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How to prepare in 3 weeks or less

Today, we take a closer look at what to consider if you’ve just signed up or haven’t started training yet. To start with the bottom line: You won’t make up for those missed weeks/months of training, but there’s still a lot of time to get ready. Let’s take a look at how:

A few weeks ago, we posted a similar article about how to prepare in three months or less. You can retrieve it right here. If you’ve already read our 3-months-plan, you will find a few of the same tips in the following blog again – but hopefully some added benefit as well.

Please note that every human being is built different and at a different fitness level a couple of weeks before the event. Consider the following as our most universal approach possible to get you event-ready as quickly as possible.

Don’t panic!

Simple, but true: While our first tip a few months ago was to rack up those miles, you should at this time accept that you don’t have that much time left to plan a few dozen hiking trips, slowly increase your mileage as you go, and won’t test a hundred different pairs of shoes.

The key to success today is the same as during your MammothMarch: Have the right mindset. So instead of looking for excuses to bail out (there are probably a lot of reasons), we take a look at what you still can do.

Be brave & focused

Commit to the challenge! Even a few weeks can make a difference, and sometimes a shorter period of time allows for a more focused approach. There’s a reason why those New Year’s resolutions don’t last too long 😉 Do the little things that support your efforts (like reducing the amount of alcohol, sweets, getting enough sleep, etc.) and review what you contributed to your goal every day.

Steps still needed

While your mind can move mountains, it’s still your feet that get you over the finish line! Plan a long-distance hike every weekend up until the event, maybe include another extended walk during the week. Are there any trips you can do on foot rather than by car? If you take public transport to work, get out one stop earlier to walk the rest – same on your way home. Do you have a fitness tracker, smart watch or app counting steps? Now it’s the time to set a daily/weekly goal and push the amount of steps.

How far can you go?

As we mentioned in our introduction, every reader will be at a different fitness level a few weeks before MammothMarch. If you’re still undecided whether you should sign up or not because you think your fitness will not be at that level needed for a 20-mile hike, think twice! We’d like to cite the world’s greatest hockey player of all time, Wayne Gretzky, at this point: “You’ll miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take”. Start changing your lifestyle today – not tomorrow or next year. The time is now. Go out for a lengthy walk/hike and check how long you can go before getting (too) exhausted. Is that 8 miles? Then your goal on the day of the event will be 10-12 mi. We can only emphasize that you’ll be surprised how much of an impact the event itself and other participants have on your performance. Please also remember that it’s not a shame if you can’t finish – you won’t be the only one. Try reaching your own goals as MammothMarch is first and foremost a challenge against yourself – and never against other participants. Please also remember that we offer a shuttle at certain drop out spots to get you back to the main venue where your personalized certificate – stating your mileage reached – awaits.

Are you an avid (marathon) runner? You probably have the endurance, but walking/hiking is a different animal. Get those other muscles involved and go out for a lengthy walk to see how a long-distance hike is different from a long-distance run (both your body and mind will tell you).

Terrain and incline

Check out the route details, Park/Forest names provided, etc. to get a feeling for the event. We do not include mountain climbing or other extremes in our events. However, some routes are a little more challenging, especially if you’re not used to some incline. Try to test this out in the weeks before the event to get ready for a similar terrain on the day of the event.

Equipment check

Review your equipment during and after your training walks/hikes. Do the boots fit? What about your socks? Do you encounter blisters at the exact same spots every time you go? This is the time for adjustments, pre-attach blister pads in case a different shoe, sock doesn’t do the trick, and so forth.

Your backpack will be heavier when going for a training hike as you will pack snacks & water – something you don’t have to worry about during MammothMarch. Make sure to have a backpack of the right size that is not too heavy. Ask yourself: What do you really need – and what not.

Breaks, injuries

Although you should push your limits, training through an injury is the wrong approach as this will do more harm than good to your body. Take a longer break when needed to heal those nagging blisters and sore muscles – even if you feel you don’t have the time.

The week before the event

You can’t make up for those training hikes you didn’t do, those miles you didn’t walk – so don’t try to squeeze everything in the last week before the big day, panicking “how on earth will I be able to finish?!”

Either way, go out for a lengthy walk/hike, but less than your MammothMarch distance. Keep your body used to walking while at the same time allowing a speedy recovery and rest before the day of the event.

The day before the event

In a nutshell: Get enough sleep. Don’t drink alcohol. Eat those carbs.

Plan how you’ll be able to get the rest you need before an 8- or even 12-hour hike. If you have a 2+ hour drive to the event, consider arriving the day before and book a hotel close by. The same applies to the night after the event. While you might still be full of those endorphins, 20 or even 30 miles will take a toll on your body and mind quickly. Are you really in shape to drive 100 miles home? Do you have a friend, family member that can take over quickly in case you feel tired? Why not spending another night after the event? Added benefit: That well-deserved cold one will be extra tasty!

Again, your mindset will play an important role when approaching your (first) MammothMarch. Don’t be afraid of the distance, don’t be afraid to not finish – only be afraid not to try!


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