450 miles in Summer

I have been very quiet on the work and social media front for the last 4 months and that is down to the fact I wanted to concentrate on my fitness. I was pretty fit to start with but I wanted to see how far I could take it over Summer.

Way back in November 2018 I decided I wanted to start running. I have always struggled to get into running and only ever managed to stick with it for a few weeks at best. But as I upped my walking over 2018 I began to realise my strength on the hills was not as good as it could be, especially uphill, it was holding me back. So I thought that running a bit would help me with my walking. 

I decided to follow a simple couch to 5k program that looked on paper easy, it was not. The first few days were tough, I would be out of breath as struggling to breathe after just a few strides. But I kept going out.

Over November and December, I averaged 4 runs a week and after a few weeks, I was feeling a lot better out running.

By the end of 2018, I was determined to keep it going in 2019 and I did, for about 5 weeks, then it fell right off.

I had set myself a goal in January to do 1000 miles in 2019 either running or walking but by the end of spring, I was well behind my target. 

So I faced two options:-

  1. Once again quit running and belive its "not for me"

  2. Get my head down and get back on track.

I chose option 2, but it was going to take a big push and some real focus but I was also aware how much it would mean to me and the positive effect it would have on my walking.

So I set myself one goal for summer and that was to reach the end of September having got to 700 miles for the year, that would involve having to do over 450 miles in what was less than 4 months. It was doable but I would not be allowed to have many days off and I had a 4-week holiday in Ibiza planned that had the potential to knock me off track.

June went ok, I got a few miles in but not as many as I had wanted by a long way. 24 of these miles were doing the Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge and I used the 3 peaks as an indicator of how strong my walking was. I was pleased with how I performed and this gave me hope. 

July had a couple of longer walks in early on and more runs, better than June but I was still well behind my target as we set off to Ibiza. Now Ibiza in July is hot and our first two days involved sheltering under sunshades and keeping cool in the sea. It was while I was bobbing about in the warm Mediterranean sea that I decided it was now or never if I was going to get my 1000 mile challenge back on track so that afternoon I set off on a run in the hottest part of the day. I did 3 miles and that was the start of what was to become a very active holiday. Every morning from that day I was up before light and out while it was cool. I started at 3 miles and within a week I was doing 5 miles a day and while on the island even got an 8 mile run in. I was eating well, drinking lots of water and feeling very fit indeed. By the time we boarded the plane to return home on the 29th July, I had covered over 100 miles in Ibiza and would finish July having logged 135 miles in total. I was dragging it back, my target was still possible but August had to be a big month.

I needed 200 miles to be on track and following Ibiza and how I felt I was well up for it. I spent most of August walking out running or walking, I was out every day and I was feeling so good when out. My legs were strong, my cardio endurance was on point and I was jumping out of bed to get out on a morning. I was loving it. I nailed the 200 miles, was back on track with my 1000 miles for the year and more importantly, for me, I was enjoying doing it and feeling great.

September left me with a 100 miles to do so 5k a day would have done it, but I had an opportunity thrown at me mid-month to take on a walking challenge with a group of people that I had nor even considered this year called the national 3 peak challenge. The N3P as it is known involved climbing the highest mountain in Scotland, England and Wales and do all that in less than 24 hours.

Apart from my running I hand not trained for this and thought it would allow me to see how far I had come in Summer. We smashed it! I did it with a group of great people and my partner Sue did it also. It was a challenge because of the assent but we also had to cover and to get between the peaks we had to travel in a minibus so sleep opportunities were limited so as well as a tough walk we had to cope with sleep deprivation and being sat in a cramped environment for almost 13 hours.

At the end of September, I had bagged 106 miles for the month, just over 450 for the summer and am now just shy of 800 miles for the year so my 1000 mile challenge is not just on, I am confident I will complete it with a couple of weeks to spare.

Having the goal of 1000 miles has allowed me to focus my time on efforts, without it I doubt I would have covered half the millage this year. I would have still been fitter than most people my age but I am now at a level that a few short years back would have seemed impossible. All I am left thinking no is how far can I go with this and with that thought I am already planning big things for 2020. Watch this space.


Gareth BootComment