I was four and a half hours/25km into my walk at that point, feeling a bit tired and sore because my right heel had developed a blister very early. My first reaction to the sign was, “LOL no.” Walking a marathon was enough. I accidentally did a 50km walk last year, and the longest walk I ever did was a 57km walk when I was still at school. A 100km walk would be double what I’ve done recently, it would require training and preparation, and a ton more podcasts than I usually accumulate in the course of a week.
But the sign stuck with me. I looked at the website when I got back home, talked about it with Abi, with my parents when I was over with them last weekend, and with some friends in Edinburgh last week… and I’ve registered for it.
Now I just need to figure out what my training regime will look like. There are plenty of resources online that tell you how to prepare for a marathon run; there seems to be far less information on how to get ready for a 100km walk.
John runs marathons, and one of his tips was to practice running (walking) on tired legs by doing intermediate distances on two consecutive days. With that in mind I plotted out a 20km loop around Zaandam. I did it clockwise yesterday, and then anti-clockwise this morning, in just over 3 hours. My recent long-distance walks have all been one-way trips, and I’ve taken public transport or been driven back home at the end of them. That’s fine for one-offs, but for training purposes loops will be a more efficient use of my time. I figure that if I increase my loop distance by 5km each week, I can build myself up to a 50km back-to-back weekend before the walk.
That’s still only half of a standard 4-day march at Nijmegen, at which 47,000 people are taking part this year. In terms of long-distance walking challenges, there are still plenty of frontiers left for me…if I make it through this one.
According to running forums and sites, the answer seems to be that I should tie my laces with a “racer’s loop” (“heel lock lacing”), a technique that takes advantage of the “extra” lacing holes behind the standard ones.
The soles of the Asics Patriot 8 shoes are made of a softer material than my old hiking shoes, so it’s natural that they’d wear down a bit faster. Here’s what the soles look like compared to a brand new pair:
As I’m walking rather then running, I can live with less grip from the soles, but I’d prefer it if the heel padding lasted a bit longer. But I like these shoes a lot, and so I bought a fresh new pair to replace them. Asics has a new model for this year (the Patriot 9), but apart from new colourways and an “Amplifoam” logo on the side of the sole, I can’t see much of a difference. The 8s are still readily available online, and being last year’s model, they’re cheaper too. I’m going to take them out for a spin tomorrow.
Abi and I took another long walk today. We set off from Oostzaan in glorious hot sunshine around 08:30 and headed South. Took the ferry across the IJ to Tasmanstraat, and continued to the Vondelpark, where we stopped for a snack at the Vondeltuin. Then onwards to the Amsterdamse Bos where I pondered the mild ridiculousness of having lived within walking distance of Amsterdam for seven years now, and never having set foot there before. It’s really nice. It was like visting Golden Gate Park last year for the first time, after having been a regular visitor to the Bay Area since 1991.
The walk came to 22.6km, according to my GPS tracking app. A nice distance.