How I Ran the Length of the English Channel (21 Miles), With No Training
Yes, I successfully ran 21 miles with no training, just a positive mindset.
DISCLAIMER: Let me start off by saying, please do not try this. I do not recommend that you run over 21 miles with no prior training or if you are not usually active. Not only will it be awful, but it can take up to 5 weeks for your body to fully recover from a 21 mile run. I could barely get up and down the stairs days after running...
On Saturday the 3rd of March I successfully ran 21 miles to complete my Conqueror challenge: to run the length of the English channel. It still feels crazy to write that down, the length of the English channel.
After scrolling through my social media pages I noticed that I had been getting lots of adverts on The Conqueror Challenge. So, after some research I decided why not? I can't partake in any public races due to COVID and I get a snazzy medal once I upload my results.
Ever since I was little, I always looked up to athletes who put everything they had into being the best. Ultra-marathon runners, mountain climbers with no extra oxygen and athletes attempting the unheard, like swimming the English Channel, first achieved by Matthew Webb in 1875. Or, Sarah Thomas, the first person to swim the English Channel four ways, non stop.
To show you how insane that is, she swam;
- From England to France
- Then straight back to England
- Then again back to France
- And finally returning back to England, all non-stop...
Crazy, but inspiring. It just shows your body is capable of achieving anything, but it also shows how powerful a positive mindset can be. As long as you train correctly and put your mind to it, you can almost do anything!
What No Training Means
But Sami, I saw on your Insta page that you post good-looking selfies of yourself running! Yes... I run as a hobby to keep myself fit and to clear my mind when stressed. But please bear in mind that I only run 2-4 miles at a 10 min/mile pace. When running I am in no way training for an endurance race like a marathon. So, please understand that I was in no way prepared to run 21 miles in one go.
What you might need to run 21 miles
Eat well before the race
Plenty of water at hand
A banging playlist
A lot of perseverance and motivation
Pit stops for water- I used my girlfriend's house as a refill station every 7 miles or so
Preferably a running partner
Okay, so I didn't have everything I needed to run 21 miles...
But, I had a big meal the night before, stocking up on carbs to keep me energised for the next day. I also had the best songs to keep me going, and my Strava app ready to record the whole race. Most importantly I believed that I could do it. I imagined myself completing the last mile and smiling with relief!
The Day of the Run
I woke up ready to tackle the run. I had a fruit smoothie and a vegan protein bar to give me much-needed energy for the run. I thought of a rough route and began stretching and at around 11am I set off. I wasn't scared, and any feeling of self-doubt I stuffed down so I only had positive feelings - this definitely helped.
1st Mile- Felt good and very excited, motivating music to keep me going. Wish I didn't run as fast as I did.
5th- Slightly out of breath but still in the game, fought through a few stitches.
10th- Half-way, but feeling pain in my lower half.
13th- All I can think about is food, my stomach growled as my leg muscles ached. It's definitely getting a lot harder.
15th- After my 2nd refill stop, I was no longer hungry but still really tired.
16th- My body was no longer listening to my mind, even though I wanted to keep running my legs could only walk. Music no longer seemed to be helping and the urge to sleep was constantly there.
18th- I kept taking breaks and was walking more than running. This was the hardest mile to finish, it took me over 20 minutes...
20th- All my energy has returned, my legs started working again and I started running like hell.
The Final Mile
This was it, the final mile. All I needed to do was run for another 10 minutes and then I would be done. But easier said than done, am I right?
It was an odd experience, but in the last mile I had more energy than I did for the past 5. And the reason this happened was because I could almost touch the finish line. My body was more eager to cooperate with my mind and so both worked hard together to get me to the 21 mile marker.
Training is very important, but what's even more important is having the right mindset.
Even if I did train everyday for a year but had no mindset to actually do the run, I probably wouldn't even be writing this blog!
Here is a few words from Jeffrey Wotherspoon. He speaks about his own view on having a positive mindset and how it helps people achieve their goals.
I met Jeffrey on his workshop about building resilience and he is probably the most qualified life coach you will ever meet.
He helps people realise their goals and their potential to achieve it.
If there's anything you take away from this blog, it will be what he has to say in the video below.
The one thing I want you to understand is that a positive mindset is everything. Having a positive outlook in a difficult life is the only way to go on.