Challenge: Walking 30 miles in a day.

Route: Holyhead to Caernarfon

Challenge Carried out April 2017

Following the death of our daughter, I decided to Walk the length of Wales, I challenged myself to walk 30 miles in a day. I find Walking a great way to help me out mentally. I did this with a giant pink unicorn on my back to raise money for the charity 2 Wish Upon A Star.

Training for walking 30 Miles.

To get into some kind of shape, physically and mentally, I would walk with my wife every day on average of 6 miles a day. We varied our routes throughout South Wales to keep interested and motivated. It’s amazing what you see when you are on foot and there are things you miss from your everyday travels whilst in a car. We built up once or twice a week to 10-12 miles. The week before the walk I did a training walk of 25 miles. The training walk was of similar terrain to what I would be undertaking and was a good gauge of the clothing, nutrition and water that would be needed.

Mental Preparation

It is important to note that this challenge is just as mentally taxing as it is physical. Your mindset has to be focused on completing a 30-mile walk. I enjoy walking and will walk whenever I have an opportunity but this is taking it up a notch. I’m no slouch but I’m not an elite athlete either. I work in an office and go to the gym a few times a week. I believe that anyone is capable of this challenge but you have to commit and focus on the end goal. The mindset I had was that I wasn’t going to fail this challenge, no matter what. The stubborn part of me could have been my downfall, which I’ll explain later.

Conditions

Conditions were perfect for walking at the outset. Sunshine and a breeze, we started first thing in the morning about 7.30 am.  It was a very warm day for an April day and by midday could feel that the conditions were taking their toll.

Terrain and Route

The first part of the walk of Wales took part from Holyhead on Anglesey to Caernarfon, North Wales. This is a very flat route and was a mixture of pavements and roads. You have the amazing Snowdonia mountain range as a backdrop for the walk. In my opinion, Wales has some of the best scenery on the planet.

Clothing

For the challenge, I wore a lightweight T-shirt, some lightweight walking trousers. I swear by under armour undershorts and wear them for all forms of exercise. I used to experience chaffing whilst running but since wearing these shorts it has prevented any occurrence.  At midday, because of the sunny conditions, a cap was vital to keep the sun out of the eyes and keep the sun off the head.

Socks

A pair of lightweight hiking socks which were breathable. I rubbed a bar of soap over this layer to create a barrier. A thicker pair of breathable socks over the top. Another layer of soap was applied. Although I suffered from heat rash because of the layers it did help to prevent blisters and this method was used for over 180 miles over 6 days.

Footwear

A sturdy pair of Berghaus hiking boots that were recommended by an assistant at Go Outdoors. The model they suggested were the Men’s Expeditor AQ Trek Walking Boot

I have done a lot of mileage in these and they were perfect for this and other challenges. I used a pair of inserts just to get the fit right.

Walk 30 Miles in a Day Nutrition

In previous challenges, I have found that Clif bars are a good source of fuel and loaded up with a variety of flavours. I set off without eating as I wanted to get on with the walk and about half hour into it had half a Clif bar. I repeated this every hour and a half. I stopped and had a sandwich and a trifle for dinner. Water is essential and as this was a warm day went through a lot of bottles. I burnt on average between 3500 and 4250 whilst carrying out 30-mile walks. Fuel is vital, little and often.

Rest Stops

My preference is not to rest too often. I find that the legs muscle cease up if I stop for longer than 20 minutes and I prefer to minimise stops and have one stop for dinner about 20 minutes. This isn’t everyone’s preference and some people may need to stop more frequently and for longer periods.

The Finish

The finish was Caernarfon Travelodge. It was exactly 30 miles from Holyhead Travelodge and it was where I would stay the night. Even though the conditions weren’t that warm, the sun had taken its toll on me. As I checked in, I collapsed from heat exhaustion at the welcome desk. I hadn’t drunk enough and carrying a big fluffy teddy probably didn’t help. It was a warning and something I didn’t want to repeat over the walk.

Recovery

I needed to lie down but needed to elevate my feet. I went straight back to the hotel room, my body went into shock as I think it was used to walking and needed to rest for about an hour and a half afterwards. I had a warm bath and this helped ease the muscles and felt a lot better and was able to go out for some food.

How Long does a 30-mile Walk Take?

In my case, it took just over 9 hours with breaks. An average pace of 18 minutes per mile. The main thing is that you complete the challenge, my goal was to do it quite quickly but it can be done over a longer duration.

 

How Many Calories does a 30-mile walk burn?

In my case just over 4000

 

Are you thinking of doing a 30-mile walk in a day or have you completed one previously? Share your experiences with us.

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