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These Quick Training Tips Will Get You On Your (West Highland) Way
3 Min Read
15 March 2017
These Quick Training Tips Will Get You On Your (West Highland) Way
Once you've committed to the challenge, the 96 miles of the West Highland Way can suddenly seem like a daunting prospect but don't fret, the trail is non-technical, well way-marked, and very achievable for walkers of all levels. [caption id="attachment_23014" align="aligncenter" width="900"]West Highland Way Our specialist Kayleigh takes on the West Highland Way.[/caption] The key is to select the appropriate West Highland Way itinerary for you, taking into account your fitness level and how relaxing or challenging you want to make it. After that, some simple training tips should be all you need to get you on your way. You should build up slowly, increasing your walking activity gradually in the weeks and months leading up to your trip. [caption id="attachment_22985" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Rest stop at conic hill Don't be afraid to stop to enjoy the views.[/caption] This post looks at building up that walking fitness, but we do have some broader training tips for walking the West Highland Way or any other long distance trail on the blog here.

Squeeze in extra walking, where & when you can!

  • Switch all or part of your work commute. Park further away from the office, get off the train at increasingly earlier stops, or use public transport in the morning then walk home in the evening.
  • When catching up with your friends or family, invite them for a walk. Bring them a takeaway coffee (in a reusable cup of course) and turn the countryside or local park into your moving café.
  • Use your lunch-breaks to go for short walks.
  • Get a smart-watch or step counter. It doesn't have to be an expensive one. You'll soon be setting yourself daily step count challenges, and nothing gets you off the sofa for an evening stroll like being just 1000 steps short of your target!
  • If you tend to rely on taxis a lot, ban yourself from using them! Be strict with yourself and you'll soon learn to leave extra time for walking to and from bus/train stations.
  • You'll need to get used to carrying a rucksack, so for your walks switch your work-bag/handbag/shopping bags for your rucksack.
  • It's not a task! Walking is fun, great for the mind and body, and easy to fit into your routine. Think about it as a positive change in your life.

6 Months to Go

Great, you've got plenty time! Starting your training 6 months prior to your trips is the ideal goal. Read more about the ideal training regime for the West Highland Way here.
  1. Begin very gently, and set up monthly goals. These goals depend on your fitness but could be to comfortably walk 5km in month 1, 15km in month 3, and feel confident completing a 25km walk by month 5. You don't have to walk those distances on every walk, but squeeze in a few nice long distance days in the final month or so prior to your trip.
  2. Back to back walking days are the key. Block a weekend or two in the diary now where you'll walk at least 2 days in a row on long-distance walks. Perhaps on day one, you could walk to a nearby town for lunch then walk back, and on day 2 you could climb a hill, enjoying a picnic on the way. It doesn't have to be a chore!
  3. Rest when you need. You're building up your fitness, it's not a race.

3 Months to Go

There's still plenty time!
  1. Use the tips above to squeeze more walking into your daily routine, and make it your mission to do at least one of these extra walks, no matter how small, every day.
  2. Set realistic but ambitious weekly or fortnightly goals to do walks of increasing distances. Put them on your calendar or set a reminder on your phone each week, such as "Have you completed a 10km walk this week?"
  3. Make sure you do a couple of those back to back walking days within the final weeks.

1 Month to Go

Left it a bit late? As long as you are quite an active person and have a good base level of fitness you'll be fine!
  1. Aim to switch all or part of your daily commute to walking. Don't commute? Get up 30min earlier to do a circular walk before starting your day.
  2. Build up from short walks 2-3 times a week of approximately 3-5km, to longer walks of approximately 5-10km.
  3. Work gradually towards testing yourself in the final week on at least one walk which is similar to the average daily distance of your West Highland Way itinerary. Put that day in your diary now and stick to it.
  4. At weekends or on your days off, plan at least 2 days of back to back walking, of a good distance.
Of course, you should always be honest with yourself - there's nothing wrong with aiming high but if you're really concerned about your health or fitness, or have medical conditions which may affect your ability to complete the route safely, do contact your doctor.
Feel free to share your training tips with us below, and if you are interested in taking on Scotland's favourite long-distance trail, to check out the West Highland Way routes on our website or contact info@macsadventure.com.
Frances McCann

Written by

Frances McCann
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