The 4 Day Nijmegen March and how to accomplish it.

~Training~

The benefits of training are noticable to you and everyone else.

Picture
I went from average size undefined legs to being able to max out leg press machines pushing 550 lbs, 25 times in a row simply by walking hills with a pack...no weight training.
Before Nijmegen I could only do 275 lbs max.


The process begins with carefully finding the balence in everything you do. Going too fast is very bad...results in cramps, blisters and 'bonking' out of energy otherwise known as 'hitting the wall.'

The first thing you need to do is address all past injuries in your legs.
I had uneven size muscles in my legs from dislocating my knee in 1986. For years I avoided the pain by shifting my weight to the other leg. I had to totally rehabiltate my legs over 8 months of dedicated training to equal sizes before starting any Nijmegen scheduled practice walks could begin. I was concerned that my damaged capsular ligament scarring would act up and sideline me, but it did not. 

Next comes managing your energy and time so you stay within the time limits and don't burn out.
Arrive at a good stride, finding a balence, and pace yourself so you can sustain that for 12 hours at a time.

My ideal pace is 3.3-3.5 miles per hour or 17-18 minute miles.
In 2009 it took me 11 hours to do 30 miles and in 2010 it took 10 hours.

Most marathons/half marathons only last 2-4 hours in a single day and I am told a lot "Why don't you just run local Marathons, it's a better choice." BUT...
It is not fair to compare a guy who did a 3 hour marathon in an afternoon, with a soldier who marched for 44 hours in 3.5 days.

Nijmegen is an entirely different fitness world, you cannot compare it.  
With an event lasting 3-6 times as long as long as a marathon, plus carrying 20 pounds + of gear and doing it 4 days in a row (a multi-day event in uniform)...it's a much greater challenge for the mind and body with greater discipline required to stick to it.
This is why an army medal is awarded by the Dutch government.  

To do this event and finish it, I found the way - on my own, with email coaching from the master on the subject...John Vonhof.

Picture

You best be serious and train with no short cuts...the real event is intimidating in distance, the unprepared and minimally trained get sidelined at a rate of 30% for first timers and 10% for returning marchers.

Picture

Think Holland is flat? Think again...Day 3 is the day of 7 hills and they are certainly hills. Train on hills too.

Picture

What goes up, must come down...uphill & downhill forces are felt on the skin of your feet as weight shifts.

Be sure to have and do not overlook...
- Excellent Diet
- Daily stretching
- Sports Massage
- Self first aid, foot soaks, skin care

Picture

It was evident that the people of Nijmegen were very fitness oriented after such a long tradition.

I like to warm up and begin everything early by 2 weeks in January,
Warm up fitness, treadmill, swimming, stretches...
(My own prep work)

~Training schedule~
January - July (over 6 months)

KNBLO (Dutch Fitness) training recommendations:
Train all of: January, February, March, April, May, June, July....then the event!

Nijmegen Training: (I did these practice walks on a Sat or Sun.)
1st  wk 10 km         4.4 miles         [Feb 8] Register at this time or check web page www.4daagse.nl
2nd wk 12.5 km      5.7 miles    
3rd wk 15 km          7.5 miles 
4th wk 17.5 km       8.8 miles  
5th wk 20 km          11.7 miles 
6th wk 22 km          15.7 miles
7th wk 25 km          11.4 miles 
8th wk 32.5 km       17.4 miles
9th wk 40 km           24.9 miles

10th wk 45 km         28 miles
11th wk 50 km         31 miles [Fifty kilometers takes about 10-11 hours to finish]

12th wk 40 km         24.9 miles
13th wk 50 km         31 miles
14th wk 32.5 km      17.4 miles
15th wk 2 x 40 km   24.9 miles x 2 = 49.8 miles    (2 days) Whole weekend involved
16th wk 50 km          31 miles
17th wk 60 km          37.3 miles
18th wk 40 km           24.9 miles
19th wk 2 x 50 km     31 miles x 2 = 62 miles    (2 days) Whole weekend involved
20th wk 40 km           24.9 miles
21st wk 35 km           19.2 miles                  [July 10th]
22nd wk                     Get to Nijmegen - get situated; Marcher Church service, Flag Parade, Live Music...

23rd wk                       124 miles.... July 20th-24th 4 Day Marches!

Training and event, combined annual commitment: 613 miles


*My training was completed in 2009 & 2010, + event in 2009 = 1,102 total miles.
I used 2 pair of New Balence MR1063 shoes to do this till they wore out,
I got over 550 miles out of each pair and no injuries were suffered from these shoes in this mileage.

Picture

As the route continued...it included a military floating bridge across the water, very unique experience. You even walk a floating bridge!

Picture

No matter what surfaces you train on, you'll be thrown curve balls...here is an assembled metal walkway.

~Sample week~ 

Follow these steps and succeed, it worked well for me.
Only cook quality organic food to build/re-build your body...(Caution - makes for a high grocery bill)
*Marching day.
**Back to back training weekend (2 of these)

If you don't have time to do the whole weekly training schedule, save this event for another year because being poorly prepared almost means certain event drop-out.
The average age of the marchers at Nijmegen is 53 years old...retired folks. (they have plenty of time to train)
It will take you 10-11 hours to walk 30 miles, schedule your time.

Training days:

*Saturday:
Foot prep, go to training area, march prescribed distance, every bit of it. Distance counts.
Foot soak, repair any injuries, eat real good food, no junk.

**Sunday: (for double back to back days) 40km x 2, 50km x 2
Foot prep, go to training area, march prescribed distance, every bit of it. Distance counts.
Foot soak, repair any injuries, eat real good food, no junk.

___________________________________________________________________________

Monday:
1 hour sports massage appointment, (weekly $80) not doing this will lead to accumulated toxins, shortening & muscle stiffness over 500-600 miles of training/conditioning. This does work well to alleviate the problem.

Eat great food, 3 times a dat regular intervals...the stress on your body to adapt to this training is very significant.
Chicken, fish, rice, greens, tomatos, sweet potatos, blueberrys, etc. All top grade nutritional items.
Be sure to maintain a stretching regiment 20-30 min and get at least 6 hours sleep to heal.

Tuesday:
Eat great food, 3 times a dat regular intervals...the stress on your body to adapt to this training is very significant.
Chicken, fish, rice, greens, tomatos, sweet potatos, blueberrys, etc. All top grade nutritional items.
Be sure to maintain a stretching regiment 20-30 min and get at least 6 hours sleep to heal.

Wednesday:
Eat great food, 3 times a dat regular intervals...the stress on your body to adapt to this training is very significant.
Chicken, fish, rice, greens, tomatos, sweet potatos, blueberrys, etc. All top grade nutritional items.
Be sure to maintain a stretching regiment 20-30 min and get at least 6 hours sleep to heal.

1-2 hour walk without equipment or tape on feet.

Thursday:
Eat great food, 3 times a dat regular intervals...the stress on your body to adapt to this training is very significant.
Chicken, fish, rice, greens, tomatos, sweet potatos, blueberrys, etc. All top grade nutritional items.
Be sure to maintain a stretching regiment 20-30 min and get at least 6 hours sleep to heal.

Friday
:
Eat great food, 3 times a dat regular intervals...the stress on your body to adapt to this training is very significant.
Chicken, fish, rice, greens, tomatos, sweet potatos, blueberrys, etc. All top grade nutritional items.
Pre-cut all foot tape for training walks and clean, inspect and repair your gear...ensure it's ready to go for the whole day.
Be sure to maintain a stretching regiment 20-30 min and get at least 6 hours sleep to heal.

Picture

You'll march through open fields, quiet communities, old cities, harbors and across bridges & meet new people.

Picture

Dutch children offer food and candy to marchers, on your route in your area you will not have this luxury...carry energy bars or gu packs so you don't run low and feel fatigue. 11-12 hours walking with 20 pounds will tire you.

~Suppliments~

Vitamins of quality are very useful when putting your body through such an incredible test.

Picture
Find a brand known to be readily absorbable into the body geared toward your sex and age group. This jar cost over $50, quality doesn't come cheap.

Gu energy packs, instant energy for endurance athletes.

Picture
Easily stored in your pack, eaten while walking...provides instant boost towards the end of the day.

Picture

williamjh2008@aol.com