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

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