The David Goggins 4x4x48 challenge – STAY HARD
For 48 hours I stepped out of my house to run 7km every four hours, 12 times starting at 8pm Friday night and finishing Sunday 4pm. Doesn’t seem very much when you say it like that, challenges like this always sound different on paper compared to the actual execution. I guess that’s why we have so many people take on challenges like this, it’s easier said than done.
This challenge is only as hard as your starting point; the endurance side of this challenge was ‘manageable’ for me as at this stage of my journey; having trained and completed 14 x 100km endurance runs over the past 5 years I am more than comfortable with longer distances but what was the greatest challenge, patience.
Physical Secondary to Mental
What I loved was that the physical side was secondary to the mental side. The hardest part was being patient, especially in the hours when you weren’t sleeping. You had the learn the art of just being, waiting and occupying the 4-hour time goal with running and waiting before once again, the time presents itself to set off again for the next lap. There were times when I said to myself ‘can’t I just run now?’ but that wasn’t what the challenge was about, well not for me anyway.
Not a minute early
I didn’t start each lap 1 hour early, not even 10 minutes early I made a commitment at the beginning to start on the hour every four hours and I was not going to stray from that. This challenge was about adopting patience, being present and to just be. The challenge was about the power of now.
I said to myself time and time again, don’t wait and let the time come to you; do something and work towards the time; a great lesson for not only this challenge but life.
How many ways can you run out of your house? I can run left or right and go two different directions and from those directions, I can take two further directions and beyond that; well you get what I am saying. If you only go left then you restrict your options however, if you turn your head and look for other ways, then the possibilities are endless. Another life lesson learnt.
8pm – Lap 1
8 walkers; all with masks and 1 runner. Curb the enthusiasm. I basically set off at a 5km Park Run pace and it wasn’t until 500m down the road with laboured breathing that I reminded myself that this wasn’t a race, it was a challenge and I still had a long way to go. SLEEP – Zero hours
12 midnight – Lap 2
1 male walker with mask, 1 Deliveroo driver but really no other movement on the path and not much movement on the road especially for a Friday night. The temperature was a warmish 11 degrees with what felt like a humidity level of 110%. SLEEP – 2 hours
4am – Lap 3
No walkers or runners and very few cars on the road, felt at ease as I ran towards the full moon. A friend kindly and for a safety measures committed to join me for this run; we kept our 1.5m social distance and the company was appreciated. There was something about this run that I loved; it was a run about stillness, peace and quiet. SLEEP – 2 hours
8am – Lap 4
The birds, walkers and runners were out and about in Albert Park but so were the cyclists; everyone was out enjoying the sunshine and the headwind. This run felt heavy, my legs were concrete but I think it was the combination of a heavy few hours’ sleep and a lack of fuelling between the hours of 12am and 8am. SLEEP – Zero hours
12noon – Lap 5
More runners and walkers than you could poke a stick at but hey, that will happen when you have blue skies and sunshine. Decided to take a step back with this lap and walk with my husband who is currently in rehab from a shoulder recon. Taking in all the Melbourne hot spots (and not the COVID kind); Botanical Gardens, Yarra River, MCG, Federation Square and Southbank. SLEEP – 20mins
4pm – Lap 6
Still running amongst the masses but choose a path less travelled and avoided people where I could. This run felt good; body although it felt a little fatigued, after all I have run a marathon now I still felt comfortable within myself and was happy to hit my target time of 35mins. SLEEP – Zero hours
8pm – Lap 7
Over half way now and feeling well fuelled from dinner; fettuccini with a homemade lentil & tomato sauce with broccoli. I had barely run 500m and I was passed on the road by 7 delivery bikes and in total over the 7km I counted over 20 food delivery couriers; looks like the economy is powered by food on bikes. SLEEP – 1 hour
12pm – Lap 8
Woop Woop that’s the sound of the police. Do I feel safe running at night alone? For the most part yes, I have never feared or changed my running route due to safety concerns however I do understand the saying ‘safety in numbers. SLEEP – 2 hours
4am – Lap 9
Running with a bodyguard, back to my previous four hours; safety in numbers. Thank you to a friend Adrian for setting his alarm clock as early as mine and meeting me 1km into my run to finish off the 6km with me. He was interested to see how my pace had changed over the 24 hours, lucky for me it hadn’t changed too much; around 2 seconds per km. SLEEP – 2 hours
8am – Lap 10
Once again, lack of fuelling showed here along with a strange stitch that I couldn’t shift so this outing became a walk. I realised on reflection from the previous day that my fuelling between the midnight run and 8am run was in short, non-existent. Despite the distance being short, I omitted to realise how many calories I would be burning and dinner alone at 6:30pm would not see me through to 8:30am running 21km in between. Rookie error here. SLEEP – 2 hours
12pm – Lap 11
Was I happy that there was only 1 lap left after this one? Maybe. There is something strangely satisfying about having running control your time. It’s your focal point, your excuse, your existence at the moment and for me, that’s what makes me happy. SLEEP – Zero hours
4pm – Lap 12
‘Don’t be sad because it’s over, be happy because it happened.’ What a journey the last 48hours was, at first, I couldn’t see the reasoning as to why I would do such a challenge but as I set out on my last lap, I got it. My reasonings and outcomes will be different to your, you will find it easier/harder than me but throughout this weekend’s journey, I smiled, connected, communicated and was made accountable to my friends making the commitment to run every 4 hours for 48 hours. I could not falter on this. SLEEP – Zero
The lessons this form of training teaches you:
- Sleep deprivation and how to manage it
- Nutrition planning; the importance of continuous fuelling to keep energy levels up
- Hydration strategy; if your sweating, you need to keep drinking both water & electrolytes
- How to manage chaffing and blisters (thankfully didn’t have either)
- Learning to control what you can and not worrying about what you can’t
- Accountability to others but most importantly to yourself
- Mental toughness; callous the mind
- That getting buffs/thirs from previous races is paramount!
What you need to know:
- Keep warm after each lap; when you come home from your run change out of your sweaty clothes without delay, if you can have a shower and slip into something warm and comfortable
- Eat between the window of midnight and 8am; even when sleeping you are burning calories so keep the body in a surplus
- Set multiple alarms for the early morning runs, you don’t want to accidently sleep through them
- Know your route. You have a minimum of 6.44km to run each lap; plan ahead so you can just run – how many traffic lights might you be stopped at, crossings where you need to navigate cars and how safe is it to run at night time. Have a safety plan and always carry a phone
- Surround yourself with positive support; spouse, partner, family members and friends. Have one of them be your accountability partner, have someone to bounce ideas off even if at 4:40am in the morning. If you know you need it, have someone remind you of what a kick arse job you are doing!
- Celebrate the small stuff; give yourself kudos for each lap you are heading out to do. You are doing this and it’s important to give yourself positive feedback at all times
Challenges change us
Challenges are meant to challenge us. They are carried out in order to learn something about ourselves and to set us outside our comfort zone to help us grow. Their purpose is to change us, not only in training but in life. This challenge definitely did that.
My average 1km pace over the 12 x 7km laps was 4:57 with a lap taking around 35 minutes. I had a goal to have my fastest lap be my last lap, this goal was achieved: 34:47:00.
To read more about this challenge visit: David Goggins – STAY HARD.
On a side note, this challenge was also about laundry. We thought it entertaining to keep a tally of our laundry at the end of the 48 hours.
- Sports bras: 6
- Singlets/T-shirts: 6
- Long Sleeves: 4
- Buffs/Thir: 10
- Shorts: 3
- Socks: 11
- Gloves: 2
- Skull caps/caps – 3