a 24 hour interval run…

A while ago I stumbled upon the youtube channel of Australian adventurer Beau Miles, and used his videos to get me through some indoor-cycling sessions during the winter. And although I really liked most of his films, one really got to me… The title is intriguing: ‘a mile an hour, run a different kind of marathon’… So without spoiling too much (his film is embedded below this post, it’s an entertaining 17minutes!) the concept is simple: Beau runs a mile every hour (with a bit extra during the first hours) for 24 hours, to end up with a marathon. And when he’s not running he’ll do other stuff, basically to ‘do as much as he can in a day’…

The idea is brilliantly simple, and I kept thinking about doing my own little version of what I started to call ‘the 24hour marathon’… The last few months I was looking at my neighbourhood with a different perspective; could I make a 1.76km lap (to equal 42.2km in 24 laps) in the neighbourhood? Never seriously considering this, but, as happens a lot, the preparation had begun well before I decided that I was going to do this…
A few weeks ago I finally realised that this ‘had to happen’, and a plan was made… Not so much interested in the ‘make-the-day-as-efficient-as-you-can’ aspect, but purely focused on running, recovery, sleep deprivation and the mental aspect of a short-course run this might just be a nice one to help me get closer to next years Deca…

I won’t write a lap-by-lap report of this day, because that would almost be as monotonous as the run itself… But here’s a few things that I experienced…

Thursday August 6th 2020, 00:00AM

I start the run at midnight, and since I’ve been awake since the early morning, I know that during this night it will be hard to stay awake… The running is easy (although the pace is higher than I thought it would be), and I use my breaks to watch some reruns of cycling-races on eurosport… And yes, I did doze of a few times (but that would happen more during the next 24 hours), only to wake up just before the alarm… The best part of the night was definitely the 05AM run; it’s getting light, and where there’s usually a lot of traffic/city noise, now I only hear the birds and my footsteps… And, as a wise man once said (well, maybe not that wise…):

“…when the sun comes up it’s a whole new day!”

When it’s light outside it’s easier to stay awake between the runs; the running is going consistently fast (although at the 07AM run I all ready feel that it’s going to be a hot summer day), and in my mind I start to replace ’the 24 hour marathon’ with ‘the 24 hour interval run’…

…exiting the street… again…

At noon I’m joined by Ann for a lap, this will be lap #13 (I kept on being confused by the numbers… lap 13, at 12 o’clock??? This is where you know the sleep deprivation is messing with you, since you can’t figure out that when you start at 00 o’clock this all makes sense!). We run a lap, and not only is it nice to have a bit of company (even if it’s just for an 1.76km run), but it does help to break up the day a bit… And a social run (meaning: a bit of a slower run so we can have a conversation) is also pretty nice after all the fast laps!

…running with Ann – lap #13…
…almost home… again…

In the afternoon it starts to get hot… (well, it was hot all day anyway); with over 30degrees it now means going for a hot, fast run, to then come home to a hot house, to then go back onto a hot run… I start to think about how far there is to go, and the annoying thing is that the number of kilometres sounds pretty easy, but with only 1.76km an hour I know there’s still a long time to get to the finish-line…

…only one traffic light… 24 times…

The final hours it’s all about counting down, every hour at 5 minutes before the start the alarm goes off, I put on my shoes, get up, and feel terribly tired… When I start running the legs protest, but after 50meters I find a rhythm, and start focussing on the run; after almost a full day running the lap I know where my ‘marks’ are… When I’m running fast I usually count my breaths as a form of distraction, and by now I know where the ‘100 breaths’ mark is, were the ‘200’ mark is, and after 300 breaths I’m nearly home… The final lap in the dark is a nice one, and after 24 laps of 1.76km I get home (for the 24th time today), and now know that I don’t have to run this lap again for a while!

…24 hours of pictures from the finish-line…

It’s been an interesting day; I wanted to do this one because it’s just so completely pointless, but I did get a lot more than I expected… In any race you’ll experience a form of ‘discomfort’, and during training you learn to deal with that (simply put: when you suffer during short interval-sessions, you know that you can handle that feeling during a race), but it’s hard to recreate the sort of tiredness/mental state that you get during a long ultra. Weirdly, this day brought me to exactly that place, and since the mileage was ‘only a marathon’, recoverytime is pretty short as well… So who knows, I might just do one of these 24-hour intervals again in the next 12 months…

And before I forget: apologies to my strava and garmin connect followers for messing up their timelines with 24 runs!

the 24 hour interval run
42.41km
running time: 03:12:17

The original Beau Miles film:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *