Training plan for the Bury to Clare walk - 12th May 2019

Katharine Green

With a number of our walkers interested in doing the Bury to Clare challenge 2019, and a couple already signed up, we have put together a training plan to help keep you on track and make sure you are able to enjoy the challenge to its full potential. Setting yourself a goal and working towards a challenge is a fantastic way to improve fitness and muscle tone. The rewards can go far beyond the actual walk itself and be a real mental boost. The route is 18 miles of stunning undulating Suffolk countryside. Sponsorship is not a necessity and most of the entry fee goes directly to St Nicholas Hospice. Walking uses a different set of muscles to swimming, cycling, gym work, pilates etc, so it's important to prepare for the challenge. We have devised a 10 week programme, which gives you plenty of time to prepare (it's 18 weeks from the beginning of January).

Is it for me?

This training plan is for people who already walk a fair amount and a 3-4 mile walk is within their comfort zone. If you feel daunted by the programme you could repeat the first few weeks and extend the plan over a longer period to gain fitness. If walking 2-3 miles is a struggle please consult your doctor before committing to the walk. Paring up with friends, or forming small groups makes training much easier to commit to and more fun. Please do not hesitate to ask Mary or Katharine for advice.


Make sure you have suitable, comfortable footwear to train in. If you buy new shoes, remember to wear them in slowly and always carry blister plasters. I always go up a size for walking shoes to give plenty of room to be able to spread your toes and wear thicker socks if necessary. If you need ankle support buy boots, otherwise I would buy a 'walking shoe' that enables ankle extension, making it easier to roll from heel to toe. Always carry water and snacks (i.e nuts, bananas, slow release energy foods) for longer walks, and remember to be prepared for extremes in the British climate; wind, rain, sun etc.

A Flexible Training Plan

The plan is only a guide and can be adapted to suit the individual. It does not matter which days of the week you walk, as long as your are covering the weekly mileage and increasing your distance slowly. It is advisable to have a rest day after a longer walk, and increase you longer distance walks at a steady rate over the 10 week period. We would recommend reducing your mileage in the last 10 days leading up to the final challenge, so that you are well rested.

If you would like to be emailed a training plan please click here and fill in the enquiry details.

The benefit of using Nordic Walking poles

It goes without saying that Nordic Walking poles will make walking this considerable distance far easier. Using poles spreads your load over '4 legs', lowering the impact on your hips, knees and ankles, and it enables you to utilise the strength in your upper body to propel you along. The poles will help power you up the hills and stabilise you on the way down. Therefore it is advisable to do as much of your training as possible with poles, to ensure that all the different muscle groups used are prepared. Think how strong your core will be by the end!

How to enter?

Places are limited to 400 people, of which 100 are already are taken. If you definitely want to do it then I recommend you enter sooner rather than later to be guaranteed a place (last year they had sold out by early March). It seems to be getting more and more popular every year. If you would like to enter please click this link.

We look forward to supporting you through your training and hopefully seeing as many of you as possible on the day.

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