‘Many athletes are seeking new and novel ways of pushing their limits, and the challenge of running back-to-back races is certainly one way to test the boundaries’ – Dean Karnazes
It only takes a second to look at my 5’4 dumpy frame (of which only about 1ft is made up of legs) to know that I am not a natural born runner. And until about 2 years ago I used that as an excuse to only ever run if I was being chased.
My husband on the other hand is genetically built to be a runner, long lean legs, light and strong. So he decided to set himself a challenge of running The Wall Ultra Marathon in 2014 (which not only did he achieve, he smashed through – read more about that here). Now, I’m sure you can appreciate there’s a fair amount of training that needs to go into running a 70 mile race and being the supportive wife I am, I thought it probably doesn’t look all that great him running 50 miles in a weekend and me sitting on my cheeks eating Easter eggs.
Fast forward 2 years and I’ve (very, very slowly) made it up to being about to run a 10K quite comfortably. Problem is, I’m lazy. I run 10K one weekend and I act like I’ve done a marathon and can hang up my trainers for good. So I’ve created my own challenge; push myself out of my running comfort zone and try and make good use of the fact that spring is now springing and we’re well into running season.
The rules are simple. Pick a bank holiday weekend (Easter is perfect has you get 4 days rather than 3 but if you wanted to ease in gently 3 is good good) and run 10K on each day. Doesn’t matter if it’s outside or on a treadmill or a mixture of both, but you have to run each day consecutively (ie not 20k one day and a day off the next – although why would you do that?!) and it doesn’t matter if you run the whole way or walk little bits as long as you complete every day!
Here’s how I got on:
Day 1 – Friday 3rd April 2015
Aside from the weather (grey, drizzly, but not too windy) run went well. Tried not to start off too strong knowing that I had another 3 to do on top of it but really enjoyed being out in the fresh air and starting off the weekend positively.
1. Right calf at 7km (possibly due to lack of hydration)
2. Lungs at 9km (possibly due to lack of fitness)
Day 2 – Saturday 4th April 2015
Weather was much better today but the fact i’d already done 10K the day before, and very possibly over indulged in some Bank Holiday wine shenanigans meant this run was way way harder. So much so i’m unsure whether i’m going to be able to carry on with the challenge. I still managed without walking and incredibly managed to be faster than yesterday (perhaps i was just desperate to get it over with!) it left my thighs, hips and back in absolute agony though, they’re going to have to be markedly better by tomorrow morning if i’m to attempt a third run!
1. Right calf at 2km
2. Left shoulder at 5km
3. Hips at 7km
Day 3 – Sunday 5th April 2015
Was unsure if i was even going to be able to make it today as I was so unbelievably sore yesterday. Thankfully i had a good sleep and didn’t drink too much alcohol so i was feeling much less stiff by the time i woke up. I knew i’d beat myself up about it if i didn’t at least try. The first 5km was pretty painful but once i loosened up it wasn’t so bad!
1. Right hamstring at 1km
2. Hips at 5km
3. Shoulders at 5km
4. Lungs at 8km
Day 4 – Monday 6th April 2015
I had to dig deep this morning as Easter lunch and a lot of booze yesterday meant I was feeling very sore and dehydrated. We were staying at my parents and the running route round theirs is much flatter than at home. My hubby came out with me for moral support, which looking back I don’t think i would have made it without him. 3km in my hamstring in my right leg was killing and I considered sacking it off and going home. My time reflects that this was the toughest run but I struggled through, kept drinking water and it seemed to get easier. The weather was beautiful as well which made it far more enjoyable!
Everything was hurting by the end but main problem was stiffness, dehydration and right hamstring!
Until this weekend the only competitive race I’ve ever ran was The Blaydon Race last year (which I’m doing again in June) so this was by far the biggest running challenge I’ve ever done. It was very much a case of mind over matter as there were many times over the weekend I could have easily convinced myself not to carry on, either because I was too sore or just because there was nothing really to ‘win’ at the end of it. I’m pleased I stuck with it though, it’s really satisfying to challenge yourself to do something out of your comfort zone and achieve it. Especially if it helps to tone up your legs in time for the summer :-p.
See a playlist of the songs that got me through here: