One of the most common questions I’m asked by those thinking about doing the Challenge is, “… what kind of training do you do?”
My first inclination is always to reply “nothing special” but that would not really be a fair reflection of what I did.
From the new year onwards I started to make sure that I was out more regularly and I made sure that my walks were longer. I stepped them up to around 18 miles and, on occasions, a little longer. Most of this kind of walking was in Shropshire which is hilly but not mountainous.
I think the most important thing for the Challenge is to be able to walk through a long day. In this sense it seems to me that stamina and ‘stickability’ is probably more important than the power to explosively nip up to a Munro summit or back. Ronald Turnball reckons that you walk further by walking longer and he’s right. A longer day will involve a number of decent breaks. This is where I tend to get things wrong. By inclination I like to walk without many breaks and then only taking shorter breaks. But I do find that on longer walks and treks regular break become more important.
Try and do enough so that your muscles are well used to it and so that on a normal walk there’s not much stiffness the next day.
Another thing to think about is your weight. I don’t carry a great deal of excess weight but I did make an effort to reduce it a bit before the Challenge. Increasing your walking – and the distance involved – will boost your metabolic weight which will do you good – but don’t compensate by eating more carbohydrates.
When I’m trying to be a bit more careful about what I eat I simply follow these guidelines:
* Watch the alcohol, perhaps, only drinking at weekends;
* I tend to cut out carbohydrates out of my meals during the week – no potatoes for example, simply bulking out on more vegetables;
* Always have lots of fresh fruit about the place. If you’re hungry snack on fruit rather than bread or crisps;
* Cut down on meat and eat more vegetable dishes.
So, there’s nothing drastic here, but you’ll feel fitter, will have built up your stamina and gone down a notch on your belt!
(Another tip might be to invest in Montane gear which is always slimmer fitting and which encourages you not to eat too much).