Cool Impossible goals and self doubt


When I first read Cool Impossible back in 2013 my original “Cool Impossible” running goals were all time based, and essentially based around achieving ever better half marathon PBs

A disappointing half marathon result in October 2014 followed by a period of reflection after my 2nd London Marathon in April 2015 led me to revise my goals – a never ending quest to continually shave seconds off race times not only seemed ultimately futile (I’d naturally hit a limit – and I was probably already at that limit) more than that my heart just wasn’t in it any more.

In essence my new Cool Impossible is to “run all day”, the idea started to develop in the Spring and Summer of 2015 and began to come together when I visited Eric for one of his run camps in September 2015

I’d followed (on-line) Scott Jurek’s Appalachian Trail record, and had been following South West Coast Path (SWCP) record attempts in the UK.  The SWCP being the longest footpath in the UK, and one that passes within a few miles of where I live – and a path I regularly use small sections of to train on. The run camp with Eric was really useful in understanding how to use heart rate (in particular in zones 2 and 3) in order to be able to run all day – I see it as achieving a more natural steady pace that enables you to go further.


Our run on the 3rd day of Eric’s run camp was 22.5 miles in 7 and a bit hours including crossing a mountain divide and finishing on top of  another mountain – which was a good indicator of what is possible and certainly shows running all day isn’t impossible


My new Cool Impossible became fixed around running the Coast to Coast route in my county – the route is made up of two trails – and links the south coast of the county (on the English Channel) and the north coast (on Atlantic coast). It clocks in at 118 miles and runs across sections of farm land, some county lanes as well as 2 sections of moorland. The aim would be to run in it in “one go”.

I’ve worked through in my head how it would work and what I need to do…


Run training – oddly the thought of running 118 miles doesn’t bother me in the slightest it’s the least of my “worries” – I know deep down I can do it – the HRZ zone training has become second nature and I’ve seen Eric’s thoughts on how you can run 100 miles based on marathon training


It’s the bit’s around the challenge that worry me…..


Support – I’ve had a couple of friends volunteer  as “support” who’d drive to meet me at various access points and re-supply me with water, food, dry socks etc

Navigation – the trail isn’t that well marked on the ground or with signs, but is mapped well – so I’ve been working on my map reading skills – and considering the purchase of some form of GPS navigation device

North – South – I’d run North to South as I’d be running towards home – which feels more motivational

Kit – I know what extra kit I need – and have planned what I’d buy – just need to get it!

Night running – whilst I’d do this in the summer, there will still be a requirement for night running – something I never done before and something I need to practice – but haven’t got to it yet


In May 2006 I ran from my home to a town on the local moors, a distance of 18 miles or so, off-road;  all on paths, tracks or moorland – from sea level to 1660 feet above sea level

Not only was it a mini-test of my CI, it was also part of a plan to develop “home grown adventures” whereby you just run out your door and see where you end up.


  • “It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – Tolkien


  • “A journey of a 1000 miles starts with a single step” – Laozi


I loved that run, not just the run itself, but planning the route and navigating on the day added to the challenge


Running took a bit of a back seat in Autumn Winter of 2016 – we decided to move house and I let everything that goes with that become an excuse to let running time drop away

Now that we are settled in to our new place, I’m picking up the running again – pleased to say it doesn’t feel like I’ve lost any fitness J

One of the great things about the new estate we live in is that it will shortly be connected directly to the local cycle and running path network which will give me car free access to get up onto the local moors


When I was out running this weekend, I passed the sign for the Coast to Coast trail – simply says “Lynmouth 118 miles”


I stop and look at the sign, and part of me says “hell yeah” and part of me says “don’t be so stupid”


And then as with the previous speed related goals I start to question and doubt myself….


“Do I really want to do that?”

“Can I actually do it?”

“Why don’t you pick something ‘easier’?”

“It’s too big a Cool Impossible challenge – pick something easier – something you know you can do”

 But wanting to know that I can do it isn’t the challenge is it?

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