Walking 100 km in 24 hours: training, preparation, plastic free snacks.
I looked at a wooden sign saying: 96KM only 4 km left…. My leg hurt, my feet hurt, my back hurt… I was swearing and clinging to my boyfriends arm. „Oh man, I can’t make it… it hurts so bad.. why did I even sign up for this…“
6 months back. I signed up for a 100 km walk. 100 km to be finished in 24 hours. I was running marathons and half marathons before. But 100 k was a challenge for me I really liked to face.
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Training and preparation for a 100 km walk
So when you are signing up for a 100 km walk you question yourself:
what do you need to pack for a 24 hours walk, how do you train for a 100 km walk, what kind of food do you need.
I googled and found a few websites and videos where people shared some training tips.
Starting around 6 months before the event, with 20 k walks, 25 k and up to 60-65-70 k walks.
And that’s what I did. I trained. I walked. I walked to everywhere and planned some longer walks/hikes every second week.
So I walked 25 k through Toronto, 30, 40 and 50 K through Montreal and walked two 60 k trails along the baltic coast in Germany.
It was hard already… after 45-50 k I was really exhausted and had pain in different parts of my body. Always wondering why I actually signed up for this and complaining, „I can’t make it“ 😀
Plastic free challenge
While my first challenge was 100km in 24 hours, my second challenge as always: „let’s do it single use plastic free“.
As everybody might know, sports events are mostly single use trash events. Single use cups, snack wrapper, plastic bottles, plastic plates and plastic utensils. If you don’t want to participate you need a little preparation. I also didn’t know if they offer vegetarian sandwiches, etc, so I thought I just gonna bring my own.
I made some energy balls and falafel and a few sandwiches. A chocolate bar (in paper and aluminium) definitely needed to go into my backpack for those km’s where my body would need sugar…
I brought my cutlery and my reusable cup filled with nuts. If you are looking for light weight backpack, theres no need to carry around empty cups/container. And I knew I would need some coffee during the night and that I would snack on the nuts before hand.
My packing list for the 100 km walk
- 1 lightweight backpack
- 2 Waterbottles (If you are often hiking longer trails a drinking bubble would be a great purchase too)
- A wind jacket
- gloves and hat
- a sports scarf/loop that I could use for my neck at night and as sun protection during the day.
- an extra long sleeve for the night
- extra pair of padded socks
- coconut oil for feet
- my DIY lipbalm
- peppermint oil for sore feet or neck
- lights for the night and batteries (one flashlight and one red light** for the backpack) a lot of people had headlights**, so if you like to walk with hiking sticks** thats one thing you should think about.
- reusable hankies,
- my reusable cup and cutlery
- sunscreen (my DIY sunscreen)
- Food: Falafel balls, energy balls, one apple, 3 sandwiches, salty nuts, and a 100g chocolate bar.
- If the weather forecast would have said rain, I would have packed a rain coat and rain pants. My shoes weren’t water proof, so I was really lucky it didn’t rain at all!!
- I think that was it. Next time I’ll def bring blister tape or I will just ask the first aid team to tape my feet 😀
Dein Ostseelauf: Day of the Event
I felt strong and full of power at the day of the event. But really nervous too. 24 hours of walking. No sleep.
I was wearing my old running shoes, double pair of socks, sports leggings, shorts, T-shirt, a long sleeve and the wind jacket.
When I got my starting bag, informations, etc, I also got tiny packages of gummy bears and a single use lightning stick. I didn’t need any of these, so I refused and brought it back. I brought a reusable light I could carry on the back of my backpack so that people, bikes, cars could see me during the night. I also don’t need those gummies. Once because they are made with gelatin and then they only contain like 5 pieces, and no that wouldn’t satisfy at all. It is just a promotion thing, that I actually don’t like to support at all.
They offered 5 catering points on the way. Where we could use a proper toilet, get some snacks and refill our bottles. We could even send some food, socks or shoes to change (some people needed that) in our own bags to catering point number 2, so we don’t need to carry so much. So I took each hike in between those points as a single trail. To try and see a „shorter“ distance than the whole 100k in front of me.
We started to walk at 5pm. It was a little crowded in the beginning. A lot of people tried to get ahead of everybody. A few times people stepped in the back of my feet. But I just tried to find my own pace. I knew from the marathons I ran, if you starte to quick, and you try to run/walk as fast as the others, you will just get too tired too quickly. So I looked at my app to see my pace and didn’t get on the rush.
We walked through a forest, along fields and had a beautiful sunset in the back. From km 15, people started to tape their feet. On km 20 I overhailed some people who speeded past me in the beginning, one girl seemed to be too exhausted to continue.
The first break at km 21: the places was crowded with people. Theres been two toilets for the women, and that meant it was crowded and we needed to wait approximately 10minutes to get to the loo…. (470 people signed up for the walk, 47%had been women)
My feet felt a little like they „swam“ in my shoes. I think because I laced my shoes too softly. So it felt like I was walking on a few bits of sand… But a few other hikers told me: no no, that is the beginning of a blister… I was like: no I can’t believe, I walked 60km without any blisters…. why now… So I asked if anybody had a spare blister tape and was lucky. Two guys taped their feet and had exactly two tapes left. I couldn’t see any blister yet, but didn’t wanted to take the chance, so plastic wrap number one on my challenge.
I refilled my bottle and off I went, second leg, next stop km47.
It was dark. But we walked through Rostock, a city, so there had been a lot of lights along the road. A few drunks on the streets, but I actually never felt alone, although I sometimes didn’t see any fellow hikers in front of me, neither behind me.
Two guy from the Malteser/first aid help drove regularly passed us with motor bikes. So I knew, in case of an accident/injury, there would be help coming along after a while. That was a safe feeling.
When we walked out of the city into another forest, I started to walk together with a girl that had the same pace. That was perfect. We talked, listened to some music and time went by. We saw an awesome clear night sky with so many stars above us, because there was no disturbing light from the city.
The last 2 km before the next catering point felt loooooong. We had the feeling they would never stop… But they did and we got some food, fresh water and a coffee (in my own cup because they served only disposables).
We then needed to take a small ferry to the other side of the harbor, and sadly we needed to wait 20 minutes longer than planned, in the cold night air. We cooled down very much and the legs got a little stiff. I don’t know if we just had bad luck and the ferry was late, or if this could be better planned next year?
We met the two guys that gave me their last blister tapes when we arrived to the other side of the harbor. They had real bad blisters on their feet, and one of them had bad back and feet pain and they suddenly disappeared short before we arrived at the 55 k sign.
At around 6m the sky started to become lighter.
Sadly around km65 the girl, I was walking together through the night, started to become slower and had some issues with her circulation. She needed to lay down for a few minutes and after we started to walk again she was way slower than I so I just started to walk by myself again. The sunset at 6:50 was beautiful. I arrived the baltic coast (km65) in the bright morning light and the sea was beautiful and empowering.
But again, the two last km to the next point felt longer than normal…
I was lucky that my parents and boyfriend came this morning to support me, so when I left the last catering point, I got a call that they arrived and brought their bikes to meet me along the way. Walking by myself was no problem mentally. You meet some people along the way, but mostly you walk in a different pace… so it was good to have support for 2 kms to the next point.
I gave a few things I carried with me to my family, so my backpack got a little lighter for the last part of the hike.
My legs felt tired now…And sadly it went uphill for a while. I am not an uphill fan 😀
A beautiful view though if you stopped to breathe and looked back!
I reached km 80 on the top of the hill…. 80km… I couldn’t actually believe I got that far!
But I walked slower and slower. Nobody in front of me, no-one behind…
Suddenly a woman over hailed me. She seemed to have so much power still… I tried to walk her pace, but no chance 😀
But I knew: just keep your pace and you will reach your goal. Maybe not in 24 hours but that didn’t matter to me anymore… My goal was to walk 100km… What did it matter if I needed 24 or 25 hours.
My boyfriend waited for me short before I hit km 90.
He carried my backpack, and that was such a huge help.
When we reached the last catering point at 91km, I felt ok, I knew I would reach the goal. Somehow…..
I ate some snacks, laid down on the grass for a few minutes, refilled my bottle and off I went to finish the last 9km!!!!!
My boyfriend walked with me, and I was happy about an arm where I could cling to if my legs/feet hurt too much 😀
Two women over hailed us, and I tried to walk their pace for a while…. But my feet where too sensitive…
We reached km 95 and I was amazed how far I got. I heard about so many people that didn’t made it as far. A lot of people stopped along the way….
I looked at a wooden sign saying: 96KM only 4 km left…. My legs hurt, my feet hurt, my back hurt… I was swearing and clinging to my boyfriends arm. „Oh man, I can’t make it… it hurts so bad.. why did I even sign up for this…“
One more km…97… It took ages…. we walked, I looked for the next sign…98, please!!!
I checked my watch and saw: I got 34 minutes to reach the 100mark in 24 hours… I could make it!
So I tried to forget about my pain. I walked, and walked, one step after another… Trying to find the sign saying 99KM—
The sign wasn’t there anymore. I actually heard that some people actually took signs home with them…. Such a shame, the have been so important to see where you are, how much you already achieved, and then some people just went egotistic and took that help away from us. (We couldn’t find a few signs, eg km50..)
So I looked at my map on my phone and i knew, 800m! Only 800meters to go and I’m done.
I could see my dad waiting a few meters in front of us, and I walked quicker. I can make it! I didn’t feel any pain anymore… just another corner, and another, and then I could see the goal! A few people sitting, standing around cheering. I couldn’t believe I made it.
I finished 100km in 23hours and 54 minutes! What a feeling!
On the way back home in the car, I fell asleep almost immediately.
I used the two blister tape. But no other single use plastic!! YAY! It proves again: if you have a priority everything is possible!
I actually even picked up a few wrapper that got left behind (littered) on the trails… Sadly you see this on every sports event that people just litter the snack wrapper. And yes, I am certain these came from our fellow hikers, because we got those special gummy bear snacks from the company that sponsored the drinks!
If I would organize that kind of events this would be something I would try to communicate about and ask people not to litter anything…
Yes I made it plant based. I just had some honey in my Energy balls, nothing else.
A lot of people think getting fit is not possible without animal protein, but that’s just not true.
Would I do it another time?
Well, I had a sore knee for almost 2 weeks after the walk. But now since it is ok again, and since my dad said straight away: let’s do a father daughter 100k next year, I think: Yes, I’ll do it again 😀
Can I recommend this event? (Mein Ostseeweg)
- yes, I would definitely recommend this event. It was a little smaller than other 100k events in Germany. Max 500 walker could join.
- They had a lot of snacks available, although I would have loved to have a vegetarian/or vegan option for a sandwich. Only option for me had been fruit, cucumber or a sweet (vegetarian) snack. But I had my own stuff so I didn’t suffer any hunger 😉
- At the catering points where we could refill our bottles , they offered coffee, tea but also water in disposable cups too. The water already poured into the cups seemed very unnecessary to me, because everybody had their own bottles, and if no one drinks the water they need to either pour it back into the refill container or throw it away and the cups too?
- The thing that we needed to wait 20 extra minutes for the ferry was annoying because it was so cold… But I guess it wasn´t the fault of the organization…
- And what would be cool for the future: if we could actually get stamps on the catering points, or have some kind of time measurement. There was no real measurement besides the time when the walk started, so I had to stop time for myself. Not a big thing, but maybe something to think about.
- Besides all that: the volunteers were super friendly, I felt safe the whole time, I loved the wooden medal I got at the end, and the trail is great and very diverse. So if you ever want to walk 100km or 50km in Germany, go check out www.ostseeweg.com
- And hey, they told me they wanna be a single use plastic free event from next year! So yeah 🙂 Can’t wait to join again 🙂
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