As I did last year, the other weekend I took part in the Longest Day Run with the aim to beat – not by much to be fair – my mileage from last year, aiming for a total of 55 miles in the 24 hours the challenge runs for.
Like last year I decided to carry out the challenge using my treadmill, which was a good thing considering the weather over the weekend. Trying to run that amount of miles in the soaking wet rain really wouldn’t have been much fun at all!
On the lead up to the challenge I thought how I would be able to beat last year’s final distance of 52.82 miles, coming up with a number of options to try and hit my goal.
Last year I’d covered the distance running five 10k and three 11k legs; this year though I decided to tackle the challenge running 5ks instead, running at 10kmh, with shorter breaks in between legs.
The hope with this approach was that the shorter distances would mean my legs would recover quicker, allowing for the shorter breaks.
Here’s a breakdown of my pre-challenge plan:
If I managed to keep to my plan I would run 55.92 miles, but pushing past last year’s total was once again unknown territory; only time would tell whether I’d make it or not.
Unlike last year, and heading out into London for food and beer the night before the challenge, this time I took a more sensible approach. Shelli and I chilled out hoping this would stand me in good stead for the long day ahead.
As I was going to be spending a lot of the next 24 hours running, meaning Shelli would be spending it on her own, I cooked her breakfast in bed and we pottered around her place before I headed back home to get myself ready.
I put my running gear on, ate a big bowl of porridge and golden syrup, sorted out my iPod and water, and headed out to the garage for my first run.
The shorter 5k distance worked well. The 30 minutes of running seemed to go by quite quickly each time. Unfortunately the 10 minute breaks seemed to vanish! I had just about enough time to log my miles on Daily Mile, change my socks (if needed), and take in some calories before it was time to head back to the treadmill.
And so it continued for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening, finishing pretty much to plan around 6:30pm, giving me some time to cool down and clean myself up before Shelli and I went out for the evening.
By the time I’d finished my final run of the day I’d managed to complete ten 5k runs, giving me an end-of-day total of 31.07 miles completed, exactly the same as last year!
My feet and legs had taken the miles really well. My knees were fine too making the stroll into the village for some beer and dinner at Poco Loco a very enjoyable evening indeed.
It was the first time we’d been to the Mexican restaurant since it opened about a year ago and the food was fantastic! I pigged out after having survived on porridge, crisps and chocolate throughout the day. It really was a lovely evening with lots of conversation and lots of laughs. Thanks honey.
I could have sworn when the alarm went off Sunday morning, but knowing that if I didn’t get up there was little chance of me hitting my target, I dragged myself out of bed, got some porridge, and headed back out to the treadmill.
The first run of the day started off a little stiff but it wasn’t long before I was back in my stride and looking forward to the end of the challenge.
Everything was going great until about 10am when my left knee started to play up. Determined not to give up I ran through the pain, taking some pain killers to try and ease it off and get me through the final 9 miles of the challenge.
With gritted teeth – literally – I plugged on though and finished the final run of the challenge – whoop! I still had 20 minutes left before midday but with my knee causing quite a lot of pain that was that, my Longest Day Run complete for another year.
The Scores On The Doors
So I guess you might be interested in how far, and how long I spent, running over the 24 hour period? Here goes:
An accumulated distance of 55.92 miles in 8 hours 59 minutes and 11 seconds – very, very happy with that performance!
Once again, a big thank you to the lovely Shelli for putting up with me not being around much over the weekend; you really are one in a million honey for putting up with my crazy challenges!
And, in case you were wondering, other than my knee complaining for a few days after the challenge – I left it strapped up for most of the week at work – I had pretty much zero muscle ache in my legs. How mad is that? Almost 56 miles and nothing from my legs; madness! I guess the 5k plan this time around worked really well to stop the legs reaching that over-exerted state? Who knows, I was just really happy that I could actually walk after this mad challenge!
Roll on next year!