In June 2019 I took part in the Action Challenge Peak District 100km Ultra Challenge. I signed up for the Challenge in November 2018 and at the time had been walking regularly for a few months. Nothing crazy, just 6KM round trip to work and home and at night I would walk my dog 5 or 6 km per day. On the weekend I would walk longer distances but never anything longer than 8km. I had got a buzz for walking though and really enjoyed getting out and about, so I thought I would set myself a goal and challenge for the following year.
I opted for the 100KM continuous walk – this basically means doing the 100KM in one go. There are options to for a 25KM or 50KM distance or can opt to split the 100KM over 2 days – 50MK, sleep, then 50KM the next day.
If you are thinking of taking on one of these 100km Ultra Challenges, then you need to put the work and get your body, muscles, joints and mind 100km ready. After I signed up and got to work getting ready, I completely ditched the car and would walk everywhere – this has now become a habit and I think I have only used a car 2 times in the last 6 months.
Training for A 100KM Walk
I did my research and read the guides that Action Challenge provide. I knew I needed to get miles (Kilometers) on my feet. I would take my dog out for longer walks in the morning and weekends. After he been taken out I would then go walk some more on my own. This would be for 3 hours or so to be begin with and then as time went on I would go walking for 5 or 6 hours at a time. I would walk along the canal in Leicester and into the countryside, across fields and follow public pathways – this would sometimes be a little mini adventure each and time and it’s great to get of the city and away from the crowds.
Training On Inclined Treadmill
One bit of advice I would offer is to join a gym. I have now joined and gym and using the treadmill and a high % incline is a very good workout and will really strengthen the muscles in the legs. I have read on some blogs and forums that they don’t recommend it and that you should be walking/training on outdoor terrain. Well, that’s fine and dandy if you live in the countryside, in the Peak District, in the Cotswolds or some other picturesque part of the land. Not everyone does though, and there is nothing wrong with using a treadmill – done at the right pace and at the right incline it can be a epic workout.
Now I have built up some experience and endurance I tend to bump up the incline to 15% which is the highest level on my gym’s treadmill and set the pace at about 6.8kmph. After about 20 minutes I drop the incline to 10% and up the pace to 7kmph, after another 20 minutes I drop it to between 5-7% and up the pace to 7.2-7.5kmph.
If you you are starting from novice level, then find a level of incline which you finding taxing, but can maintain for 15-20 minutes. As you build up leg strength and endurance you can increase the incline and the time you spend on the treadmill
Mini Stepper Training
Another bit of I recommend is a mini stepper to have in your house. I have one in my kitchen and one at work. When I have a spare 30 minutes or so, I get on my stepper and get my legs pumping. This is just something extra, not by any way is it a main source of training. Its a good added extra that you can do whilst watching a bit of TV. I got my mini stepper from Amazon.co.uk, they no longer have my exact model available, however there are loads to choose from and mine cost about £40 and is similar to this one.
Practice Walking With Trekking Poles
I stupidly didn’t take any trekking poles and my first 100KM challenge. I noticed lots aof other walkers were using them and for the first 40KM I thought why would I need them. After the halfway point, when my knees and ankles were sore, I wished I had got a pair.
When I signed up for my second challenge, I jumped on Amazon and ordered the Black Diamond Trail Poles. When I first used them, They took a little while to get used to and that is why I suggest training with them. Practice walking up and down hill with them and find a pace and technique that works for you.
If you use the poles for a extended period of time you will start to feel it in your forearms. if you wamt to build up forearm strength and endurance then you can use some dumbbell and do hammer curls. This doesn’t need to be with a heavy weight, if you are using lower weights, then just increase the number of repetitions.