Whether you intend to tackle the full or half challenge, you should embark on a suitable training regime well in advance. For some, this may mean starting more or less from scratch, and for others it may be re-focusing existing exercise programmes to be fully prepared on start day.
Kent Charity Trek is a tough endurance event and training is essential no matter your current fitness or target time. Preparation is key and will aid your enjoyment of the challenge whilst ensuring that your body is up to the rigours of the event.
How Do I Train?
Training is a very simple concept; it is all about progressively increasing your ability to do just that little bit more, and giving your body time to adapt, recover and to come back stronger. If you are relatively new to endurance events, the trick is to build it up gradually and peak a couple of weeks prior to the event itself, allowing a recovery period beforehand.
You should be looking to plan a structured training programme, ideally over a period of weeks.
● Your training should concentrate on building a base of walking, then increasing your mileage in a structured manner.
● Build some back-to-back long days to enable you to assess any problems that may occur from walking the long distances.
● Take regular but short breaks on these long training walks, mimicking the conditions you will face during the challenge itself.
Footwear & Care
Looking after your feet whilst training should be a top priority. The first thing you can do to make sure your feet remain in a good condition is to invest in a good pair of walking boots.
Boots can be expensive, but anyone who has tried to walk in the wrong pair will testify, they are well worth the money. Although for some of you this may be the first and only time you will consider doing an endurance trek, a good pair of walking boots will come in useful far more frequently than you would initially expect.
We would recommend visiting a specialist outdoors shop to purchase your boots. Once purchased the first thing you need to do is start wearing them in. This way the boots will mould to your feet and prevent hot-spots and blisters from forming during the challenge.
Don’t Over Commit to training. Don’t overstretch yourself, you want to reach the event day in peak physical fitness but without being burnt out.
Wear your gear in! Walk as often as you can and as much as you can. Wear the shoes/boots you will be wearing on the event (if they are new, then this is very important!) and find a way to carry your backpack comfortably – this will help to avoid blisters and any foot and back injuries.
Learn to Hydrate Even when you think you have been drinking enough the chances are you probably haven’t, so concentrate on staying hydrated whilst training. Invest in a water bladder and keep taking sips of water frequently throughout your walk and measure how much water you are getting though.
Team Training If you signed up as a team, why not train as a team? Sit down together, plan your training and pencil in some longer weekend walks in preparation. You will find that it’s far easier to motivate yourself when your team mates are in the same boat! Support each other in the lead up and on the challenge.
Step by Step – Stretch by Stretch Break the exercise in slowly. Over training can lead to injury and could disrupt your training programme. Start with manageable training distances and speeds and then work up from there. Try to aim to fit in a longer walk at the weekends and don’t forget to stretch before and after exercise.
There are various ways to train for your challenge that can be adapted to fit into your personal lifestyle. The training plan is based around gradually increasing your mileage through various forms of exercise. Below is a list of recommended training that will help build up your strength and core fitness and help you complete The Kent Charity Trek.
This will form the core of your training through regular walks, building up to longer distances and faster paces. Aerobic exercise trains the energy systems of the body that utilise oxygen and is used during all heightened activity. Don’t neglect hill training as this will be key to getting the body used to the terrain you can expect to experience.
Cross-training Just walking to build up fitness levels can become monotonous so consider using different forms of exercise to keep your training varied and interesting. Team and racket sports or cycling, for example, can work well within a training programme for an event such as this and means you don’t have to drop all of your other interests. The key is to undertake regular aerobic exercise with a long walk once a week.
If you have any concerns embarking on this serious training programme, or the challenge itself please consult your Doctor.
Individuals Training Tips
If you have like-minded friends then why not get them into training with you? You never know, they might enjoy it so much that they want to sign up with you! If you are training on your own, make sure you train during the day and take a mobile phone with you and the appropriate all-weather gear. You don’t want to be caught out.
Team Training Tips
When possible, try to take on your long training walks as a team. Get used to encouraging each other, what pace is right for your group, and understand how you will all interact over a long period.
Don’t worry if you feel that you are ‘off the pace’ This is not a race – it’s far more about completing the challenge.
Try and make your training fun. Vary where you go for your long walks. If you are short on ideas look at a walking websites to figure out some ideas in your local area or further afield.
Top Team Tip
Keep a team training diary, this will help you see how quickly you are achieving new distances, it will record your times and give you new goals to aim for. Get into the habit of filling it in immediately after your training walks so that you can properly chart your progress and keep yourself motivated.
Interval training can be best described as bouts of intense exercise interspersed with short rest intervals. The intensity and duration of the work intervals and the length of the rest periods dictates output and effectiveness of your training. Alternate between brisk walking or running for up to a minute, and then return to original pace for a set period before repeating.
Basic strength programmes adapt the body for more strenuous resistance training. This targets the major muscle groups, tendons, ligaments and joints to help prevent injury. Relevant exercises can include squats, bench press, overhead press, leg press and calf press, leg extensions and leg curls.
● Enjoy your training! Don’t see it as a chore, keep things fun and simple and you’ll enjoy the whole experience.
● Always warm up for at least 10 minutes be- fore undertaking any exercise and cool down for at least 10 minutes afterwards.
● If you miss a session then it’s not the end of the world. Don’t push yourself to try and make it up, 1 session won’t make too much difference in the end.
●Approach your training in a structured way, and make sure you allocate sufficient time to get some long and tough walks in at the weekend.