Aaron Riddle took on this challenge to run 10 miles every day for 10 days in a row, for a total of 100 miles in the span of 10 days. Here’s what happened.
After participating in the Thanksgiving Day 5K, I became aware of a running challenge one of the local elite runners (Jeremy Sanders) had issued to the community. Known as the For Lucas 10×10 Challenge, this event would require participants to run, jog, or walk 10 miles a day for 10 days straight…so 100 miles over the span of 10 days. This could be done anytime in November or December of 2018…however the 10 mile runs MUST be done in a row. If you missed a day, you would have to start over.
The goal of the challenge is to raise awareness for The Lucas Fund, which helps babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at UVA Children’s Hospital. Per Jeremy’s website:
Jeremy (and his wife Jennifer) established the Lucas Fund to help other babies and families at the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital. Their son, Lucas Carson Sanders, passed away shortly after he was born due to hydrops fetalis. The money raised in his memory goes to support the babies at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at UVA. The money will be used to provide the babies with diapers, blankets, pacifiers, and any other necessities they might need during their stay.
I decided to take on this challenge to see what would happen. Up until this point, the most miles I had ever run in one week was 62. With this challenge I would be looking at running 70 miles in one week, and then an additional 30 miles without any rest days. Running marathons and 20 mile long runs quite frequently, I did not think this challenge would be that difficult. However as it turns out, running 10 days in a row without any recovery time really pushes you to your limits!
10 Miles a Day for 10 Days Straight
To give a glimpse into how this challenge went for me, I have included the notes from my fitness spreadsheet I keep recording all of my runs and workouts. Here’s what happened:
Day 1: Day 1 of the #ForLucas10x10 Challenge Completed. Should get interesting in the next few days as the cold windy weather makes its seasonal debut.
Day 2: Day 2 of the #ForLucas10x10 Challenge Completed. I did this morning’s run going up and back along a gravel road on top the mountain. It was a cold and windy one (gusts up around 30 mph). I’m surprised my pace was quicker than yesterday given the wind!
Day 3: Day 3 of the #ForLucas10x10 Challenge Completed. I paid my dues in the cold and wind yesterday, so with 40mph gusts outside on the mountain this morning, I hit the treadmill…and sweated like a pig. (FYI, did you know that expression is actually a reference to pig iron, which is form of iron smelting? Animal pigs do not sweat.😜)
Day 4: Day 4 of the #ForLucas10x10 Challenge Completed. After chickening out and running inside yesterday, I was compelled to head back out into the dark cold windy early morning elements. I kept the pace slightly easier which wasn’t a problem given the hills.
Day 5: Day 5 of the #ForLucas10x10 Challenge Completed. Felt like a slow turtle this morning for whatever reason. Took a route I rarely run in which mile 7 has a total of 240ft elevation gain…so that could be one reason. Regardless the challenge is half way complete…so now the real fun begins!
Day 6: Day 6 of the #ForLucas10x10 Challenge Completed. A super rare afternoon run for me due to weekend activities and schedules (hence the use of the treadmill too), but happy to get it in and felt good to get some extra sleep this morning. Felt fast for this one, so tomorrow will be on the easier end.
Day 7: Day 7 of the #ForLucas10x10 Challenge Completed. That’s 70 miles in one week…the most training miles I have done in one week by 10. This morning I got slightly scared when I somehow tweaked my achilles. It was pretty sore, but I knew nothing was going to stop me from this run and completing the challenge. Oddly enough it helped me really focus on stride and cadence causing my pace to be fast and the run pain free.
Day 8: Day 8 of the #ForLucas10x10 Challenge Completed. With 80 miles logged, today my mind went to a dark place while running in the bleak morning dark. Thoughts kept entering my head telling me “I’m too slow!”, “I don’t have a runner’s build!”, “You don’t belong!”, “You’ll always be the high school fat boy!”. Knowing this is the mind beginning to play tricks on me as I near the end of the challenge, I pushed them out with positive thoughts: “You are running while many are sleeping!”, “Who else is running 10 miles for 10 straight days?”, “You’re WILL and WHY are strong…and that is why you will always prevail.”
Day 9: Day 9 of the #ForLucas10x10 Challenge Completed. My right achilles is tight and sore. I have blisters on my left toes that are quite painful. I can tell my body is physically begging for a day of rest and recovery. However my energy level is high and there’s no turning back now. One more day of 10 miles to go…
Day 10: CHALLENGE COMPLETED! Day 10 of the #ForLucas10x10 Challenge Completed. This was a one of the most mentally tough and painful runs I have ever had thanks to a few blisters on my one foot that didn’t heal overnight and other pains that have accumulated over the past 10 days. After the first mile it hurt so bad I wondered if I would be able to finish, but I zoned in and focused just on one mile at a time…and was able to go 10.5 miles to finish the challenge. Now to take a few days off and heal up so I can get back out there and be ready for my next marathon on December 28.
Takeaways and Lessons Learned
First and foremost this challenge reinforced how important recovery days are for running programs. Over the years I have always been sure to take at least one day off a week from running. Doing 10 mile runs for 10 days straight definitely started to cause some nagging injuries and pains that I normally do not experience, especially blisters which I rarely get.
Second, if I had to do this challenge again, I would make sure that every other run was done at a SUPER easy pace. I feel like I pushed the pace too fast on a majority of the runs, especially one the treadmill (always a weakness of mine). I could have been smarter about that about letting my body recovery with a slow run of 10 miles.
That said, at the end my energy level was high and I did not feel bad at all (aside from blister pain). I’m proud to have accomplished this challenge and hope that it helped raise awareness for the For Lucas fund to help the little ones in need at the UVA Neonatal Intensive Care Hospital.
Donations are always appreciated! To contribute to the For Lucas Fund, click here.