2,020km by Running & Hiking in 2020 for Alzheimer’s Society – March Report

2,020km Challenge

It seems like a lot… well, it is a lot! Yes, this is the year long challenge I made for myself on 1st January to try and raise money for Alzheimer’s Society (United Against Dementia), but what is it? Here’s a quote of myself saying what it is in one of my previous blogs:

I am attempting to reach a total distance of 2,020km (~1,255 miles) in 2020 by a combination of running and hiking

I tried doing just running but my shins, calf muscles and knees wouldn’t cope with the constant daily impact of road running during the winter months so I decided to combine it with hiking to give me at least a chance of making it through the end!

Coronavirus

We should all know what this is by now and in the UK, we’re in lock down for another 2 weeks at least until 13th April. When the lock down was announced, I listened in very carefully to what the instructions were and one of the 4 reasons we are allowed to leave the house was to do:

• One form of exercise a day such as a run, walk, or cycle. This should be done alone or only with people you live with

Source

So for me, that meant the 2,020km challenge could continue as I run and hike by myself anyway… well, at least for the foreseeable future until stricter measures might come in! Let’s have a look at how it’s going and if you love your stats, spreadsheets and graphs, you’ll be in heaven here!

Defining the Challenge

Alright, first things first, let’s actually define the challenge and get a little bit nerdy with some numbers to see what’s needed to get through this year 🤓

  • Total distance: 2,020 km / 1,255 miles in 2020
  • Hiking: “cross-country” or “cross-terrain” walking
  • Running: putting one leg in front of the other quickly
  • Daily required distance: 5.52 km / 3.45 miles per day

And, to those of you who say, “Yeah but Nicky, you’ve ran marathons before so this isn’t really a challenge for you”, when I’ve trained for marathons, I’ve only ran a distance of 480 km / 300 miles over a 6 month period which is only half of the total distance needed for this challenge “pro-rata”… it’s a biggie!

Now that we’ve defined the challenge, let’s look at the story so far.

January

The two “i’s” were my main concern from the beginning of this challenge – illness and injury. As I’ve reported last time, January was the “illness” month after picking up a cold virus that wiped me out for 10 days and did its best to derail the challenge straight off the bat!

In the graph below, the red line represents the average daily required distance (which increases or decreases depending on the distance I’ve covered this year) and the blue line is my average daily actual distance. Ideally, the blue line would be above the red line, which it was for about a week before illness struck and I’ve yet to get above it again since!

February

February was all about putting together what I call “hot streaks”, which are 7 or more consecutive days of running or hiking to really get that blue line back above the red line. The only trouble with doing these hot streaks is that the second “i” – injury – came round and bit me in the…calf muscle. Damn, the pain in my right calf was excruciating during the runs and had to stop for a few days just to recover.

Storms also struck on a regular basis which took their toll, making it too risky to go out, and it started to feel like the hard work of putting a couple of hot streaks together was in vain as the gap between the red and blue line started opening up again in the graph below. However, a late flurry at the end of February began the road to recovery.

March

Finally, the days are getting longer and warmer so the evenings haven’t been such a chore to try and get out the house – the weather has also been pretty decent around where I live which has helped. My intention for March was to make the most of this and stabilise a consistent, sustainable running program in the week where I’d try to run at least 3 times and then double down on the hiking at the weekend. This would give the potential of a rest day or two depending on how injury, fatigue and things like that played out.

Of course, with the coronavirus outbreak really hitting this month in the UK, monitoring the two “i’s”, particularly “illness”, is going to be important here but with all that said, I’m happy that I managed to close the gap and keep the blue line above the 5 km per day average pretty much throughout March. Maybe in April, I’ll finally be able to get the blue line back above the red! Here’s hoping!

Overall

I’m actually feeling positive after making it through the Winter months and still being in touching distance of the challenge. Injuries remain a slight concern but it’s just something that’s going to have to be monitored – at least I have a tennis ball that I can use to “massage” the legs if needed 😃

Anyway, some more stats! Let’s have a look at how the overall picture looks so far:

MonthDistance completed (%)Should Be At (%)
January 138.78 km (6.9%) 171.09 km (8.5%)
February 298.99 km (14.8%) 331.14 km (16.4%)
March473.82 km (23.5%)502.23 km (24.9%)

As you can see, I’m still a little bit behind on the distance I should be at but the gap is closing! At the end of January and February I was ~33 km behind on both but at the end of March it’s improved to ~28 km behind so I’m making up ground – I now have just over a half marathon distance to make up!

In terms of how that looks on the daily average distance then we can see the blue line, which is my actual daily average distance, is getting ever closer to the average daily required (red line) – still not quite a full recovery but it’s looking better!

OK, more stats! I thought it would also be cool to see a breakdown of how many runs and hikes I’ve done each month, which is shown in the table below:

MonthRuns (%)Hikes (%)Active DaysTotal Days
January16 (73%)6 (27%)2231
February14 (70%)6 (30%)2029
March15 (68%)7 (32%)2231
Total45 (70%)19 (30%)6491

As you can see, I’m consistently doing at least double the amount of runs compared to the hikes each month and have had a total of 64 active days from the 91 in the year so far! What’s that? You want to see another cool breakdown of the distance covered by running and hiking? Alright then:

MonthDistance by Running (%)Distance by Hiking (%)Total Distance
January86.54 km (62%)52.24 km (38%) 138.78 km
February84.14 km (53%)76.06 km (47%) 160.20 km
March93.15 km (53%)81.68 km (47%)174.83 km
Total263.84 km (56%)209.98 km (44%)473.82 km

Even though the number of runs I’m doing is more than the hikes, I’m definitely covering more distance with each hike over the last two months as the difference between the km covered in the two activities is not as much now. Still, it all counts and I’m determined to get that blue line above the red line – oh go on then, one more graph! Watch out red line, I’m hunting you down!

This graph shows the distance I would be at if I met the daily average required distance each day (red line) compared to my actual distance covered (blue line) – i.e. the tables above in graphical form.

Charity Fundraising

But I’m not just doing this insane challenge for me. As I’ve spoken to more and more people since I started this, I was hearing of the stories about loved ones being affected by Alzheimer’s Disease, which is a debilitating condition that slowly erodes the brain, affecting memory, awareness, personality and ability to communicate. Simply put, it’s horrible for both the patient and family.

More information is on the Alzheimer’s Society website

And so, the motivation for continuing with this challenge is now an external one as well as internal. I’ll be raising money for Alzheimer’s Society with the thoughts of my Nana firmly in my mind who suffered with vascular dementia, a form of Alzheimer’s, in the early 2010s.

I have set up a Just Giving page here where you can donate or sponsor the challenge, which goes straight to the charity. It has already received a generous sponsorship so a big thanks to Simon & his family for being the first to donate!

I’ll also be donating half the payout of this post on the Hive network along with what I’ve already received so far this quarter in a week’s time to help reach the target of £2,020 by the end of the year 😃

Conclusion

So there you have it folks, another month of the 2020km Challenge down and we’re a quarter of the way through… at least time wise! Still have a little bit further to go before I get to 25% distance completion. The legs are still just about patched up but we’re on the up and out of the hardest season of Winter, giving myself a fighting chance to really push on through Spring and Summer now.

Thanks to everyone who’s shown support so far, it really does help and hopefully we can all stay safe from the coronavirus.

Until the next time, take it easy

Nicky

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