So this is it. The last instalment of our Lands End to John O’Groats virtual running challenge that we started on January 1st 2021, where we set ourselves the goal of running 874 miles in one year. I am ridiculously pleased to able to say we did it. We ran every single one of those miles before the year ended finishing with a 6 mile run on 18th December. To say it was a hard challenge would be a massive understatement. It was both physically hard and mentally exhausting. It took so much determination, motivation and organisation to get the miles in but we did and I am extremely proud of both myself and my mum.
Our running journey looked like this
January – we started strong covering 100.15 miles and had visions of us finishing by October!
February – in feb we did 89 miles, I think we were exhausted by this point.
March – another brilliant month in March with 105.68 miles and our first ever half marathon!
April – April was a solid month again with 100.10 miles.
May – Unfortunately May was a bit of a disaster with 29.23 miles but this was due to a house move and relocation.
June – was better but not great with 56.03 miles and we realised running solo was harder than running together
July – decreased again to 54.08 miles despite the summer months being easier for running and lighter at night.
August – was another average month with 59.09 miles.
September – we knew we needed to up our game so increased our efforts and covered 66.10 miles.
October was meant to be a strong month but both me and my mum caught Covid, were ill, and had to isolate for 10 days meaning we did a disappointing 47.04 miles. At this point we really questioned whether we would even finish on time.
November – luckily we managed to pull it back in November and ran 108.5 miles including a half marathon!
December – finishing December on a high with 59 miles just before Christmas and completing our challenge.
Overall this has been a real challenge. We have enjoyed some runs and hated others. We have pushed ourselves physically and improved our fitness more than I thought I would. Personally I never thought I would be able to run more than a 10k (6 miles) without stopping so to see I ran several 7,8,9, and 10 miles and two half marathons feels like a real achievement and one that makes me grateful we did this.
Would I recommend LEJOG?
If you are looking to do a challenge I would highly recommend you check out the End to End website. They have lots of different running routes to chose from, some shorter and some longer than LEJOG. Then my advice would be to really think about your running ability but also your realistic time availability. Can you run daily, weekly or only occasionally? Do you have the time to do long runs that might take a couple of hours at a time? Do you need to think about child care or work commitments?
Once you know how much time you can dedicate to running then calculate how many miles per week each challenge would take. Pick one that will push you but not one that is so crazy you wont have the time and remember we did ours during a year where the world was on massive restrictions so we had more available time at the start of the year than we would have now. Swimming lessons were cancelled, socialising wasn’t happening and events didn’t take place and still we needed the full 12 months to complete it. But if you want a challenge that spans a year then yes I would recommend this one. You can track your progress using the map and see where you would be if you were running it in real life. You get regular motivational postcards to keep you going and you can join the facebook group which is a really lovely, helpful place to be.
As we head in to 2022 I am not signing up to another challenge. I need a little bit of a break from the pressure of a deadline, especially as we have a house move and several other changes on the horizon. However, I would like to think that I will try and maintain my fitness, run for fun on occasion and exercise with more regularity than I was doing pre 2021.
To anyone who has signed up to LEJOG, good luck. Try to enjoy as many of the runs as you can and be proud of every achievement along the way. Also – run more in summer! The weather is better and the day is lighter for longer, use that. Don’t do what we did or you will be out in the dark, rain, win and snow far to often!