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How do I prepare for such a long walk? Diet and Training

Today, I am going to share with you how I prepare for such a marathon. Primarily, the preparation could be divided into two parts: namely, diet and training. I had to make significant changes to my diet. I had to increase my daily intake of leafy vegetables and juicy fruits. I had to cut back on carbohydrates and increase nuts. Before I started training seriously, I was going on my daily walks sometimes long walks without carrying food or water. All that changed after I signed up for the first walk from the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) to Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). Now I have a bite and drink water at regular intervals during walks.

The training program can also be sub-divided into two parts; namely, Practice walks and training at a facility. For my practice walks, I usually walk on to the 1000 Steps in the Dandenong Ranges. This walk gives me 15K to 18K steps plus the elevation. If I do the second track, the steps-count rises to over 25K. However, during the upcoming walk that kicks off on 29 October, I am scheduled to walk around 30 Kms a day. So, once a week, I am pencilling in a walk to friends’ places who live around 30 Kms from our place. Sometimes I walk to the city (the Americans call it downtown). That walk gives me more than 30 Kms. A couple of months ago, I walked along the Burwood Hwy to the city, I left home at 5:30 AM and it was still dark outside as we were in the middle of winter. During these long walks, you must drink enough water to keep the body hydrated but not too much to urinate every few minutes. Otherwise, you would have problems finding a place to visit in a hurry. You need to strike a fine balance especially in a populated area.

After walking for four hours, I paused for a short break at Mixed Beans Café at 140 Burwood Hwy, Burwood. Aze and Rozele, the owners of the Café made me a beautiful cup of coffee. I enjoyed the break and the cuppa. When they found out, I was on my practice walk to the city to undertake the long walk to Sydney to support the McGrath Foundation, they got very excited. They took some photos with me, and they wouldn’t take any money for the coffee. Thank you so much for your generous hospitality Aze and Rozele who originally came from The Philippines and made Australia their new home. Finally, I reached the city and met with Jack Blanco for lunch, Jack is an old friend from years ago when we worked together in the Victorian Railways. He had travelled all the way from Geelong to meet me and have lunch together. Thank you so much Jack, you are a champion. Thank you.

As a part of my practice walks, I walked around 30 Kms each time and visited a friend every time. A month ago, I walked from our place to Waterways and had lunch with Inderjit and Varsha Monga. A couple of weeks later, I walked from Boronia to Ormond and had lunch with Anand and Kavita Kulkarni. A few days later, I walked to Glen Waverley and had lunch with Dr Prem and Usha Phakey. Last weekend, I walked to Caulfield and had lunch with Rahul and Monica Malhotra along with their son Yuvraj who was visiting from Gold Coast. After my exercise sessions in Mitcham and Wantirna last week, I went to my Malaysian Indian friends; namely, Bajan and Sarjit Tyndal in Wantirna and had lunch with them. Yesterday, I walked to Elsternwick and had lunch with Satyajit and Ashwini Datar. I feel so blessed to have these great friends indeed. A big thank you to all of you! Your support is invaluable.

All these practice walks would not be possible without the help of our son Shekhar who picked me up from my friend’s place and brought me back home. So, a big thank you Shekhar. Without your logistical support, these practice walks would not be possible. The day I walked to Caulfield, Shekhar wasn’t available, Rahul brought me back. A big thank you to Rahul!

Training at a facility: Similar to last year, this year again I am training with Chris Andronicou, Exercise Physiologist at Snap Fitness, Wantirna. He is a great professional and a beautiful human being. Chris has given me a customised program to make me sufficiently fit to undertake this monumental walk at this stage of my life. Thanks very much Chris for everything you have done for me and for the McGrath Foundation. A big thank you!

I have known Shivam Prakash and his family (also known as Shiv or Shiva), a well-known Physiotherapist at Back in Motion, Mitcham, for many years. A couple of months ago, I visited Shiva to seek his help with muscular pain in my hamstring area. When I first went to Mitcham, little did I realise that I would be training there right to the commencement of my walk outside the MCG. I must admit that Shiva and his entire team particularly Daniel and Mary have been very helpful. The whole team at Back in Motion, Mitcham is very excited about working with me and working on me to get me back in shape to take up this monumental challenge. Shiva is known to be a genius in this field, but his team is not far behind either. What would I do without your help guys? A big thank you to Shiva and his dedicated team. Thanks very much to all of you.

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