Sunday 11 August 2019

Introducing #runsub17

I'm a forty something year old runner who, despite running almost 20,000 miles over the previous 25 years, has gotten slower and slower over the decades. One of the reasons for this is that I've switched my focus from running the quick times in the 1990s to running considerable distances across various countries of the world. 

You could add age as a reason too but I think the main reason for getting slower, however, is the fact that I spend most of the time being overweight. I tend to gain weight then lose it over a two year period. Each time, though, I gain a little more and lose a little less. 

I simply love food and have very little discipline with it or accountability. A bacon sandwich here and a chocolate bar there all adds up over time. When you're doing that seven days a week it becomes habit and I've often felt like I've been fighting a losing battle. 

The image on the left below was taken on day three of the run across the USA in California. I was 18.5 stones (117.5 kg) and my body fat was a whopping 32%. Fast forward to day 100 in New York and my weight was down to 13.5 stone (87.7 kg) with body fat at 5.8%. To say that I was lean and mean by the time I finished the run across the USA was an understatement. There was similar weight loss when I ran across Australia in 2013 and Europe in 2016.

Running across a continent is not a sustainable way to lose weight and when I get back to normal life the weight soon goes back on as I've already mentioned.

I've often wondered if it would be possible for me to reverse the trend of running slower as I get older. With that in mind, now is the right time to announce my next running "project"; RUNSUB17

The aim of RUNSUB17 is "simply" to try and beat my three mile personal best set in 1994. It was set on a simple loop around Washington where I used to live. The miles were done in 00:05:29, 00:05:31  and 00:06:00 to give a time of exactly 17 minutes.

I'm going to give myself 12 months to try and achieve the target with an attempt to crack 17 minutes to be done on the weekend of 8th/9th August 2020.

At the time of writing, I don't believe it will be possible for me to be successful at this. That might sound really negative but perhaps, I'll gain some belief as the months go on. For now, though, I feel like I don't stand a chance at this.

The real aim of RUNSUB17 is to try and do absolutely everything possible to give myself the best chance of running 3 miles in less than 17 minutes. As long as I do that, I'll consider the project a huge success. I'd be able to start stage six of the run around the world 8 months later in great shape and with a lot of confidence. 

You'll be able to follow a weekly blog on with regular updates on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using the #runsub17 hash tag. Watch out for the first blog update next weekend.

So that's my focus over the next 12 months. I hope you enjoy following the journey and I'm looking forward to the challenge.