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Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Tip 8

Food/Drink (Pre-event eating, and what to take with you)
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), recommended meals

Sausage, mash & beans (potatoes)

spaghetti bolognese (pasta)

Korma/Tikka/curry (rice)

Hotpot (potato)

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 ect...

Sausage Rolls

Crisps (Not Ready Salted)

Nuts (Unsalted)


Boiled Sweets

Cereal bars

Fruit (Bananas/Apples/Oranges)

Water and fluids
You need to make sure you stay hydrated while  walking, 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.

Tip 9

Walking sticks
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.

Tip 10

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 eyes.

You will be looking for a category 3 UV 400 protection sunglasses, generally this is most sunglasses form £5 upwards.

Tip 11

Stretching/Cooling (Before the walk, and Cooling down after the walk)
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.

Tip 12

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 dilute squash)

2x walking poles

First-aid kit (Inc Zinc Oxide Tape + Sun cream)


Coolmax walking socks x2


whistle (emergency alert)

O/S Map 182 (1:50 000)

18 litre Rucksack (chest & waist strap)




Spare laces (emergency)

Rubbish Bag

Tip 4

Trousers (Types and Suitability)
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.

Tip 5

Jackets (Waterproof)
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 waterproof' jacket'



2000HH (Minimum)

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 walk.

Tip 6

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 temperature.

In cold weather an ideal layer guide would be;

base layer



micro fleece

waterproof jacket

Travel trouser


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)

Peaked cap

Tip 7

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 things easier.

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 easy access.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Tip 3
Training & Pedometers

Once 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.

A pedometer will also give you a rough guide of how far you need to walk on a training sessions.

Again, 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.


If on an average day you walk 5 miles, then aim to walk at least 1.5 mile on a training session.

Gradually 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.

Training 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.

Try 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 each other.

To 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)


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Tip 1
Footwear Part 1 Buying And Fitting

1st week- buying the correct boots

The 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.

Suitable footwear will include Boots or walking shoes, I do not recommend trainers.

Giving 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.

For 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 walking socks.

You will need your footwear to be a comfortable fit for you, usually with enough room to wiggle your toes.

You 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. 


Tip 2
Footwear Part 2-Breaking In

Forget 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.

Always 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.

If 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.

For any more advice, visit me in store at Mountain Warehouse Weston.