Eric’s Oxfam Trailwalker Tips
My name is Eric Piotrowski and I recently completed the 2018 Oxfam Sydney 100km Trailwalker. Upon reflecting on my achievement I have put together a short list of tips for anyone who is thinking of taking on this gruelling challenge. Despite being a walking event, hiking for 100kms is no easy feat (no pun intended) and requires both physical and mental toughness to make it to the finish line. The following tips definitely helped me get to the finish line.
Erics Top Tips
- Hard work pays off – prior to the event I had completed 300kms of hikes of varying distances from 15km to 60km. After struggling physically in my first 15km hike, I can now easily do 40kms. Just going to the gym is not enough and you need to practice hiking on similar terrain to the actual event.
- Know your body – the most common injuries faced by Oxfam trail walkers are knee injuries. I was lucky that I identified my knee problems early on so that I could better manage them during the event. I went to regular physio sessions to strengthen the muscles that were causing my knee pains.
- Don’t cheap out on equipment – investing in a good pair of hiking shoes and socks is vital. The most common reason why people don’t get to finish line is because of blisters and rolled ankles due to cheap socks and shoes. A pair of Merrell hiking boots cost me $180 however they gave me great ankle support which regular joggers didn’t. I also purchased a pair of walking poles for $80 which I can confidently say got me through the last 15kms when my legs were cramping up.
- Fuel your body – you don’t realise how many calories your body burns over the course of a hike. Eating the right foods is important to maintain energy levels. It’s better to snack frequently on protein bars while hiking than to have a big meal during a pit stop. I also recommend drinking hydrolyte which helps replenish lost electrolytes much better than Powerade/Gatorade.
- Recovery and rest – an inexpensive way to recover after a training hike is to take a Radox bath. It’s a great way to relax your tired muscles and gets you up and moving much quicker. Getting a physio session after training is also a great way to prevent future injuries.
- It’s a mental game – no matter how fit you are, walking for 30 hours will test your mind, especially in the night. Keeping your spirits up is vital if you want to make it to the end. The things that kept me going were; listening to music, eating hot meals at each checkpoint & changing frequently into dry clothes.
- Enjoy the experience – it’s not a competition and getting to the end is an achievement in itself considering the number of the people that don’t finish. I’ve enjoyed the Oxfam journey by getting to know my team mates, learning about my body and taking in the beautiful scenery of the Australian bush.Eric
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