Based on our shared experiences over the last ten years, we have put together a comprehensive advice section to help you prepare and train and have the best experience possible on the day itself. For nutritional information on how best to fuel your body before, during and after the walk, read this advice from nutritionist Jane Webber.
Your shoes are your chief walking tool. They must fit well but have enough room so your feet can expand while walking.
Good footwear should be flexible so that your foot can roll through each step.
Outdoor trekking footwear has more emphasis on grip, for traction on wet and slippery terrain e.g. bridle and footpaths whereas boots and cross trainers have firmer lateral support for uneven ground.
Many cross trainers and lightweight walking boots have a vibram rubber sole and a waterproof but breathable gortex lining for all weather use perhaps giving an edge on endurance with comfort.
Whatever you decide it is imperative that you train wearing the shoes you will walk in on the day to give you time to overcome any problems.
They should be comfortable and able to keep the feet dry such as those made from coolmax or other high tech fibres. One option is a double-layer sock, which can help to reduce friction thereby reducing the risk of blisters.
As well as the right socks and shoes it is good to look after your actual feet too! Keep toenails neat and short to avoid compression plus it really helps to massage vaseline into your feet before the longer training walks as this helps reduce friction.
Depending on the weather, dress in layers so you may remove a layer as you warm up and put it back on when you feel cool. If you sweat while walking you should invest in a coolmax or polyprene running top to draw sweat away from the body and wear it as your base layer. You can then add a middle-insulating layer of soft shell or polar fleece.
Chafe not! Be careful in your choice of trousers and avoid any obvious seams. Running trousers/shorts are ideal or looser hiking trousers or shorts if you prefer. Both are lightweight and smooth in their finish.
Hats and Shades
Let's hope so! A hat is essential to prevent sun exposure or to keep you from losing heat. Sunglasses prevent UV exposure to your eyes. Always wear sunscreen and use lipsalve.
Use a bum-bag for your essentials or a small rucksack.
Items to bring:
Spare toilet paper or tissues
Nibbles such as jelly babies to give you energy
Please bear in mind that we organise WalkWithMe as an endurance walk rather than a stroll, so we discourage people from taking picnics or stopping at the pub on the way! Along the course you will find plenty of sustenance in the form of coffee, fruit and flapjacks, and lots of friendly marshalls offering everything from chocolates to homemade cakes.
To give you an idea of how long the 26-mile may take you, we have devised a pace chart which you can download here.