Dam tot Damloop 2013 – Getting stronger, not faster

4 days before the event I got an invite to run the Dam tot Damloop, which is a 16 km running event from Amsterdam to Zaandam. It was my first long run ever in 2012, finishing it in 1 hour and 18 minutes. I did not have the best preparation, because I ran 12 km on Monday, swam an hour on Tuesday and ran another 16 km on Wednesday. My legs were not 100% because of the short notice, but I´m always up for an event and I wanted to beat my personal record.

Dam tot Damloop 2013 voeding

I was running the Business Run as contestant number 36326 for an organization (Openbaar Onderwijs a/d Amstel), so I was wearing a sponsored shirt. We had a meet up in a gym close by and then left to drop our bags and make a group picture. Then we headed off to the start to wait for the gun shot to run 10 EM. Thomas, a friend of mine who invited me for this event, started along side with me.

Dam tot Damloop 2013 Business Run Dam tot Damloop 2013 1

Dam tot Damloop 2013 2

I already noticed in the beginning that it was way more crowded than last year, since I started closely behind the pro´s and this time all the way in the back (starting at 14:05 compared to 11:30 last year). The first 2 kilometers were really busy and it was almost impossible to pass other people. Hearing the drums while running through the IJ-tunnel gives really a boost. It was humid inside the tunnel so I was sweating instantly. It was a bit more open running out of the tunnel, so I could pick up the pace, but still making extra meters to pass people.

The bicycle paths were crowded as well and passing people, accelerating and slowing down took quite some energy. Not being able to settle in a good rhythm and still trying to push myself made it a lot tougher. Thomas was still with me and at around 10 km my legs were still feeling pretty good. I just couldn´t go any faster just because my breathing didn´t allow it.

Dam tot damloop 2013 finish

There was a hard headwind between km 11-13 taking some extra energy and slowing us down. We couldn´t really hide behind other people as we were still overtaking other runners. At km 14 I was on schedule for running the same time as last year, possible a bit slower. I started picking up the pace running around 13,5 km/ph for the last 1,5 km. Thomas kept on pushing to stay with me and we both entered the centre of Zaandam. The ambiance and the crowd is really what reminds me of this event just like last year, it is was awesome to run in while all these people were watching. We pushed till the finish line and even sprinted the last 150 meters. We finished side by side in 1 hour 18 minutes and 15 seconds (19 seconds faster than last year).

Dam tot damloop 2013 uitslag

I felt content with my performance, even though I did not run minutes of my last year’s time. I reckon I am able to run it below 1:15 with optimal preparation. The conditions were just the way they are and I had a good extra 16 km of training. My legs still felt good and were not completely broken just like last year, so I definitely have become a lot stronger. I don´t think I will run this event again If I can´t start in front and not wear my own running clothes, because these were the down points in this events experience. I was still proud and happy to add a nice medal to my collection!

Lessons learned:

  • The event is too commercial and busy to run a quick time (if you don´t start in front)
  • I´ve become a lot stronger but not that much faster (I should do more speed work after the marathon)

Dam tot Damloop 2013 medaille

This article has been written by Erik Brandsma, a triathlete from the Netherlands with a dream to finish the Ironman World Championships in Kona-Hawaii.