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42 Marathons in 42 Days Coninued...
Tim Etherington-judge shares with us his preparation of mindset, and physical training for such an enormous challenge.
Last month I turned 42, hoping I’d find the answer to life, the universe and everything, sadly all I found was another wrinkle and even more grey hair.To try and offset the advancing years, or perhaps you could call it a mid-life crisis, I’ve decided that this is the year that I really challenge myself, mentally, physically and at work. So, as well as continuing to grow Healthy Hospo to build a healthier, happier hospitality industry and launch Avallen Calvados, a project aimed at supporting bee populations around the work I’ll be running 42 marathons in 42 consecutive days to inspire others to run for better mental health.This challenge is fucking tough, easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m putting it all on the line for this, embracing vulnerability and the risk of failure. It’s going to test me in ways like nothing before.I’m a cyclist not a runner. I’m at my happiest being on 2 wheels and all the fun that it brings. Despite having run a little bit at school and completed 1 half, 1 full and 1 ultra-marathon, running is not my comfort zone. There is no guarantee that I’ll complete this challenge. In fact, the odds are stacked against me. It’s on the more extreme end of physical endurance, (there’s always someone who’s gone further, faster or is even crazier) and the chances of injury, illness, exhaustion and chronic mental fatigue are high. It’s going to take a fair bit of preparation, a strong support team and a lot of good fortune. Luckily I’ve got some great people and companies supporting me already as there’s no way I could do this without them.So what does it take to run 42 marathons in 42 days I hear you ask. I’ve got absolutely no idea to be honest, but over the next few months I’ll be sharing the nitty gritty details of my preparation, the team that are ensuring I’m in the best shape possible and how I’m getting on towards this challenge.
TrainingRunning a marathon is not an easy thing for any one to do. It takes a commitment to train, to put the kilometres in, to head out into the cold, dark, rain even when your brain is screaming at you to stay in your warm cosy bed. I’m planning on getting a proper running coach on board soon, but for now I’m focusing on slowly increasing distances week by week, mixing up things to keep it fresh and prevent training boredom which has been the downfall of so many. At the moment I am running 6 times a week, with 1 rest day usually on a Monday. I do 2 back to back longer runs at the weekend, usually double the distance on weekdays. I don’t run to pace, as tempting as it is to look at the watch and try and run a little faster than last time, instead I run to heart rate, with roughly 90% of my training done at an easy pace in zone 2 of my heart rate. I won’t be setting any PB’s during my challenge so learning to run long and slowly at an easily manageable heart rate is going to be key. Also running slowly reduces the chances of injury, which is going to be the biggest threat to completing this challenge.
NutritionI’ve eaten a plant-based diet for a long time now. Plants are great for recovery with their high levels of anti-inflammatories and many of the world’s top ultra-endurance athletes such as Scott Jurek and Rich Roll advocate that. I’m lucky enough to work with Angela Oosterling, co-founder of BodyMasters in Amsterdam and a plant-based nutritionist. She’s been helping make sure I eat to fuel my runs and even more importantly, to fuel my recovery. I’ve got a meal plan, some delicious recipes and a breakdown of macros.What I wasn’t prepared for was the amount of food she’s got me eating. I’m only at the beginning of my training and I’m up to 3,000 calories a day already, with a big increase in the amounts of protein I normally eat, and because whole plant-based food generally has a lower calories density, it translates into a lot of eating. An average day now consists of eating 6 times a day with 3 larger meals of around 600-700 calories and 3 smaller meals of 300-400 calories. As the training miles increase, so will the amount of food I have to eat. During the 42 marathons it’s easily going to top 5000 calories per day!!! Weirdly that scares me even more than the running.My days are mostly made up of running, working, eating and thinking about eating.
MobilityThe other half of BodyMasters is Niels, aka Plant Based Iron, the hulk of a man helping get my body as injury proof as possible. The biggest risk to completing this challenge is injury and a lot of my preparation is focused around reducing that risk. As a male cyclist, to say that flexibility isn’t my strong point would be an understatement. Until a hectic period of yoga recently I’ve never been able to get anywhere near touching my toes, but even though now I can, my flexibility still needs a lot of work. So 2 sessions with Niels a week plus some homework which consist of 2 routines of 6 stretches and movements will focus on improving my mobility, flexibility and core strength. This is just the start of my preparation, there’s still 5 months of training, planning, strategizing, fund raising and promotion ahead of me before I even take my first step of almost 2.5million steps that I’ll have to run. Now why are you still reading this, lace up your shoes, get outside and join me to change the face of mental health.
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