Charlie's Big Challenge: Training intense with seven weeks to go

Presenter pushing herself to limit to help Women's Aid end domestic violence...

By Charlie Webster - @CharlieCW.   Last Updated: 17/12/13 3:01pm

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I believe there is always a deeper reason why an individual will push their body physically to go way beyond any limits put in their way.

The ultra-marathon runner, the adventurer, the iron man competitor: though it is their emotional strength that they are really pushing, it is their mental determination and fire that they are putting to the test.

"The challenge has completely taken over my life and, with it, the training. Anybody who knows me will you tell you that I can't do anything by halves."
Charlie Webster

If you delve, there will always be a story, a reason, a trigger, an adversity that kicks in when the individual can't physically give anymore; then, the soul and the emotion can take over to give a resilience that no amount of science could even possibly attempt to try and explain.

With that in mind, I am about to undertake one of the challenges of my life.

The difference between my many life challenges so far and this one is that I created this one and put it in my life. It was born over a nice brew - a cup of Yorkshire Tea. As a northerner, many things evolve from switching the kettle on!


So here goes. I'm running 250 miles (worryingly, this number seems to be growing) in seven days, to and from 40 football clubs (now that number is up to 43) around the country to try and raise £100k (this is the one number I actually want to grow) for Women's Aid and awareness of the all too common issue of abuse toward women and children.

Women's Aid's pledge is 'until women and children are safe.' And that is my fire and my drive to give my all to 'Charlie's Big Challenge.'

The challenge has completely taken over my life and, with it, the training. Anybody who knows me will you tell you that I can't do anything by halves - as I'm sure you are probably figuring out.

I am training for around 20 hours a week at the moment, which is a similar amount to a professional athlete. I am doing this around my slightly crazy and abnormal work schedule which even includes cycling to Sky there and back, even in the early hours (a 26-mile round trip).

I am writing this smiling in disbelief that I am actually doing this as it feels like I'm watching myself in a reality TV show.

The day before it all gets underway I am running an 'eve' challenge day in the North East with both Newcastle and Sunderland. I then start the 250 miles from Everton and run Forest Gump-style down England via as many clubs as I can until I get to West Ham seven days later, hopefully!

I have a date with West Ham v Swansea so I have to make it to run on the pitch where I will most likely collapse as the whistle is about to go for kick-off. I apologise now to any fans attending that game. It won't be a pretty sight.


Take a look at the route I am running on It would be great to have your support whether it's running next to me, cheering me along the way or meeting me at your football club.

It would absolutely mean the world to me and help me get through something that is no doubt going to test my mental strength to its limits. Your support will be my inspiration throughout and will, in turn, save so many lives.

Training is tough especially with the weather. I guess I didn't quite consider that one. I did sneak off for three days to Italy last week to do an intense blast of training, although it was cold there too but the high winter sunshine certainly helped.

I will be writing more about my training over the coming weeks as the countdown begins. There are just seven weeks to go.

The bike is playing an important part as there is a fine line between balanced training and pushing it too much and causing injury. This, for me, is the main factor having only this summer rehabilitated from a serious chronic pelvis dis-function, and I have a shoulder that equally doesn't like staying in place.

Splitting my cardio between biking and running means I can maximise my heart and lungs without putting too much pressure through my pelvis. If you think about it your CV system doesn't know whether you've ran or biked; it just knows it is working.

In Italy I did a lot of bike/run combinations. This is amazing training and a fantastic test as I am going to be running at least eight hours a day for seven days straight.

One day we biked 60km and then ran a fast 10km straight off the bike and then got straight back on the bike to ride another 60km. I also practiced my nutrition as I am going to have to eat while I run, literally to be able to keep going. Jam sandwiches are the way forward at the moment.

Nutrition is key but one thing that I sometimes struggle with is that with the amount of training I'm doing I don't always take in enough and this inhibits my recovery to be able to train optimally the next day. So if you fancy supporting me then a jam sandwich wouldn't go a miss!

I even ate pork scratchings on a training ride from London to Brighton on Sunday for calorie top-up. Yesterday was a day of strength and conditioning followed by a swim and an ice cold shower, while today I am going on a long run of two hours and then having a good feed.

The next time you think you can't do something, choose, it is your decision. So today choose to do. And please make a difference, that is also entirely in your control.

Forgo that expensive latte, they are bad for you anyway and put the equivalent right here and then smile.

You can follow Charlie's progress on Twitter at @CharlieCW.

To see more photos of Charlie preparing for her Challenge, check out our gallery here.

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