Getting to grips with training! The hips don’t lie…

I was trying to think what the furthest distance I’d ever walked was – we all do more walking than we think we do, a day out sightseeing could see us walking a good few miles. But what about 20 or 30 miles, or 50km? I doubt I’ve ever walked more than that even with parents who are the country hiking types, it was the kind of upbringing when no matter how little money we had I probably had a pair of walking shoes/hiking boots. I exaggerate a little but you get the idea.

With that in mind one of the first things I wanted to do, actually even before I signed up for the 100km walk was to diarise a slot for a ‘biggish walk’ – I checked out the map and realise I could do a coastal walk from my house to the headland at the top of the Northern Beaches – Palm Beach (where Home and Away is filmed) and it would be about 25km (which incidentally is about 15.5 miles so not even near a marathon!… and only a quarter the distance of the big walk for hunger and yet it seemed like quite a distance to think about doing).

A couple of weeks ago my friend and I set out on a sunny Saturday morning across beaches, around headlands, up many steps, down some more steps, and pounding a few pavements for the best part of the day. By the end (six hours later) we’d covered 26-28km (a few wrong turns) and it had got dark. On the journey home I took a quick assessment of myself – I felt as though I could have walked much longer but my feet were sore, one had a blister and my hips were really tight and sore too. It brought it home to me that whilst I might have the stamina required and the willpower, my body was going to need some training for the terrain and the endurance – in just a quarter distance I had found repetitive strains occurring that I don’t usually get through boot camp or flat running. And also that I was going to have to be really careful picking the right shoes for this event!

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This weekend just passed I ran a 12km trail run – the first 12km run I’ve done and definitely the first trail I’ve entered. It was so much fun! It sure beats running along the roads and pavements – even if you have a pretty view. Instead I was running around a massive National Park, jumping over streams, over rocks, roots and down rugged tracks. I felt unstoppable and like a kid again.

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By the end I felt really great and I finished really strong – saving my last burst for the final 2km. However, sadly, my hips were extremely tight again – especially my right hip. I mean, a lot of muscles were sore but that’s to be expected, and I’m fairly used to it – in fact I don’t feel like I’ve worked hard enough if I don’t ache a little! But after a few hours wandering around doing shopping and other things that afternoon I was in agony and had to take some strong painkillers.

By three or four days later the pain subsided but I got myself booked in for my first Osteopath appointment. He taught me heaps of additional great stretches to do and told me that I had nothing to worry about it seemed to just be muscular strain. On top of that he told me I have good movement so that’s good to know! When you’ve never had to worry about it before you wonder whether someone is going to turn around and say “yeah you might be fit but your body is in a bad state – beaten up and overworked” or “you are completely buggered and shouldn’t be thinking about doing a 100km walk… at all”. I guess I’m lucky that my body works as it should, plus there is a lot to be said for keeping everything in moderation and always listening to your body.

So the last few weeks are already giving me lessons I can take into the walk itself – listen to my body, understand when to strive and when to reserve energy, but most of all to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, some amazing scenery and ultimately a life-changing, challenging experience.

So pumped for October 18th!! Bring on more training!!

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