Here are some handy tips to follow. Whether you're walking 7km or 65km, and whether you're spreading your walk across the entire 9 days or smashing it out at once, the following tips will help you stay on track to safely reach your goal.
Support Team/Check-In Buddy
Whatever distance you're walking and whether you're doing it alone, with a friend or with a team, make sure there's someone you and/or your group can check in with as you undertake your walk. Walk in a loop if possible, with your home or another checkpoint acting as your "home base". Make it a point to touch base with a check-in buddy every hour or two, and ask them to meet you along the way with food, water, a change of shoes and socks, a freshly charged powerbank, a few words of encouragement and anything else you may need.
Know your limits
Don't get in over your head! 65km is an incredibly long distance to walk, and 42km is an entire marathon. 35kms could take as long as 8 hours to complete. These longer distances should only be undertaken by experienced walkers who have trained for the occasion. Remember, this time around you have 9 days to take advantage of - spread your distance out across multiple days or choose a shorter distance. The usual safety marshals, water stations, first aid tent, and massage support won't be at your disposal this year.
Prepare for all types of conditions. If you're walking for a long amount of time the weather could go from rainy to very hot and your preparedness will have a huge impact on your ability to finish your goal. Consider getting quick-drying walking gear, sunglasses, rain gear, sunscreen etc. It can get very hot this time of year, so be sure to stay well hydrated and protected from the sun.
If you walk the full 65k in one go, it is likely you will burn off 3000 – 4000 calories during the course of the day. Eat well and snack often, irrespective of the distance you're walking. Eat a healthy balanced meal before you begin, and bring along low fat, high carb, and medium protein snacks– trail mix, muesli bars, nuts and bananas are good options for maintaining energy. Arrange for your check in buddy to meet you partway through your walk with a meal. It’s better to have access to too much food than too little.
Wear good walking shoes that are already broken in – don’t start this walk in new shoes, as that will guarantee blisters. Carry an extra pair of socks and leave a change of shoes and more socks with your check in buddy. Remember if walking long distances in the rain, you will need to try and keep your feet as dry as possible.
Take a Break
Bring wipes, plasters, antibacterial gel, and extra pair of socks.
Freshening up can be very psychologically uplifting. Sit down, but not for too long. Keep your muscles warm to avoid injury.
Avoid clothing that will cause chafing. Wear comfortable or compression clothing designed to minimise friction. Consider wearing sleeves and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
Change walking partners. Talking to someone new makes the laps go faster and breaks up the day. If you're walking a longer distance, invite different friends to register for shorter distances and to join you for their walk. Create a new playlist - keep an eye out for the official 65k 4 65 Roses Walkathon playlist on Spotify - or listen to a podcast or audio book.
Don’t walk too hard or too fast too early - you will pay for it! The longer distances are endurance walks, not races. The last 10kms are much harder than the first 10.