florida. There were secretly 1,600 elevation meters in the course.” In short, the swimming part went extremely well, because she managed to stay in the group, "the moment I am most proud of", and she made up some ground in cycling. “That part still needs the most attention.”

She did less well in her strongest part, the marathon. “For the first time I really had stomach pain and couldn't eat my food. After 12 kilometers I decided to slow down and switch to cola and water. That went better. I made a risk analysis: at what pace am I going to keep going if I cannot eat any food during the marathon? If your heart rate is just five beats lower, which causes you to slow down slightly, you hope that you can continue at a steady pace. I didn't have to walk, so I'm very happy that I pushed through with such pain in my stomach and finished it.”

Podium, but still a big gap to the top

Because despite her self-criticism, Marlene is especially proud of her achievement. “Another top-10 race,” she says, laughing. “That is very special. I am very proud and happy with that. On the other hand, I also notice that there is still a gap to be bridged. I'm a perfectionist and I'm not someone who says: 'Well, ninth place and on the podium, I'm 100 percent satisfied now'. I want more and more.”

She had good company on that stage to emulate. “There were two girls next to me who have Olympic experience and some who have been in the sport for a while. And such Skye Moench has also been preparing as a pro athlete for years,” she says, referring to the American number two in Frankfurt.

Adjustments towards the Almere triathlon

It means continuing to build, evaluating, seeing what can be improved and then on to the next race for Marlene. And that is Almere, the home game. “I really want to race there!” she says enthusiastically. In any case, she already has the learning moments ready. “I now hope to be able to run a good bike towards that race and to fine-tune aerodynamics. Just cycling in a different way so that I can lose my strength again. We are going to look at that puzzle now and I have time for that. Almere is in eight weeks. That is quite a long period during the season to make adjustments.”

“The running form was there in Frankfurt, but it did not materialize. I will also try some competition nutrition during training. I will continue swimming in the same way and hope that I will have another good 'swim'. There are plenty of points to work on. Also mentally: that part of seeing yourself as one of the girls standing there on stage, daring to see yourself in a top three.”

'You can win the Almere triathlon'

“I am very proud of how I handled the circumstances,” she concludes. “It's not bad for a second pro race. If you evaluate everything, there is still a lot of potential. I'm going to work very hard towards that day when it all comes together properly and then it comes out. Celebrate what is going well, evaluate and move on. I have decided to tell myself every day: 'You can win Almere', so that I really believe in it and hopefully act on it on race day.”

Tips from Marlene

The European Championships also provide Marlene with new insights, or strengthen old, existing insights. And she would like to share this with other triathletes:

  1. Celebrate the things that go well. This applies to me as a pro, but also as an age grouper. If you look critically at your performance, you should really celebrate what went well. It really is quite an achievement to finish, you have put a lot of work into it. Think about the fact that not only did you get through an entire race day, but also the preparation. Because that is quite intense, no one is at the start with 3 weeks of preparation.
  2. If your stomach bothers you, continue, but reduce the intensity and grab water and cola. Food is very concentrated. If you liquefy it in your stomach, this is less true.
  3. Think carefully about your 'why' in advance. Why are you doing this? This can help you a lot if things don't go as you had hoped or as you had prepared. That you can fall back on the reason you do it. That can be a very small reason: that you want to make yourself, your partner, your parents or your child proud. That can help when things are tough. Because whether it takes you 9 or 14 hours, it is always a long day and you will always encounter difficult moments. Everyone encounters themselves on such a day.

Follow Marlene de Boer on 

Marlene will discuss all those experiences, training, tests, preparations and of course the races themselves in the coming months on the TriathlonWorld website. “How can you translate my experiences, what have I learned? It is of course different for everyone, but you don't have to reinvent the wheel every time. In things I do, in rituals I have in a taper week, on competition day and the day before. Or about visualizing. And what do I do with food and drink, with nutrition? What does my packing list look like? My story, my 'why' and my motive behind what I do, I like to pass that on so that others can also benefit from it.” In short, keep a close eye on the site.  

You can read her previous blogs here:




(c) Photos: Dennis Glaubach - any.suggestions_


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Learning moments like Lego bricks for building up: European Ironman Championships in Frankfurt makes Marlene de Boer more complete