Taking adequate health measures during the training and also on the event day are an absolute necessity.
Not being mindful of blisters or chaffing, not having proper nutrition and hydration before and on the day of the event can either lead to your not completing the challenge or even hospitalisation.
Blisters and Chaffing:
- One of the main reasons for not completing the Trailwalker is blisters. So it is better to prevent blisters from appearing than end up with some really painful ones. The best way to prevent blisters is to wear comfortable shoes and moisture wicking socks.
- Keep your feet dry at all times which will also help in reducing friction that causes blisters. Some suggest using petroleum jelly, some don't. Know your feet well and understand what works best for you.
- Recognise the early signs of blisters by checking for hot spots or those warm patches of skin which is caused by rubbing or pressure. Fix these immediately by taping up the area. If you know in advance the weak spots on your feet, you can tape up before the start of the event.
- Chaffing is a discomfort which happens due to friction of skin against skin or clothes against skin. Areas most prone to chaffing are underarms, inner thighs and nipples. You can use hypoallergic tapes, bandaid or anti chaffing lotion in these areas. For inner thigh chaffing, you can wear cycling shorts.
- Follow a diet which provides adequate fuel for the body like carbohydrate, protein and fats. These will provide all the fuel or energy and the required stamina during the event to go all the way.
- Depending on your body requirement, create a diet which will help you push yourself during the challenge. Carbohydrates are stored in the body in limited amounts; hence you need to keep replenishing it throughout the day. Bread, rice, starchy vegetables like potato, legumes, honey, sugar, fruits and juices contains enough carbohydrate to take you along through the day.
- Protein builds muscles and is necessary for people who are just starting a fitness regime or are in the early stages of one. Have more of meat, lentils, eggs, milk products and nuts to increase your protein intake.
- Most of us have enough body fat to help us endure the challenge all the way. Yet you might have to add just a bit of dietary fat to assist in all bodily functions during the event. Confectionery, bakery items and fried food will give you enough fat to last the training and also the main challenge.
- It is extremely necessary to fuel up just before the start of the event. Though only a limited amount of carbohydrates can be stored, it is a good idea to load up on carbohydrates three to four days before the event. On the event day, have a good carbohydrate heavy breakfast one to three hours before the start time.
- While on the trail, keep having small amounts of energy giving food every three to four hours -- like banana, muesli bars, oranges, nuts and chocolates.
- Drinking lots of fluid while you train and during the two days of the challenge is as important than the training itself. Lack of proper hydration can lead to early exhaustion, muscle cramps and dehydration.
- Carry enough water in your daypack to last you between checkpoints. Keep sipping water at regular intervals throughout the trail. The idea is to drink as per plan and not wait to feel thirsty.
- Keep a watch for muscle cramps and early fatigue. It's a sign of the body needing water.
- Recovering well: Finishing the 100km challenge is just part of the whole preparation. It is also important to recover well.
- Do not stop your fluid intake just because you have completed the challenge. Keep taking plenty of fluids for two days after the event.
- Have a snack every half an hour after finishing the event which has carbohydrates to boost your energy.
- Avoid drinking alcohol immediately after the event as it hampers your recovery process.
The beauty of the Oxfam Trailwalker is that it takes its participants to the countryside. You drive to the outskits of flourishing cities and connect with nature.
The route of the Oxfam Trailwalker passes through stunning landscapes, internal trek routes and village mud paths.
On one hand, it will be exhilarating to be out there in the open in nature experiencing the joy of walking on a moonlit night; on the other hand, it becomes imperative to keep your attention on your safety and that of your team members.
By registering for the Oxfam Trailwalker, you have accepted responsibility of your own conduct and the risks inherent in such an endurance event.
Walking the trail: Be mindful of the trail and where you are going at all times. Since it passes through forested area and various village trek routes, it's easy for participants to get lost especially at night.
Always refer to the trail map. Also be extremely aware of the markings on the trail -- white arrow marks on stones, signages along the way which will mark the kilometers along the route and most importantly look out for pink or orange fluorescent ribbons tied on trees and bushes at short distances.
Mind your step: Be careful of where you step because you would not want to end up with a twisted ankle. Wear trekking shoes with enough ankle support. You can also carry trekking poles to help balance yourself.
Safety for women walkers: We make sure that the trails are scouted well before the event. You will be passing through villages and the locals are very friendly and helpful. However, we would advice women walkers especially all women teams to maintain caution at all times.
Night time walk: At night ALWAYS walk together. It is not only safe; being together is a great motivator. Though it's a full moon night which will provide you with ample light, it's very important that each member carry a headlamp or a torch with good power. A torch/headlamp can also get handy in case a member or a team meanders away from the trail.
Snakes and insects: Watch your step while walking through undergrowths and avoid stepping on snakes. Snakes tend to stay away from places with so much human activity. In case you find one on the trail, it's advisable to keep your distance. DO NOT attempt to handle or capture or harm it. They get aggressive only when provoked. Read up on snakes before you arrive on the trail and keep first aid ready with you. There would be night time insects, mosquitoes and flies on the trail due to vegetation. They are more of irritants than harmful and to avoid them carry insect repellents.