Our Story

What am I doing - and why?

On the 27thMarch 2019 I'll starting out on my big walk, a total of 838 miles at an average of 25 miles per day and will take 42 days to complete allowing for rest days, my arrival date is the 8thMay.  To date I’ve walked over 800 miles in training and worn out two pairs of walking shoes and I still have 200 training miles to do!  I have never done anything remotely like this before so it really is a major challenge for me as you can imagine.


Recently someone close to me, Hattie, was diagnosed with breast cancer at just 27 and has become a key part of my focus for doing this (you can read a bit more about Hattie’s story below).  Also it has made me reflect on how many people I have known over the years that have been affected by all types of cancer.  From grandparents and siblings to friends and work colleagues there have been so many, and I thought what better thing could I do for my big birthday than to raise as much money as possible for some of the wonderful charities that help and support people going through this.  Here's just a bit of Hattie’s story.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer on the 30th July 2018. Since then it's been a whirlwind of emotions but I am keeping sane by sharing my journey through the powerful tool of social media - Instagram! Feel free to give me a follow on @breastiesandbesties to follow all the ins and outs.  Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, with one person getting diagnosed every 10 minutes and 1 in 8 women in the UK alone will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. It's a scary stat however it's thanks to great research and charities like our three creating awareness about getting yourself checked and catching it early means that 9 in 10 people will survive breast cancer!  Charities like these that have helped give me the support and reassurance I need during this time and I want to help contribute to help further this reach within the UK”.

So there you go - I'll do the miles, will you sponsor me please?

Whilst I'm walking most of it on my own I have a four great mates supporting me, getting me across the big watery bit, driving our stuff around and getting me to and from hotels (no - I'm not sleeping rough or even camping!).  They are Matthew, Barry, John and Wayne and I'll give you more information about our little team in the coming days.  Of course if anyone wants to join me for a few miles en route please get in touch at dave@bigdavesbigwalk.com.


Training

With the aim of walking 25 miles per day training is obviously very important and has been a mixture of walking and strengthening work in the gym and at home.  To date I have completed over 800 miles in just over 60 individual walks ranging from 5 to 24 miles long.  The training is split into 5 week cycles comprising 4 weeks of walking and a rest week.  The length of walk and the regularity has been built up over time, as recovery and being able to walk again day after day are just as important as walking 25 miles in any individual day.  The training culminated in walking a total of 200 miles in nine days (5 consecutive and 4 consecutive).  The final cycle which commenced w/c 18/02 is less miles, around 200 to allow me to maintain fitness but to further recover for the big walk itself.


The gym work has focussed on core, upper body and leg strength.  My personal trainer Anita Bond has led me through this at The Fitness Unit http://fitnessunit.co.uk

Anita is going to provide a summary of what's been going on as she actually knows what she's talking about and I just do as I'm told!  Here it is.

When David approached me last year and asked whether I thought walking to Barcelona was doable I didn’t hesitate with my response, “Yes” was always going to be the answer.  With his existing level of strength and fitness it was just a matter of planning and training to take on this mammoth task.
We wrote a plan to build his base of walking and increasing the mileage in a periodised programme in order to build muscle, blood supply and endurance.  We then increased the mileage and started doing back to back long walks together with testing out his kit and training in the clothes he would be wearing.

He continued his personal training with me at The Fitness Unit building in more strength work not just for the legs and glutes but the upper body and core muscles too.
Deadlifts, Squats and lunges to keep the legs strong but being cautious not to damage the muscle fibres too much so that he couldn’t walk.  It is surprising how much we use the upper body when walking so we included Bicep, Tricep, Back, Chest and Shoulder work alongside Core Twists, side bends and some bosu-ball work too (David’s favourite) which challenged the core muscles by being off-balanced.  
For years we have been trying to persuade David to run a marathon but he was never keen on 26.2 miles but he has promised that out of the 838 he has to do one of his days will be 26.2 miles just to keep me happy and prove that he could do a marathon.
All of us The Fitness Unit are very proud of David for taking on this challenge and his approach and dedication to the training program and the charities that he is supporting.

Fitness and Fatloss For Life!

The Fitness Unit
243 Felixstowe Road
Ipswich
IP3 9BN
01473715243


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