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How To Train For a Walk Across the Country

1. Get yourself a good pair of walking shoes.

2. Go out almost every day and walk.

End of lesson. :)

Well, of course there’s more to it than that, but those are pretty much the basics. So far, I’ve found it’s just a combination of getting the miles in, and listening to my body for when it’s time to stop. An injury, even a small one, is definitely something I want to avoid — getting a stress fracture in one of my feet could set me back weeks.

Let me first take a step back to give some background. I’m going to walk across America this summer with my immediate family, from Oregon to New Hampshire. The reason why I’m doing it is to spread the ideas of freedom and liberty, namely about the Free State Project and Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. To learn more about this Walk For Liberty, click here.

There are 3 main aspects to my training for the Walk For Liberty — my training program, the walks themselves, and my equipment.

Will's Walk For Liberty training

Training Program

During the Walk for Liberty itself, I plan to walk around 20-25 miles per day. I will be splitting up my daily miles between the morning and evening in order to avoid the hot midday sun (and the accompanying UV radiation). Since I’ll only be walking about half of that in any one interval, I’ll need to build up at most to walking about 12 miles at any one time.

In my training, most days I walk one, sometimes two times per day. Since during the Walk itself I will be splitting up each day into 2 smaller walks, as my training progresses it makes sense to focus on walking more during 2 different periods each day, than to accumulate a lot of miles in just one single daily walk.

Specifics

Currently, my longest single walk has been 5.8 miles. The most I’ve walked in any day so far has been 8.74 miles (divided between 5.53 and 3.21 miles). So I’ve been able to walk about half of what I need to do when the Walk is in full swing.

Originally, I had expected I would get up to training the full amount each day before the Walk For Liberty actually began. I realized that to do that though, I would need to be doing at least 6 hours of training each day. That’s a lot of time to spend walking each day, especially when there are so many other things I need to get done before the Walk starts. I’ve decided that I don’t need to get up to doing the full 20 miles consistently every day during training. I can always start out walking fewer miles each day at the beginning of the Walk and ramp up from there. I already know I can do almost 10 miles in one day. I will at least probably try to get a couple 10 mile single walks in before the Walk starts though.

Getting Faster

One thing that surprised me was how quickly I was able to walk faster. When I first started, I wasn’t walking very fast, and I wasn’t trying to. During the course of my training, I’ve never tried to walk at any particular speed. I’ve simply walked at whatever rate felt comfortable. I ramped up to higher speeds quicker than I would have imagined though. I was in relatively good shape before I started my training, so that might have been a factor.

(Non-) Training Schedule

Before I started training, I had imagined having a strict training schedule in order to get trained up to full capacity by the time the Walk began. Once I started though, I realized that it’s hard to predict how many miles it’s best to train each day. For example, my feet might start feeling sore, especially during an evening walk. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t want to risk getting injured, so it’s best to quit for the day at that point. After all, this is not a sprint; it’s an ultra-marathon. :) I’ve pretty much played it by ear based on how my body feels each day, and that’s been working out so far. I have been able to do more miles each day as I’ve gone along, so I feel the training is going well. Although I probably won’t be up to a full 20-25 miles by the time the Walk for Liberty starts, I should at least have a good foundation. I’m guessing I’ll be able to do around 75% of that by the time it starts.

If anyone has experience at training for walking long distances, please either contact me here or leave a comment.

This is the first in a three part series about my Walk for Liberty training. To read part two about what I see and do during my walks, click here. To read part three about the equipment I use, click here.

Please leave a comment.


One Response to “How To Train For a Walk Across the Country”

  1. Lisa Says:

    I would love to walk across the country. That would be awesome. Lisa

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