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Marathon Success Stories with Jeroen-Pieter van der Vliet

By July 4, 2019May 20th, 20239 Comments
Jeroen running marathon

“Consistency is the key and keep faith. Even when you experience some tough spots in training and races. Try to discover the problem; is it stress, lack of sleep, lack of training or do you need adjustments?” – Jeroen-Pieter van der Vliet

Extramilest Facebook Admin Jeroen-Pieter van der Vliet (Strava) shares his training and racing journey from overweight to running a Sub 3 Hour Marathon. Many great insights for those looking to improve in their own running journey. Thanks for taking the time to share this JP! Cheers, Flo

Please tell me a bit more about yourself.

I am Jeroen-Pieter van der Vliet, 32 years old (born in 1986) and I work as an IT-engineer for the Government in The Netherlands. That means that I have a sitting job, but try to standup and walk much as possible and I have a standup desk. Luckily I can train sometimes in my work break or run from work to home. I was 110kg when I started with running. From overweight to a sub3 was a great journey, but the journey will continue…

Where were you born and where do you currently live?

I am born in Meppel (The Netherlands) and live now in Assen (also The Netherlands). So I have pretty flat condition and different types of weather.

How long have you been running?

I started with running in 2013 when I was overweighed (110kg) and wanted to do something to improve my condition for the start of the next season. Couple of seasons I did soccer and running combined, I was a goalkeeper so I didn’t need much of the condition and didn’t like to do condition training in the past. At the soccer club, there was a yearly running event and in 2013 it was my first 5k race yeah! Finished that one in 26.24. I didn’t race much until 2015, in 2015 decided to quit soccer and go running all the way and planned my first marathon already.

Jeroen running on track

What are some of your current PR’s? (5k, 10k, Half marathon, marathon)

5k: 18.11 (2016, on a track, close calls on road this year already)
10k: 37.30 (2017)
10 mile: 1.02.28 (2019)
Half: 1.25.21 (2017)
Marathon: 2.53.19 (2018)

Which marathons have you ran, when did you run them and what were the finish times?

18-10-2015: Amsterdam Marathon 3.17.08
16-10-2016: Amsterdam Marathon 3.01.14 (toilet stop Vondelpark at km 40)
23-04-2017: Madrid Marathon 3.32.05 (Toughest marathon with heat and hills)
19-11-2017: Valencia Marathon 2.57.22 42.45km (start MAF-training method)
08-04-2018: Rotterdam Marathon 3.14.49 42.42km (2x flu + antibiotic treatment, even started at sub3, not the best decision)
07-10-2018: Koln Marathon 2.53.19 (best time so far)
28-04-2019: Zurich Marathon 2.57.09 (clocked 43.2km)

You have improved significantly in your training over the years. What was the biggest difference in your training and racing?

While I was training for the Valencia marathon in 2017, I search for Sub3 items on the internet and came across Extramilest and the Phil Maffetone method. This was a big change in my training schedule. I trained with the method in my schedule for Valencia and succeeded. However, unlike others I had to speed up my endurance runs.

Jeroen running a marathon

What was your training volume in hours or mileage like? Do you train by km or time? How does a typical training week look like for you?

That is difficult to say, because of phases and periodization in my training schedule. I train in mileage and not by time, below could be an average week, middle in the preparation of a marathon:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Track training (could be MAF test, MAF or a large interval)
Wednesday: Long endurance run on MAF
Thursday: MAF run
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Race or endurance MAF run
Sunday: Long endurance MAF run

This schedule depends on when I have races coming up and what other private things are planned throughout the weeks.

Any strength or cross training? If so, what and how often?

Not much, train sometimes with my own body weight or some other exercises but that is only for a couple of minutes. I can do more core, but do not really like it and if I run five times a week then there is not much time left to train strength or cross. I have the feeling that I can add some strength training, I feel that my legs are behind in my HR at the moment.

You have also had some races that didn’t go as planned. Please tell us more. What was your race strategy and how do you adjust your race when things don’t go according to plan? 

If we talk about marathons;

My second marathon in Amsterdam 2016, all went according plan only I had to go to the toilet unfortunately. Finished in 3.01 (so close to that sub3). Maybe I could train more with the gels that day. I use others now.

My marathon in April 2017 in Madrid was a really tough one, the temperature raised till 28 degrees Celsius later in the race and the course was quite hilly and I started out for a sub3 and did not quite the preparation for it. I had to walk several times in the end and bonked really hard and early in the race. Mistake to think I was able for a sub3 on that day. Finished in 3.30 though.

Rotterdam, April 2018. The preparation went not very well, missed a lot of training and races because of two times sick. I finished two weeks before the race an anti-biotic treatment and I did not learn from Madrid. It was also a hot day and not a great preparation but also started on sub3 effort. Bonked again and finished in 3.15.

Tell us more about your next training cycle for the Berlin Marathon. 

Normally is start around 16-20 weeks before the race date. However, end April I finished the Zurich marathon (2.57) so 18 weeks have to be enough for this one. Maybe not yet fully recovered but started anyway with base building on MAF. After that phase, I will add some long intervals as well like 1000m, 1200m and 2000m. I have planned shorter races for speed and a 30km race to test my marathon pace. My longest run will be around 35km. The mileage I want to build up nicely to around 115km in one week but starts easy with 60km.

Do you have a goal time, goal pace or goal HR in mind for this race?

I have a PR of 2.53.19, but with some more training and some adjustments, I want to try to get under the 2.50 barrier. Not a big deal if it doesn’t happen but it is a great goal I think and depends on how the training schedule is performing. I need for example way better times on my other distances to accomplish this time.

What is your race strategy going into fast marathons? 

Try not to start too hard, even that is difficult enough, you have to know your marathon goal pace. Know your weather and course and adjust them to it. I drink water at almost every station (depends how many stations there are) and every 8km I take a gel. This works the last past races for me, but you have to train with it. If I feel fine between 30 and 34 km then the pace goes up a little but all have to do with day and the course and otherwise try to keep pace.

high five in a marathon

What do you do when you hit tough spots in your race?

If there are people to support on that point, hold on to that. In Zurich, for example my girlfriend was on km 38 to support me, that was a big help for the last km’s. In Koln, there was a different atmosphere because of a race in a race with teammates and also more support. If it is not your day, that can happen then I have a thought about it and I can decide to adjust the goal. It is not what you want at that moment, you have trained for it but there will be other opportunities.

What do you eat and drink the night before your race and on race morning?

More grain croissants and coffee works the best for me, not any yoghurt or other dairy. And the day before one plate of pasta is enough in the evening, I drink the day before a couple liters of carb loading drink. I think, you do not have to load a lot of carb, this will be enough.

How do you limit your risk of injuries during training?

Keep rest days or other training forms, like bicycle or swimming. But key is run easy on MAF, sometimes that is hard enough for me. Rest and eat well and healthy. Eating is sometimes a problem also on my part.

Do you have any recommendations to other runners looking to improve, to become stronger, healthier, happier and faster athletes?

Like mentioned before by others, consistency is the key and keep faith. Even when you some tough spots in training and races. Try to discover the problem; is it stress, lack of sleep, lack of training or do you need adjustments?

Which other races are on your bucket list to run?

Berlin marathon in 2019 is the first one, maybe Barcelona marathon 2020 and the World Championship 100km Winschoten in 2020. In 2021 all six major marathons in one year (Berlin, London, Tokyo, Chicago, New York and Boston).

Any place where Extramilest readers can find out more about you?

Jeroen-Pieter van der Vliet Photography (dutch website, just launched a few months ago a blog about my running and photography)

Any closing comments?

Extramilest and MAF helped me to continue in my running process and to keep scoring PRs. If someone have questions, I am willing to answer them of course. Thanks a lot Floris! It can be challenging with a full time job and a family to train for a sub3 but it is certain possible!

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  • Csaba Burillak says:

    Congratulations for your journey from an overweight state to a sub 3 marathon, Jeroen! I think you achieved already a lot but there is more ahead of you, good luck for that, mate! :-)

  • Neff Guiao says:

    You’re amazing!

  • Anonymous says:

    Amazing stuff jeroen, 110kg to where u are now is fantastic, u are a credit to urself, hope u achieve ur sub 2:50 in berlin

  • Mark Kavanagh says:

    Amazing stuff jeroen, 110kg to where u are now is fantastic, u are a credit to urself, hope u achieve ur sub 2:50 in berlin

  • Bobby Barker says:

    Nice post Jeroen-Pieter!!! You’ve made some amazing progress on your marathon times! I enjoy following you on Strava, keep up the great work and I look forward to seeing you achieve your goals!

  • Jeroen-Pieter says:

    Thanks a lot all! Appreciate it, hopefully the journey continues in a positive way 😁👍🏻💪🏻

  • john hd says:

    Hi. Thanks very interesting post and congrats on what you have achieved. Please can I ask what you weigh now and whether you try to control your weight or whether it is just the result of your training?

  • Bradley says:

    I love reading story like this 110 kg to sub 3 hours Wow. This gives me hope that maybe 1 day I to can do a sub 3 hour.

  • Jeroen-Pieter says:

    @john hd Sorry for the very very late reply. In my marathon preparation my weight drops to 80kg or just beneath it. Just ran Berlin marathon in 2.51.48. Now after the marathon I gained some weight but that is normal I think in recovery after a marathon. But that is my range now between 80 and 84kg. I start another preparation soon for the Barcelona marathon. I try to control it with training and nutrition intake.

    Thanks @Bradley!

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