Most people would be content after running one marathon, but not Rob Young. The 'Marathon Man' recently completed a record-breaking 370 marathons in 365 days. The best bit? He's still running! SPIKES finds out how.

Ride out the pain

Just a day after Rob Young decided he wanted to run a marathon, he was running one. Hauling his body round 26.2 miles was punishing enough; doing it day after day after day was a brutal shock to the system. But the Marathon Man says once you get through the early stages, your body begins to adapt to the strains and accept its fate.

“The pain in that first few weeks is terrible,” he says.

“Once you get to three weeks your legs will feel fitter and your feet will get over the blistering process. Once your legs and body fall into place, after four weeks, your mind falls into place. When that four-week period is over, then you’re ready to run every single day for as long as you want.”

Don’t stop

Marathon Man does not allow himself a break. In the first 365 days of his challenge he covered an astonishing 10,178 miles. When he knows there will be days that he won’t have time to run a marathon, he will compensate beforehand by upping his mileage.

The day before SPIKES spoke to Young he had run a double marathon in America. The day after he was running in the London Marathon, then flying back to America the same day to resume the transcontinental Race Across USA series that he has been competing in since January (he is currently winning it as well).

“I did a double marathon yesterday, got on the plane, didn’t sleep on the plane, jumped straight on a motorbike and came here,” Young says.

“I think you’ve got to not allow your body to calm down. Once you go in to that calm down stage, your body becomes lethargic. Therefore you have to run every single day.”

Mix it up

Running for hours every single day can get a bit repetitive. To keep things interesting, Marathon Man and the other runners in his group racing across America will joke around with each other to take the mind off the monotony. It's why he wears a kilt, too.

“Really it’s about having fun,” he says. “Once you stop having fun and having a laugh you’re going to fall apart.

“In the group that I’m running with in the race across the USA, the number one key factor is having a laugh. Once you’re having fun every single day, mentally running becomes a lot easier.”

Fast food

So much running inevitably burns a whole lot of calories. Marathon Man's method of replenishing his depleted energy reserves is not conventional, but it works for him.

“I eat nothing in the morning before my run,” he says. “I drink a Lucozade energy drink [one of Young's main sponsors] for the first half of my marathon, then another drink in the second half.

“In the recovery process I’ll have a chocolate milk, and then have my food. I’m not talking about one meal: I’ll eat three meal’s worth in one go. My favourite food is cheeseburgers, hamburgers and chocolate milk.”

Marathon Man - Against All Odds from Ross McClure on Vimeo.

Pace management

Marathon Man has found a method of recovering while he runs. By attacking the first half of his marathon, he says he is able relax in the latter stages and keep his body in check for the next day’s run.

“My way is to go at race pace for the first half and then go in to a cool down period in the second half,” he says. “You’ve got to stick to my process of first half fast, slower the second half, running at around a minute to a minute and a half slower.

“If you negative split it all the way through you’re just going to shut yourself down for the next race.”

Personal cause

Marathon Man was inspired to take on his challenge after being impressed by the fundraising efforts of runners at last year’s London Marathon.

He is open about his troubled upbringing, and has a deeply personal connection with the charities (Dreams Come True, NSPCC and GOSH) he is raising money for now. 

“I was abused when I was a kid. I watched my sister get raped. But I coped with all that,” he says. “Now I’m raising money for the NSPCC [National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children], which is obviously related to my background. For me, what greater thing could I do but to help give a child a chance to recover?

“The other charity I’m supporting is [specialist children’s hospital] Great Ormond Street. So for me it covers all the bases for looking after children.

“By running I’m trying to show people that anything is possible. I go in to schools and various centres so that I can talk try to talk to everybody. Then they can see what I’ve been through and that it’s OK. That way, if they’ve been through the same situation, then they know everything can be OK, too.”

Read more about Rob’s incredible story on his website.

Donate to Rob’s charities by visiting his fundraising page 

or bid to win a personalised signed Coldplay guitar.