Well I’m nearly there. In just a few short hours I will begin The MAD Challenge by running a mile a day, every single day for at least one month.
I must admit that there is a little level of apprehension in my mind, I guess that is a good thing.
I’m going from a very low level of fitness to an exercise routine which could stretch me.
Not only do I have to show some mental toughness as I go through the barrier of trying to run each mile, I need to implement some personal discipline too.
I need to make myself go out there everyday.
Thanks to everybody who has sponsored me already (you can still sponsor me here). The money I’ve raised already is a massive boost of motivation to me. Now, I really can’t let you down. You’ve shown faith in me by committing some money to my nominated charity. I owe it to you to complete this task.
How I have prepared for The Mad Challenge
In the last few weeks I’ve been doing a number of things as I build up to begin The MAD Challenge.
For a start I’ve bought all my various running gear. Specifically I’ve bought:-
Well I suppose I better get some of the right gear so I can feel comfortable.
I’ve also worked a fair bit on getting this website ready. Yet somehow things never quite seem to be complete do they?
I’ve also set up some accounts to help promote the site through social media. In particular you can now track my progress through:-
I’ve been reading up on how to prepare and there is just so much information out there.
I’ve found numerous books on running for kindle so I can always have something to refer to.
I’ve also read numerous websites on their tips for getting started. This includes the established big name running magazine sites, to personal travel blogs.
I’ve also found a wealth of stuff within Pinterest. It is a great source for information and inspiration. I think my favourite quote I found there today was:
I think that is a great motto to get me started.
I’ve been walking a mile a day
It is true that I don’t have an established fitness routine. So I thought it best over the last couple of weeks to get used to the distance of 1 mile. As a result for most days I’ve walked one mile.
These one mile workouts have been at lunchtime, in the evening or just any real opportunity. The only times I haven’t have been long travel days, when I’ve had such a full on day that there hasn’t been time to formally track this or the weather has been so bad I’m not dressed to go out in thunder storms.
Of course once The MAD Challenge begins weather can’t be an excuse and I have to go out there.
I guess all this walking is like a 1 mile test. I get used to the distance and am able to track my time in completing it. In fact many walks were more than one mile, some may have been 2 mile walks or more.
It did give me a chance to get used to using my GPS running watch. I was able to become familiar with the settings and upload results onto the Garmin Connect web portal.
I actually found the results quite interesting. My times varied from 14.47 minutes a mile to 16:35 minutes a mile.
I think this has shown me a number of variables to consider:-
– terrain as I performed these walks in a range of locations and routes
– weather, maybe a strong wind could influence my pace
– elevator gain, whilst I’m not really sure what that is, although I can guess, doesn’t seem to have a big impact on my results
– in general my pace can vary day by day on the same route. I’ve read that some people may run faster in the morning or evening, maybe this applies to walking too
– footwear seems to be a massive factor here.
For a lot of these walks I was in my normal day to day work shoes. Clearly these aren’t cushioned or styled for long distance walking. My feet were more comfortable and I was able to walk better when wearing trainers. However, the most noticeable effect was when I tried out with my running shoes! I was getting my fastest times just walking with them on!
Something else that really surprised me was the effect of the gel insoles I’d bought for them. These were recommended to me by the sales assistant in the sport shop I went to.
These gel insoles made each stride noticeably easier for me. The gel cushion at the heel of my feet acted like a spring cushion. It was comfortable and soft as I placed each foot, but it also helped my feet spring back into the next stride. This feeling was totally different to a normal shoe and insoles where you have to make yourself pull your heel up away from the ground.
How do I feel about my first mile run?
If I’m honest I am a little apprehensive. I won’t be getting off to a great start as I’m highly likely to have jet lag. I arrive in the UK that morning on an overnight flight from the US. Not sure how well I’ll sleep.
I then have to make myself get out there and do this run.
I was aware of this trip to the US before committing to The MAD Challenge. In fact after taking account of my commitments and travel plans I knew that August and September would be the most suitable months to begin this challenge.
I’m not really sure how my first run will go.
I’m dreading the chance of getting a stitch or shin splints. This is where I need to adhere to the idea of keeping well hydrated and doing a proper warm up routine.
Then as I begin the run I need to take it steady. I should do a combination of walking and running. Then maybe by the end of week 1 or early into week 2 I can jog, or maybe run the full mile non-stop.
As for the time I’ll get I honestly don’t know.
If I can currently walk a mile in just under 15 minutes then surely I can walk/jog/run that first venture in under 12 minutes?
I’ll never become like Roger Bannister and crack that 4 minute mile, I’m sure of that. I have read though that for many running a mile under 8 minutes is quite a big obstacle to overcome. After a month I’m doubtful if I’d get there. If I made a 9 minute mile I think I’d be pleased. (I was never a quick runner at school so can’t see how I’ll become one now.)
So I’m a little apprehensive. I have to be careful and not burn out. A lot of running blogs recommend to run 3-4 times a week when starting out, not every single day. So I’m already breaking that rule!
Please feel free to add your comments of support and advice. I’d also appreciate any sharing of my content with your social media friends, that will mean a lot to me. I’m trying to raise money for charity so the more people who know about it the better.
Thanks for reading.