Training for Long distance walking.

  • If you are planning to have new shoes for the walking event get them as far in advance as possible. Wear them for short walks to start with. Your feet need to get used to the shoes and the shoes need to shape to your feet.

  • Buy shoes with room for expansion. You will be walking many miles each week as part of your training. Unless you have been walking distances for sometime your feet will change, they will spread a little and may even get longer. During each walk they will expand so give them room. 

  • Wear appropriate clothing, loose fitting layers to take off as you get warm and put back on later, to avoid getting too cold when you finish. Good socks.

  • Wet weather gear (this is Cornwall) Please do a weather check before you set out.

  • If you are training in the dark make sure that you can be seen.

  • If you are setting out for a long training walk (40 minutes +)water is essential, and for very long walks (1 ½ hours+) you need to refuel so take some food.

  • If you are walking on your own take a phone and make sure that someone knows your route.

  • Get some blister plasters. You will hopefully never need them, but a well used blister plaster can keep you to your training plan in comfort.

  • Start with distances that you are comfortable with.

  • Do not increase your distance too quickly

  • Aim to walk/ be active on 4 -6 days of the week

  • Walking is a full body activity, your body needs time to adapt. Build a good foundation in your joints, muscles and bones before adding to your mileage.

  • Every walk no matter how short should start with a warm up walk and joint flexing. Then finish with a cool down walk and some stretches.

  • Do not carry weights or water bottles in your hands. Put anything you need to carry in a hip bag or back pack. Carrying a water bottle will change the symmetry of your walk and can lead to more aches and pains.

  • Breathe……… your muscles need oxygen

 Useful kit

A watch to time your walks and intervals 

A GPS to record accurate mileage and speed (not essential there are many smart phone apps that will do this now)

small first aid kit, a foil blanket can be very useful, blister plasters essential.

Money, Phone, Water, food, rain jacket, small pack to put it in.


 Speed (tempo)

  • Walk faster than your usual pace 

  • Start with a warm up walk 10 minutes then flex your joints

  • Aim to walk faster than you usually do. Take account of the length of the walk, you need to be able to make the distance.

  • Cool down for the last 10 minutes of the walk then stretch
  • For longer walks extend the warm up and cool down by 5 minutes

Intervals - to boost your cardiovascular fitness

  • This can be done using time, distance or simply picking a landmark up ahead (post box, lamp post etc) you are going to increase your speed and probably puff your self out for a short distance/ time then return to your normal walking pace.

  • Chose your method the plan gives suggested times, you may like to start with landmarks.

  • Walk the intervals at your maximum. You may experience shin tightness. You should feel your heart rate rise

  • Warm up well and walk at your usual walking pace between intervals

  • Cool down for the last 10 minutes of the walk

  • Stretch
  • The plan gives the distance of the walk, the nimber of intervals to do within the walk and the length of the interval.


  • A long one
  • Start with a warm up walk 10 -15 minutes then flex your joints

  • Just walk naturally, remember this is a long one you are getting your body ready for the challenge ahead.

  • Allow enough time to walk at 3 miles an hour so a 12 mile walk could take 4 hours. You may finish sooner.

  • Stretch well after this walk and re stretch in the evening

Recovery walk

  • A short, slower walk to warm up your muscles and stop them seizing up.

  • Remember to warm up gently and stretch for this walk too.

Other Activity- chose an activity for one day a week when you are not walking here are some ideas

  • Your regular fitness class

  • Swimming

  • Cycling

  • A strength session at the gym



  • Create a good posture, with your head raised and your shoulders rolled back. Your lungs will have more room for oxygen.

  • Your eye gaze should be ahead surveying the ground for potential trip hazards, but not looking down at your feet.

  • Relax your shoulders and allow your arms to swing freely from the shoulders. Hunching your shoulders creates tension and uses energy that you want to keep for walking.

  • You can create great momentum with a good arm swing. But do not swing excessively. A gentle bend at the elbow of a little less than 90° is ideal

  • Gently contract your abdominal muscles and buttocks.

  • Keep your stride short, many people over stride. It is quicker to walk with a shorter stride.

  • Plant your heel and roll the foot through to push of with the toes for every step. Your legs are natural springs with muscles coiled ready to push you off in to the next step.
  • Smile

 Warming up

  • Walk gently for 5 -10 minutes depending on the length of the walk 
  • Not pushing your speed, allow your muscle to warm up gradually.  
  • Start to flex your fingers, rotate your wrists, turn your head from side to side. You can stop to do this or keep walking
  • Stop and reach up over your head leaning to one side then the other. hold each side for 8- 20 seconds
  • Twist your torso, gently swing your arms from one side to the other twisting at the waist. do not be too dramatic we are just trying to wake your muscles up.
  • Lift your knees high to the front 10 times each side
  • Gently kick your feet up at the back trying to tap your buttocks with your heel, 10 times each side
  • Standing on one leg rotate your other ankle one way for a count of 5 then back the other way, swap sides.
  • You should now have created warmth in your joints and muscles.
Cool down and stretch
  • For the last 5-15 minutes of your walk, reduce your speed and intensity.
  • When you finish take time to stretch the muscles you have used please see separate stretching page.