I Ran 4 Miles Every 4 Hours For 48 Hours
Written By: SportsShoes
I know what you’re probably thinking …
“You ran 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours! Why would anybody want to endure such a bizarre thing?”
Well, I thought the exact same when I came across David Goggins, the architect behind this crazy challenge.
WHO IS DAVID GOGGINS?
David Goggins is an ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, and retired United States Navy SEAL. A certified “hard man” to say the least, but this wasn’t always the case. He grew up in an abusive home and struggled with being overweight throughout his late teens and early twenties. These challenges acted as barriers until he decided enough was enough and a change was needed. So he did exactly that.
Long story short, he is a man that epitomises resilience!
WHY DID I DO IT?
The truthful answer is I don’t really know. I have always loved to push myself. Whether it be with study or sports, I enjoy going the extra mile. Therefore, I thought why not go for 48 miles! The unknown of how both my mind and body would react enticed me to give it a go.
Here is how it went;
1. The Plan
“Where do I start?” That was the first question that I had to deal with. The answer. Google.
I quickly identified that there were no ‘set’ times to complete this challenge, so I had to think about when I felt most comfortable running and the time of my *first* run. This resulted in this notes page (see below) being created with the time, the numbered run and the distance cumulatively growing adjacent to it.
Routes were another matter to deal with. I didn’t want to overcomplicate it and so I stuck with 5 different ones that I alternated throughout.
And that was pretty much it. Plan sorted.
N.B. In retrospect, run no.6 and no.12 should have been located under dates Thursday 25th August and Friday 26th August respectively.
2. The Running Breakdown
Each run had the luxury of being named. It was something to keep my mind busy whilst running and it was an attempt to keep me motivated. Let’s break it down …
1. Does your boredom encourage or discourage?
4am. My first run. It got me thinking about boredom (great start). When in such a state, are our actions encouraging or discouraging to ourself and others? Do we follow healthy or unhealthy habits? My conclusion …whilst bored do things that bring you joy. Healthy joy that is. Because being in a state of joy is the best form of encouragement to both yourself and others.
2. Comfort will always follow after discomfort
8am. Starting to feel it. It was my second run. Not a good start. But I knew that a lovely breakfast (thanks mum) was waiting at home and soon this discomfort would fade back into comfort.
3. Fortune favours fortitude
12pm. Feeling fortitudinous. Get the dictionary out for that bad boy. My mind was in a solid place at this point. I had completed 25% of the challenge, what more could 75% possibly throw at me? Famous last thoughts.
4. Control is in the palm of your hands, do not let it be taken
4pm. Stoicism. A school of Hellenistic philosophy that advocates that we are responsible in our response to the world. Essentially we are in control. Therefore, the aim for this run was for my mind to convince my body that we were indeed in control. Not an easy task.
5. Fatigue can be forgiven, but laziness will always be loathed
8pm. Flipping fatigue. Could my legs still run? Yes. So then get out and run. The loathe for laziness was enough to keep me going on this occasion. If you can do something, then do it!
6. Do not let lateness stop you from reaching greatness.
0.23am. That doesn’t look right. “You’re meant to be running on the hour.” I know. I woke up late (0.15am). Panic set in as I checked my phone. I’ve only gone and messed this all up! I stopped for a second and genuinely contemplated hitting the sack and giving this whole thing the sack. “Laziness will always be loathed.” I was not prepared to throw in the towel just yet. So yes I was late, but I turned up. Lateness was not going to stop me from reaching greatness! Shakespeare’s finest rhymes.
7. Why? Because I can.
4am. Quite frankly, I was losing the plot at this point. The quality of my sleep was deteriorating rapidly and my body clock hated me. So whilst running I asked myself the big question. “WHY?” Well, you know the answer. “Because I can.” Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde moments.
8. Your light is limitless
8am. The morning light gave me energy that was unparalleled to any caffeine or gel I’ve ever had. Sanity seeped back into my mind and I was “back and ready to do it all over again!”
9. Character is built in the harshest of conditions
12pm. Rain. If you ask anybody who has (willingly) ran in the rain, they will all say the same thing. It is bliss. It doesn’t quite make sense. It is is cold, your clothes are stuck to your body and your shoes are squelching. But you feel alive! This ended up being my quickest run and although speed was by far not important during this challenge, I think it goes to show how the conditions can really play an inspiring role.
10. Excellence withers without adversity.
4pm. A friend shared this quote with me. I’m very grateful that he did because it helped me appreciate that the pain I was feeling was a necessity.
11. It is not over until the final whistle.
8pm. So close yet so far. My dad taught me that you always push on until that final whistle is blown and I was planning on doing exactly that.
12. Life goes on.
12am. Done and dusted. I felt tired, relieved and above all … proud of myself. After, I processed all of those feelings, I thought, "what next?" And then I remembered this quote from Robert Frost:
“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on.”
Evidence of all my runs can be found on my Strava. Feel free to check it out!
3. Personal Admin
In this section I’m going to share all of the things I didn’t give too much thought about until I actually started the challenge. So if you ever decide to give it a go (good luck) or if you’re just curious about how I made it work then read on!
Be prepared to sacrifice quality sleep. There are no two ways about it. I managed to adopt an "Uberman-esque” sleep cycle which consisted of taking 6 naps a day. Every nap was around 60-90 mins and was done before each run.
Getting to sleep was also an issue. It would take me a good 15-30 mins to actually fall asleep after a lot of tossing and turning. I put it down to my body being utterly confused as to what I was trying to achieve.
Waking up. Initially, I aimed to wake up 30 mins before each run. However, I found myself turning off the alarm and waking up 10 mins before the run instead. This left me scrambling to get my watch, running belt, heart rate monitor, clothes on, shoes on and a quick swig of water before zooming out the door. This worked for me. I think the fact that I didn’t give myself time to think about what I was doing allowed me to just do it. It was only until 5 minutes into the run where I would properly wake up and the feelings of pain would catch up with me, but by that time it was too late.
I wanted to make a final mention about the sleep I had after my final and 12th run at 12am. It made everything worth it.
2. FOOD & HYDRATION
Interestingly, I decided to keep my intake of food relatively normal to my day-to-day life. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. I stayed away from gels and caffeine and only had the odd bowl of cereal at 1am and 5am. In hindsight, gels before the run would have made a considerable difference. I’ve never been much of a caffeine person so I can’t comment too much on that, but I’m sure it would have also had an impact.
Food. Breakfast would consist of eggs and toast. Lunch and dinner were pasta dishes. Simple.
I should mention that my sister very kindly took me and my mum out for brunch on my first day. See third photo below.
Water. Glass of water before and after my run proved to be sufficient for me.
3. INJURIES & STRETCHING
Fortunately, I didn’t sustain any serious injuries. The only thing I felt was a niggle in my right knee that came along after my 6th run but it thankfully held out. I’m glad I have age on my side.
I made a point for stretching to be a non-negotiable after my runs. Calves and quads were the main muscle groups I targeted. To kill two birds with one stone, I did my stretches in the shower. I made an effort for the last 30 seconds to always be a cold shower. Many benefits, but the main one for me was to reduce muscle soreness.
4. WASHING CLOTHES
Thankfully I took good amount of sports socks and underwear back home from uni. Each run required new socks and underwear. I had two pairs of shorts that I switched throughout the runs. A sports shirt would be worn for 2 runs and then swapped.
After the 6th run (halfway point), everything was washed and I repeated the above cycle for the second half of the challenge.
Unfortunately, I was a loner throughout all of my runs. Not ideal. I did have plans to run with friends but due to their own circumstances they had to pull out. It is definitely easier to run with people and I would 100% recommend doing most of the runs on this challenge with friends.
Subsequently, my AirPods had to become my best friend during the runs and a mix of my Spotify playlists powered me through.
Running at midnight and 4am is most definitely not recommended where I live. So I had to have my wits about me during these times. Therefore, AirPods were left at home and I wore my luminous running top for visibility.
On top of this, I was tired and my mental state was not working at full capacity. So an extra effort had to be made when crossing roads because although it was a ghost town, there was still the odd Uber driver around.
Alhamdulillah (praise be to God), I remained safe throughout the entirety of the challenge.
- Total Distance = 78.37 km (48.70 miles)
- Total Running Time = 6 hours 55 mins 6 secs
- Average Pace = 5.18 min/km (8.31 min/mile)
- Average Heart Rate = 143 bpm
- Total Elevation = 440 m
- Total Calories Burned = 5258 cal
5. Final Reflections
I am proud of myself. It took a huge amount of mental and physical resilience to complete this challenge and I am truly glad that I did. One of my football coaches used to share a quote with me that has always stuck …
Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard.
I plan on continuing to work hard through whatever challenge life throws at me and I think you should too. It is tempting to choose the easy option but the bolder choices in life often bring more happiness.
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