Crucial Advice for Long-Distance Walkers & Hikers

Over 2,000 miles covered over the past 2 years. This is the best advice from my mistakes and successes.

Like many activities in life, walking is easy until it becomes hard. As the miles increase, so must your mental and physical tolerance of ache and pain.

Llyn Y Fan Fach in Wales, UK.

Tech

Like most hobbies, when we get excited, we can go crazy with buying gadgets and gizmos. I did this myself, to the extent where my original passion for walking started to disappear. Walking is a very simple activity that shouldn’t be over-complicated by the world of commercialism.

Selfie from the lanes of Basleg in Wales, UK.

Productivity

On the other hand, if you like the idea of getting stuff done while you walk, you’ll find that walking without distraction is amazing for coming up with ideas and content for whatever creative field you’re in. As mentioned, technology can and should be used to your advantage.

I use keyboard’s mic feature to speak notes while walking. Left: Notion. Right: Medium.

Gear

When it comes to gear and accessories, I never buy the fancy stuff or go for any “proper” gear. I used to watch a bunch of “pros” on YouTube. These people made me feel like I had to get a long list of gear, from certain brands, to really be considered a walker or hiker. What a load of rubbish.

Addidas RunFalcon, bought from the SALE shelf at Sports Direct.
1000 Mile socks are marketed towards long-distance trekkers.

Stretch

It’s the most mundane one, but arguably the most important. You can avoid so much ache, both during and after your walk, by stretching regularly throughout your walks. For so long, I just put up with the ache that came with increasing miles, not knowing about stretching.

My go-to stretch, which I do frequently through walks and hikes.

Feet

While your legs will suffer from ache, your feet will suffer from pain; more pain than any other part of your body, in my experience.

If my feet are feeling rough, I wear bandages around the house.
  • Shoes: As mentioned, I use running and trail running shoes. Just ensure you try on shoes in-store and get a feel for them before buying. This is so important, as badly-fitted shoes can cause a lot of issues down the road.
  • Tightness: Ensure your shoes are not so tight that you feel them press against the top of your foot, but so loose that you feel your heal rubbing against the back of the shoe. You can largely control this with how tight you tie your laces.
  • Blisters: This is the most common issue for many. I usually get these when gravel somehow gets into my shoe. When I get the chance to sit down, I take off my shoes and shake them upside down, to ensure nothing is inside. You can also buy a gaiter, which is a piece of cloth that stops little bits going into the shoe.
My first marathon was a disaster, due to gravel in my shoe causing a massive blister. (Still finished, though).
  • Tape: Leukoplast Zinc Oxide Tape is a godsend. Any area on your foot that’s damaged or giving you a hard time should have this tape on the top. I use it for loss of skin, scratches, scrapes, loss of toenails, scabs, blisters, etc. I don’t know how it works, but it does! It’s sticky and strong, staying on you for days and weeks, while you heal. Highly recommend!
Leukoplast Tape is an on-the-go plaster for almost everything.

Goals

Don’t be too specific with your targets and goals. Keep it vague and realistic. I used to stress myself out with reaching a certain number of miles each day, week and month. Obsessing over numbers sucks the fun from the experience.

It would be criminal not to have an ice-cream on a sunny day.

Conclusion

The two rules I would like you to take from this post are: 1) Use common sense, and 2) Do what makes you feel comfortable.

Optimist | Minimalist | Photographer | Walker

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