Here's a great idea. Let's gather up 10,000 of us and stay up until midnight, then take off our tops then parade around the streets of Edinburgh in our bras for 26.2 miles. C'mon! Where's your sense of adventure?
A year later the painful sweaty memories of the Moonwalk marathon have mellowed. Except for the part with the 13 miles of leg cramp and turbulent stomach. Apart from that it was a pure magic.
Since that fateful night lots people have arrived at this blog by Googling "Moonwalk training tips" or "Moonwalk training plan" and I thought, "Yeah! I should write about that!". But I've faffed around for so long the 2009 London walk has already been and the Edinburgh one is next weekend! Let's get on with it anyway and we can help Saturday's ladies and the Googlers of the Future.
I canvassed some of my teammates for their hot tips too, so it's not just whingy me hoping others might learn from my mistakes. And I know there's some fellow Moonwalk Veterans out there, so if you've got any wisdom to share please feel free to join in in the comments!
Moonwalk Training Tips
- Above all, start with good shoes! You're going to be doing a lot of walking so start with a fresh pair or ones that haven't already done many miles. Make sure they're not too tight because your feet can swell up.
- Double skin socks can help prevent friction
- Coat your feet with Vaseline before putting your socks – feels like you're walking on air and helps prevent blisters
- DO YOUR STRETCHES from Day One! This is my biggest regret. Take ten minutes after every walk while your body is nice and warm to thoroughly stretch your legs. Follow the stretches in the Moonwalk booklet, do a leggy section of a yoga DVD or search YouTube for stretching routines.
- Try to do other kinds of exercise as well so that you don't get totally fed up with walking. Spinning, weight training, yoga – just try and schedule it so you "save" your legs for the long walk on the weekend!
- This goes against the Official Moonwalk Training Schedule but all my teammates agreed on this one: don't fret if you don't get all the short walks done, if you're someone who already does a lot of incidental walking (such as walking to work) or non-walky exercise. Just make sure you ALWAYS do the long ones.
- Audio books help the time pass on longer walks. You could get through War and Peace quite easily. Sometimes I'd get so caught up in the story I'd be almost disappointed to finish. Almost.
- Podcasts of radio shows are also great – the variety of segments stops you from getting bored. I liked The Bugle, This American Life and Jillian Michaels.
- Start your long walks either early morning or late afternoon/evening (hooray for long summer nights) so you don't get too hot. You'll be walking at night for the real thing so may as well get used to cooler conditions.
- Vary your walking routes so you don't fall asleep on your feet from boredom! If you do most of your walks in town, try a country jaunt or catch a train to a nearby town for a change of scenery.
- MapMyWalk is a good free website to log your walks, map your routes and feel smug about how many miles you're racking up
- Be careful not to overestimate how many calories you're burning with the training. Another of my biggest mistakes! I overcompensated at dinner time quite a bit
- Don't eat too much junk on your longer walks. You will need to eat to keep your energy levels up but don't go too crazy with chocolate bars or jelly babies. Most us walked better when we ate "real" food – a banana, a handful of dried fruit, or a wholemeal peanut butter sandwich (easy to break chunks off as you walk)
Moonwalk bra decoration
- Dying a plain white bra itself is a good base for decorating – it looks more interesting by default and you don't need as many dangly things to make it look jazzy.
- Make sure you bra decorations don’t chafe.
The week before
- Preserve your energy – get plenty of sleep every night in the leadup.
- Don't vary your routine too much – don't introduce anything new that might throw your body out of whack. For example, don't eat anything unusual. Check all expiry dates!
- Eat as wholesomely as you can – avoid processed food, potentially dodgy takeaways…
- Drink lots of water
- Try on your Moonwalk outfit and make sure it's comfortable and that you look racktacular!
The night before
- You do need to "carb up" a wee bit but try to keep your food plain and simple – nothing too spicy or exotic. You really don't want any stomach dodginess
- Lay out all your Moonwalk outfit and make sure everything's in its place
- Pack your Moonwalk gear – make sure you've not got too much stuff to carry because it will annoy you on the night. Can your phone double up as a camera? Do you really need four different kinds of snack?
- Don't forget to charge your camera.
- Make sure the fridge is well-stocked with something delicious for when you eventually recover from the ordeal on Sunday afternoon.
On the big day
- Have a very very quiet day. Try to sleep in as late as you can and/or have an afternoon nap – you're going to be awake all bloody night.
- Put lovely clean sheets on your bed so you'll have something nice to collapse into tomorrow.
- Put your nicest bubble bath and fluffiest towel right next to the bath tub because you won't have any energy to go hunting for them when you get home!
- Don’t arrive too early – sure the atmosphere is great but if you're too early you're just sitting around on the ground in a very crowded area getting cramped and grumpy. If I had my time again I'd have rocked up at 10PM and chilled out more at home!
- Enjoy the official Moonwalk flapjack; it's dead tasty. Dunno about that pasta they give you, though.
During the Moonwalk
- It will be painfully slow and crowded at first and you'll probably not be able to walk at your usual pace. Don't panic and don't waste energy weaving in and out of the crowds. Once it thins out a bit you can get into a more regular pace.
- Stay hydrated – small regular sips. It's easy to forget to drink once you start trudging along
- Don't drink anything you wouldn't normally drink – like if you only drank water during your training don't suddenly start on the energy drinks, your stomach will rebel!
- If you need a quick pee look out for some discreet trees. We know they tell you not too but you'd be walking til Tuesday if you waited in the port-a-loo queues.
- Do some stretches during your loo breaks
- Try to enlist a Support Vehicle – kind friends or family to pop up at various points on the night to give you a snack and/or words of encouragement! They can also carry more water so you don't have to. Particularly great at the halfway mark and then again at around mile 18. Just when I wanted to throw myself into the Forth River our friends appeared with this amazing platter and really boosted our morale.
- Even if you're too shattered to feel any sort of joy for finishing, be sure to take lots of photos so you can admire your achivement in retrospect.
- Don't park too far away from the finish line! You are going to be KNACKERED like you've never known knackered before.
- Have a pair of slippers ready in the car to ease your tortured tootsies into for the journey home
- Have something nice for brekkie when you have finished
GOOD LUCK to any Moonwalkers out there!