Ultra Walkshop – Useful info

Here’s all you need to know to get the best out of our Beginner’s Ultra Walkshop on Sunday 15th March 2020.

Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Petersfield, Hampshire. Access from the A3 – after the Clanfield exit northbound or the Petersfield South/Buriton exit southbound.

Meet at 9:00-9:30. Walk departs 9:30 sharp.

Meeting point
Meet at Benham’s Bushes Family BBQ6 area (on the bend of the Forest Drive access road to the upper car parks). You can park in one of the main car parks and walk up to the meeting point from there. What 3 Words location:thinnest.decoded.averts

Here’s a Google Maps link to the meeting point as well: https://goo.gl/maps/9VcRaDiGKGGzsoPf6


Your host
This Walkshop will be hosted by Sport Walk’s founder Roger Burlinson. Roger walked Race to the Stones (100k) non-stop in 2017 in under 16 hours and the South Downs Way last year (100 miles) non-stop in under 28 hours. His 50k PB is 6:37.

Roger has walked trails all his life and developed Sport Walking in 2016 after he completed his first 80k ultra. He’s taking a year out of ultra challenges in 2020 but is not idle, developing a new Welsh 3,000s route for a non-stop speed attempt in 2021.

Trail conditions
We’ve checked out the eastern end of the route, which is the most vulnerable section to the wet conditions we’ve had lately and, while it is very muddy in places, the trail is passable, so we’ll be going ahead with the Plan A route from Queen Elizabeth Country Park centre along the South Downs Way to Harting Down.

If there are any changes to the conditions underfoot in the week before the walk, making any section of the trail impassible, there are other good trail options within Queen Elizabeth Country Park, so we’ll just adapt on the day if needed.

What to wear
We’ll be working hard at times, so you’ll need to dress appropriately for the temperature on the day, with scope for getting warm and also cooling down when we stop to talk about technique and tactics. Give yourself flexible layering options and you’ll be fine.

Wet weather is likely, given what’s already gone before, so wear synthetic trousers if you can and bring a good waterproof jacket. We wouldn’t recommend wearing over trousers unless it gets really bad but it’s not a bad idea to bring some with you if you wish.

On your feet
If you have them, wear ultra trail running or long distance mountain running shoes. If you don’t have ultra trail running shoes, then wear approach or trail walking shoes. Avoid boots unless they’re all you have.

It’s a good idea to bring a change of socks and shoes for the journey home!

Hydration & nutrition
This is just a 20k walk, so refuelling isn’t going to be a key factor but it’s not a bad idea to have something to keep your energy levels topped up, so you can invest some energy into some of the structured segments.

We’d suggest a couple of muesli type bars or whatever your preference of solid fuel is. For hydration, don’t be fooled by the time of year and the temperature. Bring some electrolyte drink – between 500ml and 1 litre.

Useful tech
We’ll be focussing on pace setting during the Walkshop, so if you have either a sports watch or an app on your phone that can display live pace, this will help you.

Apart from your waterproofs, make sure you bring a lightweight compact first aid kit (just the essentials – antiseptic, plasters etc), a light survival blanket (if you have one), a fully charged mobile phone and some spare calories (emergency bar etc).

This is not because the walk will be dangerous or difficult as such, it is because this is not a guided walk and everyone needs to be able to be self sufficient on the trail if, for instance, anyone needs to break off and head back to their car for any reason. Survival gear might sound a bit OTT but this is all gear that will be part of your compulsory equipment for your event and it’s also very easy to get cold very quickly at this time of year, especially if it’s wet.

What we’ll cover
The walk will be divided into two halves. The first half will be an opportunity to learn techniques and approaches that will help you walk faster and more efficiently, saving you energy and placing you in a strong position to achieve your goal.

The second half, on the way back to base, will be more like a training session and will be a chance to implement some of the tactics discussed on the outward section.

Among other elements, we’ll cover walking style adaptations like cadence and stride length, pace setting, specialist climbing and descending techniques, hydration and nutrition and mental strength and resilience.

Any final updates, changes or supplementary information will be posted to the Walkshop page on Facebook in the days running up to the event.

See you there!