— Frequently Asked Questions —
Questions & Answers
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How many pairs of shoes will you be using?
Each pair of shoes is expected to last about 1,000km. So my guess is that I will probably use up to 27.
How did you train for this?
My objective, prior to the start, was to get my tendons, joints, muscles, bones, accustomed to the load they would be required to bear daily over the next two years. Typically on weekdays, I ran to work or back; that’s 20km a day. On weekends and holidays, I ran a marathon a day, sometimes for up to 8 days in a row.
How do you run?
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.
How and what do you eat?
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.
Don’t you get bored?
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!
Do you listen to music when you run?
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.
Are you a superhuman being?
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.
Where will you sleep at night?
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.
What if you get injured?
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.
Will you have time to meet people?
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.
Will you write about your experiences on the road?
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.
What will you do when you return?
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!
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