From 6PM on 12th April 2019 to 6PM on the 14th, I will be running 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours. I’m doing this to raise funds and awareness for Parkinson’s UK, a charity who do fantastic work to support people diagnosed with the condition and fund vital research.
Authors note (14/04/2019)
I successfully completed the 2019 challenge as planned and wrote a blog post to document the experience. If you are interested in reading it, click the post below:
Authors Note (09/03/2021): I took part in my second 4x4x48 challenge from the 5th to the 8th March 2021 coinciding with the annual David Goggins 4x4x48 challenge. I made a video documenting the experience for my YouTube Channel. Please like, subscribe, comment and share if you find it useful:
What is the 4/4/48 running challenge?
As briefly mentioned above the 4/4/48 running challenge requires you to run 4 miles, every 4 hours, for 48 hours. I first learned about the challenge when David Goggins, a tough ex-Navy Seal, made billionaire Jesse Itzler do it in the book ‘Living With A Seal‘. Out of the many workouts in the book, Jesse Itzler describes the 4/4/48 challenge as the hardest.
Why is the 4/4/48 running challenge difficult?
At first, the idea of running 4 miles, every 4 hours, across 48 hours seems easy. For those who run regularly, 4 miles isn’t a huge distance. However, the number of times 4 miles is required across the 48-hours quickly makes the feat gruelling as those undertaking the challenge clock up almost 50 miles. That’s nearly 2 whole marathons in 2 days.
One reason some find this challenge difficult and refuse to undertake it is the frequency required. Because you have to run 4 miles every 4 hours, it means you can’t get quality sleep. Sure, you might get a decent 2 and a half hours in but alarm bells will soon awaken you from a peaceful slumber and you will need to do your 4 miles. Sounds like hell to a lot of people.
It’s also difficult because the constant running will result in wear and tear on your legs. Your muscles will start to feel sorer and sorer as the challenge draws on, and each run becomes harder to start and maintain than the last. It’s a sheer test of mental strength and personal will. Like Rocky once said ‘it ain’t about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.’
What do you need for a successful 4/4/48 running challenge?
- Sports Watch: To make sure you’re running 4 miles every 4 hours and to track your performance.
- A range of technical sports tops including vests, t-shirts and long sleeved tops
- Food and water. Lots and lots.
- A decent pair of running shoes
- Sports headphones
- Persistence, willpower, determination and a positive mindset!
What are the benefits of taking on and completing the 4/4/48 challenge?
If you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking I – or anyone else attempting this workout/challenge – is crazy. Fair enough. However, I believe there are benefits to doing this challenge which I will discuss.
1. Build mental toughness
It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from or what you do. Life can and does get tough for us all. It’s not what happens to us in life, but how we emotionally interpret what happens which makes all the difference to our success. I believe running builds mental toughness, and challenges like this are primed to build it more than most workouts.
As you know, life is never easy. It’s hard and throws obstacles in your path. Unless you have mental toughness, you will crumble under pressure when something goes wrong. Dan Peña, the 50 billion dollar man, calls it being a snowflake. It’s not a good place to be.
When you do a running challenge like this, you develop more mental toughness. As David Goggins calls it, you are callousing your mind. After doing a difficult challenge like this, you have a powerful reference in your memory of doing something extremely challenging and overcoming obstacles.
You will have more resilience and will power to cope and deal with other negative situations in your life. Be it financial, relationships, family or in business, completing a running challenge like the 4/4/48 challenge will build huge mental toughness to deal with these situations more effectively.
2. Overcome a huge challenge
Someone once told me convenience, being comfortable and having an easy life is the biggest lie we believe to make us happy. He told me we’re happiest when we’re challenged and overcoming obstacles.
Think about it. What will bring you more satisfaction, watching Netflix on your sofa all day or overcoming a challenge in your business, fitness or creative life? 9.9/10 people would say overcoming a challenge would bring more satisfaction. The 4/4/48 running challenge is often viewed as impossible or crazy by most people who learn of it. This means those who complete it get more satisfaction after overcoming the seemingly difficult or near impossible challenge.
Give the 4/4/48 running challenge a go to get out of your comfort zone and accomplish something huge.
3. Raise money for charity in a unique way
One of my main reasons for doing this challenge to raise funds for charity was because of its unique nature and potential for attracting attention. Previously, I’d never heard of anything like this running workout which is why I decided to select it as a challenge to raise funds for my chosen charity, Parkinson’s UK.
As David Goggins once said, one of the reasons people doing these kinds of unique and challenging events can raise so much money for charity is because people respond to suffering. If you are putting yourself out there and are truly going to be sacrificing your comfort during a challenge, people are more likely to respect your efforts and donate to your cause. It sounds unbelievable, but it’s true in most cases. I had difficulty raising charity funds for my target for the Brighton Half Marathon but within a week of announcing the 4/4/48 challenge I’ve almost raised a third of my target with little to no promotion.
People respond to obscure, challenging, difficult events like the 4/4/48 challenge. It’s a brilliant way to raise money for a charity.
4. Time to think
This might not seem as obvious, but completing the 4/4/48 running challenge gives you time to think. Proper time. As you are running 4 miles every 4 hours for 2 days, there will be times when you’re running alone at 2 or 3AM with nothing to keep you company but the thoughts in your own mind. I see this as a huge benefit.
In the modern day, there are a thousand distractions trying to claim our attention. Social media, advertisements, the radio, friends, emails, family. The list goes on and on. It’s hard to get a quiet moment to ourselves and just think about life and what is going on.
The 4/4/48 challenge can provide an unexpected break from this cycle of constantly being busy. It will give those who complete it a significant portion of time to run and think through their life. Sometimes, all we need is to listen to our own mind to make a judgement. This challenge could be a great answer to finding some peace and quiet.
5. Escape routine
Whilst I agree that great modern-day thinkers like Jordan B Peterson argue that routines are essential for our well being as a species, I also believe routines can be too comforting and confining.
If you’re stuck in a routine, it probably means you do the same thing each day, everyday. Maybe you wake up, get ready for work, go to work, come home, have dinner, watch TV and go to bed. The next day, you wake up and do it all over again. It’s like your life is one giant replay button on a remote control.
Whilst a basic routine is needed for stability and security in our lives, a routine which involves too much comfort can be negative. Maybe you are coasting through your tasks at work. Perhaps you’re taking your spouse for granted. You may have even lost your passion for adventure. Overly comfortable routines can cause us to stagnate and stop progressing.
I believe the 4/4/48 challenge can benefit individuals in a comfortable routine. It shakes up your entire world and there really is no sensation quite like having to run 4 miles, every 4 hours, for 48 hours. It’s far from comfortable, it’s different to what you normally do and it can be an amazing experience to help you break out of a predictable routine rut.
If you are in a comfortable routine that is destroying your passion for life, give the 4/4/48 challenge a try. I dare you.
This challenge is certainly going to be difficult, physically and mentally. When my time comes, I will give it everything I have. I truly believe this challenge will be good not only to raise funds for Parkinson’s UK (my charity) but also for myself. I am sure I will come out of the 4/4/48 challenge a different, stronger person than I went in and I am looking forward to coming out the other side.
If you fancy donating to my fundraising effort, click the link here.
Thanks for reading my article on the 4/4/48 running challenge. I hope you’ve found it useful, interesting and educational.