When Max told us back in December that he was committing to a Calendar Run Challenge in January, yeah we all thought he was a bit mad but maybe it didn't quite register with us the extent of this challenge. Find out the stats, the fuelling plan and his take home tips in this post challenge debrief.

What & Why The Calendar Run Challenge?

For those that don’t know, the Calendar Run Challenge is when you run the number of kilometres to correspond with the date of the month. So 1st January= 1km, 2nd January =2km and so on and so forth. Now this all seems very do able until maybe half way mark for a keen runner, but then when you consider that from day 21 you have to run 10 half-marathon (and more) for back to back consecutive days and that the final 3 days alone consist of 90km of running; you can quickly start to conjure up an image of the state of Max’s feet by the time he reached February. All joking aside, this is a challenge of epic proportion, especially when you consider a few very important things:

  • This was completed in one of the coldest, iciest & grimmest January’s we’ve seen for a while.
  • All daily distances were completed in one single run. No double days.
  • Max is not a full time athlete with hours to recover. He fit this in around a full time job and helping to home-school his kids. Most runs were completed before the sun had even come up.

So the next question is why?? We went straight to the horses mouth for this one.

“It was just after my Everest challenge I sat reading an article on The Morning Shakeout, a weekly feed by Mario Fraioli (get subscribing if you aren’t) when an article on ‘the calendar club, the most pandemic-y run challenge yet’ popped up. It seemed bonkers, but possible, and being that the world is upside down with no competitions yet a competitive nature to attend to a seed was sewn. All the guys at work were then cracking on with Festive 500 – it inspired me further to think I could cover that 500 but in Jan..hmmm! I didn’t really think about checking the long range forecast for January but by the time things got bad, it was too late, I’d committed”


The Stats

Now on to the stuff we all love to see, the stats. Let’s break Max’s last month down into some crazy numbers for you to digest.

  • Max covered 503km during the 496km challenge. Yes that’s right only Max would do more than required.
  • 35 hour & 9 minutes was the total elapsed time on his feet over the 31 days.
  • 4:13/km was his average pace for the whole of the challenge.
  • He climbed a total 4328m of ascent thanks to those Yorkshire hills.
  • He burned up a whopping 26,863 kcal, which is a hell of a lot of pizza slices (in fact, it’s 94 slices to be exact).

Makes you feel tired just reading about it right?


Monthly Supplement Pack
Offer

Monthly Supplement Pack

Multipack
View
Out of stock

The Nutrition Plan

Now thankfully for Max, being Head of Sales for a nutrition company has its advantage when you attempt to take on crazy challenges. We have the products to take on the job. So we asked Max how he approached his fuelling, recovery and general morale for the month of January.

 

“So I am notoriously a morning person, young fam, full time job – I’d just prefer to get up and get after it rather then putting it off. After all with the national lockdown, going earlier means its quieter.

Before

05:30 alarm everyday with a plan of being running no later than 7, I didn’t want to be eating a full bowl of porridge but needed something especially for the 90+mins run days!

Most mornings after snoozing my alarm I would have 30-60mins for my pre run ritual of a double espresso and a vanilla duo bar.

That gave me the next 25-55mins to sip on 500ml of Hydro Tab electrolyte drink, stretch, get dressed, choose my playlist and admire the January Yorkshire weather pondering over shoe choice and possible route swaps.

 

During

1 hour and less – no fuel as eaten pre run would give me enough

1-1.5 hr – Energy Gel at 40-45min

1.5hr+ – Pre run Apple Energy Gel for extra morale, super gel at 1hr (official release coming soon!!)

 

After

I’m not vegan/vegetarian but love the Soya Recovery Drink so got a shake in as my strava was uploading pre shower.

Breakfast came after most runs and was a substantial bowl of porridge, a mug of coffee, bottle of Hydro Tabs and a quick shot of Super Greens to wash down a Health and Immune. Why – I eat pretty balanced, but with temperature being so low, weather being wet and recovery between sessions shorter than normal, I had to give my immune system all the greens and vitamins possible to help it over and above what I scoffed.

 

Night

Once the kids are in bed, me and the wife would sit down with a cuppa, and some form of sugary craving treat – I regularly switched this out for a Protein Bar, helps get my daily intake up and just have more in the system when I sleep too.

As for routines whenever I went early it worked fine, never did I feel an energy lag. I tried to stay in z2 for majority of each run too.

Whenever I went afternoon/evening runs (2-3 times) they were awful – I struggle with knowing when best to eat through a day to get the fuel right. End up taking a get me home gel 5km into a 20km run!!”


Apple Energy Gel

Apple

Energy Gel
View & Buy
from £1.60

Max's Top 5 Tips For Anyone Who Fancies Giving It A Go

  1. Use it as an opportunity to explore by using a tracking app like Strava or Komoot, I found so many new routes when finding longer loops. It also meant that I didn’t find myself 2km from home (on too many occasions) or getting home having to do laps around the cul de sac! Likewise don’t fear the out and back. I defaulted to running one day out and back, next day explore. It just helped tick through some of those days when you didn’t need to find that hill you couldn’t see on Strava. BUT avoid loops passing your front door, that will crush your soul!
  2. .You’re only as good as the support around you. My family looked after me with great meals and put up with my relentless soggy kit, but they were on my team and it helps profusely. The same goes for a run with someone. The UK lockdown right now means we can only be with 1 other person once per day, so I tried to minimise using this rule, in fact only 5 runs I had company. But I loved those runs, they went by so easy as it took my mind off the KMs and those people took me on routes I didn’t have to plan – thanks Annie and Rich, the icy skids and muddy slips were worth it.
  3.  Do not under estimate how it ramps up in the last 2 weeks. Don’t feel the urge to do more in week 1 and 2. Embrace the easy weeks. 100% increase week 1 to 2, then 50% increase, then 30% increase.
  4. Sleep an hour more then normal. I went for 7.5+ hours, religiously, over my usual sub 7 hour norm. Most of us won’t have time for that mid afternoon power nap but are sat on our bottoms resting our legs most of the day, but sleep is where the magic happens.
  5. Kit was key. Here are the bits I relied on! OTE every day!!! New Balance 1080v10 did over 400km of the challenge and I only switched out for a trail version of the same shoe when the snow and ice came. Be prepared with a 2nd pair of the same shoe though, I think mine were crushed near the end! Rechargeable lightweight head torch like a Petzl Bindi, don’t even know it’s there. A neck warmer which doubles up as buff for going in for after run cake! Look after your feet, I love my Stance Feel360 socks and also used Squirrel’s Nut Butter on my feet every so often which is magical.
  6. (I know this was meant to be 5, but this is important) Perhaps do it in spring when there is more daylight or in February when you have a shorter month to tick off!!

Final Thoughts

So Max, give us your final thoughts

 

For 31 days, training was simple in principle that it completely removes all decision making of do I/don’t I? How long for? What session? I got up, got out, ran the number, recovered, repeat. I’m 3 days into doing nothing, feels odd, but feels right to properly recover. Give it a few weeks and I’ll test what run base/form has been built, perhaps build the elevation next and look ahead to a spring challenge. I may even bring both the Zwift Everesting repetition and Calendar Club mileage together to possibly do an Everest run.

 

Well done Max, another crazy challenge ticked off and we’ll hold you to the next one in Spring!



The Vegan Trial: Training On A Plant Based Diet
Read Article
Top 5 Tips for Fuelling a Long Run
Read Article

Bottle Offer

Subscribe to claim a free taster pack with your first order over £30*

Join the OTE community to try a selection of our award winning sport nutrition products and healthy snacking products. Simply complete the form below then head to your email to find your exclusive product link.

*Or get your hands on the Taster Pack for just £10 + free delivery. Only available to new customers. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount. Terms & Conditions Apply.

OTE Sports Partnerships

See how OTE is fuelling some of the world’s best athletes.

Find Out More

OTE Guides and Insight

Find out how to fuel your next ride and see our delicious recipes.

Find Out More

Trade Accounts can now register for our B2B site.

Find Out More

Help us raise money for The Brownlee Foundation

Find Out More