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Y-front Fun Run back for a second year

Liquid - First Names -Epic Y-Front 10k Fun Run

Y-FRONTS will be the must-have item of clothing for a charity fun run in aid of two Guernsey charities this summer.

Last year’s inaugural Y-Front Run, organised by EPIC Challenges, saw more than 150 people run the 10km route from Pembroke to Town – all wearing the same particular style of men’s underwear.

‘We organised it as a bit of fun to raise money for Male Uprising Guernsey (MUG) and This Is EPIC, not really knowing how many people would want to get involved. We were totally surprised at how keen people were and how much demand there was for it to become an annual event,’ said co-organiser Philip Smith.

‘This year, we have a sponsor in First Names Group and that allows us to grow the event and introduce a shorter route so that more people of all ages can get involved.’

This year’s First Names Group Y-Front Run will take place on Sunday 6th August starting at 10am from Pembroke and following a 10km route to Vale Castle and then along the seafront to Town, with a 3.5km route starting along Bulwer Avenue.

All the money raised will be shared between This Is EPIC, which aims to transform the lives of those living in Africa through savings and loans projects, and Les Bourgs Hospice.

Co-organiser Warren Mauger said they had originally approached MUG to be one of the beneficiaries again.

‘The amazing response from islanders means that MUG has achieved more than it hoped to do in such a short space of time and so they suggested Les Bourgs Hospice instead as they are closely linked and it was a charity that has touched the lives of so many people,’ said Mr Mauger.

First Names Group have come on board as sponsor to ensure as much money as possible goes to the charities and they will also be providing commemorative running t-shirts to the first 100 people to sign up for the event. The event t-shirts will also be available to buy.

‘Philip and Warren are well-known for their fundraising events and often extreme and exhausting challenges which see them, and so many other islanders, push themselves to help others less fortunate. Their energy and enthusiasm never falter and we are delighted that we can support and partner with them to raise money for two fantastic charities which both make a real difference to people’s lives,’ said Sharon McMillan, operations director of First Names Group Guernsey.

‘We want the event to be the biggest fun run of the year. We are encouraging all 70 of our “First Names” in Guernsey to be involved in some way and hope hundreds of others will join us.’

Boutique lingerie shop Cockadoodle in Mill Street will be producing creative hand-designed pants, which will be on sale on the day or runners can design their own ahead of the event. Cockadoodle is also running a “fancy pants” competition. Anyone, whether they are running or not, can get a pair of pants from the shop and enter them into the competition to be judged on the morning of the run. All the pants will be made available for runners to purchase with all proceeds going to the two beneficiaries.

Trish De Carteret, fundraising administrator for Les Bourgs Hospice, said the support would be invaluable.

‘Each year, we need to raise £1.4million in order that we can provide care and support to islanders with life limiting illnesses. We are incredibly grateful to Philip and Warren, MUG and First Names Group for choosing Les Bourgs Hospice and we look forward to some of our team joining them at the start line,’ she said.

Sign-up for this year’s First Names Group Y-Front Run by clicking the button below

REGISTER

2 Weeks to Go

Two weeks today Warren and I will be taking on our toughest endurance challenge to date; 7 ironman distance triathlons in 7 days. After 18 months of training we are now tapering, which means we are significantly reducing our weekly training from around 20 hrs per week to less than 10 hours per week. Lots of people have been asking us our daily schedule, so hear is a summary of our daily plan as people are welcome to swim, bike and run with us each day.

6:30am

2.4 mile swim at Havelet Bay

8:00am to 8:30am

112 mile bike ride, out from Havelet, laps of Pembroke to Pleinmont and then back to Havelet

4:00pm to 5:00pm

26.2 mile run, 4 laps from Havelet to The Bridge (just past Guernsey Electricity) and back. 

 

If the weather isn’t kind to us with the sea conditions we have back up options of Pembroke, Les Amarreurs and Cobo. If we have to change our routes we will post out updates on social media.

We will have live tracking each day and we’ll be sharing details of the prior to our EPIC week.

If you believe in the purpose behind our challenge, to help people overcome poverty in Africa and help support people in Guernsey with Mental Health issues, you can donate via https://race-nation.com/sponsor/t/3142 

 

#NeverGiveUp 

 

Active for 105 hours out of 168 hours

Stupidly Warren and I worked out some stats for our EPIC7 challenge of taking on 7 Ironmans in 7 Days. With just one month to go until we start our challenge it is becoming very real, and we now have a mix of excitement and fear. Excitement that after 17 months of training we are nearly at the foot of our mountain and we get to take on our challenge, and fear that there is a huge risk that this one may beat us.

Many people have asked us in recent days how long each Ironman may take us, many are shocked when we explain that we expect each Ironman to take us around 15 to 16 hours. What we don’t know at this stage is the impact on our times the build up of fatigue will have. When we took 7 marathons in 7 days in 2014 we full expected to get slower as the week went on, but our times were really interesting. We were faster on days five, six and seven than days three and four.  You would think that multi-day endurance events will naturally cause you to slow down as time goes on, but what we found with the Marathons is the body adapted as the week went on. Will this happen with the 7 Ironmans? We really don’t know, but what we do know is that we are attempting to meticulously plan the timings and pace across the week.

We are setting ourselves a minimum finish time for day one. We fully expect the adrenaline to be pumping on day one and there is a good chance that we will go out of the blocks too fast, especially on the bike, which could ruin us for the run and impact the rest of the week. With each Ironman expecting to take us around 15 hours, we will be active for a minimum of 105 hours across the 168 hours in the week. That leaves just under 1/3 of the week to eat, recover and sleep.

We regularly get asked “What if one day takes you longer than planned and you only get a couple of hours sleep?” – the simple answer is that we will just have to crack on, whether we have had 4 hours or 2 hours sleep, the approach remains the same.

At a very high level we are planning the following timings:

  1. SWIM – expect to start each day between 6:15am and 6:45am each day
  2. BIKE – expect to be on the bike at 8:00am and finish around 4:00pm to 4:30pm each day
  3. RUN – expect to be starting the run between 4:30pm and 5:00pm each day

Now, we have to caveat the above that it all could go out of the window on day one, but that is our high-level plan. We are going to be active well over 60% of the week, with the Marathons we knew that event on a bad day we would still finish by 2:00pm, on a bad day with EPIC7 we could be finishing at midnight, with the need to be awake and ready to go again at 5am for breakfast!

When you look at the stats of how many hours we will be active during the week it is easy to allow it to feel like an impossible challenge. It is easy to begin to over think and worry about the lack of sleep across the week and the additional fatigue this could/will cause. We know it is going to be tough, we are fully expecting to be getting nowhere near the sleep we require, so we can just avoid focusing on that element and focus on the purpose for taking on the challenge and calling on the 17 months of training we have under our belts.

4 weeks to go. Two more weeks of full training (20hrs a week) and two weeks of tapering. It’s close.

You can support the charities we are raising money for by donating at https://race-nation.com/sponsor/t/3142

#NeverGiveUp

Endurance challenges and nutrition

A question that Warren and I regularly get asked is about nutrition. Over the past few years of taking on our EPIC Challenges and other events such as Marathons and running the Saffrey’s Walk, you have to focus on getting your approach to nutrition right. Nutrition is a very subjective topic, it comes down to what is right for you and your event, so what we share about in this post may not be the perfect approach for everyone, but it may give people some tips and lessons for their own events and challenges.

The daily calorie intake numbers often thrown about are 2500kcal per day for a man and 2000kcal for a woman each day. To give you an idea of our current position with under 8 weeks to go until the challenge is a daily intake of circa 4000kcal to 5000kcal per day. This can be a challenge in itself, simply including that number of calories in your daily intake. Unfortunately, it’s not a case of just throwing whatever you want down your throat, we’re not on a diet of malteser’s and ice cream. Our approach to nutrition is to focus on the right calories, ones that will give us energy to complete training without risking falling off a cliff in terms of energy levels. For us this has been a balance of carbohydrates (including complex carbs such as sweet potato, wholegrain rice and green vegetables) and protein such as eggs, chicken, beef, tuna. To add to this we are also using protein powder in nutri-bullets for extra calories. This is then ‘topped up’ with additional daily intake of fats (some good some not so good :-)) and unrefined sugars (like Maple Syrup on porridge!).

To incorporate that level of calorie intake every day during training we have moved from the traditional 3 meals a day to simply eating all through the day. It is a case of constantly grazing in-between the main meals, nuts, flapjacks, fruit etc, it is all on the grazing list.

When we take on the 7 Ironmans in 7 Days we expect to be burning anywhere between 7000kcal and 10,000kcal each day. Simply fuelling adequately each day is going to be a challenge in itself. Our 17 months of training has had to also incorporate nutrition training. If we get that wrong during EPIC7 we are going to be in a whole world of trouble and it could be impossible to try and play catch up with the calories. We have had to use our lessons learnt from 7 Marathons in 7 Days and EPIC48 with our approach to EPIC7, however this challenge does feel like it is on a complete new level. Our training has had to include testing all elements of nutrition, and this includes hydration! We have had to put ourselves in scenarios similar to the challenge to discover what works and what doesn’t. For example, we recently completed two half-ironman brick sessions on two consecutive days. This involved a 56 mile bike ride followed immediately by a 13.1 mile run, two days in a row. Just under 6 hrs of moving time gave us a great environment to test nutrition, we also spent 6 hours on our turbo trainers in St Peter Port on Liberation Day. The Liberation Day ride was a good test for me, I took in a bowl of pasta, as well as other food, but I could not stomach the pasta at all. A good lesson learnt that whilst out on the bike, solid food like pasta isn’t going to work for me.

For EPIC7 we believe we are going to be looking at the following approach in terms of target calorie intake:

  • Breakfast – 2000kcals
  • Transition 1 (Swim to Bike) – 1000kcal to 2000kcal
  • Fuel every 45 mins to 1 hour on the bike 
  • Transition 2 (Bike to Run) – 1500kcal to 2000kcal
  • Fuel every 10km on the run
  • Overnight Recovery – 2500kcal to 4000kcal 

Hydration is really important, in fact it will be crucial for Warren and I as we are taking on the challenge in the middle of the summer, which means we could be cycling and running in temperatures well over 20deg. Hydration for us isn’t just about drinking enough during a session, it has become like an obsession throughout the day. The trick with hydration is to keep at it constantly, for the big sessions we often use coconut water, electrolytes and salt replacement drinks alongside water.

All of the above may not work for everyone, but if we think the following 3 tips are crucial when approaching nutrition for a long distance event or challenge.

  1. Don’t wait until you are hungry to eat – playing catch up is not going to be successful. I set my watch to beep at me every 45 mins on long bike rides or runs to remind me to eat.
  2. Test scenarios in training – create opportunities to test new foods and drinks, that is what training is for. Don’t leave it until the challenge or event to see what works and what doesn’t.
  3. Beware of overdoing it with energy drinks and bars – try to keep it as natural as possible with the occasional inclusion of an energy based drink or snack.

Our EPIC challenge of 7 Ironmans in 7 days

This summer we are taking on our biggest endurance challenge to date. We will be attempting 7 Ironman Distance Triathlons in 7 days as part of The FCG EPIC Week. We are using the word ‘attempting’ as this challenge is filling us with fear. Our previous challenges have been tough, there is no doubt about that, but with running we have found that with purpose fuelling us we have found a way of breaking through the dark times and pushing on to complete our challenges. This challenge brings in two completely new disciplines, one of which we could hardly do in 2015, which was swimming. This all came from a Smith / Mauger holiday in 2015 when we were banned from taking our running kit on holiday…so we started swimming and by the end of the holiday we had decided on our next endurance challenge.

There is much that can go wrong with this challenge, the main one being the body simply giving up due to exhaustion from the amount of time we will take to complete each Ironman distance triathlon. Each day the Ironman could take anything from 15 to 20 hours to complete. Each evening we will need to spend time getting massages, ice baths, re-fuelling with approx 7,000 calories and then trying to get some sleep before going again the next day.

An Ironman Triathlon consists of 2.4 mile swim, which (weather permitting) will be in Havelet Bay, a 112 mile bike ride, which will see us cycle up and down the the west coast, and to finish, a 26.2 mile marathon run which will cover four laps from Havelet to Vale Castle. We will repeat this route every day for 7 days, totalling a massive 984.2 miles for the whole week.

We will take on this challenge on Monday 10 to Sunday 16 July 2017 during which the local community will be taking part in their own challenges for The FCG EPIC Week. We are hoping to raise £7,777 towards the final fundraising figure of the The FCG EPIC Week. All money raised will be going directly to Guernsey Mind and This Is EPIC Projects.

Over the past 15 months we have clocked up over 2,000 hours of training. Swimming over 600km, cycled more than 14,000km and run over 6,000km combined. We have got to be honest, there have been many times were we have felt broken and that we have bitten off more than we can chew. Fitting in around 15-20hrs a week or training alongside family and running our own businesses has pushed us to the brink mentally and physically. But, we are so focused on completing this challenge, some would say obsessed. We are now 9 weeks out from the event and our training is at its peak in terms of effort and time. Most days start at around 5:30am and we regularly incorporate two training sessions into each day. On Liberation Day if you head to Market Square you will see us on our Turbo Trainers and you can find out more about our challenge and also sign-up to The FCG EPIC Week and take on your own challenge.

We continue to use these events as a vehicle to raise money for local charities and causes, this challenge is no different, We are raising money as part of The FCG EPIC Week for Guernsey Mind and to change people’s lives through This Is EPIC which works with projects in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We’ve also learnt that by taking part in big challenges, it hopefully inspires and gives confidence to the Guernsey community to take on their own challenges and push themselves no matter the distance or challenge.

Yet again we have an amazing team around us, led by our wives. This would not happen without their support and encouragement. The team at Tri-Fitness have been invaluable with their coaching and training advice, Ian Browns Cycle Shop have supported us with advice on the bikes to buy and are providing mechanical support during the week and Huub Design, the UK’s leading Triathlon kit manufacturer is supporting us with wetsuits, cycling kit and running kit for the week.

It all comes back to purpose. We’re putting out bodies and minds in some very dangerous places to help others. We have seen so many lives change from previous challenges and we want to see that happen again with this challenge. Your donations and support are so appreciated and will keep us going through the dark times of our challenge, of which we are sure there will be many. Thank you and #NeverGiveUp 

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO EPIC7

The FCG EPIC Week – Our biggest community wide fundraising event

Today we have launched our  biggest and most inclusive community event to date, The FCG EPIC Week.

The idea of the week-long event is for islanders to take on their own EPIC challenge by doing something they haven’t done before, however big or small. The FCG EPIC Week, which will take place on Monday 10 to Sunday 16 July 2017, very kindly sponsored by First Central Group,  which is the parent company of the UK insurance provider 1st CENTRAL.

The event’s aim is to raise money for Guernsey Mind and This Is EPIC whilst inspiring people of all ages to become more active and take on new challenges.

We have created a selection of swimming, cycling, running and triathlon distances as an example of the different activities individuals or teams can take part during the seven day event. Those who are participating can register online, select their challenge and then personalise their activity to suit their fitness level or interest, encouraging them to push themselves harder than ever before.

FCG are not only the headline sponsors of the event but employees from the FinTech firm have also set themselves a goal, their target is for a team of employees to complete a 2 mile run every day of the week-long event. Employees will be buddying up and training together throughout the weeks leading up to the event and hope they can encourage other businesses to do the same.

We have encouraged a number of primary schools to take part in their own mini five day challenges and hope they can inspire more school children to get active.

This year we wanted to hold an event with the focus primarily on community involvement. We are very grateful for Guernsey’s support with the different challenges we have set ourselves over the past few years. This year, we want people to feel the same thrill we have felt from pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones, all with the purpose of helping others.” Philip Smith

Since our first challenge in 2014 (7 Marathons in 7 Days) we have raised over £80,000.

The beauty of this event is that it is open to any age and any ability. It doesn’t matter if you walk a mile a day for a week, swim one length or cycle for 15 minutes or do something that takes all day. It is about creating an individual challenge for everyone; I can’t wait to see who gets involved from children to those who are more mature. For us, it’s not just about exercise or being active, it’s about using our challenges as a vehicle to help change as many lives as possible. We have simple objectives; to inspire, to engage the community, educate young people and raise awareness and funds for charities in need.” Warren Mauger

Guernsey Mind is one of the charities that will benefit from the FCG EPIC Week. They will use the funds raised to invest into a community project to provide support services for mental health of adults with Autism and Asperger’s. This Is EPIC will be implementing a new project in the Democratic Republic of Congo and creating 10 new savings and loans groups which will impact more than 2000 people.

FCG Group Operations manager, Lisa Vidamour, said: “We are so excited to be supporting the latest of the EPIC Challenges events. This event not only raises money for Guernsey Mind and the amazing This Is EPIC projects, but inspires many Guernsey folk to take on personal challenges that they perhaps would not have otherwise considered.  At FCG we like to think outside the box and not be confined by convention or the norm – it is this aspect of the way EPIC Challenges raises money and encourages people to get active that we find inspiring.

Don’t miss out on being involved in this unique community event.

Sign-up now!

SIGN-UP TO THE FCG EPIC WEEK

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

“You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.”

An extract from Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise”, a poem about triumph over adversity. Yesterdays’ training sessions felt like a triumph over adversity. As Warren and I move towards a consistent 20 hours per week of training we are taking it one day at a time. For me, training yesterday felt like it was trying to destroy me, both mentally and physically. Every day takes meticulous planning as to when to fit the training into the diary. Normally, for me, it’s a 5:30am start with a bike (Turbo or outside) or run session, a lunchtime swim, then another bike or run session either early evening or when the kids are in bed.

We are now decreasing intensity, meaning that the sessions should be in heart rate Zone 2 and pretty comfortable to avoid too much fatigue. This is also expected to be close the pace and intensity that we will be doing during the challenge, it’s definitely an endurance challenge and not a sprint!

There are days when Warren and I chat to each other and we mutter the words “have we bitten off more than we can chew?”  There are days when it feels like we have but those moments of doubt are replaced by the purpose, the why behind our challenges. There is no way that we could put our bodies and minds through this pain if it was just for us, the purpose has to be something bigger than ourselves. That’s how we dig in, suck it up and keep moving forward.

The message from Warren today as we were aiming to meet up on the bike read “I’m heading back along the coast. Hating today.” Thankfully the purpose is greater than ourselves so we are able to press on despite feeling battered by our training regime.

A good reminder of the purpose today was receiving an update on the new classroom being built in St Leonia School in Kyotera, Uganda, thanks to the support of the Guernsey community. Children are now going to school, parents are being empowered to work hard for a brighter future and people once in poverty are now prospering. That makes the pain and hurt of our training worth it.

EPIC7 Training: You may want to try and break us down with hard miles, you may want to drive us to quitting with tiredness every day, you may want to get the better of us so we quit…

BUT…still…like air, we rise.

March Training Statistics for Philip

23

Miles Swam

873

Miles Cycled

120

Miles Run

An All Consuming Challenge

To think that this journey started with our wives banning our running trainers during a 2015 holiday (yes I am in double trouble for this opening statement). Anyone remember this picture…we replaced the trainers with goggles for 7 days and haven’t looked back.

In recent weeks we have hit several moments when you realise that you are breaking down your training sessions into one session at a time. It is in those moments when you realise your next challenge is an all consuming challenge, physically and mentally.

Warren and I have now been training for our next challenge since February 2016. We’re just over 12 months into training and we 123 days until the start of the challenge. Many people have guessed what our next challenge is, we’re not going to announce it formally for another few of weeks as put in place the final elements of kit and equipment sponsorship.

Training has ramped up in recent weeks, we have gone from approx 10 hours a week up to 15 hours a week. This basically means:

  1. Early mornings
  2. Late nights
  3. Balancing quality and quantity of training sessions
  4. Learning more and more about body management
  5. Learning more and more about nutrition
  6. Pushing our bodies and minds into new areas of pain.

The best way to describe the challenge we are taking on is all consuming.  Our previous challenges, 7 marathons in 7 days and running on a treadmill for 48hrs, have been tough but they feel light years away from where we are with our next challenge.

NEVER in our training for the previous challenges did we have to break down training sessions into one day at a time. We’d have our plan, usually around 80 to 100 miles per week at peak times and we would churn out the miles.

With our training for EPIC7 we are taking it one day at a time. The sessions are tough, we usually have double days, combining a swim and run or bike, and at the weekend we pull out longer sessions, starting very early to ensure we still get time with the families over the weekend.

What I haven’t been prepared for is the mental challenge that training is bringing. The previous challenges had their dark moments and difficult training sessions, but this challenge feels like it is taking the pressure to another level.

There is little rest for both the body and the mind, but I guess that is all part of the preparation for the challenge in July. There is such a high risk of failure with this challenge. We’ve a far amount of online research and can only find 2 people in the UK/Europe that have completed the challenge – that’s how big and crazy it is.

With 123 days to go until we start the challenge we are now breaking down the training sessions a day at a time. We have Russ and Paul at Tri Fitness supporting us at this stage by reviewing our training performance and stats. This is eye opening for me, as a runner I am only usually interested in distance, pace per mile and cadence. Now, I’m looking at Heart Rate Zones,  SWOLF, Cadence on the run and cadence on the bike, and my TSS (Training Stress Score) numbers.

TSS has been developed by Training Peaks, they use several physiological metrics to quantify the training stress of a particular workout or portion of a workout. Calculating a TSS number basically takes into account the duration and intensity of a workout to arrive at a single estimate of the overall training load and physiological stress created by that training session.

To give you an idea of the training levels, TSS guidance in training for a single Ironman is around 600-800 per week (at peak training). At present Warren and I are hitting circa 1000 to 1200 TSS number per week.

Training at the moment feels like we are always training with tired legs and arms, but that is part of the process, part of building up the endurance and mental strength we will need in order to get anywhere near completing the challenge. We remember the dark times in the previous challenges when you had to break down the mileage or the time into mangeable chunks, and we now find ourselves doing this with our training sessions for our next challenge.

Below are some stats from the last 12 months on the training across a certain three disciplines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For me the swimming is the interesting one. On that 2015 holiday with the Mauger’s both Warren and I was marked as a safety risk by the lifeguards. One length of the 30mtr pool was not a pretty sight. 12 months on, a few technique sessions with the Tri Fitness team and over 200,000 metres swam.

As always, our challenges are fuelled by purpose, this year we are so excited to be able to support This Is EPIC and Guernsey Mind with our challenge. We are also really excited to be putting open a unique community wide event at the same time as our EPIC7 challenge, which again will be supporting Guernsey Mind and This Is EPIC.

We’re currently experiencing an interesting combination of excitement as we will be launching our challenge and the community event in the coming weeks, but also very scared about what we have taken on.

This one could very well break us, but that is part of the excitement and life changing journey of setting a big goal isn’t it? 

A look back at 2016

It has been quite a year for us at EPIC Challenges, we have really enjoyed expanding our calendar of events in 2016, which included the first ever EPIC Y-Front Fun Run, Guernsey’s first ever 12hr Endurance Event – EPIC12 and who can forget the Kings Mills Fun Run!

 

Part of our purpose at EPIC Challenges is to create the opportunity for the local community to get active and to push or challenge themselves to do something they haven’t done before. In 2016 that ranged from running 10km in Y-Fronts to support MUG and This Is EPIC, take on a family fun run to support Anthony McMahon & Jonah Gillingham, or to run through the night at EPIC12 or the Moonlight Marathon.

 

We want to make people realise that they can achieve far more than they currently limit themselves to, and on the way to being the best you can be we aim to raise money for our primary beneficiary This Is EPIC and charities that support community needs in Guernsey.

 

In 2016:

 

  • 787 runners participated in our events

  • Over 4,800 miles were run at our events

  • £14,300 was raised for charity 

 

We’re looking forward to 2017, we have already released our ‘save the dates’ for the next version of the Y-Front Fun Run, EPIC12 returns and the EPIC Moonlight Marathon is back for its 4th year.

 

2017 will also see us take on our next challenge but, and more importantly, alongside the challenge we will be launching a community wide challenge to get people active and raise money for charity. This type of community challenge has not been attempted ever before (that our google research shows anyway!), we are very excited and we are also very nervous about our next challenge – but more on that in 2017.

 

Thank you for your amazing support in 2016. We hope you enjoyed our events and enjoyed pushing yourself to go further than ever before. We look forward to seeing you again at our events in 2017!

 

 

#NeverGiveUp

 

 

Break it down

This post could easily be titled ‘common sense’ but one thing that Warren and I have learnt about setting goals and targets since 2014 is the absolute necessity to break them down.
At our recent talk at the IoD Shadow Management Awards we had the pleasure of listening to a number of students present on their experiences of shadowing managers and leaders in local businesses. Many of the presentations included some great definitions of leadership, the different approaches to leadership and how leadership and management are two different things. There was also talk of vision, strategy and goals across the presentations, from team goals to setting a 20 year vision for an island (yes Guernsey).
In 2014 Warren and I took on 7 Marathons in 7, which was our first lesson in how to breakdown big goals. I specifically remember in the evening following marathon no. 1 thinking to myself “wow, we have 6 more of these xxxxxxxx to go”. This then transferred into multiple messages to Warren about how big this challenge was and looking at the end point at the end of day 1. We discovered that this is categorically the wrong way to look at any big goal, target or challenge. In the midst of the challenge you cannot focus on the finish, as this will inevitabley create a the feeling of being overawed by the challenge or goal.
We soon realised that focusing on what is immediately in front of you, rather than the finish line, would enable us to focus on progress, to achieve smaller goals and for confidence to remain high during the challenge.
On day 2 we broke the marathon down into smaller goals and milestones. We had water stops set out at mile 5, 10, 15, 19 and 23, these became our new goals, not the 7 marathons.

 

How did this help? 

 

It helped by taking our focus off the enormity of the challenge, which harvest negativity, in the dark moments when you need to dig deep it is much more effective to focus on the progress made than the miles left! Shifting focus onto smaller goals enabled us to tick off progress on a regular basis. Rather than waiting 4+ hours to celebrate progress we were ticking off the targets every 50 mins or so.
By marathon no. 7 on day 7 our targets had reduced down from the water stops to lamp posts. As we made our way through the final few miles of our 184.3 mile week-long challenge, our eyes were fixed on the next lamp post which was 100 yards away. This made the last few miles fly by in terms of progress.
This lesson learnt has become a constant part of our training and challenges since 2014. But it is also relevant in so many other areas outside of crazy challenges. Whether you have a personal goal, a goal for your team or a 20 year vision for an island there is huge benefit in breaking them down into smaller goals.
The impact will be to see and experience progress, which all of us need to ensure we don’t give up easily or give up at all. 
With our third EPIC Moonlight Marathon coming up this may be a helpful lesson for any participants who are either getting their trainers on for the first time in ages, running at night for the first time or have pushed themselves to take on a few extra miles than you normally would. Here are three tips:

 

  1. Don’t over think it 
  2. Break it down into smaller milestones / targets 
  3. Remember to enjoy it, as you’ll be with people who are in the same position as you. 
#NeverGiveUp