Quiberville Oxfam Trailwalker Photo Oxfam Supporters 2019Quiberville Oxfam Trailwalker Photo Oxfam Supporters 2019
©Supporters of the trail teams in Quiberville|Laurent Carre

Oxfam Trailwalker: my tips

In September 2019, we had the pleasure of putting together a team to represent the Tourist Office during the first trailwalker organized by Oxfam, starting in Dieppe and crossing the Terroir de Caux, and the pride of succeeding in our challenge by crossing the finish line in time. Since then, the trailwalker passes every year on the territory, and many of you want to try the adventure and contact us for advice! Here are a few tips to help you get ready. Of course, for an optimal training I advise you to register to all our scheduled hikes before the D-day ūüėČ

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No training 15 days before!

It takes a little training, it’s true, but in our case, due to the tourist season, it was limited to the hikes that we organize every week in summer, which represented a maximum of 20 kilometers per week and a night training 15 days before the D-day for 20 kilometers to try the night walk, and to know the reference rhythm of the team. By the way, see you in May for our traditional night hike, the ideal training to test the night hike! But above all, avoid last minute training, no stress!

Take care of your feet!

Before and during the trail, it is imperative to take care of your feet! No way to buy new shoes the day before! You need to pack several pairs anyway. The hiking shoes I had on my feet to start with were comfortable for a while, but quite heavy to wear over such a distance, so I swapped them for my good old sneakers after about thirty kilometers, with a good feeling of lightness! In fact, with hindsight, I would not wear my hiking shoes, too heavy, but rather hiking shoes and/or trail shoes, much lighter. Anyway, I will have to alternate shoes! Same for the socks, good special hiking pairs, or two pairs one on top of the other to avoid a maximum of rubbing are advised, alternating also if only for perspiration!

Prepare an anti rubbing cream to massage your feet between two stages. There are even some that help prepare by hardening the skin a bit to avoid blisters (with regular application starting a month before!).

Unfortunately I think blisters are inevitable! That’s what slowed down our average at the end of the course… Of course, blister bandages are a must if you don’t want to suffer (too much), as well as something to disinfect punctured blisters! Our supporters also brought us a basin, which allowed us a few foot baths at the refreshment points, a good boost to start again on the right foot(s) after a little break!

Sticks or not?

I would say yes! We had all planned to use them, without much conviction, but for my part, having taken Nordic poles, they allowed me to walk faster without getting tired on the first sections, useful considering my smaller size than my friends ūüėČ and for Virginie and Thierry who were not used to poles, they quickly adopted them. If you can, take them telescopic, to be able to hang them on the bag when you don’t use them.

Don't overload yourself!

On the course, honestly, all you’ll need is water, some food to snack on in case you get weak, and a team member to have a first aid kit just in case. The rest is a load on your back for nothing! The refreshment stands are strategically located, at most every 20 kilometers, your supporters can bring you what you need at each stage point! A bag that’s too heavy will pull on your back, and you’ll quickly feel it… Of course for the nightfall, you will have to take a little wool, your yellow vest and your headlamp, but this year the night part should be shorter and better lit, because in July and a full moon night!

Stretch yourself!

Regularly on the course we took short stretching breaks, to prevent soreness. Well it didn’t prevent them eh, but I am sure that without it would have been difficult to move the next day! If you fear, at worst, anticipate and put in a RTT on Monday!

Sleep

We were asked a lot about how we did not sleep. I think the sleep issue is unique to each person, so it’s up to you! Obviously a challenge like this pushes the limits of the body, but I saw a lot of people sleeping at the Bacqueville gym and at Longueville. Personally, it was impossible to sleep in such a noisy environment. On the other hand we discovered that it was almost possible to sleep while walking! The section at daybreak was the most difficult to fight against the closure of our eyelids… More seriously, just listen to yourself!”

Concerning the breaks in general, the calculator provided by the organization gives a good overview of the possible and advised break times on each stage according to the team’s rhythm. We finally posed less time on some stages and more on others, especially for the evening meal where it was physically starting to sting!

Enjoy!

We witnessed some people giving up, at the end of their rope and crying at the thought of not finishing the trailwalker. But you can’t blame yourself, when the body says stop it’s stop! In the end, you won’t abandon your team because a team can finish with 3 people and join another one after 2 or 3 withdrawals! If this happens to you, just think about what you have accomplished, pushing your limits, participating in a great human adventure and above all having collected donations to help Oxfam’s humanitarian actions. So enjoy every moment without regret. And between us, if I did it, many are those who can do it so why not you?

One last thing, unfortunately, since the trail has been shifted to July, our team can no longer be part of the party, starting of the full tourist season obliges, but if you go for it, we would love to hear from you so do not hesitate to tag #terroirdecaux on your training and trail photos on social networks so that we follow and share your adventures!

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