TOP FIVE TIPS: Endurance walking with Sarj
This week's guest post is by Sarju @mistrysarju, who over the last few months has been training for an endurance walk. Keep reading to find out more about the lessons that Sarj has learned during his training and what motivates him to keep going!
"Hi everyone, I’m Sarju and I’m on the journey of trying to accomplish an endurance walk.
Over the last 10 years I haven’t been as focused on my health, have really let exercising drop down my priority list and let life take over. In December 2019, I felt like I had to change and focus on myself more. Both of my parents had just had heart surgery and I didn’t want to get in that situation myself. I have always been a sporty person, playing football and rugby in my younger days, however I was definitely not fit enough to just jump back into that.
I have always been a big guy and managing my weight has been more of a struggle recently. I had signed up for a 25km Ultra Challenge walk as a way of focusing on a goal and getting back to a decent level of fitness. Although this may be easy for some, it was definitely a journey from zero to something for me. I did this to be healthy both in body and mind and necessarily to lose weight. Along my journey, I definitely had some real learnings which may be of use to you all.
Take your goal in steps, don’t just jump into doing a 15km walk and not achieving that upfront. Start with the simple things, forgetting about steps and distance just to get you out there and wanting to walk. Do a 30 minute walk, build up to an hour, walk to that landmark on the other side of town. Remember that we all have off days and sometimes the motivation isn’t there, but tomorrow is another day.
Doing an endurance walk regardless of your fitness levels will require certain muscles and areas of your body to be stronger than they are. Everything down the straight of your body just needs to be stronger from your feet, quads, glutes and upper back. On those darker days, working with some weights or anything you have at your disposal at home to strengthen your quads and glutes will really help. Build those muscles but also let them rest.
FUEL & HYDRATION
I really started to notice that I need to eat the right food for fuel. I was starting to burn many calories and really needed to eat carbs before and during my walks and more protein after to allow my muscles to recover. Having water available constantly was always required. I sweat a lot, so trying to replace that water in my body was really important.
LOOK AFTER YOUR FEET
I quickly found that I didn’t have the right footwear to sustain a heavy guy over large distances. Having the right support on your feet can ensure you have less of the aches and pains. The type of terrain you are walking on makes all the differences. I was doing mainly road walking on concrete so opted for a decent pair of trainers with heavy cushioning. Another important lesson was to look after my feet as well. Using moisturising cream regularly which has urea in it to help with any calluses which develop helps to manage any soreness in your feet.
I found I was out walking for hours and as much as the scenery helps, sometimes having a good playlist or podcast also helps to get you through. This is about having fun, so whether it is something you are doing with others or a solo walk; make sure you have some form of entertainment.
ANYONE CAN DO IT
Walking is free, whatever distance you do. The great thing is that the weather and your route provides you with all of the challenges whether easy or hard you need. So if you need an easy walk just to dust those cobwebs off or a really hard one which gets your body pumping, you get to choose."