12 Week Training Plan for Challenge Walk

Challenge walks, Fitness, Training Plan -

12 Week Training Plan for Challenge Walk

Training – Building up for a Challenge Walk

A number of people have asked me to put together a short training programme which can help in the build up to any of our challenge walk events, so here you go.

Even if you already do non walking exercise already you need to be aware that walking uses a very different set of muscles and these need to be built up ready for any of our challenge walk. Please do prepare for your challenge walk it will make for a far better day.

Walking up to 26 miles is no ordinary stroll. Preparing for any of our challenge walks, whatever the distance will require preparation and training. The more you train the less likely you are to experience pain or injuries on the event.

The idea is to work your way up gradually, increasing your activity each week and giving your body time to recover and re-energize between workouts.

The walking training information below is meant to be used as a guideline. Before you begin any training plan, you may want to consult with your doctor to go over your current physical condition and determine what you are able to undertake safely.

Walking Training Program – 12 weeks leading up to 26 mile challenge walk

If you are new to walking and challenge walks you need to start off from a very low base. Please before you start any exercise do consult your doctor.

- New to walking – training – start off with 15 minute walk three times a week and gradually increase your mileage (week 1 below).

- Already walk - If you already do a fair bit of walking you may want to start at week 4 and cut this down to an eight week walking training programme.

If you feel at any part you have pushed yourself a little to far drop back a week in the programme. Also if you have the time (24 weeks) do each week listed below twice (i.e. do week one for weeks 1 and 2, do week 2 over weeks 3 and 4).

Your body will very much guide you through the whole process.

When starting off you will just be starting off at 2 mph, but over your walking training programme you will be aiming to build it up to 3 mph.

Week 1 – 15 minutes (0.5 miles) x 3 times a week – 1.5 miles
Week 2 – 20 minutes (0.66 miles) x 3 times a week – 2 miles
Week 3 – 30 minutes (1 mile) x 3 times a week – 3 miles
Week 4 – 45 minutes (1.5 miles) x 3 times a week – 4.5 miles
Week 5 – 1 hours (2 miles) x 3 times a week – 6 miles

I believe at this point your average speed will be not far off 2.5 miles per hour as you get fitter.

Week 6 – 1.5 hours (3.75 miles) x 3 times a week - 11.25 miles
Week 7 – 2 hours (5 miles) x 3 times a week – 15 miles

At this point you really need to be doing 2 shorter walks and then 1 longer walk per week.

Your two shorter walks will be at 3 miles an hour and your longer walk at 2.5 miles per hour.

Week 8 – 2 hours (6 miles) x 2 and then a longer walk -4 hours (10 miles) – 22 miles
Week 9 - 2 hours (6 miles) x 2 and then a longer walk -5 hours (12.5 miles) – 24.5 miles

At this point your longer walk should be averaging 3 miles per hour.

Week 10 - 2 hours (6 miles) x 2 and then a longer walk -6 hours (18 miles) – 30 miles
Week 11 – 2 hour (6 miles) walk x 1 then 1 x long walk of 8 hours ( 24 miles) – 30 miles
Week 12 - (week before event) - 2 hour (6 miles) x 3 – 18 miles

26 mile Challenge Walk – Enjoy it.

Ideally, you should work up to a consistent pace of about three miles per hour. In order to be fully prepared for the event, it is also important to train outside, on a variety of surfaces (pavement, gravel, grass, etc.) using the shoes and equipment that you will use on the event.

Scheduling Your Training

You need to find time to work through the training programme.

Try fitting it into your day (especially the shorter walks) -

Walk to work
Walk to the shops
Walk to friends houses (but don’t follow it with cakes)
At the weekends walk your longer training walks.

If the weather is a concern, remember that you can get going on training walks indoors or in a gym. Alternatively, you may choose to brave the elements (within reason) with weatherproof clothing and plenty of layers to keep you warm and dry. Don’t forget your challenge walk will be going ahead whatever the weather.

Don’t be over enthusiastic. Take days off per week to rest, in order to avoid injury. When you're walking with others, don't push yourself beyond your ability. Listen to your body - and keep yourself healthy.

Measuring your performance and speed

I personally think recording and analysing your progress is essential not only so you know you are going in the right direction but also for motivation.

I am a big fan of outdoor GPS (Global positioning system) units. They measure how far you have walked, average speed and how long you have been stopped and walked for. All this compliments a navigational system.

Therefore a great tool to help you with your challenge walk training. You can read an article about choosing a GPS here.


Drink both water and sports drinks during all training and the event itself. Don't wait until you feel thirsty. As a general rule, drink a bottle of water and a bottle of sports drink every two to three miles when walking or every hour of cardiovascular activity. On the day we will have bottled water or water containers to fill up your own bottles at each of the checkpoints.


When you are doing any type of long distance activity, your body needs adequate fuel (food) in order to perform at an optimum level.

It is important to refuel your body with foods that contain quality calories that will give you the energy needed to safely and successfully complete training walks as well as the event itself.

If your body runs out of fuel, you may begin to have symptoms of low blood sugar such as disorientation, headache, weakness or loss of body control. If you begin to notice any of these symptoms while training, it is important to stop exercising, sit down, and start eating and drinking immediately. If symptoms persist, see your doctor.

Foot and Blister Care

Blisters are the most common foot problem. Hopefully by building up slowly with hopefully harden your feet up. Blisters are your body's way of creating a natural protective cushion to protect your feet.

Use Vaseline – Vaseline is a brilliant lubricant, rub it between your toes or anywhere on your feet you are prone to rubbing. If you are waling and you feel a blister may be just starting to form, rub the area with Vaseline to reduce any friction. It often can save the day.

Blister plasters – Blister plasters are truly superb, you put them on and leave them on (you don’t have to put fresh on every day)



I hope the pointers above are helpful in your build up to one of our challenge walks.

Remember they are a personal challenge, not a race!

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