Every year we see a real variety of people taking part. From the “ultra fit” power walkers to challenge walk “virgins”. 7 stone whippets to 18 stone big buggers, young and old alike. The one thing they all have in common is the desire to reach the finishing line. With that in mind, below are my top 5 tips to help you last the distance.

1) Train – train & train again

Getting mileage under your belt is vital. Start off with a few 6-7 milers in early January. Get used to walking. Slowly increase the mileage until you are walking 16 miles with relative ease. I recommend you train every week (if you can) for about 4 months (Jan to April) building up to the 16 mile mark. From then, nice and easy till walk day (always nearest Saturday to longest day).
Alternatively do lots and lots of small (4 milers) walks. You need to get them legs “used to walking”….believe me!

2) Get to know your boots

Critical point this! If anything is going to give you bother, then it’s your feet. Make sure you have quality footwear. Make sure they FIT! Ensure they are bedded in sufficiently. Any good outdoor store will show you how to choose a correct fitting pair of boots. Listen to their advice as most of the sales people are experienced walkers.

3) Sustenance

On walk day you must keep up your strength.Eat a little but often. Don’t waste your time with chocolate. You consume more energy digesting it than it can give you. Bananas are fantastic energy food. Anything high in carbohydrates and slow release energy like flapjack etc. Very important this…..drink plenty of water. Don’t wait until you are thirsty. This may be too late. You must keep well hydrated.

4) Vaseline up!

Now it’s time to get crude! But just think about it. The last thing you want is “hikers ring”. The soreness is unbearable and it will end your walk. Ensure you put plenty of vaseline on parts of the body that will “rub together” (arse – thighs – armpits and so on) and keep it topped up. Remember – friction can be your worst enemy.

5) Get to know the route.
On walk day the last thing you need is to get lost and end up extending the walk by several miles – trust me.
Use your practice walks to “walk the route”. Checking out the route description so that, “on the day”, the last thing on your mind is “Where am I going?”. You will find it a considerable advantage. You will find the route descriptions available on this site………….download and get walking.
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