Training to Walk


What to Wear?

The most essential thing is to get your footwear right.   Correct & well fitted footwear is essential for your own personal comfort when walking such a distance.  Walking is not nearly as much fun with sore feet and wearing well-fitted shoes can prevent soreness and injuries. There are lots of shoes around that are specifically designed for power walking and it is worth going to a specialist shop.  Go Outdoors in Basingstoke for example. Walking shoes should provide flexibility and lots of support and cushioning around the ball of the foot.  Make sure your toes have plenty of room as power walking causes you to push off from your toes.  Your shoes should be a bigger size than you usually take, and it is worth bearing in mind when you are fitted that your feet are bigger at the end of the day than at the beginning. And a small note about socks!  Through trial and error you will discover what is most comfortable for you but make sure you wash the socks before you wear and avoid wearing new socks for the walk itself! For clothing, wear lose-fitting, comfortable clothes without seams that may rub.  Layers are always a good thing, to add or shed as the temperature changes and your muscles warm up.  Some form of waterproof is worth taking, too.

Power Walking

Walking is the best possible way to exercise safely and power walking will get you fit, increase your stamina and raise your energy levels.  To gain aerobic fitness you need to raise your heart rate by walking at as fast a pace as you can without feeling uncomfortable.  Use your arms, as this will not only help with pace but will increase the aerobic benefit.  Listen to your body; if you start by walking too fast you could develop shin splints, therefore try to steadily build up pace and stamina and always stretch before and after.  Remember to eat healthily as a part of your training programme.  Keep up the 5 fruit and veg a day!


The amount of training each individual does is, of course, their own decision but every walker who enters the walk on the day should have completed at least one 13 mile walk in training.  20 miles is a challenge and it would not be fair on your body not to be prepared. The fitter you are, the less time you will need to train for the walk.  The programme below is for a reasonably fit person, planned over three months.  Each week there is a total target of miles to achieve, spread through the week in a number of walks.  For example, in week one you will want to walk a total of 11 miles over three days.  So you would walk on three occasions during the week, walking 3 miles on the first walk, 3 miles on the second walk and 5 miles on the third walk of the week. If you are a beginner and perhaps not feeling fit, you may want to begin by walking a total of 7 – 10 miles the first week or two and then move on to the programme below, but perhaps doing it over four days instead of three.  So the suggested walks for week one would be:  1 mile, then 2 miles, then 2 miles, then 2 miles and then in week 2 you may want to achieve 2 miles, 2 miles, 3 miles, 3 miles.  It is always preferable to walk one day then rest the next and rest for two days after a longer walk.  The programmes are only a guide in an ideal situation, and pay no regard to fitting in with real life!

Training Programme for Fitter Walkers

Week Walk 1 Walk 2 Walk 3 Total miles
1 3 3 5 11
2 3 4 6 13
3 3 4 7 14
9 mile walkers continue Week 3 until event
4 6 6 8 20
5 6 6 8 20
6 6 6 9 21
7 7 7 11 25
8 7 7 13 27
9 7 7 14 28
10 7 7 15 29
11 5 8 13
12 5 5 10


Training Programme for Beginners and 4 mile walkers

Week Walk 1 Walk 2 Walk 3 Walk 4 Total miles
1 1 2 2 2 7
2 2 2 3 3 10

Beginners join schedule above. 4 mile walkers repeat until event In the two days before the walk itself, relax and stretch, avoiding any aerobic exercise like walking, or swimming.  Hydrate your body: drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol.  Eat lots of carbohydrates like whole wheat pasta, brown rice, oats, etc. For those that may have aches and pains we recommend you should contact your GP.   Best of luck!