24-hour running race: Getting started

A couple of years ago I attempted to run in a 24-hour race held in Belfast’s Victoria Park. Sadly at the 12-hour mark, I decided to call it quits because my knee was giving out and I was worried about an injury. It is one of the two times I have not finished (read about my thoughts on DNF’s here) even though technically I got moved to the 12-hour race because of the result. This year, I thought why not have another go at it? But this time train earlier and better for it. 

First off I know I am probably not going to get many chances to run more than 16 hours at a time in this training and I have no idea if that is a good thing or not. But it is my first truly serious attempt to get to 24 hours and 100 miles, and I want to be as prepared as possible.

Here is some very broad list of things that I am doing to help myself prepare for this endeavour.

Lead up races

I am lucky to live in a country that offers runners such things, but EAMS are hosting a 12-hour race as almost a training run for 24-hour competitors. So I will be taking as much of an advantage of that as possible! This will be my only serious race feeling run at this distance before the race so I need to be in a good place to get to there.

There are also a few 6-hour races and challenges that I will go through to get the feet used to run continually in a race environment once the 26.2 miles have been and gone. As I always have to remember, distance isn’t my enemy. Time is.

Running loops

The year before my 24-hour attempt, I ran the 12-hour race at Mary Peters Track in Belfast. If you know this track you will know that it is a 400m track and that meant for 12 hours I was running around and around and around… The direction changed every 4 hours, but it was monotonous. But strangely I coped and I enjoyed it.

The next year I was at Victoria Park which is just over a mile loop. This for some reason threw me right off and I will be honest, I struggled hard going around that circuit. I have to believe it was because I hadn’t practised on that route too many times as previously I used a local park which had a loop of 1km to train on for the 400m track.I had thought the same again would be okay. Wrong. I know this time I will run Victoria Park a lot to get used to it and for it not to break me. I know losing the comfort of seeing your station/bag helped me get through the lap. On a mile course, you lose that. I know it is all in the head, but it does get to you for no reason!

When to walk and when to run

I am not stupid, I know I won’t be able to run for the entirety of my time on the course in those 24 hours. So I need to work out a long-term plan to make my last the time. So far I have decided upon the following, but this is likely to change the more research I carry out:

  1. Run 10 miles at start to make some headway then walk a lap (so 1 mile)
  2. Every two miles/loops to then walk for at least half a loop before going again.

I feel being regimented in this approach should keep me in good stead throughout as last time I just kept going until I was tired before I would walk and by that point, I was probably and honestly already gone mentally.


I tried to go out a little faster last time to try and lower that deficit down from my first aim of 100 miles. I got stuck in that mindset and it cost me. By the time I tried to slow down I couldn’t and my race was as good as dead I was just counting down the clock. By trying to own a nice steady race and not follow others and their pace I hope not to fail… As badly. I want to run comfortably for as long as possible and spend a considerable amount of time on that pathway.

Setting a distance goal

It’s 100 miles, without a doubt, if I go past that, then great, but I want 100 miles. It is one of my best chances to get to 100 miles without worrying too much about the course (unless it somehow becomes easier somewhere) I am going to set myself marker distances to aim for and not to be too upset when I struggle for them.

I do this in a Bronze, Silver and Gold breakdown. So my Bronze target is 62 miles. I want to beat last attempts distance and once I know I have done that then I can progress on and take it in little intervals at a time! Silver is 80, I mean who doesn’t think running over 3 marathons in one go is awesome?! If I can get past 62 miles then I can try for that. Gold is the big one. I want to get to 100 miles, It is the big, bit aim and I think I have it in me. But it will take a lot to get there. I will try my best!

Come back in two weeks for my training plan and how I hope to have a nice breakdown of all of the next few months running! Until next time.

Let me know if you enjoyed this post! If you want to chat more about any of my posts, please follow me on TwitterInstagram and also to receive updates, Until next time, thanks for reading and I hope to see you again soon!




4 thoughts on “24-hour running race: Getting started

Add yours

  1. Awesome man. Would
    love to read about your training and build up and of course the result. All the best. You will crush it.


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