Prepare well during the week leading up to the event. Eat correctly, make sure you drink plenty of water or electrolyte drinks and get plenty of sleep. Have a meeting with your team and support crew and make sure your support crew knows your schedule and has all the items you will want while out on the trail.
Arrive early for registration. You have plenty of mental stress ahead of you – no need to start the day in a rush.
Do NOT try anything new for the event!! Don’t wear new runners. Don’t try a new fancy drink you’ve never had before when your body is under physical stress.
Step by step
Take the event step by step, breaking it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Don’t think of it as ‘100km to go’, think of it as ‘only 9km to the next checkpoint’. Or, when it gets tougher, ‘only 10 more minutes and I can have a chocolate’.
Eye on nutrition
Make sure you and your team mates are eating and hydrating properly. Ensure you consume enough food during the event to keep you going. Avoid heavy, dry meals that can weigh you down as you continue walking.
Be prepared for hot and cold weather
Always keep the weather in mind! If it’s hot and sunny, use sunscreen and hats and keep up the fluids (electrolyte drinks in particular). Prepare for a change to cold and/or wet weather and have appropriate clothes ready. Have your support crew bring extra layers for you when you stop at checkpoints. If you remain in your damp running/walking gear, particularly at night, you can easily catch a chill.
Only go as fast as your slowest team member
Set the pace based on how the weakest person at the time is feeling. It may be frustrating, but it means your team – including you – will finish as a complete team of four. That slower pace just might be your saving grace.
Keep in phone contact
Use your mobile phones to advise your support crew when you are approaching. Let them know how everyone is travelling and what types of things you’ll want at the checkpoint. It will give them time to prepare.
Agree on a plan
Have your ‘day to night’ checkpoints clearly agreed on and make sure your support crew is prepared with all necessary equipment for walking at night – warm clothes, torches, spare batteries and spare bulbs. Don’t forget the spare batteries and bulbs!!!
Remember to rest
You should ensure you take adequate rest stops during the event. The desire to finish the event should never override the need for personal safety. No team member should continue if they feel that by doing so, they will be endangering their own health or safety, or that of other members of their team.
Early morning walking
Most walkers find the early hours of the morning the hardest time, particularly if you are walking on the second night. Take a rest at the nearest checkpoint and resume walking prior to the checkpoint closing.
Think about why you are doing Oxfam Trailwalker: It’s not just the personal challenge. You’re helping hundreds of people who experience this type of hardship on a daily basis.