I am planning to walk the 87 mile length of the Ridgeway National Trail (South England) in two days at the end of April. I shall be walking about 47 miles one day, from approx 6am to 9pm. I'll be starting again the next morning at 6am again. So that gives me around 8 hours to rest (plus 1 hour in a car to get to the start point of the 2nd walk).

The bonus is that I will be at home during these 8 hours, with access to bath, shower, comfortable warm bed etc.

Does anyone have any tips on how to make sure I'm able to move at 5am on the 2nd morning?

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    stretch and drink are the 2 obvious that first come to mind, but I hope you already know that. (however, you'll be exhausted, so you may need to force yourself to stretch properly). Also stretch during the day whenever you take a break. If you can get a massage at home, do it.
    – njzk2
    Jan 14, 2016 at 17:07
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    why not an answer @njzk2? Stretching seems like a very good idea
    – user2766
    Jan 14, 2016 at 17:28
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    Follow up and let us know what you did and how you did.
    – ab2
    Jan 14, 2016 at 19:41
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    @njzk2 DO NOT STATIC STRETCH during the walk at rest points. The static stretch will only contract the muscles more. Stay loose by doing dynamic leg stretches! Also the evening after day one do not do the classic 15-30s stretch, hold each static stretch for three minutes deepening the strecth at the one and two min mark. you'll wake up the next day probably feeling better than the morning of day one haha Let us know how it goes!
    – AM_Hawk
    Jan 15, 2016 at 1:50
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    Just curious, have you walked similar distances before, or have plans to do so before this trek? Everyone's best recovery practices will differ, and it'd be best to try out some different techniques after shorter-but-comparable treks and see what works for you, rather than going all in without prep.
    – Patrick N
    Jan 15, 2016 at 4:09

2 Answers 2

  • Stay hydrated. Dehydration prolongs the time it takes to recover from exertion.
  • Eat. Make sure you bring enough and the right kind of food for the trip to adequately fuel your body.
  • Sleep. Make sure you didn't skimp on sleep, just to get that extra early start.
  • Prepare your body. Go on long hikes or runs back to back in the weeks/months leading up to your trip. If you begin an activity with your muscles already being tired from a previous day's activity, you can simulate and train for longer periods of exertion. Marathon runners take advantage of this effect.
  • Be rested. Make sure you leave yourself a couple of days before your trip to regenerate from your training. In the days leading up to your trip, don't do much more that short, slow runs and/or short hikes.
  • Go light. Try to bring as little stuff as possible. Make sure you don't bring any gear you don't know how to use/have never used, and think about leaving stuff at home that sole serve the purpose of "creature comfort." If you are not an expert in multi-day backpacking ventures yet, make sure to take all the gear you plan on taking on your trip on some practice hikes. This way you have a chance to think twice about really needing that heavy DSLR and those 10 lenses you just can't leave the house without.
  • Stay dry. (And warm.) If you are wet for prolonged periods of time your body looses heat energy, which will get replaced with energy you were planing on using to propel yourself forward.
  • Know thyself. Be sure you have done enough activities that are of a much lesser scope to give you an idea when you are overexerted, and when you should give up.
  • Play it safe. This one heavily depends on your experience. If you are not an expert in the back-country, and if the trip is of an "all or nothing" nature like the summit of a peek, in that once you are half way along, it will take an equal amount of time to get back to civilization, it is a good idea to set yourself a hard time limit by when you should have completed the half way mark of your first day. If it looks like you will not be able to make that deadline, you either need to be prepared to spend extra days in the wilderness, or you turn around. It is not likely that you will make up time if you are lagging behind your daily goal that early on.

A final note on stretching: If stretching is your thing (I personally haven't really stretched much in the past 10 years), make sure you do it right. Stretching can lead to little tears that don't hurt but prolong the time to recover. Stretching should be done as statically as possible. "Bouncing" can lead to injuries. Also, make sure you actually stretch you muscles instead of mostly compressing your disks. On your trip don't do any stretching you haven't done hundreds of times before without injuring yourself.

  • Not sure that most of your comments are relevant in my case. I asked for how to recuperate, not how to prepare. Also, I'm not ever going to be more than a couple of miles from houses, i'm not doing "multi-day backpacking" as I quite clearly stated it's two days, and I'll be sleeping in my own bed. All I'll be carrying if food and drink for a day. Jan 15, 2016 at 10:05
  • @PhilMJones: Preparing correctly sets you up for faster recuperation, I therefore deemed those aspects of my answer relevant. If you are already doing all that, great! Maybe my remarks will be useful to someone in the future. I am glad to hear that you are leaving extra weight at home. I have seen people lug all kinds of stuff on short hikes!
    – DudeOnRock
    Jan 17, 2016 at 6:48
  • Fair enough :-) To be honest I thought someone might suggest an ice bath or something like that, so I'm quite relieved that being prepared and stretching properly are the main suggestions. I think I got scared by your answer when I saw the word "run". I'm no runner ;) Jan 18, 2016 at 9:13

Your goals should be to:

  • Recuperate as fast as possible and prevent injury
  • Replenish your energy reserves as best you can
  • Rest

So stretch and stretch well (even if your exhausted). I recently did a long distance walk and I was too tired to stretch in the evening. Worst decision I've ever made. I woke up after about an hour of sleep, I thought I'd torn my hamstring. I actually asked my girlfriend to take me to A&E. Turns out it was just severe cramp.

Hopefully before you get to to this point you should of carb loaded. If you've got a break you likely need to do this again. It's tricky one TBH. You need to get some more energy on-board but you want this to be something that your body can quickly transfer to energy. To raise your reserves back up. If you haven't done enough prep getting energy into your system don't expect to make up for it now. It's too late.

Rest, lot's. Try and get a good nights sleep for as long as you can.

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    Cramping is often a sign of dehydration.
    – DudeOnRock
    Jan 14, 2016 at 23:55

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