Get ready for The Marsden March

Get into your stride for The Marsden March! Follow our top seven training tips and download our bespoke training plans to help get you ready for the big day.

Family getting ready for The Marsden March

Walking...a step-by-step guide

This content is kindly provided by Mark Smith, Director of Headstart Sports and a long-term supporter and fundraiser for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

1. Commit yourself

Start to tell people what you are doing. Telling friends, family and work colleagues what we plan to do commits us to going through with our promises. It will also helps with your fundraising!

2. Get the right footwear

Walking shoes should be comfortable yet supportive, especially around the ankle.

Laces should be tightened evenly from bottom to top and not tied restrictively. Your feet will expand as they get warm. Likewise, well-fitted walking socks (and spares!) will help, reducing the chances of blisters.

Trekking poles may also help reduce the strain on legs and knee joints

3. Follow your plan

Everyone will have their own individual fitness levels and it is important to recognise these and be realistic with the targets you set yourself.

The most important thing is not how fit or unfit you think you are at the moment, but that come Sunday 4 March 2018, you're able to complete the final week of our training guide. 

Remember to consult your doctor before undertaking a new exercise routine, especially if you have an existing medical condition. This is your responsibility and we cannot be held liable.

4. Listen to your body

Soon you’ll feel fitter and have more energy but if you start to feel pains during or after a walk, take time off and rest. Don’t let a niggle become an injury. Seek medical advice if unsure.

Injuries are often caused by using inappropriate footwear, or going too far or too fast too soon. It is important to build a base over a period of time - ‘you can’t fire a cannon out of a canoe’!

5. Stay motivated

Doing the same thing over and over can become monotonous and demoralising. Alter your routes, your distances, your speed, and your terrain. Not only will this help motivate, but the changing demands on your body will prepare you physically for what to expect from your challenge event.

Remember, you don’t just have to walk. Why not try another activity such as swimming, cycling, or an exercise class? See if you can encourage a friend to join you.

6. Fuel your body

The increased physical demands of training will place added nutritional requirements on your body. Try to drink plenty of water, squash or energy drinks, before, during and after training. Remember, ‘small sips often’ is the best way to stay hydrated.

On training days your body will need more energy. Try to pre-fuel with carbohydrates (cereal, bread, potatoes, pasta and rice) and re-fuel with proteins (meat, fish, eggs, nuts, beans and lentils). Whilst walking, bananas, cereal bars, nuts and dried fruit are a good place to start.

7. Enjoy yourself!

This should be one of the reasons why you are taking part in The Marsden March. Be sure to remember all the reasons why you signed up – this will help in both the tough times and the good ones!

Get a friend to join you – walking is sociable and it’s easier to stay motivated if you have someone to chat to, joke with, and bounce off of. Feel free to smile or sing a song!

No matter how unfit you think you are at the moment, the sooner you begin, the sooner you'll start to see improvements.

Mark Smith, Director of Headstart Sports

Training plans

We have two guides designed to prepare you for the 14-mile route. Feel free to adapt these to suit your specific needs, targets and limitations.

If you've chosen the 5-mile route, you will also benefit from following one of our plans, though you may want to reduce the distances and durations of your training walks. Generally, you should aim to have completed at least two walks of an hour or more before the event itself.

If you're currently able to walk non-stop at a moderate pace for hour then use the Intermediate Guide. If this is challenging then use the Beginner's Guide.