Thursday, August 28, 2008


Am I in full training for The Big Walk? I have been asked this a number of times. The answer is no. I don't need to do any specific training for the walk yet, as it does not start for 625 days.

We shall be in New Zealand next year, from mid-January until mid-April. We shall, as usual, be doing a great deal of walking there, over 100 kms most weeks, and lots of cycling as well. When we get home in May, I shall, more than usual, maintain the high level of walking. Unusually, we shall then be here through the winter and spring, during which time I shall increase my weekly distance walked to near-VBW levels.

I always get plenty of exercise, normally a mix of walking, cycling, and - when the weather is against those two - a mixture of indoor rowing, indoor cycling and cross-country ski machine.

The problem with walking as exercise, especially for an ex-runner, is that it takes so long! At least twice as long, probably getting on for three times, as covering the same distance with both feet sometimes off the ground at the same time. Walking 30 kms takes up a large part of the day.

Today, as I had a dental appointment in Limoux, which is 30 kms away from home, by the shortest possible route, I decided I would walk back to give myself an idea how much walking time per day I should be planning for. I assumed 6 kms an hour, so expected to be home in 5 hours, which I was - to the minute. And that's with a climb from 180 metres to 680 metres, and in a temperature of 30 degrees Centigrade. I started the walk at 10.15, after leaving the dentist. Normally I would be on the road by 7 or 8 in the morning, so would escape some of the heat. But I will have to live with the climbing - France is a very hilly country.

One thing I was very pleased with, and that was the amount of traffic. I was walking on a D-road. Most of the time I could not hear a car engine, and was without motoring company for minutes at a time. I have started to plan my route from home to Caen, and hope to be on "white" D-roads for most of the journey, so they will all, I hope, be fairly traffic-free.

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