BEN’S ZONE: A Mile Too Far?

ben's zone badge

Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness.  You can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy 🙂

Ben running

A Mile Too Far?

For some time now I have realised that I train best when I have a goal to work towards. Knowing I am doing a challenge or have a race coming up helps me to focus and really commit to my training and helps fight my natural tendency to slack off. I’ve been part of the RAW obstacle race team for a couple of years now and we often have group challenges to raise some money for charity and get a bit of focus into our training. While sitting in my lounge in December it seemed quite a good idea to sign up for our latest task, at that point running 1000 miles throughout the whole of 2017 seemed eminently doable. I thought it would be easy and so I took another bite of the mince pie and hit the button to enter. If only I had known.

I’m now 2 weeks into the challenge and I think it’s probably the hardest I’ve done yet. What I had not done, prior to entering, was the maths. If I had, it would have told me that 1000 miles over a year equates to around 20 miles a week for every single week of the year. I was becoming painfully aware of this by the third morning running as my already stiff legs started to feel like they were made of concrete. By the fourth day, my four legged running buddy Florence was refusing to get out of bed and by day 5, Saturday, I had to have a break.

As I trail run in the dark I often get little twists or muscle pulls as I go along but usually this is OK as I alternate with normal dog walks giving my body time to recover. There’s no recovery here and as a result I am feeling like an old man now I’m up to day 9 (just under 40 miles.)

For the first time I am wondering if I may have bitten off more than I can chew. It’s one thing to be running all the time (one, tiring, painful thing) but am I really going to continue this all year? What about my holiday? What about when I’m away on business? Am I going to miss runs and end up with an immense backlog of running to do? Is December going to be spent running everywhere, from work appointments, to the toilet, and round the house when I’m home to make up the back log? Honestly, I don’t know. It had started to weigh quite heavily on me and I began to get quite nervous. I needed a reality check. Yes, it’s a hard challenge and I am finding it difficult, but in the cake and roast meat haze of December, that’s what I wanted, so maybe there was some logic there. Yes, it’s possible I won’t complete the challenge but is that really such a problem? All it means is that I won’t complete the challenge, nothing more. While we all try hard in RAW, it’s always just been about giving it your best, not results as such. I might injure myself running this much, but I have had injuries before and, while painful, I’ve survived. I may even complete the challenge without injury and in time, in which case I get a groovy patch to sew onto my race hoody.

So I’m not sure if this is one challenge too far, if it’s time to accept that with a job and two kids that some things have to give, but as long as it’s not interfering with anything really important I’m going to have a go. I’ll let you know how I get on!

5 thoughts on “BEN’S ZONE: A Mile Too Far?”

  1. 20 miles a week is an awful lot. But if it wasn’t it wouldn’t be a challenge.If you knew you could do it, it wouldn’t motivate you. But, as you say, sometimes life gets in the way. Holiday times with the family are more important than any challenge, although I’m sure you will do some running whilst away. And nine days is a bit early to assess whether you’ll manage it or not. After three months, your present level of running won’t seem such hard work, and the days will be longer, no more running in the dark. And you have been running long enough to know that when you get an injury, you need to give it time to heal without putting yourself under pressure to catch up. But well done for giving it a go – I’ll be cheering you every step of the way, and whether you make the 1,000 miles or not, you’ll have run a fantastic distance.

  2. Oh gosh, I think you’re being unnecessarily defeatist here. At the moment it’s dark in the morning and evening, running is rubbish but you’re still getting out there. Come summer you’ll have a lot more time and you’ll be able to fit in longer runs. I was running 20 miles at a time during the summer on my long runs but in the winter I don’t do much more than 14 total in a week. It’s just so much easier in summer months. I suspect you’ll rack up the miles then and find it easier than you think. Good luck, fantastic challenge and I for one think you’re going to smash it.

    • You’re right about the darkness. After writing the article I went out for a run yesterday all geared up to hate it but it was great. Nice cool rain, not so cold that I was shivering and I could see where I was going. It was one of those runs that remind me of why I love running.

      951.5 miles to go.

  3. I like to think it is better to aim for the stars and miss than aim for the gutter and hit. I’m sure you can do it but its the process that counts and not the end product and if you have fun and enjoy it , it doesn’t really matter how far you get. I guess… Good luck though!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.