In 82 days I will lace up my On Running shoes, strap on my heart rate monitor and take my first step of approximately 2.7 million on my challenge to run 42 marathons in 42 consecutive days at 42 years old to raise money and awareness for mental health in the hospitality industry.
It’s been over 3 months since I announced Run424242 and since then I’ve been called ‘crazy’, ‘mad’, ‘insane’, ‘inspiration’ and many other things in-between.
I’ve spoken before about WHY I’m doing this: part midlife crisis, part awareness project, part endurance challenge. What I haven’t spoken about much is the HOW I’m going to do this.
I’m going to write a series of posts laying out everything that’s involved in this challenge and how I’m preparing for it from my training and recovery to my kit and nutrition.
Let’s start with my training, which started all the way back in November when this challenge first surfaced in my head. Due to my extensive travel agenda (currently writing this on the Eurostar from Brussels to London) I don’t have a fixed training plan like I’ve had in the past when running. I’ve taken a leaf out of the training plan of Kilian Jornet, the world’s greatest trail runner, trying to keep my training flexible to fit my agenda, volume over speed and make sure it’s fun. This means different routes, cities, distances and running just for the fun of it, not because I have to (although I do have to). So far I’ve run in Amsterdam, London, Helsinki, Antwerp and Los Angeles and there’ll be plenty more locations along the way.
This is a long-distance challenge (I have over 1,700km to run in 42 days) so it’s certainly not about speed. Roughly 95% of my training is super slow, keeping my heart rate at below 140bpm which currently relates to a pace somewhere around 5m30s per km. This is a pace that’ll improve my base fitness whilst ensuring my muscles and joints become accustomed to the distance and reducing the likelihood of injury, the biggest barrier to my success.
Moving into May, the distance that I’m planning to run each day will increase substantially. Currently, I try and do 4 runs of around 15kms per day and 2 runs of 20km+ which equates to around 100km per week. Now as I enter the final period of training it’s time to up this substantially to 4x21km and 2x30km+ per week with 1 rest day and getting up to around 150km a week. I’m even going to practice running back to back marathons to see how my body, and mind, cope.
With such a heavy training program, my recovery is just as important as the training itself. Rest days are filled with exactly that and I try and move as little as possible, get as much sleep as I can and fill my body with plant-based foods to maximise day off from training.
I also work with Niels from Body Masters in Amsterdam, a rippling hulk of a personal trainer with a mile wide smile and the driest sense of humour. His job is to work with me to improve my mobility and strength all in the name of injury prevention. I really enjoy working with him and the routines that he’s given me to do at home are having a positive impact. I’ve been able to train hard and long without any major injuries and no more than the standard niggles that anyone who partakes in regular running is all too familiar with.
If you’re interested in running as a way to keep active, want to join me for a run somewhere along my route (you certainly don’t have to run a full marathon) or are a regular runner and want to improve your technique then head over to the Run and Become website.
And if you have a little spare change to support my dream of improving the mental health support for those that work in the hospitality industry then please click here to donate. All donations go to The Benevolent to help fund their work in mental health.