5 Things I Learned by Running 5 miles every 5hrs for 55hrs!

5 Things I Learned by Running 5 miles every 5hrs for 55hrs!

5 Things I Learned by Running 5 miles every 5hrs for 55hrs!


Many of us are familiar with the 4x4x48 challenge, originated by David Goggins. This test involves running 4 miles every 4 hours over a 48-hour period, presenting a formidable task. It demands a strong aerobic foundation and the ability to stay active round the clock for two full days. The strategic aspect lies in selecting the ideal starting time for this challenge, as I discovered when I completed it a few years back, feeling the significant exhaustion it brought on.


As I wrap up my final intensive training phase for the Cocodona 250 – a 250-mile race through Arizona – I sought a challenge that fits into my hectic daily life. Juggling with a wife who works full-time as a nurse, two energetic children, managing my own business, and coaching the high school track team demands careful planning. The idea of getting away for a weekend in Spring seemed impractical, so I pondered what I could undertake from the comfort of my home.


That's when the Goggins Challenge flashed into my mind. Could I integrate this regimen into my daily routine successfully? After exploring several possibilities, I realized it might just be achievable. But then I wondered, could I take it a step further and make it even more demanding?


After analyzing different scenarios, I considered increasing the total volume (4x4x60?) or extending the length of the individual run miles (6x6x60), and I experimented with various combinations before settling on 5x5x55. Several factors influenced my decision to choose this option. I appreciated the concept of never running at the same time of day for any of the required eleven individual runs. Additionally, I needed to balance my role as a supportive team member in my various responsibilities, and committing 60 hours might have been too much. The alternative was to seamlessly incorporate this into my daily schedule without causing disruptions elsewhere.


The chosen date would be Wednesday, April 3rd. I only needed to adjust three items with minimal interference. Here's how it breaks down:

Run 1

5:00 AM

Wednesday 4/3

Run 2

10:00 AM


Run 3

3:00 PM


Run 4

8:00 PM


Run 5

1:00 AM

Thursday 4/4

Run 6

6:00 AM


Run 7

11:00 AM


Run 8

4:00 PM


Run 9

9:00 PM


Run 10

2:00 AM

Friday 4/5

Run 11

7:00 AM



Move the 10 am Zoom meeting to 9:30 on Wednesday, hope my wife can return to town to assist with the 3:30 school pick-up before my 4 pm run on Thursday, and reschedule my Friday Zoom from 8 am to 8:10 am as I start run #11 at 7 am. It's all about finding that balance, isn't it? All parties were in agreement, so it was marked on the calendar. Let's get started!


There are several key points to note, such as the basic idea that running enhances my fitness. Completing a 55-mile run in a little over two days will boost my endurance once I've had time to recover. Let me highlight some less obvious insights to share with you.


1.Time Marches On: Many of us often feel like there's never enough time in a day to accomplish everything, leading to our personal goals being postponed to the next day or the upcoming weekend when we anticipate having more free time. To my surprise, with a little organization, I discovered how much time I could actually make the most of each day. For instance, let's take a closer look at a busy Wednesday schedule. My third run was scheduled for 3 pm, right before the High School Track practice at 3:45 pm. After some juggling of schedules for my kids' afterschool activities, I managed to arrive at the track just in time to complete my 5-mile run. I had to complete 20 laps in less than 45 minutes – challenge accepted! Not only did I achieve my goal, but I even had a few minutes to spare before the team's warm-up. While I might have wasted that time if I hadn't planned it well, I ended up having a really satisfying run, finishing the last mile in under 8 minutes. Not too shabby for this seasoned runner! Time moves forward continuously, and we cannot control its pace. However, through innovative planning, we can identify brief moments to make the most of the time available to us.


2. Accountability Matters: Deliberately, I posted my plan on various social media platforms. Additionally, a close friend whom I have known for a long time visited and committed to joining me for some runs. While broadcasting on a public platform may not suit everyone, sharing your goals with others can boost the dedication required to conquer the challenge. Involving friends in your challenge, even if it's just for certain parts, can provide the accountability required to help you stay on track. On my social media platforms, I received numerous uplifting comments with a recurring message of "Keep going!". This method motivates me and propels me forward, reminiscent of how I've employed this approach during ultrarunning events. Sharing my race on social media and reading encouraging comments while on the trail never fails to boost my spirits.


3. Mental Fortitude is King: I previously mentioned that while physical distance will impact my body, the main challenge lies in the mental strength required to endure and adapt. By staying focused, I aim to build the confidence needed to overcome the mental obstacles of a 250-mile run in Arizona in 5 weeks. Waking up at 1:47 am to prepare for run # 10 may not be easy, but it's crucial for achieving my goals in Arizona in May, repeatedly. By enhancing mental fortitude and maintaining a strong level of fitness, athletes can attain most of their athletic objectives.


4. Eat The Elephant: Standing at the starting line of any athletic challenge and visualizing the entire journey can feel overwhelming. I remember the 2010 Leadville 100 race, starting at 6th St. and Harrison Ave at 4 am in Leadville, where I felt the weight of the task ahead. Years later, at the pre-race briefing for the 2017 Desert RATS stage race, race director Reid Delman posed a question that left me puzzled, "How do you eat an elephant?" Perhaps I took it too literally. The distance of an endurance challenge may appear intimidating initially. However, by concentrating on completing each training session and every mile, you can boost your confidence and build momentum. This serves as a reminder that accomplishing any significant goal is possible through consistent small efforts. Taking the first step is crucial. When I started the series of 5-mile runs, I wasn't sure if I could finish all 11, but I began with the first one and progressed through manageable steps. The key is, "One bite at a time."


5. Beyond Limits: Many times, we limit our achievements based on past experiences, external influences, and preconceived ideas of what is feasible. Reflecting on David Goggins and his 40% rule, this simple yet powerful concept tested not only my physical fitness and dedication but also my mental boundaries. Goggins' narrative is centered around a key principle drawn from his remarkable journey – the 40% rule. According to this notion, when the mind signals exhaustion, fatigue, and the urge to give up, it indicates that only 40% of one's true potential has been unlocked. Personally, I have discovered this to be a universal truth. As I progress in the world of ultra running, I am astonished by the hidden capabilities within myself. I embrace every challenge and, above all, strive to surpass what I once believed to be beyond my reach.


In conclusion, this challenge wasn't just about racking up the miles. It was a journey of discovery, revealing not only my physical resilience but also the profound impact of mental fortitude and meticulous planning. By conquering each 5-mile run, I've built the confidence to tackle the upcoming Cocodona 250. Remember, whether you're aiming to conquer an ultramarathon or seeking to integrate fitness into your busy life, achieving big goals is possible through small, consistent efforts. So lace up your shoes, embrace the unknown, and push beyond your perceived limits. You might be surprised by what you're capable of achieving.


Total Mileage: 56.03

Total Elevation Gained: 7,654 ft


Coach Brian’s Invitation:
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