I learned to walk I believe before my first birthday and have managed to retain that skill ever since, so why the heck do I need to train for a walk? Well if it was only that easy and everyone could just get up and walk 20 miles a day every day for 2 months I wouldn’t be in this position at all.
For this walk and previous ones I began training after Christmas and gradually built up distances with different terrain and carrying a backpack. Over the last couple of years I have also started going to the gym 3 times a week under the guidance of my son-in-law Joe (Coreworx PT) working on overall strength and conditioning which has made a real difference.
So I can be fit and ready to do the distance but can I deal with the psychological challenge of such a long walk? I think the key is not to get too far ahead, just take a day at a time and not worry about the fact that I’ve still got over 1000 miles to go after one week if walking. Also not to worry about injuries, blisters etc, which will surely happen at some point, just deal with each situation as it arises.
The bottom line is being confident that I can get up every day and feel fresh enough mentally and physically to go and do another 20 miles, whatever the weather and whatever the terrain. Having been through some pretty horrible (but exhilarating) experiences on past walks, at least I know I can handle the toughest conditions and get through safely.
I get asked a lot how do I manage to do it on my own? Not an easy one to answer, but I think about loads of different things, constantly planning ahead and evaluating my situation. On new routes more time is spent making sure I don’t get lost (yes it happens!). Sometimes I listen to music on my IPod, other times I’m just comfortable in my own company testing myself against the elements. There are one or two other secrets which I may disclose should I ever write a book. Having said all that, I am equally happy walking with others as company, it provides a different variety of experiences to enjoy.