In 2020 I set myself a challenge, a challenge to do something that had never been done as quickly as I bet I could, to travel the length of the country by foot in a record breaking time.
The distance? 874 miles
The route? Land’s End to John O’Groats
The time taken? 12 days, 30 minutes and 14 seconds.
This challenge taught me a number of things, it taught me resilience, it taught me I’m capable of so much more than I thought, and it taught me I could tolerate more pain than I ever thought possible. It also totally changed my life, it made me a world record holder. And so, for anyone thinking about taking on something quite as momentous, I thought I would share some of the easy ‘take homes’ that don’t require you to run for 12 days straight to learn…
- Have a great support crew – This will really be the difference between you finishing or not. If you are not bothered about the time then you can totally do it by yourself but if you want to go for a certain time or record you need an awesome team that gets shit done and has your back.
- Fuelling – You need to be eating all the time and have a range of foods available – I ate every 30 mins for 12 days, it was horrible and I ended up getting ulcers in my mouth from eating so much but I truly believe this was the difference between finishing and not.
- Sucking up the pain – multi day challenges like this are hard. There is no magic formula, yes you have to have a good base but I think the ability to just accept the pain is more important. You need to turn off the negative thoughts in your head and just keep moving forward.
Some of these are more simple than others, some are just practice. But one thing I won’t deny is that these solo records are never solo efforts. My team, my support crew, my family and my friends all suffered to make this possible and I could not be more grateful. It’s really quite incredible what you can do with such wonderful people around you.
Races are exciting, they offer many things challenges don’t but there’s something really quite special about setting yourself a goal bigger than you ever thought possible and achieving. It’s something I’d recommend to every single one of you, just be sure to take note of the above.
Check out the video of my LEJOG run here.
Join me in my training by getting involved with my Strength Conditioning and Yoga for Runners programme.