Most Frequently Asked Questions
August 23, 2019 (5:46 pm)
With only 14 weeks left before I start my run, the level of interest and curiosity towards my upcoming journey is rising steadily. Here are some answers to questions I’m frequently asked. I imagine some of my answers will change once I’m on the road.
- How many pairs of shoes will you be using?
- How do you train for this?
- How do you run?
- How and what do you eat?
- Don’t you get bored?
- Do you listen to music when you run?
- Are you a superhuman being?
- Where will you sleep at night?
- What if you get injured?
- Will you have time to meet people?
- Will you write about your experiences on the road?
- What will you do when you return?
- Why don’t you have more sponsors?
Each pair of shoes is expected to last about 1,000km. So my guess is that I will probably use up to 27.
My objective is to get my tendons, joints, muscles, bones, accustomed to the load they will be required to bear daily over the next two years. Currently, on weekdays, I run to work or back; that’s 20km a day. On weekends and holidays, I run a marathon a day, sometimes for up to 8 days in a row.
In terms of effort, my objective is never to breathe too hard, to stay at “conversational pace”, and to be as comfortable as possible.
I run slowly. Pace and speed are quite irrelevant on my journey. I wear a GPS device to record distances every time I try a new route in training, but I never use the GPS data as a means to pace myself or check on my speed. Feeling comfortable is the key.
I have also worked on my stride to ensure I land mid-sole as I used to be a heel striker and this could have caused issues in the long run. I have, over time, developed a very low stride with minimal impact.
I don’t really look at what I am eating at the moment. As long as I am not hungry and my body is functioning well, I assume I am doing a good job. When the journey starts, I expect one of the challenges will be to keep up with the amount of food I need to eat to sustain the effort day after day. I used to be a vegetarian but once on the road, I may not have the opportunity to be picky. I will probably eat more meat and fish to make for more diverse meals and sources of nutrients. One thing that is readily available on the road is junk food. So I imagine I’ll eat quite a lot of it.
I don’t. So many things happen in the mind when running repeatedly over long distances.
Some days it may roam free, get creative. Some days it may be purely focused on getting my body to run the next mile. Over 26 miles. Some days it may take in all the sights, and get inspiration from the birds, trees, anything I set my eyes on. Some days I may try and control what I want it to focus on. There are so many possibilities, so many ways to keep myself busy whilst on the road. Boredom is out of question!
I used to, but don’t anymore. I find music to be too much of a distraction when running, and my mind has a tendency to shift all its focus on music. This affects my ability to listen to signs of fatigue or discomfort in my body. I can also become quite oblivious to my surroundings, which would be a pity on such a journey – and a potential danger as I am sharing the road with fast moving vehicles! I do, though, listen to music for relaxing after my runs.
Absolutely not! When the idea of running around the world took shape in my mind, I looked for inspiration from like minded fellow runners. I found on Youtube the video-diary of Eddie Izzard, the British comedian who embarked on a “Run Around Britain in 43 marathons – in 50 days” for Sport Relief UK in 2009. Eddie had no running background whatsoever, most definitely did not conform to the physique of the typical marathonian. He set out to run at his own pace, engaging with people he met on the road, using his characteristic good humour and witty banter to keep himself motivated. He would stop for an ice cream and junk food as he pleased, to the dismay of his medical assistance team who was following his progress. He even enjoyed a couple of beers on the way. He did not give up, even though it must have been tremendously taxing for him. It totally spoke to me. Eddie is not a superhuman being. He was simply extremely driven to achieve his goal, he had deep rooted motivation and inspiration sources, got a mighty kick doing what he was doing and was completely detached from the idea of pace or speed.
In cold climates I am planning to stay at B&B or hostels. When the temperatures are more comfortable, e.g., during the summer months in Europe I’ll camp. In Australia I intend to mostly camp and use roadhouses. In North America, I hope to try yard-camping [literally camping in people’s gardens, with their approval of course]. It appeals to me as I really want to engage with people – connecting with them and feeling their support. Mostly though, I will improvise.
I certainly hope I won’t! In reality, though, injuries will inevitably occur, and I hope I will have the good sense to take them in my stride! I will get back on the road as soon as possible. The run being a two years adventure, injuries are to be expected, the key is to train my mind to approach them with patience and to know that there will be discomfort.
This is actually one of the purposes of the journey, meet people and see places. During my back-to-back marathons training journeys, I usually start running early, before sunrise. This means I am done before lunchtime. If I can keep such a schedule on my world run, that would be ideal, allowing enough day-time to nap, recover, walk around and make connections. I intend to use social media, my direct connections and those of friends, to ensure I maximize the opportunities to meet people, see the sights, and discover nature.
I intend to write daily short blog posts on my website, a sort of diary, with pictures or videos. I will also maintain Facebook and Instagram pages with occasional significant highlights of my trip.
I do not know. I am hoping that the journey will shape me in some sort of way so upon my return, it will be clear to me what my next step should be. If that’s not the case, I guess I will always have the option to return to my career in finance, although I doubt it will seem the obvious choice to make after such a long and peculiar journey. I have also been an entrepreneur in the past, so if I get inspired, why not launch something on my own again… But who knows!
I don’t think sponsors are particularly interested in investing at the start of such a long project. I have no athletic records other than participation in different events and my results are humble. My credibility will develop as I make progress on my journey. One of the advantages of not having big sponsors is that I don’t feel any pressure to perform in any particular way. Being a newbie to these sort of adventures, I treasure this freedom as I’m about to embark on the journey.