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Walking Tips

Here is the recommended checklist for all walkers on preparation for the "50-Mile Kennedy Walk":

Prior to Walking

  • Practice walking - with just the same clothing and equipment you will wear on the Kennedy Wallk. Thoroughly broken- in water proof foot gear, preferably high-tech boots. Obviously no new items.
  • Get Adequate Sleep - get to bed early, at least the night before, to be adequately rested. This is especially important for walkers looking to finish the entire 50 miles.
  • Take the Right Clothes - No cotton. Baselayer for top and bottom is best. Mid layer with sweater/pullover between baselayer and jacket. Bring extra top layer. Cargo/trail pants work best. Gloves. Hat capable of covering ears. Socks warm but soft (Merino wool or cool-max) with optional sock liner.  If weather is extreme this may be a requirement and not optional. Carry a chart and know the signs of cold injury.
  • Have Supplies Ready - get your clothes, food and other supplies ready to go the night before.
  • Eat a Light Breakfast - have a light breakfast before you leave the house so that you are ready to walk. There may be some coffee + at the start. Remember that too much caffeine and alcohol can contribute to dehydration.
  • Nature Will Call - Plan to use the portajohn at the start. The next public restroom/portajohn is at least an hour away. See list of restroom facilities although some may not be functioning at this time of year.
  • Have Support Friend On Call – Have someone you can call if you run into a problem or need to get home in a hurry. We hope to have one or two cars following the basic group of walkers providing some very basic assistance if needed such as a lift ahead.
  • Know Options to Get Home - For most walkers, it will mean a car ride back. There is one train on Sunday at 10:55 a.m. to Washington DC from Harpers Ferry. See Amtrak schedule.
  • Practice remembering to BREATHE. Especially when you tire. Count-off a 3 TO 1 ratio of inhaling or three counts then exhaling quickly on the fourth count to increase oxygen to your blood thereby avoiding oxygen debt and tiring.
  • Buddy-up - with someone who walks a similar pace to yours.
  • Should I do this? - Get your doctor’s advice if you want to be sure for your particular health situation.

Supplies to Take Along

  • 2 Water Bottles – 12, 16 or 20 oz and means to carry. Tip: Fill 1/2 then freeze overnight, fill to top with water. Camelback water bladder can work well too.
  • Food – any high carbohydrates. Power bars, dried fruit, pasta, mashed potatoes, rice, candy, etc. “Gorp” is an old standby with granola or nuts, dried fruit (raisins, craisins, etc.) and M&M’s.
  • Cell Phone – (or be accompanied by someone who has cell phone). Get phone number of support vehicle drivers.
  • Basics – ID/Wallet, money, credit/debit card.
  • Carrying Pack - Fanny pack, back pack or sling pack. Depends on what you are carrying. Lighter the better. Cargo pants or sharing with someone else may be sufficient.
  • Extra shell/sweater – (optional) an outer shell or light layer if weather looks like possibility of rain, snow and/or cold. Provide extra protection warmth if needed. Take every opportunity to warm yourself and dry up feet at stops that provide heat. 
  • Extra Socks (optional) – at least 1 extra pair of socks to change into is recommended.  Talc or vasoline can also be useful to reduce chafing. avoid blisters. Mole Skin or Compead applied prior to walking can also prevent blistering .
  • Next Day Clothes - if you are spending the night in Harpers Ferry, pack a single change of clothes that can be carried in a support car. Minimize items for convenience.

After Walking:

  • Rehydrate - asap drink adequate water or gatorade first. Best if not too cold.
  • Refuel - eat some carbs and protein. You may or may not feel very hungry or too exhausted to eat. Either way begin to eat something. Don't feel like you have to eat a lot because of the energy you burned  – it depends on what your body wants. Best to continuously eat small amounts of carbs.

 Printable Copy of Walker Checklist