Training & Preparation…

How do I get fit for The Great Glencoe Challenge?

For an endurance trek you need three focused training sessions per week. Two should be mid-week, 60-75 minutes each on non-consecutive days, one emphasising speed, the second emphasising hilly terrain and/or wearing a pack slightly heavier than the one you’ll wear on the day.

The third weekly session is for distance; build up to one 4-hour session each week. When comfortable with that, keep one week at four hours, and in the alternating weeks build up by 60 mins up to 12 hours. After the 12-hour, there should be a 3-hour week, then the event.

And fuel! Immediately after the mid-week session eat approx 65g of carb and 30g protein (tuna sandwich on brown bread), with limited fat. Any walk longer than 2 hours requires feeding while you’re out – aim for 40g carbs and 10g protein per hour – soild or fluid as you prefer.  

Hydration is critical. Pale urine is a sign of adequate water intake on the day before your walk. Aim to drink up to 3 litres a day. Keep muscles fuelled on the walk by grazing on healthy snacks every hour, like a handful of dried fruits or trail mix. If it’s too fatty it will sludge up your digestion. If it’s too sugary it won’t last the distance. At the end of the day, however tired you are, find five minutes to stretch your leg muscles out.  Think bum, back and thighs as primary goals.

When the legs are feeling heavy and tired, the quickest livener-upper is to get on your back with the legs elevated as high as possible, and gently shake, rock and vibrate the legs for 30-60 seconds.

Ouch, Wheeze, Ouch, Yep, the well-known sounds of trekker-fatigue. Follow these tips to avoid them all and keep plodding on, hour after hour...

Work at it

At work dreaming of Ben Nevis? Make it count — when you get up, sit down and get up again — it’ll hone thighs of steel. Going upstairs? Climb up, back down, then up again. Just remember a folder to make you look busy...

Walk on…

Check how far you’re trekking each day, then build to that before you go.  The Great Glencoe Challenge can take up to 12 hours — sounds daunting, but increase your walks gradually (10% a week) and you’ll love it… really!

Walk more…

You’ve conquered the 8 hour day, then you get to do it all again the next day! So increase walk frequency before you go — a short hike during midweek-lunchtimes, and a longer tramp on both weekend days.

Push it…

Like many treks they involve mountainous sweat and toil. No peaks to train on? Increase walk intensity by steaming up and down any hills repeatedly, or upping the pace. But increase stride rate, not length, or you risk injury.

Carry on…

It’s vital to get used to backpack-toting to avoid knee-buckle at the start of your climb . Load up on training walks, increasing gently to the weight you’re going to carry. Then work up to an extra 20% — so when you hit the trail, your pack will feel like helium.  

Cross train…

Of course, the best training for distance walking is — you’ve got it — distance walking. But also slot in a few sessions of cycling, swimming or running – all great for those crucial leg muscles and cranking up your cardiovascular fitness.

Strength train…

Build up your iron-thighs with strength training before you go, and stop the wincing crab-walk after a long up or down hill. No need for a gym either – lunges, squats and step ups can all be done at home.

Stand up…

Carrying a rucksack all day can lead to the oft-spotted backpacker-hunch, so train up your back muscles. Exercises like the plank are good, or try Pilates to strengthen core muscles.

Spice it up...

Trekathon's can cover all kinds of terrain — rock, scree, grass, bog — so try walks on as many as possible before you go. 26.2 miles on a flat grass landscape would be a breeze compared the terrain of the West Highlands.

Enjoy it…

Sound like hard work? Getting ready is half the fun, as you can walk all the time and appease your conscience by occasionally muttering ‘preparation’. Contact us if you fancy getting out and doing something else beforehand as part of your buildup?

Try these kettlebell exercises to help boost your strength and power?


Aim To develop leg strength and power up steep hills.

How Stand over the top of the kettlebell, sit back in your hips then picking the kettlebell up, stand up tall and squeeze your bum tight as you stand. Do three sets of 15 repetitions, resting 45-60 seconds between each set.

Front squat

Aim To build leg strength and flexibility for walking.

How Take the kettlebell by the horns of the handle and keep it tight to the chest. Sit back in your hips, and try to sit as low as you can. Keep the head and chest up, and squeeze your bum as you stand. Do three sets of 10 repetitions, resting 45-60 seconds between each set.


Aim To work the muscles down the back of your body, vital for walking, running or climbing.

How Stand tall with the kettlebell, push it out in front of you with your hips, pull it back between your legs and then stand tall again, sending the kettlebell up and away with your hips. Squeeze your bum as you stand up. Four sets of 15 reps, resting for 45-60 seconds.

Side lunge

Aim To develop flexibility, balance and strength.

How Hold the kettlebell by the horns, tight to the chest. Taking your feet wide apart, point your toes outwards. Sit back on one leg ensuring your knee follows over your toe, return to middle and drop to the other side (this is one repetition). Do three sets of 10 repetitions, resting 45-60 seconds between each set.

Squat and press

Aim To improve leg power and work your core muscles

How Hold the kettlebell in one hand, squat to the floor like a front squat. As you stand up press the kettlebell over your head. Do three sets of 10 repetitions on each hand, resting 45-60 seconds between each set.


1 If you’re going to make the most of your lunchtime workout you need to be eating the right stuff during the morning. Don’t skip breakfast, if your plan is to lose weight. A survey of more than 2,000 people who lost an average of 67lb, and kept the weight off for more than 5 years, found that 78 per cent of them ate breakfast every morning.

2 If your lunch break is at 1pm, then at 11pm eat a meal of around 350 calories. Go for a home-made snack of fruit salad and yogurt mixed together and a muesli bar.

3 Don’t forget to eat after exercise. Avoid high-fat or high-protein foods and stick with something around 60 per cent carbs, 20 per cent protein and 20 per cent fat. (Try something like a chicken salad with a bit of dressing)

Make a start…

It’s difficult to crowbar some people away from their desk at lunchtimes, but an hour spent out of the office will ensure a much more productive afternoon. Decide when you’re going to start and don’t let anything short of flood and fire make you cancel your appointment with the outdoors. Team up with someone at work who also wants to get fit so you’ll help to motivate each other; but, if they drop out, keep going! If you’re just starting out then be realistic and begin with just one lunchtime on your first week… but stick to it.

Keep it varied…

It’s worth mixing and matching your lunchtime workouts – go for a walk when you can’t be bothered with the hassle of a shower or getting to your local pool, and get on a bike when you want to get as far from the office as possible.

Boost your activity

The 10,000 steps programme was devised 40 years ago in Japan and has recently gained a huge following in the States. A recent study showed that most US citizens take an average of just 3,000-5,000 steps a day. But boosting this to 10,000 steps is roughly the same as taking a 30 minute workout every day. A pedometer will tell you just how many steps you take and, if you work in an office and commute, you may find the results shockingly low.

Here are five ways to boost your normal daily activity without resorting to the gym… and with a pedometer you can have the Blue Peter Appeal satisfaction of watching the results totting up to the magic 10K mark.

1 Take a walking break instead of a coffee break.

2 Take the stairs instead of the lift.

3 Get off the train or Tube a stop early.

4 Walk to the shops and carry shopping home in your rucksack.

5 Cycle or walk to work, avoid traffic and congestion charges.