5 essential tips for an advanced walking holiday

5 essential tips for an advanced walking holiday

With longer days and warmer weather already setting in, there’s plenty of opportunity to give yourself and your walking group a change of scenery. Booking an advanced walking holiday can be an exciting and rewarding challenge for all involved and will give you the chance to bond with other like-minded individuals.

If you’re considering an advanced walking holiday this year, here are our top five tips for making sure you’re well-equipped and safe while you’re away.

Walk with others

No matter how advanced you are, there is always the possibility for something unexpected to happen. Having other seasoned walkers around you will mean that everyone can contribute their expertise to the challenge ahead. This can also be good for motivation and mood, with team morale pushing you through even the toughest of challenges.

If you’re going it alone, UK walking organisations like Ramblers can help you find a holiday that other independent walkers are signed up to. This gives you an opportunity to make friends and stay safe in groups when tackling hard walking routes.

Don't overdo it

With longer days and warmer weather already setting in, there’s plenty of opportunity to give yourself and your walking group a change of scenery. Booking an advanced walking holiday can be an exciting and rewarding challenge for all involved and will give you the chance to bond with other like-minded individuals.

If you’re considering an advanced walking holiday this year, here are our top five tips for making sure you’re well-equipped and safe while you’re away.

While booking onto an advanced walking holiday would suggest that you’re already an expert, be sure not to go much further than your training has prepared you for. Walking is an endurance exercise, so the aim of the game is to build up your current abilities steadily, rather than being at lead position the whole time!

The prospect of achieving something new might result in you substantially picking up the pace, but getting over-excited could cause shin splints, blisters, or fractures. Similarly, over-striding can damage your hips, knees, and Achilles tendons, so pay attention to your stride quality rather than mile quantity!

You can help to prevent yourself from overdoing it by planning your route carefully. This will reduce the chance of accident or injury occurring and will give you a good indication of how far you’re supposed to be going. But, if you don’t know where to start with this, there are many companies around, like Macs Adventure, who can assist you in creating your own self-guided tours, including your itinerary, accommodation and any activities.

As you'll be following a trail that's new to you, be sure to keep your eyes open for any hazards that might be around — whether it’s that protruding rock, or the traffic surrounding you. You may have been able to walk 10 miles in record time at home but, in an unfamiliar place, take your time and enjoy the new scenery!

Upgrade your walking shoes

It might be easier and cheaper to stick with your trusty old walking shoes but, if you’ve had your shoes for a while, they’ve probably seen better days. The typical walking shoe is only built to last 350–500 miles so, if you think you’ve exceeded this, you’re unlikely to be getting maximum foot and ankle support anymore.  

However, wearing brand-new walking shoes is also a bad idea. They'll need a break-in period so, if you’re planning to upgrade from your old pair, make sure you replace them well in advance of your trip.  And, it’s not enough to simply shop for a new pair online: instead, visit shops that have an in-store boot fitting service. Specialist activewear retailers, like Whalley Outdoor, can double-check that you’re wearing the right type of shoes for your feet and getting enough support for the amount of walking you do.

Top tip: Take your old shoes with you to the shops. The wear of the soles can tell the sales assistant a lot about your feet and walking technique. This will help them to suggest the most suitable pair for you, rather than giving generic advice based on what you tell them.

Don't drink too much water

If you’re headed somewhere hot or really challenging, you may find yourself drinking constantly to keep yourself well-hydrated and refine your concentration. But, if you don’t balance your water intake against your salt intake, you could find yourself at risk of water overload and hyponatremia —the dilution of salt in your body — which can cause heart problems and, in some cases, fatalities.

Listening to your body and drinking when you feel thirsty, rather than trying to hit a target water intake, will ensure you’re doing it right. You can check this by weighing yourself before and after your training: if your hydration levels are right, your weight will remain constant. But, if you’re drinking too much, you’ll have gained on the scales. For more information on the amount of water you’ll need, check out Very Well Fit’s hydration calculator for walking.

Allow yourself some downtime

Holidays are all about relaxing so, even if you want to beat your personal record for miles walked in a day, be sure to schedule in some recuperation time along the way — even the most advanced of walkers will need time to rest in-between routes to prevent injury or illness.

Walking long distances every day you’re there might be hazardous to your physical health, especially if the routes you’re going down are varied with hills, inclines, and steps. Take time out of your holiday to soak up the scenery and culture around you, even if that means spending your day milling around the local shops and eateries or gathering pictures for your scrapbook — you can still walk to do this, but at a much more leisurely pace!

Advanced walking holidays can be extremely challenging, but it's incredibly rewarding when you reach heights you could’ve never imagined! Follow our top tips to ensure you stay safe while having an unforgettable trip, doing what you love.

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