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18 tips for a successful Cateran Yomp 2019

Written by Fiona

April 23 2019

It’s seven weeks until the Cateran Yomp 2019 and most participants will have been putting in some training miles. Whether you are taking part in the bronze, silver or gold routes, it’s important to be in good shape for the fundraising event on June 8 and 9 in Perthshire, Scotland.

What is the Cateran Yomp?

The ABF The Soldiers’ Charity: The Cateran Yomp 2019 challenges walkers to take on a long-distance hike. There is a choice of three routes for teams of three to six people: 54-mile gold, 36-mile silver or 22-mile bronze.

All routes start in the town of Blairgowrie and follow the waymarked Cateran Trail through Perthshire and Angus.

Teams have up to 24 hours to finish their chosen distance.

The event raises funds for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, which supports soldiers, veterans and their families.

Step out for a challenge. Credit: ABF The Soldier’s Charity.

Great tips for Cateran Yompers

Good preparation is key to success in any race or event and that is definitely true of the Cateran Yomp. If you want to enjoy the Yomp, you should make sure you train adequately and have a plan for nutrition, kit, navigation and looking after yourself. The following tips for the Cateran Yomp are tried-and-tested.

1 Build up slowly

Many participants will have been following the 12-week training plan for the Cateran Yomp. It’s now the seventh week and the miles of walking will have increased steadily. It’s not a good idea to suddenly launch yourself into long training walks if you have not already built up, or you are not fit enough.

If you feel that you have started late with your training why not consider doing the shorter silver or bronze routes instead? It’s better to enjoy completing a Cateran Yomp route than to start something that is too big for you.

However, there will be some people who are already feel fit enough and can join the training plan at week seven. Take a look. It’s a case of being realistic about your ability for the best enjoyment of the Cateran Yomp.

It is important to walk on a variety of terrain, especially off road, during training.

2 Every little bit helps

If you get into the habit of walking everywhere – to work, to the shops, to meet friends – rather than always relying on the car, you help yourself to get in good shape for the Yomp. Walking even short routes but often will help with general fitness.

3 Vary the terrain

The Cateran Yomp takes place on the Cateran Trail, which is mostly off-road. You need to be used to walking this type of terrain.

Try to do as many of your walks, especially at weekends, on more rugged paths and trails.

Enter the Cateran Yomp with friends for a great experience.

4 Find a friend

Walking with a friend will help with motivation. If you plan to walk with a friend you’ll be more likely to stick to a plan, too.

Hopefully you will be able to walk many training miles with one or all of your team pals so as to build up the good team spirit

5 Strength work

As well as the walking miles, you should aim to improve your general strength to be a stronger yomper, and also to avoid injuries.

Two or three times a week you should run through a series of home-based strength exercises. Do each of these exercise for 30 seconds to a minute each, and repeat: Plank, side plank, bridge with calf raise, squat, lunge, single leg running arms, half or full press up, biceps curl and shoulder press.

Make sure you include rest and recovery days in your training plan and also stretching and strength work.

6 Stretch it out

Flexibility and well-stretched muscles will also help to prevent injuries as you build up the miles of walking. Aim to attend a yoga class each week and do some stretching at home.

Before you set out for a training walk, it’s a good idea to do 10 minutes of dynamic stretches, such as lunges, squats and side strides.

7 Rest and recovery

Rest is as important as exercise. When you take rest or lighter exercise days so your body can repair and build muscles. Make sure you follow the training plan and take rest days when indicated.

Two weeks before the Yomp you should ease up on the training. Don’t stop completely but you do want you body – and mind – to be rested and ready to go on the weekend of the event.

8 Test your kit

It’s a good idea to test all the clothing you will be wearing – and kit you will be using – for the Cateran Yomp. Do this during your training outings.

Make sure that items such as footwear and socks are comfortable. Test waterproof jackets in the rain and think about how to keep warm or cool while walking in different conditions.

Also test the rucksack and walking poles that you plan to use in the Yomp itself.

The last thing you want is to have irritations, rubs and sores in the event.

Poles are very helpful in long-distance hiking events.

9 Poles for good balance

Many people find that trekking poles can be very useful for maintaining balance on rugged paths and trails. Research shows that pole use reduce the strain on leg muscles, too, which means you should be able to keep walking for longer.

Another tip is to wear lightweight gloves or fingerless cycling gloves when using poles because they can cause skin rubs with extended use. This is anther reason to build up your training miles while using your equipment.

10 Reduce the chafing

Chafing, especially in the inner thigh area, can be a problem for people who walk many miles, especially if in warm weather. A great tip is to wear compression shorts or tighter-fit Lycra shorts as a base layer. The longer leg of fabric will stop the skin rubbing together.

An alternative is to use anti-chafing powders or creams, although you might need to reapply during the Yomp.

It is better to prevent foot sores and blisters but if the worst happens there is help from experts during the event.

11 Foot care

Building up the miles in comfortable footwear is the best way to avoid rubs and blisters on your feet. However, it is unlikely you will experience the full distance of your chosen route in training and if your feet end up damp through sweat or rain there is a chance you will get rubs and sores.

Many walkers swear by taping vulnerable areas before setting off. You should buy strong adhesive sports tape for this purpose. I use climber’s tape (zinc oxide tape).

Make sure you trim your toe nails before the event and take a change of socks in your challenge rucksack.

Your team should also have blister plasters and tape as part of a first aid kit.

12 Choose the right footwear

Some people walk the Cateran Yomp in off-road trainers, while others wear hiking boot or shoes. It will depend on the weather during your training and on the weekend of the event.

Waterproof hiking boots will be the best choice for wet weather. Choose boots that you know are comfortable and have been worn in. You could wear hiking shoes as well, but you might want to add lightweight gaiters to stop potential wet and rain getting into the shoes.

Comfort is the most important factor.

Think about lightweight but also safety when choosing the right size of rucksack.

13 What rucksack?

This is a common question.  The aim is to go lightweight but in safety. There is a required kit list and you do need to carry much of this with you, as well as snacks and water.

If you have a support team, you can leave extra items, such as waterproof trousers, with them for collecting at checkpoints if you need them.

Some Yompers will try to squeeze all their items into a running pack as small as 5l but this takes expertise and experience.

For most people a rucksack of between 20l and 30l is about right.  Make sure it is good quality with a hipbelt, sternum strap and a supportive back system,

You will be carrying the rucksack for many, many hours and you want it to be comfortable. It’s another important item to check during training.

14 Whatever the weather

Scotland’s weather can be fickle. It might start dry and then rain; or it might rain and then dry out; or it might be sunny; or it might be wet and windy. Who knows? But you should be prepared for all types of weather.

If your rucksack is not made of waterproof fabric, make sure you pack all the kit inside in plastic bags or dry bags.

The Cateran Yomp follows much of the Cateran Trail.

15 Know the terrain

It could be a good idea to make a recce trip to check out the trails and terrain of the Cateran Yomp, which follows much of the Cateran Trail, if you can.

This won’t be possible for everyone so you should have a look at the route and maps on-line. This will give you an idea of the ups and downs. For example, Walk Highlands has on-line maps and GPX downloads of the route that could be helpful, too.

At registration, the day before the event, all participants are given a Cateran Yomp event map as part of their welcome kit.

Find out more about the right maps for the event in this blog.

Food at the check points.

16 Nutrition know-how

There will be food and water stations at regular intervals on the route but you may want to take your own snacks. Make sure you have tested these in training so that you can be sure they will not upset your stomach.

Night walking in training is a good idea.

17 Go out at night

Many yompers will be walking through the night so you should make sure you include some night walks in your training. This will allow you to become familiar with using a head torch and how it feels to navigate and walk in darkness.

18 Keep your eye on the goal

There will be times when you feel exhausted by the training or lacking in motivation. However, you should remind yourself why you set out to take part in the Cateran Yomp in the first place.

Doing the event is great for fitness, camaraderie and also for raising funds for an important charitable cause.

Also read: Cateran Yomp 2019: Participants step out for training.

Also read:  Walk for charity: Cateran Yomp

Contact: Cateran Yomp.

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