100,000 Steps in 24 Hours | Fitbit Challenge

Written by Freedom Strider

On April 1, 2019

100,000 Steps in 24 Hours | Fitbit Challenge

by Apr 1, 2019

The fitbit challenge of 100,000 Steps. 63 Kilometres. 39 Miles. 107,000 Feet. 0.00004211% of the distance between the Earth and the Sun! In 1 day?! Surely not…

Ever since obtaining a Fitbit, we have been more attentive towards how many steps we do a day. 10,000 a day (around 6 – 6.5km) is said to be the average we should stride towards.

As Freedom Strider, we perused this to the extreme – we wanted to push ourselves to the limit. For those not acquainted with the Fitbit, you can obtain badges by completing certain challenges. These include daily fitbit challenges – like climb 100 flights of stairs, or lifetime achievements like walking the equivalent distance from Earth to the Moon (and back).

But in a day…in 24 hours…what’s the highest achievement Fitbit has to offer?

100,000 Steps.

Polly’s Sister: Hey, Fitbit’s highest badge is 100,000 steps. Want to walk it with me?

Polly: “Yeah sure.”


Polly (to Sam): “Hey Sam, we’re going to walking 100,000 steps in a day sometime soon.”

Sam: “Errr…okay. What day?

100,000 Steps is about 63km [39miles] and an average walking pace is about 4km/hr [2.5mph] so it should take around…let me see…63/4 = 15.75 hours.

To put that in comparison, most people spent this amount of time awake between sleep cycles. So from waking up in the morning to going to bed in the evening, that is about the amount of time you need to constantly be walking (not including breaks). Hooray!

To make this challenge just that extra bit harder, the way the Fitbit challenge works is that it starts counting steps from midnight until midnight. That means if you were to start at 7am, you have already lost 7 hours of the day. Since there is only 24 hours to work with, there is not much time for anything else. Aside from walking…


Therefore, this is going to take a bit of planning…


Before we get into it, we did not want to walk on a treadmill or around our hometown for 17 hours, we actually wanted to go out. We wanted to create a 63km route and walk it outside. Otherwise, you might as well put your Fitbit on a blender and cheat the steps.


Our First Attempt

[yes there was more than one]

It started well. Before the walk, we planned the route on various maps, looking at elevation and taking into account breaks. It took a decent afternoon, but afterwards, we had it transferred onto a tablet as well as on a paper map, both of which we were taking on the walk with us.

Our route began in a small country town of Great Rollright in the English Cotswolds. The route weaved in and around the major hills in the area and zigzagging its way back to our hometown of Northampton, England. Having to walk back to our house meant that once we had finished, we were already back home instead of having to be driven back.

This route came in at 65km, and we calculated it should take us about 16 hours, walking at 5km/h – with breaks included. We had major breaks every few hours and estimated that if we began at 5am, we should be back home by 9pm.

We set off an hour late, but it began well and we were keeping pace well for the first few hours. However, after the first major break, several problems set in. There were three major problems with this route that we soon came to realize:


Download your FREE eBook

Here is the complete overview of What alternative living is, Why it’s a good idea and How you can get the ball rolling.

1. Our set off time.

We began the route at 6am. We were planning to start at 5am but we were a bit delayed. Despite this giving us an 18 hours window until midnight (which was still doable), it did put us an hour behind from the start.


2. Hills & Wet Weather.

We avoided the big hills, but there was still elevation in our route. Around 1/3 of the way through…we realized that any elevation (especially up a wet, sticky clay hill where your foot was trapped every other step) slowed us down. Our pace slowed from 5km/h to as low as 1km/h in some parts, and this had a knock-on effect. The more we slowed and fell behind, the faster we would have to walk later on. Haha, who are we kidding?! And that was out the question because our feet were getting more tired the longer we went on, so we were slowing down even more (if that was possible… until we ended up walking backward).


3. Not enough breaks.

We did plan for breaks, but we only scheduled in 10-30 minute breaks every few hours. This was a problem because it takes about 10-15 minutes for your body and mind to realize that you have stopped. That means you maybe only have 15 minutes to relax, eat, go to the toilet or do anything else you need to do. That stuff actually takes ages, especially when you are already very tired. Physical burnout soon entangled us and combine this with falling behind our schedule and the weather turning on us…it was looking grim…

It turned 4pm, and we had only just crossed the halfway point. We had done 50,000 steps [32km/20miles] in 10 hours. There were 8 hours left of the day, the sun was going to set in a few hours since it was April, and it was due time for our 30-minute lunch break. And it had started raining…quite a bit…so you couldn’t distinguish the rain from our tears.

We were not going to make it.

We would have had to walk faster than our previous 10 hours, half of it at night, racing against the clock.

Attempt Number 1: A failure but many lessons learnt.

Our Second Attempt

[yes we were crazy enough to go for it again]

The second time round we learnt from our mistakes and tried to make it easier on ourselves.

The first major problem to fix was time. We started at 6am last time, and even that was going to be tight without any delays.


The solution?

Start at midnight

Maybe it is crazy. Well…to us it just made sense. Starting at midnight gave us full access to the 24 hours available. As long as we got enough rest beforehand, and chose the right location to walk during the early hours, starting at midnight should be fine. Plus, we were doing it very close to the summer solstice, meaning we got the maximum amount of daylight possible.


Go Flat

Next on the amending agenda: the route. Previously, we chose a route with a fair number of undulations. This time, we were sure to choose a route flatter than the Netherlands. We started in a campsite in the heart of the New Forest (which for the most part was not actually a forest). Our endpoint was a town north of Southampton (but it was not called Northampton… nor Hampton, it was called Eastleigh).

We planned this route to go over much flatter ground, with easy-going pathways. We factored in the third issue: we added very short 2-5 minute breaks. Along with longer breaks every few hours, we planned it so within an 8km stint there would be a 15-minute “break window”, where we could take up to 15 minutes throughout that stint (whenever we felt it necessary) to rest. Our longer breaks were also…longer. Our longer breaks were between 30-60 minutes, giving more time for our minds to get out the haze from the previous 10km.

With these breaks, starting at midnight meant we estimated to finish by around 8pm. Although this meant our route was 20 hours, we had left in a lot of leeway for breaks, and since there were very little hills, it was very doable. We had also estimated our walking pace would be 4km/h, not 5km/h, as on our first attempt we did slow down, even on flat ground.


Therefore, with a slightly shaky start at the campsite the afternoon before the walk (where we forgot our tent poles so we ended up sleep just on top of the tent), we were off.


This time went a lot smoother, we were on pace for a lot of the journey, however approaching our first major stop for breakfast, came our biggest mistake. We arranged to meet around the halfway point (11am) to get a cooked breakfast and stop for about an hour or so.

After breakfast…we took a nap…

The moment we closed our eyes to the moment the alarm went off 30 minutes later, felt like a split second. Somehow, we managed to put our boots back on, get ourselves up and carried on walking.

By this point, the blisters on our feet, despite us bandaging them up really well were rubbing in all the wrong places, especially since we had taken our shoes off, and let them “breath and expand”.

We set off, but only managed maybe 6km before we called it.

 The pain from the blisters was getting very acute which destroyed our momentum, and although we were tired when we reached the café where we had breakfast, the nap and removing of shoes for that amount of time was a huge mistake. We set off but we were in pain, and we could not reach the rhythm we had before, it was long gone.

So what about next time?

[3rd times the charm]

Firstly, yes, we were crazy enough to consider doing this a 3rd time. ;D