everything you need to know to walk 100 miles - Centurions1911

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everything you need to know to walk 100 miles

Race Walking > Training

Training advice and tips

Centurions can offer a lot of advice to anyone embarking on their training for a 100 mile or 24 hour race.
A 100 mile race usually has a 24 hour time limit, but there are also 24 hour races - ie how far can you go in 24 hours! Subtle difference - a difference which perhaps only your feet can determine!
For Centurions, walking 100 miles within the 24 hour limit is the goal!

In the UK, many Centurions "cut their teeth" on Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA) and other challenge walks and still participate in these events which are highly enjoyable. Whilst it is not always possible to maintain  "proper" race walking technique as they are on footpaths and country trails and follow a route description or map, they do range from around 20 to 100 miles in distance. This means you can build up your distance (and stamina) in stages.

There are many non-competitive walks in the "walking calendar" here in the UK and abroad. and some are listed in the Fixtures & Events Calendar.

Walkers may also build up to a 100 miles by competing at 20km and 50km races. Whilst there aren't many of these "in between" distances on offer in the UK, an alternative is to look to Europe... France, Holland, Belgium, etc, for races and "challenge" walks to try.


So HOW do you train for a "100" (or even a 24 hours)?
follow the good advice below and read the advice on racing, training, health and nutrition for the ultradistance athlete - written by experienced ultra distance athletes and coaches. [see links opposite for more tips]
Check out the  fixture list and go walking!

Q. How do I train for the 100?
  • Read articles by the experts! or at least seasoned Centurions...
  • Join a race walking club and enjoy the benefits of camaraderie - advice - someone to train and race with - and so much more.
  • A point to remember is that, time out on your feet is always good endurance training  - no matter the speed you are walking.

Q. What do I wear?
  • Anything that is comfortable, and as with any distance, make sure that nothing chafes - seams, labels, fasteners, etc. Whilst you have 24 hours, you don't want to squander that time changing clothes. Wear lightweight man-made fibres as they dry out quicker than cotton and wool.
  • You will need a variety of clothing (especially in the UK where the weather is variable).
  • If it is a "summer" event:  vest/Tshirt, shorts, long leggings for the night (this is permissible) thermal or lightweight fleece top or sweatshirt, waterproof top and leggings, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen (well you never know!) spare socks/thin gloves. Err on overkill and take 2 of everything - right down to underwear.
  • For a spring/autumn event -  as above but even warmer clothes eg woolly hat, warmer gloves, windproof/rainproof jacket, etc.
  • If you are not sure about your trainers - take a spare (larger) pair, as your feet will swell! Some brands do wide fitting trainers which may help.

First Aid:
  • blister kit,  vaseline, taping plaster. Many continental races always provide excellent paramedics who know what they are doing - especially when treating blisters. If you have annoying "hot spots" on your feet - use something like Compeed from the off. See more info on blisters. Kinesio tape is also good for problem muscular issues.
  • Keep a "kit list" for your races and amend as necessary after each race eg - "didn't need this" or  "could have done with that" etc. Especially if you are going to make a habit of doing these 100s !

Q. What should I eat and drink?
Well, each to his/her own!  Some walkers eat shed loads, others don't!
  • Food: When out training you should experiment of what you can eat and tolerate.   Not all race organisators these days provide a vast array of food as they expect the athlete to bring their own.
    So think outside the box... just in case the feeding station is empty so... bananas, Tuc biscuits, bread and cheese, bread and jam...some form of carbohydrate is a must to keep you going for 24 hours, whether it be rice pudding, mashed potato, pasta - these all slip down easily.
  • Drink: water, coke, lemonade...are all popular choices, as are commercial products such as Isostar or other isotonic drinks. Test these drinks out first on a long training walk. A hot cup of something during a wet or cold night can work wonders - soup, hot chocolate, tea, coffee....
  • Make sure that during very hot days, the drink is not ICE cold - this can have an adverse affect on your stomach. Lemonade or peppermint is very good when suffering from stomach upsets. Coke (coca cola) is sometimes more effective watered down or flat.

Q. How often should I eat and drink?

  • As a rule, start drinking after 30 minutes (especially if it is hot). The general rule, is that if you start to feel thirsty - its too late.  If it's a short lap, drink ever 30 minutes or so (not every lap) ...but don't over hydrate.
  • Eating comes a bit later, but again it depends on personal preferences, TWO hours into the race - you should be definitely begin to think about re-fuelling.

Articles and advice on
Training for Ultras

Extreme weather training

Nutrition & Health Matters
  • ICE (In Case of Emergency)

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