Yes, and boy are we glad we did!
We walked round the Isle of Wight as a practise trip. 70 miles in 4 days staying in B&Bs. That was a great training experience as it shocked us into preparing properly – blistered feet and rubbed hips for 4 days is one thing, would be quite another to have to walk like that for 14!!
We tried to build walking into our everyday routine so that our bodies got used to exercising every day and then did bigger walks at the weekend when we could.
Fitbits are good for training as you can set yourself daily and weekly goals… and your friends and family can see whether or not you’re keeping up with the training! Start by meeting the 10,000 steps a day goal that fitbit defaults to, then up it to 12,000 and then 14,000 (that’s quite a challenge to fit in an ordinary day, I didn’t often manage it! – L).
We did 4 camping trips in the couple of months before Pembrokeshire. The first time we tried out the tent, it was a bit of a disaster and we almost slept in the car!
The 2nd and 3rd trips we walked we caught a train out to Surrey, walked with our packs, slept overnight in the tent and walked back to the train station the next day. That was helpful to get used to what we needed to take, how much fitted in the bag, how to pack stuff etc.
Our 4th trip was another car-camping trip just to refine our packing/sleep systems.
Walking with a heavy pack is somehow different than walking without it. Not only do you walk differently, but you need to learn where the bag will rub so that you can take preventative action. Another time, we would do more of our training day walks wearing the packs to get used to the weight.