In for the long haul
Preparation for an endurance day walk such as the Tongariro crossing.
Start your training walks
• Train on similar terrain to the planned walk – hills, uneven ground.
• Trial the clothes, shoes and socks you plan to wear on the day.
• Train with your pack, increasing up to the weight you intend to carry on the day.
• Walk at least twice a week gradually increasing distance and the steepness of the terrain as your fitness improves. Ideally increase the distance or time by 10-20% as the walk becomes easier every few walks
• Do some stretches after your training walks.
• Using one or two walking poles can be helpful, especially on hills and uneven ground.
• Carry water on your training walks. A hydro-pack is a convenient option. You will need to carry at least three litres of water for an all-day walk.
• A thermos for tea or coffee can count as fluid intake and provides a nice reason to stop for a break and enjoy the great outdoors.
Food and first aid
• When you are training for more than two hours you will need to take food as well as water. Choose food that provides carbohydrate and protein, something you enjoy eating and travels well in a pack. Take plenty of food for the walk.
• Carry some basic first aid such as plasters, pain relief, crepe bandage and blister packs (Compeed).
Two weeks out from the walk
• You should be reaching a level equivalent to about 65 to 75% of the time you expect the walk to take e.g. five to six hours training for an eight hour walk.
The week before the walk
• Taper to a short easy walk i.e. one to two hours, and then minimal walking in the two to three days prior to the walk.
• Walk at a steady and comfortable pace on the day of the walk drinking and eating at regular intervals (at least two hourly)