January 24, 2012 – GQ India Online
In the span of 48 hours, from January 25-27, some 650 masochists will walk 100 km for a very good cause. The Oxfam Trailwalker event will see roughly 160 teams of four traverse country roads and paths between the towns of Anekal and Bidadi outside Bangalore.
Before congratulating themselves on their stamina and largesse, however, these teams have had to prepare. After all, 100 km isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Rather than going out and walking ourselves, we at GQ India decided to gather a few helpful fitness tips from return participants in the Oxfam event. We think of it as preparedness by osmosis. Here were the tops pointers for getting into shape:
Skip the elevator: The best practice is sometimes the simplest. Somasekhar Sundaresan, participating in the trail walk for the second time this year, recommends starting by taking the stairs whenever possible, “the simplest way to add up mental and physical strength”. You’d be amazed what a difference this tiny adjustment can make without costing you more than ten minutes.
Practice as a team: When participating in a team event like this one, it would behove you to get used to your teammates. After all, you’ll be spending as many as 48 hours with them. Walking. And we mean only walking. That means sweat and hunger (plus associated body smells and stomach sounds), grumpiness and very little to distract from any of it. Amrita Sabnavis, competing with her team for the second year in a row, suggests bringing along an iPod just incase. Still, your best defence is to start building an immunity to your teammates’ idiosyncrasies early on.
Run on your own time: The best way to prepare for any long-distance walk or run is to (you guessed it) walk or run on a regular basis – aim for at least three times weekly. We know it can be tough to find the space in some of our denser metro areas, but where there’s a will there’s a way. For people who need some encouragement, most of the major metros offer running clubs. For the loners out there, this is a great opportunity to ditch (or run from?) all your other responsibilities, even if only for an hour.
Mental Preparation: On top of being able to put up with the people running with you, you’ll need to be able to stomach a long sleepless night by working up an appetite for the event. In the end, however prepared or unprepared you think you are, “if you want to run, you’ll run,” says Ramesh Venkat.
A Comprehensive Plan: One source (who asked to remain anonymous, for reasons that will soon become obvious) offered his own regimen: “Don’t be a fatty. Don’t smoke a pack a day. Don’t be drunk all the time.”
Now that’s advice to live by.