Practice makes Perfect

Today we revisit the importance of preparation for a hiking or walking holiday. Following these simple, commonsense tips will help ensure you don’t have wasted days because you’ve taken on too much, or because you didn’t realise what is involved – especially if you are not a regular walker. Read on…

Regardless if you are a professional or a novice on a walking holiday, it is still really important to go on a lot of practice hikes before jetting off to your holiday destination. Practice walks serve many purposes: to test new gear and clothing; to know your walking and physical limitations; to master different walking conditions; all are important factors to understand before you embark on a series of long walks.

When starting your build up for your walking holiday, practice walks should start short and gradually increase, so you slowly “break-in” all those rusty muscles.

Pay attention to your body temperature. Use layers of clothing and remove/replace as your temperature increases and decreases on easier and more difficult sections of the walk.

Create awareness to sensations in your feet. Hot spots in your boots can turn into blisters, so stop and adjust your boots/socks/remove stones etc. If your feet get wet, stop to dry them and change your socks. If you are walking with a partner ensure both of you are comfortable about stopping each other if these re-adjustments are necessary. Remember: with walking, prevention is significantly better (and less time consuming/painful) than curing a damaged foot etc.

Keep your back-pack comfortably adjusted. Again, re-adjust straps if they have become too loose or are cutting into your arms. This may also be due to the contents not being well distributed. Try to keep the heaviest items close to your back. Try to create a set place for each item in your pack and return it to this place to maintain a comfortable walking position for your backpack.

Get used to having regular drink and snack breaks to maintain your energy levels. Little and often is much easier on your digestion and converts quicker into energy, as opposed to large meals which take energy to digest and can be uncomfortable for walking afterwards.

Your clothes are a key part of your comfort when walking for several hours, so practice walks will let you know how comfortable each item is. Trousers/shorts may rub on your thighs; upper layers may be too tight when you get warmer – all this can then be adjusted or rectified prior to flying off on your holiday.

Although none of our guided walks require large backpacks with sleeping bags etc (the luxury of boutique accommodation and good restaurants is more our style than tents and camp food!!) an awareness of your body and your clothing will make your holiday much more enjoyable.

A little preparation and thought and a bit of planning really help you get the maximum benefit and enjoyment from our holidays. We recommend these simple practice routines to all our clients – and you’ll be happy you did them when you arrive.