Whether you are walking 13 miles or 26, along roads or across mountains, these tough 'ultra' challenges require preparation.
Preparing for an ultra challenge is essential and means you'll enjoy the event all the more - from keeping yourself going en-route to making sure you cross the finish line! Yes, it will be challenging, you will push yourself out of your comfort zone, but never fear - that's why we've put together our bullet point marathon walk survival guide:
1. HYDRATION IS KEY
Marathon walks mean you'll be walking long hours in varying temperatures, so you should make sure you are drinking between 1-2 litres of water per day. Obviously water adds weight, so ensure you practice carrying this weight with you on your training walks in the lead up to your challenge. This could be as simple as carrying a couple of water bottles in your bag or using a hydration system such as a CamelBak; try them both out to see what you prefer.
2. TEST YOUR KIT
Buying new walking boots? Remember to wear them in prior to your challenge to ensure you have maximum comfort. It may seem obvious but ensure they are the right size and not too small! Good quality socks or sock combinations (which some people prefer) are also a major factor to bear in mind. If you want professional advice, head to Cotswold Outdoor to help with boot fitting and advice on sock combinations.
3. PACE YOURSELF
You don't want to end up getting injured due to a lack of training so get those miles in before the marathon walk. The longer you train for, the more you can work out what pace is right for you - remember you'll want to try and maintain it over 26 miles. Your training will help to build your confidence and reassure yourself that you can complete the challenge and help you to enjoy the challenge experience all the more. Importantly, train for type; if your route is on road, train on the road and wear trainers, whereas if you are taking on a cross-country trek, make sure you practice on varying terrain - both up hill and down!
A key point to remember is not to start off too fast or try and keep up with other participants! Even if you are taking on the challenge with a friend, you don't have to stick with them if their pace is too fast, there will be others walking at your pace and you will make friends along the way for sure!
4. BREAK IT DOWN
Does the thought of 26.2 miles scare you? Split the distance up in your mind, to give yourself achievable goals (and multiple mini celebrations en-route!). For some this might be two half-marathons, others might prefer to split it into more. Work out what is best for you and this will help with the mental toughness you may face.
5. PREPARE YOURSELF MENTALLY
Keep something in your mind which will keep you going when the pain starts to hit. This will help you to get through the tough times and get you to your end finishing goal. Although mental strength alone will not push you through the 26.2 miles, it will definitely help. Some say music motivates them and keeps them going through the tough times, whether directly motivating songs, or a selection of all your favourite music, try it out on your practice walks and see whether it works for you. Finally, think about your chosen charity and the impact your fundraising will have on them.
INSPIRED TO JOIN IN ON THIS URBAN ADVENTURE?
It's not too late to get involved in the action for our Marathon Walk London this year. Check out our challenge page below and secure your space on this mighty marathon challenge.