Coastline walk 2017 | Physical Preparation
The now-legendary Coastline Walk is once more inviting everybody to challenge themselves. Its third incarnation is different though - it is even grander, bigger and a lot more fun! Put your strength to the test, discover the beautiful nature of the Curonian Spit and experience sweet fatigue after conquering a long-distance walk! Everyone will be able to choose their own challenge, as Coastline Walk 2017 proposes 5 routes: 12 ½ km in one go, 25 km in half a day, 50 km in a day, 50 km in a night, 100 km in 24 hours.
coastline walk, seaside walk, beach hike, coastline hike, hiking, walking, 2017
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Physical Preparation

We can safely say that psychological, not physical, endurance is key. All the limits are located inside your head. However, choosing a route which is right for you and preparing yourself for conquering it will make pushing those boundaries a whole lot easier.

 

How to choose a route?

First of all, you should consider your fitness level,  i.e. how often you engage in sports and active movement. If your job is sedentary and you hardly move at all, we recommend choosing a shorter route (12 ½ km in one go or 25 km in half a day), or starting your preparation for the walk as soon as possible. If you do not walk or jog regularly, but engage in other types of active sports (basketball, football, skiing, volleyball, etc.), it is a good sign – preparing yourself for the walk will not be all that difficult.

Organising test walks for yourself is a great way to prepare for the actual coastline walk, as well as try out your clothing and shoes. When training for your chosen route, we recommend aiming for at least half the distance that you are set on conquering during the walk.

 

Short everyday walks

If you do not move much, start off by taking short walks – a trip of 1 to 3 kilometres while walking to work, a shop that is further away from home or a friend‘s house. Do not increase the distance during the first few weeks. Do not walk fast – your breathing has to remain calm. Take breaks of 1-2 days between the walks.

 

Longer walks on weekends

We recommend aiming higher after the first couple of weeks. You can continue walking a couple of kilometres every workday, but you should also dedicate a few hours of your weekend (or a free weekday evening) to walking 5-10 kilometres. Try and conquer 10 kilometres or more during the week as a whole.

 

Two months prior to the coastline walk

If you choose one of our longer routes (50 km in a day, 50 km in a night or 100 km in 24 hours), you should organise at least three long-distance test walks for yourself. We recommend conquering at least ⅓ of your chosen distance a couple of months prior to the walk. That means walking 15-30 kilometres, depending on whether you have chosen a 50-km route or the 100-km one. Bring some friends along with you, choose a city or forest route that you have been dreaming of conquering for ages, and go!

 

Five weeks prior to the walk

We recommend walking half of your chosen route 4-5 weeks before the coastline walk. Organise a serious test walk – if you have a chance, ask your loved ones to bring some tea and food to your chosen location and wait for you there. If you cannot do that, plan your route in a way which allows you to come home or visit a cafe after conquering half of the walk, so that you can have some food, do stretching exercises, rest for a while and then continue walking. It is important to limit your rest break to less than half an hour.

 

Three weeks prior to the walk

You should organise another test walk 2-3 weeks before the walk – this time you should conquer ⅔ of your chosen distance. Take rest breaks from time to time, just as you did earlier. It is vital to try out all the clothing and equipment that you are planning to use during the coastline walk over the course of this test walk.

 

1-2 weeks prior to the walk

You should rest properly during this time. It is crucial for you to rest for 1-2 weeks between longer test walks. We recommend taking short walks every day, but you should avoid walking long distances. Your body has to regain its strength during the last two weeks before the big coastline walk. You should avoid engaging in other sports in order to protect yourself from injuries – even small ones can prevent you from conquering your route successfully and enjoyably.

Before embarking on any walk, your body has to warm up properly. Whether you are going on a short walk or conquering a longer route, you should still do some light warm-up exercises at home or at the starting line. You should also exercise regularly – your muscles will not only warm up, but grow stronger as well.

 

General exercises

You can warm up easily by performing such general exercises like stepping on a chair with one leg, picking your backpack up from the ground repeatedly, squatting, etc.

 

Exercises for better balance

Uneven roads and the weight of a backpack require good balance on the part of the walker, so we recommend doing some exercises to improve it. Stand on one leg (for 15, 30, 60 seconds or longer), try and stand still for a while with your backpack on your back, then close your eyes and squat.

Repeat these exercises as many times as you wish. Later on, increase the number. Performing these exercises regularly will strengthen your legs and waist, as well as improve your balance and your ability to gauge your body’s position in the surrounding space.

Even if you prepare for the walk properly, you should still adhere to certain crucial advice while embarking on the challenge – it will definitely come in handy over the course of the coastline walk, as well as any other walk that you participate in.

 

Walking speed

You will find that the two most important things when walking long distances are endurance and maintaining a suitable walking speed. You do not have to train hard in order to improve your walking speed and endurance – in this case, interval training – 3-4 short periods of walking faster – is enough. Choose an object in the distance and try to maintain a faster, yet still light, walking speed until you reach it. You should walk faster for a period of time ranging from 30 seconds to a few minutes and slow down again once the object is reached. Later on, choose an object which is further away from you, increasing the period of walking faster from a few minutes to 10-15 minutes. If you perform 2-3 test walks a week and conquer 3-5 cycles of interval training during each and every one of these walks, you will definitely notice an improvement in your endurance and walking speed.

 

Posture

Another important aspect of the walk is good posture. You will spend a long time in an unusual position, you will carry a backpack, you will walk on a sloping terrain for the majority of the route, so it is important to keep your back straight and help out your core muscles. When walking, imagine that there is a hook in your hair – you are hanging on it and it is pulling you upwards.

 

Way of walking

You should learn to use your strongest muscles when walking, namely your buttocks and the muscles at the back of your thighs. Try and use your whole foot (especially the toes and the middle part of the foot) when taking a step, so that you can feel the muscles in your buttocks working. If you carry a backpack and feel pain in your back, try clenching your buttocks every time you step forward.

 

Foot position

Try walking on tiptoe or heel-toe for short periods of time of about 30 seconds during the walk. If there is a clearing or a fallen log before you, try crossing these natural balance-improvers by putting one foot in front of the other.

 

Listen to your body

All limits are indeed located in your head, but that does not mean that you should disregard the signals that your body is sending you. If you feel tiredness in your muscles and body while walking, then the limit which you are about to reach is psychological. However, if you feel pain, you should pay attention to it and decide if you can continue walking or not in a rational fashion.

Injuries

Most importantly, you should pay attention to the most frequent injuries that walkers face – that is, back or knee pain, which can signal the advent of serious problems. These often include back pain due to overloaded muscles or a herniated intervertebral disc; the so-called runner‘s/walker‘s knee, which is caused by leg muscles being  too weak or too tense and thus resulting in an overloaded joint; and inflammation of the kneecap, brought on by injuries, bad shoes and muscles that are too weak or unable to stabilise the knee properly. If you experience this sort of pain consistently during your test walks, we recommend consulting your doctor.