I just completed the 2nd annual 4x4x48 Challenge created by David Goggins. In this challenge you must run/walk 4 miles, every 4 hours, for 48 hours in a row. This means consistently pushing yourself while fatigued, missing out on optimal sleep, blistered feet, and getting out there at 3am on a cold winter Colorado morning.
I want to go over how I felt through the 48 hour process, what I learned, and what I did.
First I logged each session to describe how I felt over the course of the challenge
First 4 miles 7PM:
Jogged 2 miles walked 2 miles. I took my normal walking route but this time it was night time so it was like taking a brand new route. Split walking and running as I had a blister on my foot going into this and wanted to pace myself through the challenge.
Miles 5-8 11PM:
Went to the gym to use the treadmill, and jogged 2.5 miles, walked .5 miles and then jogged the last mile as I’m still building up my ability to run distance. Felt good but immediately went home and fell asleep, as this was way passed my normal bedtime and I wanted as much sleep as possible going into the next miles starting at 3AM
Miles 9-12 4:30AM:
Decided to wake up at 430 instead of 3am to give myself as much sleep as I could while also considering the time it would take to complete. I walked the whole time, and it took me about 1h20m finishing up around 6AM. Took the next hour to soak my feet in Epsom salts and get some reading done. Was pretty tired waking up in the middle of the night and had to convince myself to get outside in the cold winter Colorado night, but with David Goggins in my head it didn’t last long and got going.
Miles 13-16 7AM:
We’re 12 hours in, and I just completed my last 4 miles about an hour prior. Going to get it going right away so I can give myself some time to recover before the next 4 instead of taking recovery time right now. Felt pretty good so no need to slow down.
Miles 17-20 11AM:
After a few hours of getting some work done and resting my feet we get back at it. My feet are super sore, the blister on my left foot is getting a bit bigger and much more sore, but again, Goggins is in my head and I know he wouldn’t let something so small stop him and it’s not stopping me. Walking 1.5 Miles to/from the park, jogging 2.5 miles around the track.
Miles 21-24 5PM:
After getting back from the last session I ate some food and took a good 3.5 hour nap. Woke up, had a little bit more food, hung out with my dogs and then headed to the gym to get the next 4 in. The blister on my foot was throbbing and another was forming on the same toe on the opposite foot therefore I took this opportunity to walk these 4
Miles 25-28 7PM:
Since I was already at the gym I just went straight into these next 4. After an hour of walking the blisters were basically numbed out so I ran 2 and walked 2 of these 4 miles as I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just walking this whole time and pushing myself.
Miles 29-32 1:30AM:
Decided to lay down to rest my feet for a bit around 10:30 before embarking on the next 4 hour interval. Ended up falling asleep and woke up to adjust into a more comfortable position before realizing that I fell asleep and jumped out of bed and got outside. My feet were super swollen so I opted to walk these 4 miles.
Miles 33-36 3AM:
I had just finished my last 4 about 10 minutes before 3AM, and decided I was going to use my 1 one non-run or walk session right now.
You see part of the challenge is you don’t have to run or walk, it’s scalable and you can do other exercises as long as you do them for 40+ minutes straight. I wanted to do the miles the old fashioned way but decided since I was hitting high levels of fatigue and my feet were swollen and my blisters were growing, I would ride the elliptical bike for this session. I rode for exactly 40 minutes covering 9.5 miles, with the bike’s natural medium tension engaged. This was actually the hardest session of all so far as the tension on the bike is pretty strong so after about 20 minutes the pedals felt like I was moving cinder blocks and my knees were burning so I started to fatigue and slow down but I never stopped and kept it going.
Miles 37-40 7AM:
Took a bit of a nap after the last session to make sure I had enough energy to get all the tasks I needed to get done for the day completed along with the last 12 miles. This one was like miles 17-20 where I walked 1.5 miles to/from the park and ran 2.5 miles around the track. This session was incredibly mentally taxing as the blisters were really starting to irritate me but after about 2 miles they started to numb up and then I had no real big issues completing the rest.
Miles 41-44 11:30AM
Walked my dog this session. Knew with all the time I would be out that I wanted to have one of these be with my dog. He’s not trained to run while on a walk and he just freaks out and thinks something wrong so we just walked
Miles 45-48 4PM:
The final stretch, unfortunately I was incredibly tired, and could barely keep my eyes open or keep a conversation going. I walked the first 2 miles and planned to just walk all 4 due to my tired state but then after some inner monologue with myself I talked myself into running the last 2 despite my tired state and achy feet as I wanted to finish this challenge strong and get as much as I could out of it.
This was quite the adventure and one that I’m incredibly happy that I embarked on.
Before I get into the benefits and takeaways of the program I want to start with the fact that there were not major downsides to this program. Sure I was tired, got some blisters on my feet, and had to get up and go in the dead of the night, but now that the program is over none of those things matter and therefore I don’t see them as downsides as much as an obstacle I had to overcome.
As for the upsides I feel there were quite a few.
Being Highly Present:
During this program I felt highly present in the moment during each cycle. Not sure if it was the constant soreness of my feet or not, but during each mile I was fully aware of where I was which led me to noticing new things on my normal paths, really enjoying the weather, or listening to the birds.
I have been working hard to be more present in my daily life, but never have I felt this sense of presence like I did during this challenge. I rarely felt like checking my phone, I would start listening to a podcast at the beginning of the 4 hour sessions but would usually cut it out before the halfway mark because I was just so much more interested in taking in all my surroundings.
It’s a bit hard to properly explain as I have never really felt this present in the moment but I was super grateful for it and it only motivated me more to continue chasing the dream of being more present in each moment in our highly distracted world.
Taking New Paths:
David Goggins said in the announcement of this year’s 4x4x48 challenge to take different paths on your journey to avoid the monotony. I did take the same path 2 paths twice but other than that I was able to go on new routes that I don’t normally take on my walks. With the combination of feeling highly present I was able to really indulge in some new paths, and really take in all the scenery. If you look for the beauty in things you’ll be surprised at what you find and how amazing this world can really be.
Fighting Through The Quitting Thoughts:
There were 2 points during the challenge when I had the thoughts of quitting, and they were both when I had to wake up in the early morning when it was dark and cold out to get up and get those miles in. I told myself “you don’t have to do this, you could sleep like everyone else around you and no one would know you didn’t do it” however with David Goggins on my mind I couldn’t help but audibly laugh at those thoughts. I committed myself to this program, and I previously committed myself to changing the identity of myself of someone who pushes through tough times and works hard to achieve my goals. Despite me having these thoughts both times waking up in the middle of the night on little sleep, I dissipated these thoughts fairly quickly and got out there and got it done even though I really didn’t want to.
These moments were really powerful for me because I got to prove to myself that I am making progress into turning into the person I want to be, that I was capable of pushing through the pain if it meant achieving what I set out to do, and that I was able to overcome the negative voice in my head and override those thoughts with more positive, empowering thoughts.
I made sure to write down those moments in my journal to not forget what I was able to do in those moments and to remind myself that I am mentally stronger than I think I am when I am in a weakened state.
Getting Out Of Bed And Getting After It:
One of my biggest weaknesses is the morning time. No matter how long I sleep, how well I sleep, or how many positive steps I take the day before to get the best sleep I can get, I always wake up feeling tired and unrested. Due to this I have a hard time getting out of bed and getting the day going, even though I know that once I do get up and get going that I will get going fairly quickly and have my energy surge. During this program I would take small naps and then get up and get going right away and then follow that up with 4 mile increments. This is something I noticed immediately each time, and really proved to me that if I just get up in the morning and beat the inner monologue that is telling me to stay in bed that I can get my day started way faster and that the tired state is just always going to happen. If I let this early morning tired state keep winning I will continue to waste time in the morning and I want to use the momentum I got from this program and keep it rolling into my future mornings to get up and get the day started as soon as my sleep cycles end.
This isn’t something that I’m 100% sure that I did, but I do know that others took notice to the fact that I was taking on this challenge, and that I completed it. I hope that it inspired those around me and on social media to challenge themselves, go outside of their comfort zone and push their boundaries of what they believe is possible. This wasn’t an easy 48 hours but I got it done despite the lack of sleep, uncomfort, and adversity, and I just hope that doing this challenge motivates at least one person around me to either do something to progress themselves or to attempt this challenge next year.
Overall this was a very fun and empowering challenge. I honestly feel that completing this challenge was a huge step towards my goals and becoming the person I am working to become. This challenge gave me a lot of time to be in my own head, to take over my negative thoughts, and to persevere despite the challenges. I highly encourage everyone reading this to take part in this challenge next year if you are able and to push yourself for these 48 hours and I promise if you cross that finish line you will feel a large sense of accomplishment, and pride in you achievement and in yourself for proving your mental toughness.