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How to prepare to walk 100 km in 24 hours?

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  • How to prepare to walk 100 km in 24 hours?

    I just signed up for a walking event in 3 months where we walk 100 kms in max. 26 hours. I am not an athlete, I even haven't reached normal primal fitness yet. I walk daily, but so far only short distances (about 3 kms) and do a longer hike on weekends (but not more than 10 kms).

    What can I do to prepare my body for that event? Keep up walking, start sprinting, longer hikes once a week. On which muscles should I focus with my strength training?

    Any strategies for the 100 kms? What to eat? They provide bread, fruit, chocolate, sausages and drinks along the way, but I would prefer to carry something primal and only get fruit and drinks at the 4 supply stations.

    I don't want to stress my body during the preparations, but I am aware that the event itself will be a high stress situation. So any tipps are welcome!

    Thanks!
    Turnstone's world - not really a journal...



  • #2
    It's quite a distance but doable. It will kick the shit out of you, be warned. Carry as little as possible, eat the sausages and chocolate.

    Vaseline (petroleum jelly) on the feet to help prevent blisters. Take off your rings, your hands and feet are going to swell. Bring spare socks.

    Don't be afraid of the sag wagon and in heavy rain or high heat I'd consider not doing it. (Rain for the blister potential, heat for the obvious reasons-only 4 stations for water/food?)
    Wheat is the new tobacco. Spread the word.

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    • #3
      While I've never done 100km walks, I tried 40km hikes a couple of times in January. These were on moderately hilly terrain, at altitudes ranging from 4500 to 8000 feet, and done more for sightseeing - both times I finished them in seven and a half hours (inclusive of a half-hour lunch stop). I didn't train for these, they were spur-of-the-moment things, but I do walk at least 6 km most days, going up to 12-15km hill hikes on weekends. I only had moderate fatigue and no pain the next day. This after about 6 months of a reasonably primal lifestyle and no special training. Incidentally, this would have been inconceivable for me before that.

      I think simply following the blueprint would set up most people with the basic fitness and reserves. I would imagine that for an exceptional distance such as 100km, the run-up months would need to be structured carefully, including sleep and recovery-on-the-fly training. Since it is not a running event, it may be desirable to limit sugar/carbs on the march and focus on efficient fat burning and appropriate hydration.

      Regarding preparation (disclaimer: I'm not a fitness expert!) - I feel that walking long-distance to train for walking long-distance is not necessarily the best way. It would be much more important to prepare your system to take the stress of the event - which means suitable strength exercises, recovery heart rate monitoring, a thoroughly primal eating plan, some hill climbing and sprinting etc. I'm sure others on this forum would have better advice.

      Also, are you going to do this barefoot or with some sort of footwear? On what sort of surface? I did a 12km hill walk circuit (which involved some severe climbing and plenty of undulating trailwork) on 2 occasions last month - once with hiking sneakers and the second time with Adidas barefoot trainers (Vibram clones - can't get the grand originals here in India). The second walk was far faster, with no pain at all. Interesting.

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      • #4
        That's 60 miles. A normal day's march for a infantry soldier is 30 miles, carrying 30lbs of kit. So you should be able top manage 60 miles on a one-off basis, but it will take 24 hours, you will not want to carry anything but the very minimal of stuff with you, and you will not be up to fighting the next day or the next week! Harold Godwinson made that mistake, after defeating Harold Hardrada at Stamford Bridge he marched 250 miles to Hastings too quickly and got shot in the eye for his trouble!

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        • #5
          Thanks for your comments!

          @roadanni you can be jealous when I have finished this thing! I guess stamina is the only thing that counts after 60 or 70 km, but I am not sure if I have enough of it. I will try my best!

          @IvyBlue I am planning to bring at least 1 l of water with me. I can refill that at each supply station. I have to find out in the coming weeks how much water I need. The walk is at the beginning of June, it can be quite cold or we can have a first heat wave...

          @JayantS Thanks for your tipps! Do you have any special reommendations on which muscles I should focus for strenght training? Legs, hips, core?
          I am planning to wear minimalist shoes. I just got a pair of Merrel Trail Gloves, and if I like them they will be my shoes. It's mostly forest trails, some ups and downs in hilly terrain.
          Turnstone's world - not really a journal...


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          • #6
            I've done a 25 mile hike with a heavy pack over extremely rough terrain and that was an ass kicker. I've done many many shorter hikes with less gear and those are fun.

            100K is challenging, but doable. Wear the lightest footwear that is appropriate. Change socks frequently, keep your feet dry. Stay ahead of blisters. Walk for 50 minutes, stop at least 10, change socks, air out your feet, eat, drink, and start again. Go by time, not distance.

            Carry a camelback with water and some food. Dress appropriately for the weather, and most importantly pace yourself. You'll probably want to start out too strong and walking too fast. Deliberately slow yourself the first couple of hours. That energy you save in the beginning will be very welcome 50 miles down the road.

            As far as the primal food thing, don't limit yourself during the event except for things that give you immediate problems. I'd probably skip the bread but everything else I'd eat. Don't try something like this while also being in calorie deficit. You're recovery will suffer for it and ultimately put you further back on your fitness progress.

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            • #7
              Some good points coming in - now I am tempted to try that sort of walk myself!

              From my own experience, regular core development (the planks as explained by Mark are great for this), along with lots of hill climbing can add a lot of endurance. A bodyweight squat routine can contribute (again, Mark has a good primer). Some flexibility work - the full squat is good to train for. Also, it may be important to consciously avoid a heel-first foot strike as this can cause early injuries (what sort of terrain will this be on?).

              All the best!

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              • #8
                Hey mate sounds like you are doing the oxfam 24 hour walk, if it is the hills will be ok not extreme. Had a couple of friends that have done them, no big issues just do plenty of walking leading up to the event and do some night walks as well to get use to walking on trails at night. Sounds like you are there already with your walking, maybe throw in a long walk 5-6hours) once a month leading up to the event

                Its more of a mental challange as well as physical. Good shoes, maybe bike shorts/skins to stop chaff. You should be able to maintain 5km per hour so thats 20 hours walking with out stops.

                Cheers
                "Times fun when you are having Flies" Kermit the frog

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                • #9
                  Good luck Turnstone.

                  I agree that core strength training is a good idea. Yes, legs, hips, core for strength. Lunges and squats especially.

                  Also for building stamina, cross training that is non-weight-bearing, e.g. swimming or cycling, will complement the walking and give you plenty of variety.
                  F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

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                  • #10
                    All this advice is great. I also suggest (delicate subject warning) to bring your own TP in case the restroom stations are out.
                    Training on hills will make things seem relatively "easy" as well. Good luck!

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                    • #11
                      No advice, just admiration. You're going to remember this for the rest of your life.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for all your good tips, suggestions and wishes!

                        For those interested, the event is called "Horizontale Jena" (the web page is in German, only). We walk through the hills one time around the German city Jena. So there are parts of the way which are relatively flat, but we have to go up and down the hills several times. I expect forest trails where you have to watch your step because of roots and stones, but nothing which requires special skills or heavy boots.

                        The last couple of days I did some walking to see where I am right now. Friday 9 kms in flat terrain, I needed about 2 hours (inkl. shopping for eggs at my local farmer). I wore my new Trail Gloves, and after that my feet and legs hurt a bit. Saturday 11,5 kms in hilly terrain. 2:45 hours, inkl searching for one Geocache. My feet felt better and get used to the new shoes, and I was a little bit tired but not as much as friday. Later in the evening I did another short 3.5 kms without problems. Yesterday 4.2 kms in easy (but not completely flat) terrain, 45 mins. A good speed, but I doubt I can keep it for much more than 2 hours. And I developed a heavy soreness in my glutes. Now I know which muscle I need to work on

                        I will build up my walking distance each week. 5 kms more each week and I will have done at least one 50 kms walk before the event. I guess sprinting for endurance and strength training are more important, but knowing that I can do 50 kms without much problems will help me with the mental parts of this challenge. I read a few articles from people who did the walk in former years, and after 50-60 kms all that counts is your willpower and stamina...

                        Plus I can figure out how and what to eat on long distances. I have a 2 l bottle similar to a camelbak, and I am planning to bring a 0.5 l Nalgene bottle to make iskiate (water mixed with chia seeds, lime and raw cane sugar). I want to bring my own energy bars (similar to the recipe Mark posted in his blog), but I have to figure out if my body can handle them after hours of walking.

                        Does anyone has a suggestion how to handle the breaks? I read that some people just grab something to eat and drink and walk on. Sitting down on the provided benches seems like a not so good idea. Laying down for 10 minutes with the feet elevated feels like the right thing to do, but I am not sure.
                        Turnstone's world - not really a journal...


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                        • #13
                          Sounds really interesting!

                          Sitting down on a bench .... not the best thing to do, but how about deep-squatting for a couple of minutes? Seems to work for me. Mark has a video somewhere.

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                          • #14
                            This is how you prepare:


                            Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Calorie Counter

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                            • #15
                              Good point, Jreyes2265! But I guess I only need it on longer preparation walks and on the big day.
                              Turnstone's world - not really a journal...


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