The Trek is very arduous and to ensure you have the most enjoyable and safe experience possible, we strongly recommend you carry out adequate training for this challenge.
- for a long distance walking challenge there is only one form of training that will ensure you perform well - walking!
- if you are generally fit, and you do lots of sport - you will be off to a good start
- many a good marathon runner and endurance cyclist have thrown in the towel, so do not make any assumptions that walking is easy
- do not forget to include some hills because you use different muscles for steep ascents and descents
- your Trek success is about teamwork so the more training you can do together, the better. We all need a little encouragement when the going gets tough.
Get a plan and get started
Depending on your fitness levels and walking experience, the start point will vary for each individual. If you are not used to physical activity and this is your first big challenge, do not delay the start of your training. Start with short distances at regular intervals, and when comfortable, increase the length of the walks. Aim for 2–3 walking sessions a week – always wear the boots that you will be using on the Trek which are therefore fully broken in, and ensure you have become accustomed to how your feet react to regular walking.
Stretch and build up slowly
Stretching should always precede any physical training. Stretching is doubly important for walkers, as you need to keep muscles and tendons long and supple. This is worth noting if you are a regular runner, as running does have the effect of shortening and tightening everything. Approach your training sensibly and you will make it through just fine. Training is about building your body up gradually, but it is also about getting in the right frame of mind for your endurance challenge. Success is as much about your mental readiness as it is your physical condition. So get the miles in, include a few hills to help practice your ascending/descending techniques and remind those lungs what it feels like to work a little harder. Once you get into the swing of things, you will be surprised at the distances you’ll end up covering.
Beginners should start with short regular walks increasing distance in line with how you feel/time available, but don’t over do it to start with. Do at least three sessions a week of 2–4 miles.
Continue your regular weekly session but increase the distance of some walks to 4–6 miles when you can.
Keep up the routine with short sessions during the week and aim for at least one longer distance at the weekend. Covering around 10–15 miles a week is great. Maybe aim for a convenient pub finish!
If all feels good increase your distance and time, covering 15–20 miles a week. You should be taking on a few hills by now – get your body and mind in tune with the ups and downs of walking.
You will know now what you are capable of, and setting your own targets. You don’t need to complete the full distance prior to the event. Marathon runners don’t run marathons as part of their training! Having reached this confident stage you should be covering 20-25 miles a week and at least one day at the weekend should include a 4-6 hour walk.