Paddy Pallin Preparation Session Recap – Injury Prevention

Paddy Pallin Preparation Session Recap – Injury Prevention

Thank you to everyone who came to the Paddy Pallin session on injury prevention. Health professional, long-time Oxfam Trailwalker volunteer and physiotherapist Tom from Back In Motion delivered the session and he’s put together a summary of key points to prevent injury on the trail. 

30km is the normal capacity for the body. How do we increase that threshold without injury or fatigue? Tom tells us how…


  • Chat to friends, family, colleagues that have done it before and ask as many questions as you can.
  • Build up your body’s tolerance so that it’s used to walking 100km. Start with 5km/10km, then continuously work your way up to a 30km.
  • Work out what category you’re in terms of your pace. Look at the Oxfam Training Guides.



  • Walk, walk, walk! Going to the gym is different than training. Be sure to include long distance bush walking in your training as well as your normal fitness routine (if you have one).
  • Be appropriate with your training. Walk in the day and in the night. Walk on uneven surfaces and on different terrain. If you’re sick of walking – jump in the pool or hydrotherapy pool!
  • Understand that the body needs a lot of recovery. Do a body scan after your training walks and note if/where your body feels pain. Resting is just as important as walking in terms of your preparation.
  • Conditions that you’re training in now, may not be the conditions on the event weekend. Get wet, get your shoes wet, get your raincoat on and be prepared for all weather conditions. We do live in Melbourne after all!
  • Active Warm Ups. Get your body warmed up and work the joints through their range, especially the hips and the spine. This has been shown to increase performance and prevent injury.
  • Keep a training diary. This will identify why an injury may have occurred. Write down where you walked, who you walked with, what the conditions were, how long it was (hrs), if you felt any niggles and the km walked.
  • Cut down the amount of training that you’re doing 2 weeks before the event to give the body a chance to be at its absolute best on event weekend.



  • Test your body. Find out where your pains are and note this.
  • Soreness’s that you have at 10km,30km,50km – they may be manageable now, but a little niggle that you have then is guaranteed to intensify as the walk goes on. Do not ignore your niggles! Go to the Podiatry/Physio tents at the checkpoints and get it sorted.
  • Acknowledge your past injuries. What kind of soreness is it? What are the triggers? How do I manage this on my own? Go to your physio or chat to Tom.
  • Hip pain and knee pain are the most popular at Oxfam Trailwalker. Balance in front of the mirror, or do a single leg squat and see if your hips can stay level. See if you have a ‘good leg’ or a ‘bad leg’ and see if you push off with one leg more than the other. It’s more often than not a hip weakness than a knee weakness. Strengthen your hips- see your physio and get it checked out.
  • Lifting weights is really important for balance and stability.



  • Have a plan. Start with ‘I think we’re going to do it in x amount of time, where are our breaks going to be? Stick to that plan but also recognise that it will be subject to change. Remember your team is only as fast as your slowest person.
  • Are we going to sleep or not? Prepare yourself with your plan. See what will work for your team and see where you’re all at in your training. If you’re feeling good, keep going. If you’re feeling tired – have a little rest. If you’re fit enough and strong enough to not have a break- then don’t take one. Sometimes it can take a while to get your body ready again. For the people who are really fatigued and feel like they can’t go on- it is important to have a rest and recuperate.
  • Walking poles? Borrow some poles and try them out with your training. They come in really handy when you’re feeling fatigued or if you’re walking on difficult terrain. They can take up to 10% pressure off your knees…and 10% pressure off your knees can save you from knee pain.
  • Have your Support Crew handy! You might be craving some foods that you didn’t organize for them to have, you may need them to pick up something along the way. Make sure you can communicate with them along the trail.



  • Have a variety of shoes.
  • Nothing can be new. Make sure everything is worn in and moulded to the shape of your foot.
  • Waterproof shoes and light shoes!


About The Presenter:

Tom is the Practice Director and a senior physiotherapist at Back In Motion Bayswater and Rowville and has over 25 years experience in private practice. In his early career, Tom developed many skills while working in a number of orthopaedic and rehabilitation hospitals including working in the UK. Tom started at Bayswater Physiotherapy Centre in 1997 and took over the practice in 2001. He expanded the practice and moved it to its current location in the Wantirna Mall.

Tom is currently the President of the Australian Physiotherapy Association Victorian Branch Council and is a committee member of the Physiotherapy Business Group. He is passionate about advocating for the physiotherapy profession and is involved in working groups with both Worksafe and TAC to develop effective return to work programs. Tom has been a volunteer for the Oxfam Trailwalker for over 15 years and is passionate about helping the walkers achieve success in the event with great preparation and also supporting them during the event.

Tom Hindhaugh, B.App. Sci (physiotherapy)


P: 03 9720 3007 |

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