Q+A: How do I train for Lands End to John O'Groats

Our experts answer real-life questions

Posted: 9 September 2002
by Bruce Tulloh

Q. I really enjoy half-marathons and long runs, but rather than step up to a marathon I’ve decided to go to an extreme and attempt to run from John O’Groats to Lands End (the JOGLE) next August. If I do, I’d like to cover 40 miles a day. Is this realistic, and what sort of training mileage should I be putting in?

A The John O’Groats-Land’s End run is a real challenge whichever way you do it, and 40 miles a day is pretty ambitious for any runner, but why not?

Working backwards, you’ll need to be running about 100 miles a week throughout May, June and July next year, putting in the occasional long weekend effort where you’re running 40 miles a day for two or three days in a row. This is the only way to get used to it. Break the day down into four 10-mile jaunts – before breakfast, before lunch, before tea and before supper. Why not walk two miles and jog the rest. Follow each session with a drink, a shower and some food. A daily massage would also be a big help.

From Christmas to mid-April you can follow a conventional marathon training schedule, trying to run 60-80 miles a week. This should be preceded by an autumn programme of 50-60 miles a week, taking in some half-marathons and maybe a marathon. Because your goal is an ultra-long distance, you need not take these too seriously – just run within yourself and get used to the mental strain of doing mile after mile after mile.

Covering this distance is largely a matter of mindset. Once you can regard 40 miles as a normal day, the marathon seems nothing. However, you have to respect your body and allow it to get used to the idea gradually. Best of luck!

Bruce Tulloh, who took just 65 days to run across the USA in 1969

Previous article
The Seeds of Speed
Next article
Half A Century Of Advice

ultra, JOGLE, multi-day

Discuss this article


Having competed in marathons I would like to do something different before I'm 30 (currently 26). My thoughts are the JOGLE or more precisely LEJOG (Lands End - John O Groats) but I have no idea how to go about planning and training for such a challenging distance. Has anyone done this? Can anyone recommend a book, website, person to talk to? How many miles a day should would I need to do (25,30,35?)etc. Or am I just mad to think about it? Any comments, suggestions would be most welcome.


Posted: 04/03/2005 at 09:37

I see that there is a previous thread discussing this - ignore my last message.
Posted: 04/03/2005 at 09:39

Leander, if you're in the Road Runners Club, the booklet "Training for Ultras" has a chapter written by Don Ritchie, part of which he talks about his JOGLE record.
I've also got a book written by Richard Brown who broke Don's record.
Richard's record was broken by Andy Rivett who is a friend of Yorkshire Running Man and of Monique who'll you'll find on the forum so may be able to get you some advice.
Then there's the other thread!
Posted: 04/03/2005 at 11:42

Hi, I'm thinking of doing this...how long would you say you'd need to train for it..I do about 60 mile weeks and am okay with this, I feel I could run a lot more if I had the time...2 months is probably to oshort a time to prepare for such a trip though isnt it? I'm currently 19 and I know it could seem overambitious but I want to raise money for charity and everyone knows I do marathons for fun and so would never sponsor.me for that..whereas this would actually get people to donate...do you think I should plan for next Easter when ill turn 20 ..I think Iv probably answered my own question here....maybe this summer Ill do a mini one of these trips as a warm-up and focus on this for next spring...you can get stress fractures and stuff if you go right in with 30 -40 miles a day when ur only used to say 15 miles a day...hmmm? Has anyone done this..do you have to go by road or can u go cross country....did u take a tent or hostel it? Does anyone know the youngest person to run this is? Anyway....love any feedback...
Posted: 12/04/2009 at 23:18

Go for it!  It's like your first Marathon or Ironman....you'll love it and never forget it!

I did my first one a few years back on my own (my two friends pulled out towards the end) with camping gear strapped to the sides and top of panniers. Had an amazing experience!  So much so I did it again the year after, but this time I island hopped through inner and outter hebrides.  Almost got blown off the mountains on isle of Harris.  Very exhilerating.  Camping is a must!  Also great for endurance and strength work on the cycling leggies.  Plan to do it again either in a few weeks or next year.

Posted: 12/04/2009 at 23:32

There's a website you can google, "end to end club" or something like that - type in LEJOG and it's easy to see. Youngest cyclist was 7 or something like that! Youngest on foot, no idea. You can go off road. 30 miles a day might be a tall order in 2 months - plus of course at 30 miles a day it will take you the best part of a month to complete. Honest opinion, I'd do it next easter and spend the next 12 months getting used to lots more distance running. 30 mile days back-to-back every week, etc.

That's not to say it def wouldn't be doable in 2 months, but you'd need lots of determination and even more good luck.

Hope it goes well, whichever you go for..!
Posted: 13/04/2009 at 00:03

If you were a member of the CTC (Cycle Touring Club), they have a trip section which supplies routes etc.

 A lot depends on how much time you have to do it in and how bothered you are on the route.  Easy is B&B Fairly main roads, average 100miles a day. Home and back again in two weeks.  If you have the time to carry all your camping cooking gear etc, ave 60miles a day, quieter roads then about three weeks. 

 Mays seen as the best time of year, not normally too wet or hot.. 

Posted: 13/04/2009 at 00:43

Err, I think she is talking about running it
Posted: 13/04/2009 at 01:09

Posted: 13/04/2009 at 20:29

candy ollier wrote (see)
Err, I think she is talking about running it

Apologies yes, I heard mention of panniers and 7 year old cycling it and misread it.  Reading back through it about distances etc that makes a lot more sense.

Good luck, for now I'll stick to cycling it......

Posted: 13/04/2009 at 21:39

Or do Paris Nice over a similar distance with better food ,weather  and fewer chavs trying to kill you
Posted: 14/04/2009 at 09:31


Possibly one of the best people you could talk to is Mimi Anderson. Mimi broke the female record in 2008.

Whilst it might not be your ambition to have a crack at the record, I am 100% confident she would help you in whatever way you needed.

Her contact details can be found on her website - http://www.marvellousmimi.com/



Posted: 14/04/2009 at 09:54

Hi,  Have only just seen this - months later!!!  If I can help in anyway please don't hesitate to contact me www.marvellousmimi.com


Posted: 02/09/2009 at 10:49

We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member

Smart Coach
Free, fully-personalized training plans, designed to suit your racing goals and your lifestyle.