Friday, 27 July 2012

My Olympic Challenge, 205 miles in 17 days

The Challenge:

To Run, Walk, Swim and Cycle 205 miles, one mile for each country entered into the 2012 Olympic Games, and to complete them during the 17 days of the Games - from the 27th July 2012 to 12th August 2012.


To enter myself and my young family into the Olympic Spirit, not by watching but actually doing some of the events that the athletes themselves will be undertaking. 

I also want to honour the people of all the countries entering the Olympics, and with have enlisted my children to do research and blog about what they find about each country as I tick the miles off.

It's also a huge challenge and I love challenges!  The most I've run in a week before is 62 miles, the week I ran the Highland Fling back in April, for this challenging I'll be averaging 84 miles per week, more than double my usual training mileage.  This might anything great a mileage for better athletes but for me it's huge challenge.  Can my body cope?

My hope is that setting myself a difficult Challenge it'll provide some inspiration to others, in particular my children, that even when something is hard, or even seen to be a little crazy, when one puts on mind to it you can achieve amazing things.  I also hope it'll allow them to understand just how talented the Olympic Athletes are, and just how much sacrifice and effort that they will have put in to get to the top.


To celebrate the endurance events I'll be aiming to do Marathon's on each of the Womens Marathon and Mens Marathon Days - the 5th and 12th of August. and an Olympic Distance Triathlon, the Mens event is on the 7th of August.  
I have also entered into Callander Highland Games Hill Race, a 8 3/4 mile hill run with 1500ft ascent/descent, which will be run on 29th of August.  These four key days will be the foundation that I'll work all the rest of my daily runs, swims and cycles around. 

I have never run Marathon's on consecutive weekends before, and I've never even done a Triathlon before let alone a Olympic distance one and it two days after a Marathon is clearly a big ask.  I am not a great swimmer or cyclist but how hard can swimming a 1500m and then cycling 40km and then running 10k be?

The only way I can possibly achieve this is to take things easy - so I'll be aiming to do most of my running at 8 min/mile pace or slower, for Marathon's I'll be aiming for around 4 hour Marathon - half the pace of Olympic champions.  I'd expect to need to consume on average an extra 1000 Calories a day.  That means lots of eating and since I love eating this is a double bonus!

Around these days I'll be working on keeping myself in shape to do the Marathons and Trialthon, so the first week will be higher daily miles then tapering for the first Marathon on the 5th, then light recovery run the next day, then the Trialthon, then a light recovery run, and then easy days that taper to the final Marathon on the 12th.

This first week I will need to put away an average of 12.5 miles a day, and will be putting in swims, cycles and runs to make sure that I'm better prepared for the Trialthon and also to reduce the risk of injury of piling on some many miles running.

Also being a bit of geek I'll be logging my resting heart rate each morning, and my heart/calories consumed during the events too.


This morning, the first day of my Challenge, I awoke at 4am to a tender and knotted right calf (my soleus), this has eased off through the morning but is still a bit tender.  I am really surprised to get this niggle as my calves have been tough as old boots all year and they haven't caused my any discomfort in any of my recent runs.  I have had plenty of issues with my hip flexors and right Achilles since the Autumn of last year, but over the last two weeks these have settled down almost completely.  Will my calf niggle get worse or ease off?  Will by Hip Flexors or Achilles problems return as I up the mileage?

To minimize the risks I'll need to take the next two days easy running wise, to see how my calf strain responds, then I'm straight into the Highland Games Hill Race on Sunday (29th August).  If all goes well up the mileage through next week and then taper down.  To make up the mileage I'll put in some time on the bike, in the pool, and if weather permitting some swimming in one the local Lochs such as Loch Venachar.


My family will be supporting, and in particular Gwen, aged 10, and Ellen, aged 8 have plans on taking photo's and accompanying my on bikes or in the pool.  They will also be providing guest blog entires to tell everyone about what they've found out about the countries.

If members of the running community fancy coming out on any of the days that I'll be running, cycling or swimming then just let me know via a blog comment or email and we can coordinate from there.  I'll be using Callander as a base and start place for most of the days and will be staying within the Trossachs when completing the daily events.

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