You will be trekking for long periods averaging 8 – 9 hours a day, over successive days often, in hot temperatures and over hilly and rugged terrain at times. This will require endurance, leg strength, aerobic fitness, stamina and a good, comfortable pair of well-fitting walking boots. The fitter you are the more you will enjoy the challenge ahead!
Use the hiking boots you will be using for the trek.
Look for trails / paths through woodlands or countryside in order to get used to trekking over stones and uneven ground. Also carry a rucksack weighing approx. 5kgs in which you should have a water bottle, some food, toilet paper and other personal effects. You may also want to train with a walking pole.
Walking poles can be very helpful for many reasons including all round balance, additional impetus uphill, stability and impact reduction on descents. If you decide to use walking poles spend some time learning how to use them properly to get maximum benefit. Click here to watch a short film explaining some of the techniques and benefits.
It is essential to find terrain which is hilly and has narrow paths climbing unevenly through the countryside. Many of the treks include trails fairly high along mountain sides. This will help overcome height concerns you may have. None of the walks are dangerous, however some of the paths do involve rock scrambling i.e. sometimes using both hands and feet but not requiring ropes.
It is vital to do at least one weekend trek of 7 hours each day across the most difficult terrain you can find within your area. This does not mean climbing Ben Nevis or Snowdon. The objective is to find a rural rocky / hilly / stony terrain so that your muscles can get used to long periods of walking.
For people who are overweight it is important to also use the gym (particularly the step machine) and do regular swimming during this period in order to reduce the waistline. This will make it much easier to walk for consecutive days.
Avoid blisters by keeping your feet dry and wearing appropriate socks. We recommend those made with fibres which draw moisture away from your skin – stay clear of pure cotton. Make sure you have correctly fitting boots and that they are laced up firmly, but not too tight. If you feel them rubbing, take action and apply blister prevention e.g. Compeed.
You will be cycling distances averaging 75km a day, over successive days, often in hot temperatures, and over hilly and rugged terrain, sometimes including dirt roads. This will require a degree of endurance, leg strength, aerobic fitness and a tolerance to sit on a bicycle saddle for up to 8 hours a day. You can help to avoid possible aches and pains by slowly building up your fitness. The fitter you are the more you will enjoy the challenge ahead!
Start cycling slowly and gently as this is one of the best ways to warm up. Once you are warmed up you can do some stretches. Warm down and stretching exercises after cycling are equally important.
If you have not cycled for some time, begin slowly; be realistic about your targets.
It is crucial to find stretches of hilly terrain in order to experience the difficulties of cycling uphill and learn how best to overcome them, and learn how to best use your gears on the hills.
As you get nearer the date of departure plan a number of longer rides – say three or four of an hour per week – and at least a three-hour ride during the weekend, ideally ride on consecutive days as well.
Please ensure your itinerary includes cycling on dirt roads, towpaths or bridleways. The importance of cycling on unsurfaced paths cannot be over-emphasized. Cycling “off road” is very different to riding on a tarmac surface. The way the bike feels, the use of gears and brakes are all different, so it is very important to experience this and learn the techniques needed.
Please make sure that your saddle is at the right height. A good starting point for this is to sit in your normal riding position (next to a wall, or with someone supporting you), put a HEEL on a pedal, rotate it to the lowest point of its revolution, at this point your leg should be just straight. When you ride, keep the BALL of your foot centred on the pedal, your knee should never fully straighten when riding. From this starting point, adjust the saddle up or down slightly to find the ideal position. If you can comfortably touch the ground when seated, your saddle is almost certainly too low – the result is likely to be tiredness and sore knees.
Learn to use your gears properly. Slightly faster pedalling against less resistance (lower gears) is almost always preferable to slower pedalling against more resistance (high gears). This can feel counter intuitive (“I’m not getting anywhere!”) but in the long run it is a far healthier approach. New cyclists are often unwilling to change gear as often as they should, so don’t be scared, play with your gears until it becomes second nature.
Hills – change gear as soon as you think you might need to, before you are pedalling hard and the chain and gear system are under strain. It’s much easier to change to higher gears on a hill if you have chosen too low a gear, than to go into lower gears if the climb turns out to be steeper than you expected. Practice makes perfect!
On your cycling training routines do not forget to take water, a small medical kit, repair kit and helmet with you at all times. Also pack food that you want to eat –energy bars and drinks are hardly ever necessary, and never taste as good as real food. Bikes on the event will have water bottle carriers. It would be very useful to practice taking the bottle out of a carrier while cycling so that you can have a drink without stopping – do this in traffic free areas if you are learning.
Although this may sound a bit daunting it is not a race and there are no prizes for the winner. We offer plenty of support and if you feel that you’ve had enough there will be a vehicle that you and your bike can travel in.
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a journey, especially to a distant and unfamiliar place. a distance, course, or area visited, the only thing you buy that makes you richer
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