Breaks when walking long days

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Breaks when walking long days

Postby crollsurf » Thu 12 Aug, 2021 3:16 pm

Everyone is different, but I’m trying to work out a daily break schedule that suits me. I was wondering what everyone else’s daily plan is. Or if they even have one.

Previously, I walked until I got hungry &/or tired and then take a break. I’m starting to think this isn’t the best plan. I found this article interesting and been playing around with it
https://blackwoodspress.com/blog/20401/how-to-hike-15-to-30-miles-a-day/
It kind of works for me but I get inpatient during the breaks. I’ve been trying other ideas as well. Shorter times between breaks when the walking is hard, longer times when the walking is easier.
To to be honest, 10 hours walk time is about my limit, but I’d like to extend that. That’s why I’m asking, has anyone found a schedule that works for them, putting in longer days. Especially day in day out.
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby north-north-west » Thu 12 Aug, 2021 3:47 pm

I'm firmly in the 'keep plodding on until the legs/lungs insist on a rest' category. Schedules do not belong in the bush.
The days I could/would walk for more than 12 hours are gone, unfortunately.
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby Son of a Beach » Thu 12 Aug, 2021 3:57 pm

Although I'm not interested in following a schedule as such, I do find that my natural instinct to keep walking until I'm knackered and then have a break is sub-optimal. On the odd occasions where I've been able to discipline myself to stop more often, and rest (and eat!) before I get knackered (or ravenous!), I feel much better at the end of the day. And I guess that means that I could walk for longer.

So although schedules as such are not for me, I believe that the principle of what you're getting at does have merit.
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby ChrisJHC » Thu 12 Aug, 2021 4:57 pm

I walk for an hour and then keep walking until I find a good place to stop for a break.

Pack off, drink of water, check the map, sort out any little issues then off again. 5-10 minutes.

Repeat until I get to my planned lunch stop for a long break (including boots off for multi-day walks).
Can be up to an hour if my schedule allows.

Afternoon - do it all again!
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby Mechanic-AL » Thu 12 Aug, 2021 4:59 pm

Being somewhere is often more enjoyable for me than getting there and I hate to think Ive missed something so regular stops to smell the roses are a must. One of the reasons I often walk alone is because I havent found anyone who likes to stop as often as I do :D
Theres a chance I may never get to pass by some areas again so I certainly dont feel the need to rush it .
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A reed shaken in the wind"?
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby Baeng72 » Thu 12 Aug, 2021 7:10 pm

My observation is that once you've got a certain level of fitness, then going until you're buggered before a break/drink/snack really limits how far you'll get.
I've found that just regular fluid and small snack/bite seems to keep energy levels up so going longer is possible.
I do need to take the pack off at least once a day and have a bit of a break/lunch however.

I should add, I do stop a lot, just to take a photo, soak in the view, catch my breath, but don't sit down or take the pack off very often.
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby jobell » Thu 12 Aug, 2021 7:42 pm

As an aside, I have a rule when walking on formed tracks, if I come across any form of seating, I sit and enjoy, even just for a minute or two. Otherwise, I usually break every 1.5 to 2 hours, so usually mid morning, lunch and mid afternoon. I would rarely walk more than 8 hours in a day.

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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby Tortoise » Thu 12 Aug, 2021 9:03 pm

That's an interesting article, Crolly. I don't walk 30 miles a day, but sometimes I do several 12 hour days in a week. Turns out I do a lot of the things in the article, except that I'm slower.

On the last big trip, we started early most days (6 - 6.30), before my stomach woke up. Then I'd munch on a bar or two later. Depending on the terrain, we probably stopped every 1.5 to 2 hours. Not regimented, but when we found water, had a nice view, could use a rest etc. Most stops were 5-10 minutes, with a maximum of 15 minutes for lunch. No time for power naps, but I might try them next time, when I can take longer stops. A half hour foot soak in a creek one afternoon was a break I really needed to be able to push on to our preferred campsite.

Certainly going with a lighter pack has vastly increased my capacity, in spite of an aging body.
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby ChrisJHC » Fri 13 Aug, 2021 7:20 am

Had a look at the article.
The first itinerary has them walking 24 km in 10.5 hours!
Not exactly pushing themselves.

I have found I average 4.5 km an hour unless in really gnarly country. That includes my short breaks but not my long lunch break.
That means 24 km would take me 6 hours.

Like others have mentioned, solo hiking means I can do things my way!
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby madpom » Fri 13 Aug, 2021 7:19 pm

I find for me the more important issue is calories & hydtation rather than breaks. I need to eat before I feel I need to or else a) I start to slow, b) I need to stop a decent time to recover and c) I get into a state I can't eat at all.

Keep the calories & hydration up I can do 2-3000m / 14hr days as a one off. Bit less back to back.
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby puredingo » Tue 17 Aug, 2021 7:26 am

When I hit the deck, if it's a comfortable enough spot, I'll have a break. its a good marker, I don't usually start tripping over until I'm pretty well fatigued so I don't bother struggling back to my feet cursing, I just slip out of my pack, lay back and enjoy the ambiance....
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby Champion_Munch » Tue 17 Aug, 2021 12:27 pm

For multiday walks I usually walk with others, and have fairly short walking days (around 15-20 km, mostly on-track). I recently had the opportunity to do a solo 5 day walk so I decided to take a different approach to usual. I adopted some of the ideas outlined by this guy for eating/resting. Some things I tried that were helpful:

- Getting moving early to enjoy sunrise on the trail
- Having shorter breaks rather than longer ones, and doing some stretches when I did stop
- Snacking more often while walking
- Not having a large lunch break
- Having a (cold) breakfast after walking for a couple of hours and finding a nice area/lookout

I found I had more energy and could get moving early and quickly with this approach. Though to be fair I was also only walking 20-30 km per day, not 20-30 miles, so I usually had a few hours at camp before dinner.

However I did find that I underestimated how much extra food I would need with the longer walking days. I usually only carry 300-400 g dry food per day. I upped it to nearly 500 g per day for this walk, knowing I would be walking longer days, but I was still hungry a lot.
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby Huntsman247 » Tue 17 Aug, 2021 2:53 pm

All depends on the walking. That article, I think is more realistic for a not so fit person undertaking a good trail.
I feel it depends on the terrain, what type of walking it is and what you have planned for the day.
If there's a nice spot further along, I want to spend more time relaxing there than some random spot along the way.
Ill just take stops to catch my breath if it's hard going or really hot.
If the scenery is nice, I'll stop more. If its average I don't bother stopping, just catch my breath and move on.
If offtrack you're not covering those km and spots worth stopping for become further apart time wise but may not be very far at all distance wise. Scheduling breaks is not very efficient when your travelling less than a km per hour. I think its take a rest when you need one then.
If you keep your body 'conditioned' by regular exercise/walking , the need for frequent stopping is greatly reduced and you don't get the same fatigue unless it's an exceptionally hard day.
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby warnesy » Tue 17 Aug, 2021 8:31 pm

I’m similar to others that are looking for calories. A small 5 minute break to have a bit of food every hour to hour and a half works best for me. My water bottle is always handy so no need to stop for that.


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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby Ms_Mudd » Wed 18 Aug, 2021 10:17 am

I am not good at taking rests and like to walk and eat, so have my snacks accessible. I do however need to eat regularly and not wait until I am hungry or else it is too late and I will suffer with less energy.

I do make a point of ensuring I do stop for lunch and sit for 15min or so, but I often then find it a bit harder to get going after I do that as my muscles must need to warm back up again? I do run and cycle but am not built for speed and certainly do not excel at anything that requires high speed and high energy output- what I do have though is amazing endurance, I can find my groove and consistently go all day.
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby wayno » Thu 19 Aug, 2021 12:14 pm

madpom wrote:I find for me the more important issue is calories & hydtation rather than breaks. I need to eat before I feel I need to or else a) I start to slow, b) I need to stop a decent time to recover and c) I get into a state I can't eat at all.

Keep the calories & hydration up I can do 2-3000m / 14hr days as a one off. Bit less back to back.


Similar. i've tried breaking the day up with a big break in the middle, probably made things worse. harder to get going and tireder because i'm walking later in the day than i would otherwise..
stop for too long and my body thinks thats it for the day and its more of a struggle to keep going...
i go by energy level on when to eat, i dont get hungry on the move but make sure i eat if the energy is dropping and that usually does the trick , otherwise i can run out of energy when i need it even though i'm not hungry
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby north-north-west » Thu 19 Aug, 2021 12:40 pm

Personally, I find it takes more effort and energy to get going again after a stop than to just keep going. So mostly I snack and drink while on the move. Pack off breaks are rare until I'm looking for a campsite. Have sod-all appetite first day or two anyway so sometimes force a bit of food down tot keep the energy levels up, butt it doesn't always feel necessary. A bit of muesli in the morning is frequently enough for a full day.
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby Mark F » Thu 19 Aug, 2021 5:27 pm

For me in my dotage 20km is a relatively long day and early starts are something I would love to embrace but the body clock says no. I have found that I now tend to have two quite small lunches at approx. 11:30 and 2:00 with a 20-30 minute break. This breaks up the walking to 3hours, 2 hours and then to camp. My times are not set but rely on finding a congenial location. In hot conditions the second break may come a bit earlier and be extended to allow walking in the cool of the evening.
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby wildwanderer » Thu 19 Aug, 2021 9:46 pm

I vary depending if I'm solo or with a group. Also the number of days of the trip.

With a group we tend to have a 10-15 minute morning and afternoon tea breaks and a 45 minute lunch. Very civilised.

Solo I rarely stop. I drink and munch on snacks as I go. 10-15 minute lunch break usually. If it's a 3 day+ trip I tend to start needing longer breaks by about the 3rd day, so lunch stretches into 30 mins. Greatly depends on how tough the trip is and how well I'm sleeping. If I've been doing trips regularly I tend to have greater endurance.
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Fri 20 Aug, 2021 12:26 pm

Do people really stick that hard to a schedule? I honestly thought at first this thread was a *&^%$#! take.
Surely you just stop when the need arises?? I can't imagine getting to a beautiful spot and thinking this would make a good spot for a cup of tea but I have 42minutes and 17seconds before my next break. I'll keep going and stop somewhere in the leech infested bog that's just ahead.
Sounds more like something ridiculous you'd learn in the military.
Nothing to see here.
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby north-north-west » Fri 20 Aug, 2021 1:30 pm

ILUVSWTAS wrote:Do people really stick that hard to a schedule?


A lot do.
All the grey nomads who get their caravans and motorhomes after retiring; every day so many start driving at 9am, have morning tea at 10:30, lunch at 1pm, afternoon tea at 3:30pm, and stop for the day at 5pm. And a surprising number of people will do it when walking too. I''ve never understood it, same with the many who jump on their phones whenever there's a connection. Surely one of the major things about being out bush is to get away from schedules and stressors and workday routines?
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Fri 20 Aug, 2021 1:43 pm

Yeh exactly. Enjoying some of the places you pass by is one of the joys of walking. You'd miss so much bro g on the go all the time.
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby puredingo » Fri 20 Aug, 2021 1:50 pm

I'd be done for in such a regimented schedule, I never know what time it is when I'm out there?
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby Kott » Sat 21 Aug, 2021 1:31 pm

This is such a personal thing as we can see from the above.
I too dont want to get to campsite too early but I like to find a spot at least an hour or two before sunset to set up and have a meal before sundown.
Waking up early...nah just wake up when you run out of sleep.
Strangely, I dont understand all the rushing and getting in the Ks. I'm quite fit but I never like to run and rush and eat while walking.
Breaks are good and probably should be appreciated as they make you smarter and more efficient at work and also keep you fresher on the trail. This is however a learned skill in the "busy world of ours".
I always take breaks and look back to see where I came from to appreciate whats been achieved. and I always have a proper breakfast and lunch and dinner and snacks in the middle. Last hikes I've done I've also napped after lunch which has been heavenly. (not is leachy swamps but in good spots with out any screens)
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby rcaffin » Sat 21 Aug, 2021 8:00 pm

We do like to stop around 10 am for morning tea. In the Blue Mts, that means finding a nice scarp to sit on for the view. In KNP, well, as it goes.
After all, brewed coffee with a view ...

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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby Tortoise » Sat 21 Aug, 2021 8:07 pm

Kott wrote:Waking up early...nah just wake up when you run out of sleep.
Strangely, I dont understand all the rushing and getting in the Ks. I'm quite fit but I never like to run and rush and eat while walking.

I definitely enjoy more leisurely walks as well. But on some walks, I need to do long days to get where I want to go. Either because it takes a long time to get from one vaguely reasonable campsite to the next, or because I'm not keen to carry more than 10 days' worth of food. We definitely don't do any running or rushing through scrub!
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby north-north-west » Sun 22 Aug, 2021 9:40 am

Eating while walking isn't rushing. I'm slow as, especially with a full pack and especially when I get camera happy. Keeping on the move is down to being a bit on the ADHD side and making up for the photography and general sluggishness.
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Re: Breaks when walking long days

Postby ofuros » Mon 23 Aug, 2021 9:40 am

I just go with the flow...micro breaks when taking photos, writing thoughts in a notebook, filtering water, catching my breath on steep inclines, heron like stillness while scanning for crawling cray's, lazy eels & fishy finbeats in slow pools. Refreshing plunge pool swims & future route planning from exposed rocky outcrops.

Nibble & sip on the go throughout the day.
Dawn starts & as daylight fades I start looking for a campsite...a couple of hours earlier if it's a stinking hot summer's day.
Mountain views are good for my soul...& getting to them is good for my waistline !
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