Preparing for my Long Walk

I did it after I finished the Coast to Coast in 2006 and I’ve done it again in 2007. I’ve managed to gain the best part of a stone in weight in the last two or three months of the year. I think I now why this is, but I still fail to discipline myself enough to prevent it. The best part of the walking calendar is over and I’m winding down for the quieter and less strenuous walks I will do over the winter and I end up eating more and the wrong things. Combine these and the weight just piles on.

I realised in January that I had to do something about this, but the weather was still so awful that I’ve not been getting out as much as I should and those walks I have been doing have been mainly low level and not very long. So I joined a gym!! I’ve always said that there is no substitute to walking for preparing for a long walk, but when you’re not actually doing any walking to prepare for it, then anything is better than nothing. So I joined a gym!!

My occasional walking companion Rob is a member of the same gym and he’s been going for a few months now. I’ve seen a marked improvement in his performance on the hills when we’ve walked recently and as much as anything that has convinced me to make this decision. His overall stamina has improved ten fold. He can now walk longer without a break and he takes many fewer stops on a climb than he ever used to.

The overall aim of course is to be ready for the West Highland Way in May. So I joined the gym on the basis that they would tailor an exercise regime for me, specifically for that goal. A nice young lady called Lisa gave me a BUPA approved health-check and that threw up some surprising results. Although I’m still technically obese – I have a BMI of 33.8 and my body fat percentage is 35.5% – I have the resting heart rate of a very fit person – 54 bpm. In fact she took that particular test twice because she thought she’d done it wrong the first time!

She then prepared an exercise program that is biased towards increasing my cardio-vascular fitness and lightly supplemented by resistance training (weights). I have another check-up in 6 weeks to see how I’ve progressed and a final check-up 6 weeks after that. I’ve been attending the gym, which is very well appointed with lots of machines and great facilities, about three times a week for the last three weeks and already I can feel a slight increase in performance.

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