Hi, folks! Today’s blog will consist of all my tips on how to do long distance walking properly! I know I was a novice when I got started, but it’s something that should be accessible to everyone if you follow these tips and take it in strides, pun very much intended. With that being said, any long distance walk can be treacherous if you don’t take precautions and follow advice, so here we are.
I know from my own experience that practice is very, very important when you’re thinking about taking a really long walk. Unless you’re already fit as a fiddle, you have to log some miles before you hit the road. I personally found that I had to start with shorter walks of a mile or two every day for a month or so before I could really handle anything longer. I think the best thing to do is find time for at least half an hour of walking every day, to keep your body in the swing of things. As long as you take different routes, keep a brisk pace, and take some hills along the way, you’ll be well on your way to a longer trek.
Long distance walks usually involved some night walking or at least some dusk and dawn miles, since you’re going to need to cover a lot of ground every day. I know on my trip, I was often up before 5 am and walking until sundown. So if you can, walk parts of the route or all of it in stages before the big hike, so you can figure out landmarks, trouble spots and that sort of thing. In any case, careful planning goes a long way, so you can mark out daily routes that have some breaks and not too many tough stretches all a once.
Wherever you’re going, I can’t stress enough that it’s essential to bring clothing for the weather. Here in B.C., things can change in the blink of an eye, so I walked with a few different layers in my pack, a fleece pullover, a rain coat with a hood, and a windbreaker for warmer days, and so forth to have some options. I didn’t camp out, so I didn’t need to bring super cold weather clothes for staying warm at night, but if you’re going to be backpacking instead of just walking, that would be important too.
Finally, a sturdy pair of sneakers or boots are your best friend on the trek. I recommend Merrell hiking boots, as they’ve served me well for the past year and a half. Anything with good traction, arch support and cushioning will serve you well though. I’ve also learned that you really want to have that finger space behind your heel to account for how much your feet will swell in the course of walking all day. The key thing is to make sure your ankle is stable and your toes are protected while you’re trekking, because those are the main injury areas to walkers.
I hope these tips are helpful, and good luck with your long walks!