Over the next few weeks, in the run up to Weston Hospicecare's Mercury Mendip Challenge, we are thrilled to offer you weekly training tips courtesy of Mountain Warehouse in Weston-super-Mare. The 3 members of staff in the store have signed up to take part themselves and have kindly written tips to get you prepared for this wonderful event.
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Wednesday, 6 June 2012
Food/Drink (Pre-event eating, and what to take with
pre-event eating is important to ensure your adequately
nourished and well fed, pre-event eating begins before the 'night before'. The
week before the event, eat more carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta and rice),
Sausage, mash & beans (potatoes)
spaghetti bolognese (pasta)
pasta bake (pasta)
chilli con carne (rice)
Above are 6 easy meals which should provide you with
sufficient nourishment, always add extra vegetables like sweet corn, carrots or
peas to make a more hearty meal.
The night before the event, myself and my walking partner
will be eating
Pork and apple sausages
mashed potato (added cheese, chive and garlic)
beans (added cheese)
For the event day you’ll need something high energy, and
light weight. Chocolate has a tendency to melt, but can be a great 'pick me up'
when your motivation is low.
Recommended food to take
Sandwiches- Ham Salad, Egg Mayonnaise, Coronation Chicken
Crisps (Not Ready Salted)
Water and fluids
You need to make sure you stay hydrated whilewalking, at all checkpoints are an
opportunity to get a drink, but remember to take you own. Water is best, but
for those who would like something with a bit more flavour you can take squash,
just ensure it is very dilute, 1 part squash to 5 parts Water.
Remember, food tastes the same when it is squashed (If not
better), so to save on space and weight, don’t take a lunch box. Cling film
will keep your food in one place, and remember to take a plastic bag with you
for you rubbish.
The benefits of walking sticks are highly under rated,
especially for those competing in the longer 20 or 30 miles.
The first 10 miles involve a steep set of steps at Ebbor
Woods, I've found this section a lot easier with the use of a pole, and
recommend one to others.
Other benefit for poles include downhill walking, by putting
your pole ahead in front of you, you'll will create a third point of contact to
the ground, if it is wet this will help your stability, and will also help you
to walk down hills quicker.
A recommended height for your walking stick will depend on
the individual, but as a rough guide, ideally when holding the pole your elbow
and arm should be at a right angle, with your elbow to your side.
Hats & sunglasses
You'll ideally want a peaked brim hat, a baseball cap would
be perfect. If the weather is colder then a fleece beanie will help to keep you
warm. With the current on and off weather we have been having recently a
baseball cap should be perfect, both keeping the sun out of your eyes, and
helping to reduce heat stroke.
Sunglasses are also recommended, not only to protect your
eyes from the sun, but there also perfect from stopping rain getting into your
You will be looking for a category 3 UV 400 protection
sunglasses, generally this is most sunglasses form £5 upwards.
Stretching/Cooling (Before the walk, and Cooling down after
Something else which is underrated and usually not thought
about. The action of stretching is to prepare your muscles for exercise, with
the long distances you will be travelling you will want to stretch as best as
you can. On countless occasions I've not warmed up or cooled down, and suffered
the consequences after, having to walk around with the aid of a pole, and not
being able to bend or sit down easily.
At the beginning of the walk stretch your legs, working from
your feet, upto your hips, when you start walking don't start off to quickly,
try to ease yourself into a sensible pace.
Like wise, when you finish the walk, don't sit down straight
away, walk around slowly and stretch your legs again.
Matt-Ryan's Personnel Kit List
Waterproof jacket (Sphere 2.5, 8000HH)
Waterproof Trousers (4000HH)
Thin Microfibre fleece (Nevis, polyester)
Thin T-shirt (90% cotton 10% Viscose)
Terrain Trousers Cut-offs (100% Nylon)
Walking boots (Viper, Leather)
Sunglasses (black tint)
Cooling Head tube
1litre bottle (not metal. Polycarbonate, water or VERY
Trousers should ideally be Cotton, Polyester, Nylon or a
mixture of the three. These will ensure you have a trouser that breaths (Helps
stop you from sweating), is very lightweight, and also quick drying. Its very
important not to wear jeans or denim when walking. When denim becomes wet it
can constrict, shrink and rub. Another recommendation would be zip-off trousers
as these will double up as shorts when it becomes hot.
I’ve seen people complete the 30 mile Mendip challenge in a
bin liner, and I’ve seen them complete it in a pakka mak. The bottom line
importance is being waterproof, a bin liner will be waterproof, but it wont be
the most comfortable. If your looking for a new waterproof jacket there are a
few key terms to look out for.
When a jacket says it has 'waterproof fabric' it doesn’t
necessary mean the jacket is fully waterproof, generally these jackets are
shower resistant, and wont put up well against the stronger rain out on the hills.
Always ask a shop assistant if the jacket is fully waterproof, not just shower
proof. Many label designers for outdoor company’s will write 'Waterproof' on
their labels, and technically there allowed, as long as the jacket offers a
waterproof quality, but it can be very miss leading for most customers.
Key words to look out for to ensure your buying a 'fully
another property to look out for in a jacket will one that
is breathable, by this I mean it will stop you sweating and therefore help to
prevent you from getting cold, also keeping you more comfortable while you
Layering System (Summing-up Clothing)
Its more sensible to wear many thin layers than a few thick
layers. You'll be able to maintain a sensible temperature by adding thinner
layer when your cold, and removing them when your hot. If you take one very
thick fleece, and become to warm, you will end up removing the layer and
cooling down to quickly, but this will not maintain a sensible body
In cold weather an ideal layer guide would be;
A warm weather guide
t-shirt (cool-max. ISO Cool or a high wicking material)
microfleece (polyester for breathibility)
waterproof jacket (ISO Dry 2000hh minimum)
zip off trouser (polyester for breathibility)
You'll need a bag which will fit all that you need to take
with you. As well as the kit list you may have a few things you would like to
add. See my kit list for any items you may have missed.
You will need something that will provide you with padding
and ideally a mesh back support. A chest and waist strap will stop the bag from
moving around, and reduce rubbing.
With the amount of kit you may be taking with you, it would
be ideal to have a bag with multiple smaller pockets rather than one large
compartment. If you have one
large compartment you would have to remove everything to get
the kit that's at the bottom, with smaller pockets you will be able to find
Another quick tip for bags, if you take a personnel first
aid kit, look for one which can attach to a belt or bag strap, this will ensure
you have your footwear it will be time to get a few steps under your feet. By
this I mean training. The best way to decide which challenge to choose (5, 10,
20 or 30 Miles) will be to monitor how far you are already walking in a day. A
perfect way to monitor this would be by using a Pedometer. Simply monitor the
amount of steps you would walk in an average day (Most pedometers monitor
distance too). If you find you are already walking over 5 miles already, then
the set your challenge to at least the 10 or 20 miler.
pedometer will also give you a rough guide of how far you need to walk on a
find how far you are walking in an average day, then aim to walk at least 30%
of your average day on a training walk.
on an average day you walk 5 miles, then aim to walk at least 1.5 mile on a
build this distance up so you are walking further and further each time. Also
try to incorporate training into your everyday work, using stairs instead of
lifts, or maybe getting off the bus one stop early.
is very beneficial, and will help you to not only strengthen your leg muscles
but also find a sensible walking pace, as well as properly break in your boots.
to at least go for a training walk once a week. Make your training more
enjoyable by going with a friend or family member, you can train and motivate
motivate walkers into training with friends, Mountain Warehouse Weston will be
selling Pedometers Buy One Get One Free at £6.99 (2 for £6.99)
most important piece of kit your going to need for your challenge is suitable
footwear. Choosing the correct footwear can be difficult, but I have a
few recommendations to get you started.
footwear will include Boots or walking shoes, I do not recommend trainers.
you a practical example, the beginning of the 10 mile challenge starts you at
kings wood, in Winscombe, this particular area is very rocky, and uneven, so I
recommend a walking boot which will give you good ankle support. It would be
unfortunate to begin your challenge, and twist your ankle only 1 mile in. A
boot that ties up to the ankle would be ideal, restricting the range of
movement and providing you with the support you need.
choosing the correct size, I recommend wearing the same walking socks that you
will be using on your challenge day, this way you will get the correct fit
first time. For beginner walkings I recommend double layered socks, helping to
reduce blisters, and for more experience walkers I recommend merino, or coolmax
will need your footwear to be a comfortable fit for you, usually with enough
room to wiggle your toes.
should easily be able to find a good pair of walking boots for £34.99, anything
less than this will in my experience sacrifice quality and comfort. Most good
Outdoor clothing stores should also be able to provide you with a few types of
socks to try on before you buy.
Part 2-Breaking In
old wives tales, the best way to break your new footwear in properly is by
wearing them. Try Walking up and down the stairs to begin with, and continue to
wear them for about 1 hour, then give your feet a rest. Continue to use your
footwear on short walks, ideally as part of your practice. A good
recommendation would be the short walking routes located around westons
woods/worlbury. At first your footwear may give you slight discomfort, but this
will usually pass once you have fully broken your footwear in. If however you
continue to feel uncomfortable, stop wearing them, give your feet a few days
rest and then continue to break them in.
try to wear the same socks, which you would be wearing for your challenge, this
will ensure your footwear is broken in properly for you socks, and will also
allow you to get a feel for your new socks, and then be able to decide in good
time as to wether or not the sock you have chosen are comfortable for you.
you really are worried about getting blisters, then you can simply wrap your
feet using zinc oxide tape. You can buy Zinc Oxide Tape for around £3.99 from
most pharmacies. It is an excellent solution if you feel discomfort or rubbing
in your footwear. Simply wrap around your heels, and anywhere your feeling
rubbing. You can then wear your chosen socks over the tape. I personally tape
my feet as a second precondition, your feet may not rub on a 5 mile walk, but
after 10, 20 or even 30 miles even the toughest of feet can get blisters.
any more advice, visit me in store at Mountain Warehouse Weston.