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How to Prepare For Your First Long-Distance Walk

Once you've caught the walking bug, the only problem you'll have is deciding which adventure will be next. Until then, it can be difficult to know where to begin planning your first long-distance walk.

With this in mind, I would like to offer you a few tips to simplify your preparation for a successful long-distance hike.

Southern Upland Way

Make a Plan

- Start simple. Start to think about how you can add some additional walking into your daily routine.

- Baby steps. Be realistic about your goals, and build up your distances gradually

- Invest in good quality footwear. This is crucial for comfort AND for safety. Your first pair of hiking boots will preferably have good water-resistance and plenty of support and ventilation. Wear them regularly in the months leading up to the trek, as it is crucial to wear them in to avoid blisters.

- Invest in a good quality backpack. This is not only more comfortable but it also helps to prevent back problems.

- Do your homework. Choose a long-distance trail which is within your comfort zone - there are so many wonderful places to walk in this world!  For beginners, we would recommend a gentle walk like the Fife Coastal Path or the Berwickshire Coastal Path, which are both described as easy to moderate.

It is important to start with short distances so as not to get overwhelmed, disheartened, or cause yourself any unnecessary injuries. There are many great websites like WalkHighlands and National Trails where you can access extensive information on the various stages of walks and what to expect from the land around you. 

- Remember you will be walking for consecutive days. This will differ greatly to your usual walking routine and your body will react accordingly.

Newark Castle Fife

Practical Tips

Some ways in which to prepare your body and reach your goals:

- Get off the bus one stop early.

- Avoid the lift and take the stairs. 

- Go for a brisk walk during your lunch break.

- Explore the area around you on foot. Try new routes and head outside at every opportunity - even in bad weather.

- Do some basic strengthening exercises.

Extra Motivation

Sounds simple enough! However, if you need more motivation:

- Get a friend involved. Arrange to meet at an agreed time and place each week - you can catch up and get some valuable fresh air and exercise at the same time.

- Invest in a pedometer or fitness tracker. This will help you monitor your progress.

- Join a local hiking or rambling group.

- Listen to motivational music whilst walking. This can make a huge difference!

Goat Fell Arran

Hit the Trail

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the information provided here and it gives you some idea of the stamina and endurance that is required for this type of holiday. In a nutshell, your first long distance walk will require planning, preparation, and endurance. Be sensible, but remember to enjoy, achieve and conquer!

Amanda MacDonald
P.S. If this sounds appealing to you and you want to give it a go, then please get in touch! Absolute Escapes offer an extensive and varied list of self-guided walking holidays in the UK & Ireland which include accommodation, bag transfers, guidebook and maps, as well as a detailed information pack.
 

Old Man of Storr

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