Gena: Walking her walk

Tonight I met with a rather inspiring and lovely person called Gena Wilson. Gena is a friend of a friend, and someone I’ve only met a number of times, but tonight I met her and got to know her a bit better.

Gena is interesting to me, and someone I’d like to help for a number of reasons, 1. She’s American and living in Glasgow, 2. She’s a cancer survivor (spine and brain). 3. She’s a Christian Missionary.

Now 1 is obvious, 2 has shown me how strong Gena can be, and how she’s using what she has been through positively, along with her beliefs to make everything alright, and 3 is the kind of thing that would have sent me running before.

But Gena is so lovely, and as much as her beliefs are strong, she doesn’t force them on anyone, and can have a very educated, informed and non judgemental discussion with anyone who wants to.

Tonight I met Gena for a chat and a 3 mile walk. Chat we did, Capes and Gods seemed to collide slightly, but all in all it was a good lovely chat and I hope I helped her.

You see she’s walking the Edinburgh Marathon in May 2014, and she wanted some tips and advice to help her along the way… So here’s what I shared with her:

Walking your walk: 5th Feb 2014

Hi Gena

It was great to catch up with you and get to know you some more tonight.

We may have differing beliefs and ideas, but I truly am in awe of your strong beliefs and intelligent thoughts and your ways of getting those thoughts and beliefs across.

It all seems to be something that comes naturally to you and I’m sure you’ve helped hundreds of people in your time. 🙂

Now it’s my turn to help you with what I know. You asked for my input about you training plan in walking marathon.

it’s important to remember that training for a marathon can be hard on you (anyone). So it’s important for you to:
– Take care
– Fuel and hydrate well
– Warm up
– Train for it
– Recover from it

Taking care involves doing what is right for you. Knowing when to stick to the plan and when to listen to your body. Getting plenty of food, water, sleep and social interaction. Remember what you’ve been through and take care if yourself. Don’t be a train without a driver.

Fuelling and hydrating well involves preparing for walks with good nutritious food (carb and protein based). Eating or consuming energy on the walks, and drinking plenty of water. Treat yourself like the athlete that you are, and fuel your body to perform.

Think nutritious, balanced, healthy. Eat whole foods which are easy to carry, try gels, drink water, get a bag and carry it with your supplies. Think about eating every 1.5 hrs on a walk. In general, balance what and how much you eat to fuel your training, with losing weight. Find what works for you and do it.

If you read one book about food/nutrition: read The Calorie Myth by Jonathan Bailor.

Warm up involves steadily building up your body and pace to a comfortable but enjoyable pace. Keep your head held high, take everything in and enjoy yourself. Swing your arms, move your body and get into the swing of it.

Training for the marathon. Push yourself with time targets and motivation. Get others to walk with you. Wrap up well and wear waterproofs to keep the rain out. Be motivated, positive and confident. Wear your cape (or have God pushing you along!) if it gets tough. Banish any negative thoughts (pain etc) and focus on the good.

Recovery is very important. Do not underestimate the power of recovery. Rest days 2-3. Sleep: when your body repairs (you may need more as you ask your body to do more). Take extra rest days of you need them. Eating: nourishing your body to repair. Stretching afterwards (see below). Swap out a run day for a yoga or swim day.

– Your training plan looks good, although I’d like to see you mould it to what is right for you.

– Be flexible: Use the template of 5 walks per week as a guide, and if 5 walks a week is too much, then be flexible, change it and perhaps drop the Tuesday walk.

– The most important walk is the long walk. The build up looks good.

– Next important is the rest day after it. Fuel, hydrate, sleep, recover.

– Find out if 3 or 4 walks a week is more realistic and manageable rather than 5. Do what works for you and don’t feel guilty if you take an extra rest day.

– Sometimes life gets in the way, stay on track for the majority of the time and let life takeover sometimes. Just get back on the track afterwards.

– Be careful in the 20 mile week, maybe drop one of the 5 milers as it looks like a big week.

– Walk with others, get social interaction (for fun and to take your mind off the walk).

– Try new routes (I’ll send you some in a separate email).

– Think positively, get a Mantra, ie I can do this, I feel great, whatever works for you. Get your cape on and fly. 😉

– Split walks up into chunks, either by time or distance: 5 x 2 miles. Or 3 x 1 hour. Keep going until you get to your goal. Reward yourself when you achieve things / distances etc.

– Write a journal or record your walks (time and / or distance) in a journal / book or online.

– Get a Garmin: 110 is a good basic model, or if you want an all singing all dancing one, get a 610 or 620. And if you want to see how hard you’re working, get one with a Heart Rate monitor. For more info see here:

In fact, The 910 might actually be a better bet as it will have a longer battery life than the others!

Stretch after walking, drink water and have something to eat.

Stretching: start from your feet and go upwards: keep it simple and easy to remember, body part by body part:
– Calves
– Quads
– Hamstrings
– Squat Down
– Torso Twist
– Arms up high (shoulders)
– Chest Opener
– Clap (Good Job!)

I’ll send you the links for some routes and below are some other links I thought you might appreciate.


You can do this! Take care and keep in touch. x x

Lorn x
Be the best you can be

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