Subject: Am I crazy?
Posted: 14 Mar 2017 5:36 pm
I hope this finds you well!
I'm writing because for some time now I've had this idea of taking the LEJOG walk - mainly because once I set myself a challenge it intrigues me and haunts me until it's done.
What's holding me back is, I've never done anything of this magnitude before. I'm a fair camper, making trips at least once a year, and when living in London I saved money most days by walking to wherever I needed to be... But all of that does not a Walker make.
Am I crazy for contemplating such a challenge without building up to it first? I'm quite a risk-taker in general, often putting myself in scenarios that seem uncertain or new to me - but that's usually restricted to trying a different brand of tea or taking a backwards-facing seat on the train.
Driving the trail would be enough of an achievement and here I am considering walking it?
I guess, the real question is, what should I be doing in the run-up to it? Here we are in March, I have quite a busy year ahead so probably looking at doing the walk next year. What can I be doing or what should I be aiming for before really attaching myself to something of this scale?
Any suggestions would be gratefully received.
PS I was so relieved to come across your site, most people I've mentioned my idea to have practically hurled me under a bus at the mention of something so extreme. But here I am, sat in my temp job, pretending to be on the phone so I can send this message, hoping that 2018 might bring me my biggest achievement to date.
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Subject: Crazy LEJOG
Posted: 24 Mar 2017 5:03 pm
No, you are not crazy at all. You have a year before you're planning to do the walk, and that's plenty of time to do all the planning and to get ready. Here's what you need to think about doing.
1. Read sites like mine. They are packed with really useful information on the best routes, the best equipment to take, and so on. I've got a section called 'Doing the Walk Yourself' that I wrote for people in exactly the same position as you, and the Useful Links page links to loads of other sites and blogs that are full of useful information. Knowledge is power, so get stuck in, and don’t be afraid to ask people about their walks. You'll find that the LEJOG community is very friendly and encouraging, so do ask.
2. Work out what equipment you need. This will change depending on whether you are camping or staying in B&Bs, and what budget you have, but one thing you definitely need to have is the right equipment. Not necessarily the best or most expensive equipment - just the right equipment for you. Footwear and backpack are important things on a walk like this, so take the time to get it right.
3. Work out your route. The only rule for walking LEJOG is to start at LE and end at JOG (or for JOGLE, to start at JOG and end at LE) - the rest is up to you. There are loads of options here, and the route on my site is just one option, so give it some thought as to what kind of route you want to follow.
4. Think about maps and navigation. Lots of people use smartphones for maps these days, and they're great, but whether you go for phones or paper maps, you at least need to have some way of following your route, and you need to know how to follow it.
5. Do a practice run with your equipment and maps - just a short walk, maybe camping out one night or something, just to check that your tent works, your maps work, and so on. You don't want to get to the start at Land's End only to find that your backpack doesn't fit, your shoes have holes in them and your maps are for the wrong end of the country.
6. I don't think you need to get super-fit for this walk - instead, you can built a walking schedule to suit your level of fitness. You will get fitter as you do the walk, so instead of biting off more than you can chew at the start, take it slow with short days and regular rest days, and ease into the longer days over time. If you make it to the end of the walk, then you'll be fitter than you've ever been (and ever will be, probably), so it's the first few weeks that are important - doing too much, too soon is the best way to get an injury that can send you home. Again, the route is important, but so is the breakdown of that route into individual days, so spend a while thinking about this.
That should do for starters, and if you get stuck, feel free to ask someone like me for pointers. The LEJOG community is full of normal people - we're not crazy, we're just enlightened.
Hope this helps!
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